Smudge Bundles for the Fall Equinox
Written By Melissa Hargus
Fall Equinox on September 22nd, 2018
Like Persephone's descent into the Underworld, we all enter a stage of introspection as the temperature begins to change and environment around us begins to wither. The Autumn Equinox allows for a powerful shift in energies to help us craft an intentional path for balance and acceptance. The colder weather and shorter days can open up a very vulnerable space for us to acknowledge and welcome the positive changes that have been waiting to shift our perception of balance.
A simple yet dynamic way to welcome these energies into your life may be experienced through Smudging/Smoke Cleansing. A Smudge Stick is a tool used by many cultures across history in ceremony and ritual. In modern times this can be a helpful tool to “wash off” the outside world, to clear negative or stagnant energies and create a new intention for yourself and/or space.
Crafting a Smudge Bundle:
Harvest your herbs, lay them out, sit with them and begin to bundle them together with the stems aligned. At the base of your herb bundle tie on a string of natural cord (preferably hemp) leaving a few inches of a tail, double knot. Tightly wrap the cord up the stick, rotating and continually tightening your grip, spiral the cord to almost the tip of your bundle before spiraling back down. The two cords meet back where you began and finish off your smudge stick with a double knot. Hang upside down to dry for 3 to 7 days (depending on thickness).
Please respect these plants and honor their gifts and medicine by following ethical and sustainable harvesting practices. Herbs love to be pruned and pruning aids in their growth but overharvesting can cause serious harm.
-Ask permission from the plants and land owners
-Cut no more than 20% of the plant or a total of 10% of the colony
-Allow the plants to fully recover before cutting again
Recommended Plants: (availability will differ based on bioregion)
Flowers/Herbs: mint, rosemary, mugwort, yarrow, sweetgrass, yerba buena/santa, lavender, *sage, lemon balm, violet, rose petals, goldenrod
Conifers: cypress, juniper, cedars, pine, eucalyptus
*there are many varieties of sage. White Sage, the most common and widely used should be mindfully sourced due to its overharvest. Ethically cultivated white sage is a more respectful route. This plant should be available and affordable to the Native American People that hold it sacred. Please use alternative herbs in your practice in place of white sage or source with absolute care.
Considerations (potential seasonal factors):
Protection, Prevention and Preparation are extremely helpful as illness, stagnation and seasonal depression are susceptible states of being. These plant allies are recommended to help guide you towards a more balanced phase, and ward off unwanted conditions.
Meditations on Self:
Find a comfortable, seated position and begin to find a sense of peace with your breath, posture and overall sense of being.
Light your Herb Bundle at one end and allow the flame to engulf the herb bundle for a few seconds before you blow it out. A healthy ember and cloud of smoke should signify a successful start.
Close your eyes and begin to move the stick around your body in whichever motions feel natural. Keep a catch (abalone shell or ceramic dish) in your nondominant hand to home your bundle once you have fulfilled your ritual. Open your heart now to guidance and ask yourself in which areas of your life you have felt genuinely “off”. The first 2-3 things that come to mind should be noted (and recorded after your meditation).
When you arrive at a place of acceptance, ease out of your reflective space, slowly back into reality. This is the perfect time for contemplative dialogue internally and/or externally. Speak with a loved one or write down your feelings.
Set goals for creating personal boundaries within yourself and with others that will guide you into a more balanced space and point you in the direction of achievement during this vulnerable season.