Full Moon, April 2012

Smudge with Artemisia, Lavender, and Willow Leaves

This is a very simple full moon activity for a group or an individual, to be incorporated into your full moon ceremony/ritual. I think it’s especially nice for a family to do together. It requires a tiny bit of planning ahead so read through the instructions before time to start your ceremony.

A smudge stick created from local plants with your own hands will be an amazing addition to your ritual supplies. For one thing, it will be much fresher when you use it, so the fragrance will be far more intense and lovely than a smudge that traveled through the post for ages, then sat on a shelf in a store for a month or two before you bought it. For another thing, a smudge stick charged with your intentions and your energy will resonate very strongly and the energy, like the fragrance, will be stronger.

In addition to your usual ritual items, you will need fresh herbs appropriate for smudging. Please harvest your plants with reverence, and pay attention to the affect of your harvest on the ecosystem (especially if you are wildcrafting). Also, choose your plants carefully–some plants are toxic when burned.

I recommend up to three of the following:

  • Any form of Cedar
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Mugwort
  • Desert Sage
  • White Sage
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mint

You will also need:

  • White string or embroidery floss in a natural fiber (synthetics definitely won’t work for this).
  • Scissors
  • Plant clippers
  • A table to work at, or an easy to clean surface. This project is a bit messy.

Create sacred space in whatever way you normally do–be it casting a circle, etc.

Take up a bundle of herbs that will be the center of the smudge stick, and hold it in your receiving hand (your non-dominant hand). Focus on your intention for this smudge stick: will it be to purify? to bless? to create vibrations of peace or happiness? Feel the energy of this intention, and hold your dominant hand over the herbs. Visualize the energy you are focused on flowing from your hand into the herbs.

If you are doing this ceremony alone, continue adding herbs to your smudge stick until it is the desired size (I aim for about an inch and a half to two inches in diameter, which will shrink down to around 1 inch as the herbs dry). As you add plants, hold your intention clearly in your mind.

If you are doing this ceremony in a group, pass the bundle clockwise to the next person in your circle. He or she should repeat the first step of holding the herbs and sending intention into them. It might be helpful for each person to speak the intention aloud.

Continue passing the bundle to each person in turn, until everyone has added his or her herbs and intentions to the bundle.

The bundle then comes back to you. Once again holding the bundle in your non-dominant hand, trim both ends even.

Next, unwind several yards of the white string. Wrap the bundle tightly in the string, and tie the ends together.

Say a simple blessing over the bundle; if you are working in a group, ask all participants to focus on the blessing and direct their energy to the smudge stick one last time.

Place the bundle on the altar, or in the full moon light overnight if possible.

Close the circle in your usual manner.

In the morning, hang the bundle somewhere warm and dry. When it’s completely dry, you might need to re-wrap the string if the herbs have shrunk a lot.

The smudge stick should be ready to use by the New Moon.


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