It's the new year and you're feeling fresh and ready to move forward with positive intentions. Sadly, your house is probably feeling a bit stale in the aftermath of all the holiday celebrations. Which makes it the perfect time to ceremonially "cleanse" your space and your psyche.
If you've ever lived in a college dorm room, then you're probably familiar with smudge sticks, but what you may not know is that their origins trace to early Native American cultures. While the practice of ritually burning sacred herbs is something practiced by many cultures worldwide, the typical white sage bundles you commonly see are considered a spiritual medicine, and there are traditional prohibitions against the sale of these products within certain communities. So in the spirit of respect and admiration for indigenous cultures, I've pulled together a list of sage-alternatives for your own ritual cleansing at home.
Different herbs and flowers have various positive properties, so you can pick and choose which intentions you'd like to focus on to create your own unique cleansing ritual at home.
The best part is that these also make great sachets, if you prefer not to burn them, and the pleasant aromas act as aromatherapy whether or not they are burned.
What You Need
Thyme (relaxing and uplifting)
- Oregano (the word originates in Greece, where oros and ganos combine to mean "mountain happiness")
- Rose (peacefulness, calm)
- Rosemary (refreshing fragrance, clarity, enhance alertness)
- Lavender (calming, relaxing)
- Natural cotton or hemp string
1. Put together a small bunch of your desired herbs, much like you would arrange flowers. Then simply wrap them tightly with natural string. It's important to wrap them a little bit more snugly than you might expect because they will shrink down a bit after they have dried.
2. Hang them in a warm, dry environment until they have dehydrated enough to burn. Or, if you don't want to wait, you can speed up the process by placing them in a dehydrator. I have an old gas burning stove, so I simply placed them in the oven while it was off and they were dried out within 24 hours.
3. Once you're ready, simply light one end with a match or lighter like you would a stick of incense. Only light in a well-ventilated area, holding it away from any flammable objects like curtains or loose clothing. If you put it down, make sure it is contained in a heat safe container made of glass or ceramic, away from the edge of a table or near flammable objects. Do not leave burning objects unattended or near small children. Douse with water in the sink after you are done to make sure the fire is out.
Tip: Please be aware that while these plants are safe for burning, each individual has different sensitivities and allergies to plants, herbs, and flowers. Consult with your healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any medications.
Have a really great DIY project or tutorial that you want to share with others? Let us know! We love checking out what you're making these days, and learning from our readers. When you're ready, click here to submit your project and photos.