Making My Own Smudge Sticks
Since moving out to the country, I've become quite akin to gardening! Not only is it a great grounding hobby, but it has its rewards - whether it's for the looks or for harvesting. I was fortunate enough to inherit a small herb garden in my backyard which provided me with an ample supply of lavender and sage. As an Intuitive Healer, I couldn't be happier knowing that things I buy on the usual are now available in my own backyard. Sure, it's not the exact same as what I'd buy online or from metaphysical shops... but there's something about the "homegrown" aspect that makes it better.
It wasn't long before I thought about how I wouldn't let any of this go to waste! In fact, I now sell these products through my online store - and will continue to as future harvests are ready for use. But first came the challenge of harvesting and preparing all of it -- something that was a totally new experience for me. I have to say... it seems like it would be easy enough, but I learned the "tricks" to it as I started bundling the sage.
First and foremost, you'll want to start harvesting when the plant is ready, which I realize depends on your climate and weather. As I had a warm Fall with healthy amounts of rain, my sage was thriving into November, so I only recently harvested it. I found that the lavender flowers dried up too quickly in the summer (that part should be harvested soon after they bloom, if you're using it)... so I decided to harvest the healthy green lavender leaves; as they're just as fragrant.
Before we go further, I want to note that I never researched how to do this. I've always been a DIYer that figures things out as I go, so I took that approach here too...
Now I did decide to make both smudge sticks and loose leaf sage, so keep in mind you're open to these options too. To do all of the above, I simply began clipping the larger leaves (mostly the top leaves) off, removing the leaves I wouldn't use, then simply hanging that branch upside down.
Once I sorted out enough of the larger leaves, I grabbed some string and started cutting pieces that were approximately 8 inches long. You want to go a bit more on the longer side to make sure you have enough to wrap around, knot it at both ends, and to hang it with. With that being said, it doesn't hurt to leave the extra string (for now) incase you need to go back and re-wrap it. There's a reason for this...
Wherein I added lavender leaves to some of my smudge sticks; I simply took the top of each piece I harvested, clipped it at the bottom so that it was sized to my sage bundle, and rolled it into the side of it. Alternatively, you can start with the lavender and wrap the sage around it.
I was surprised at how slippery sage leaves felt while doing this, and found I needed that extra force of holding it together for the whole process - and this is my warning against the difficulty I had for the first couple tries. And since it's so slippery, it's what makes the wrapping process a little trickier than you'd expect... Once you're ready to wrap up the bundle you have, you'll want to pinch together the leaves near the end with the stems, and wrap one end of your string around it. When you go to make your first knot here, you'll want to pull the string slowly but make it as tight as you can - because it'll start to slip loose soon after - then make your second knot to secure it.
All of the branches and sticks are then hung upside down to dry. Check on them every other day to see their progress, note if any bundles need to be retied, and begin clipping off leaves (for loose sage) as they're ready. As they dry, they shrink and curl - so you may find you'll need to do some maintenance work unless you don't care how the finished product looks (it can all still be used even if it falls apart!).
The first batch from my first harvest [pictured below] hung for almost 3 weeks before I personally considered them ready for use. I had other Healers test them out, and even though they still look pretty green - I was told they burned perfectly! All you have left to do now is just wait and enjoy this lovely display in your home while it's there!