Making Your Own Smudge Sticks or herb Bundles
Before starting any activity as spiritually directed as making herb bundles, wash yourself, or at the very least, wash your hands and forearms, letting the water run down them, to flush away any energy held.
All plants that are picked and dried should be honoured. Take only one stem or two, so the pant can continue to flourish. Have empathy, and show the plant respect. Ask permission of the plant, that you may take this branch to perform your spiritual practice. Your intuition will tell you whether it is right or wrong - when another plant should be chosen.
Pick stems that are long enough to be bound together. look in your garden to see what has grown and matured. The herb garden is a good place to start; you could use sage, lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano or clary sage. If you have access to cypress or pine, you could use a small, young branch. It is sometimes said that herbs or other materials that are indigenous to the region should be used, but my favourite, Californian white sage, comes from a place far away from my home.
Essential oils can be added to your bundle before tying. They are highly concentrated energy forms and will increase the energetic potential of the plant(s). Use them in moderation, remembering that they are flammable. Try to use an essential oil or oils that are compatible with your bundle, that is, from the same kind of plant.
However, if a particular herb, plant or tree - such as cypress, cedar or pine - is not available, by adding that essential oil we can bring the plant's energy into the smoke, in fragrance form.
Arrange a small handful of stems and leaves, not using so much that there will be difficulty in burning, or too much smoke produced. put the stems in a rubber band to keep the pieces together while you tie the bundle, removing it when you've finished. Take a long piece o doubled cotton thread and place the top of the bundle together tightly, in a criss-cross fashion.
Start at the top, criss-crossing the length of the bundle, and finish by winding the cotton around the bottom part of the stems. You'll now have a cone shaped bundle. It needs to dry before it'll burn, so hang it upside down in a dry place; an airing cupboard would be ideal.
To use the herb bundle, ignite the end then put out the fire, so it's just smouldering. Hold a small fireproof bowl under the bunch to catch any alight pieces that may drop as the bundle burns. Then walk around the room slowly, wafting the smoke into all the corners so it gradually clears away negative influences and energizes the protective, cleansing frequencies.
If smudging a person, walk around them; If smudging yourself, move the bundle around yourself, or move your body, so the smoke can enfold you. Start at the top moving down to the feet where the energy will disperse into the ground. The smoke can be directed with a cupped hand, a feather, a bunch of fresh herbs or leaves, a flower, or a crystal stone - whatever feels right for you.
Do this with pure thought. Some people do it with prayer, chanting or singing but do what feels right for you. When you have finished, place the bundle down carefully with a fireproof dish underneath, as it might still contain burning material - the idea is to have a spiritual smoke 'wash', not set fire to your home1 Then, open a window.
If you do not plan to burn the bundle, a whole world of possibility opens up. Bundles can be bound incorporating colour, texture and meaning. Essential oils will add fragrance and energy. Try flowers like marigold or rose. Spices such as cinnamon sticks and clove, and fruits in the form of dried lemon or orange peel, are cleansing in their own right.
Small pieces of fragrant wood can be added and, depending on how you plan to display the bundle, other objects wound into the arrangement - such as crystals and minerals, and the small light rocks that are the resins in their original form.
Herbal Smoke Bowls
Another method of using smoke involves putting a drop of an essential oil on a small amount of dried material on a big shell or a piece of fireproof pottery or glass, then setting light to the material and putting out the flame to release the smoke.
Reference: The Fragrant heavens: Valerie Ann Worwood