Making Smudge Sticks
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Laurie
Posted on: April 19, 2002

I am going to attending a ‘spiritual’ weekend at the beginning of May and would like to teach 10 woman how to make their own smudge sticks. What I need to know is what materials and how much of the materials do I need to make smudge sticks about 5-1/2 inches in length.

I know that I need sage - but what kind of sage (as there are many different kinds). I know that I some are wrapped in birch bark with special string tied around it. Basically, I am feeling very overwhelmed with this. I have too many questions and don’t really even know where to look for the answers. I have found instructions on how to actually make the smudge stick but am still having trouble with the amount of materials etc.

In most cases the sage that is used is not actually a sage; it’s a wormwood. The variety closest to it is ‘Silver King’ wormwood (Artemisia ludoviciana). Other sages used are white sage (Salvia apiana) and several species of mugwort (Artemisia spp.).

It would be great if you could provide some feedback as this is something that I would love to be able to show and teach the women during our weekend.

Thanks in advance for you help and hopefully providing some clarity

We generally shy away from providing specific details on native Indian traditional practices. Native Americans and Canadians have expressed their dismay about these sorts of practices being taught by non-Indians who have not received the appropriate training. Some have expressed concerns about the video and books we have on native healing practices, but that’s where we draw the line – otherwise it becomes censorship. So, unfortunately, we do not feel qualified to instruct you on the details of making smudges. We can talk generally about them, but you already have instructions and have more than we can give you.

Sorry to be unhelpful like this, but this is a serious subject for native Indians and we are trying to strike a balance between their interests and our customers’ interests.

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