The soothing ritual of saging, smudging or lighting incense has a palpable emotional impact that can be felt right away. We love this charming and cozy DIY that puts a few of those Christmas tree trimmings to good use.
Before we share the DIY, a note on sage and smudging…
While smoke cleansing with botanicals is a spiritual and medicinal ritual with ancient roots around the world — from India to Australia, Africa to Ireland — rituals with sage and palo santo specifically have become all the rage in wellness in recent years. That has become a cause of hurt and concern for some Native Americans who feel that this is a form of cultural appropriation. On top of that, the demand for palo santo has caused ecological concerns around over-harvesting in areas of Peru and beyond.
For those of us who have fallen in love with new rituals around sage or palo santo, but don’t wish to be either a cultural or ecological irritant, what is the best path forward? One of our favorite herbal brands, Mountain Rose Herbs says it best:
“The vast record of smoke cleansing in cultures throughout the world makes this ancient practice incredibly inclusive and accessible without needing to encroach on traditions that are sacred to others. There are many ways to find the burnables that resonate best with you. You can research your family’s history or culture, you may be on a spiritual path that has botanical traditions, or you may have a longstanding relationship with particular herbal allies that have served you well time and again.”
Sure, being mindful of the cultural and ecological impact of such a small-seeming act or purchase can feel overwhelming sometimes. However, this is the deeper work many of us have to do at this time. We are learning to reconnect with nature and it’s rhythms, and this is what that looks like.
Interestingly enough, the science on medicinal smoke is progressing as well, showing that the benefits of burning botanicals to cleanse and heal. The Celtics believed pine trees to be a source of protection from negative energies. Pine needles were burned to strengthen the healing process in sick rooms. According to some herbalism books, pine strengthens the nerves and gives energy, courage, and emotional strength.
Madison of Flower Firm first showed us how to make these energy-clearing sage bundles below. Pull them together from Christmas tree sprigs as a sweet holiday gift or New Year’s DIY. The dried botanicals emit energy clearing smoke to refresh your space and mood and provide a warm, delicious scent.
How To Make Sage Bundles with Christmas Tree Sprigs
cotton culinary twine
To make a sage bundle, simply bundle together your herbs and flowers in a visually-pleasing way. Wrap tightly with cotton twine and wait until dry.
If you’re working with dried ingredients already, disassemble an existing sage smudge stick (look for a high-quality one with large leaves still in tact, not one that looks crumbly already). The leaves will already have a shape to them so let their direction inform how you’re adding new bits and how you ultimately tie it all together. You can let the sage be the outside “wrapper,” since the leaves are the broadest of the bunch. Add springs of dried roses, rosemary or anything else you have on hand (maybe even some palo santo wood?) to the center of the bundle. Then carefully close the bundle together in your hand and wrap with cotton twine.
The leaves must be completely 100% dry to burn so it’s best to wait until you’re sure. Light one end and enjoy!