Charging a Smudge Stick or Herbs

Whether you make your own smudge stick, use a prepared one or are planning to burn herbs in a bowl, you can endow them with power.

If you are using a smudge stick, hold it between your hands. If you are using a bowl, place your herbs in the bowl and hold this during the ritual.

In this ritual, we will use the six directions recognized by the Native North Americans:  the four main compass points, then downwards and finally upwards. Begin in the East, important to Native North Americans as the direction of dawn. Indeed a number of western practitioners start traditional magickal rituals by facing the East and opening the watchtowers here. Start with the North for security. If indoors, ventilate the room well.

  • Stand so that there is space round you.
  • Light a circle of red or natural beeswax candles in deep holders, one at each main direction and one in the center to ignite the smudge. If this is part of a ritual outdoors, you can visualize a ring of fire and omit the candles except for the one used to light the smudge. If you do light directional candles, light the central candle and then the candle of the East, South and so on. During the ritual you can move and stand by each, facing outwards in the appropriate direction of you wish.
  • Light the smudge from the central candle. Standing in the center of your fire wheel, face first the East, the direction of Dawn and Spring. Raise your stick or bowl and say:

“I greet the freshness of Dawn and brightness of the new morning. Fill, I ask, tee my sacred herbs with new life and swiftness of purpose.”

  • Turn next to the South, direction of Moon and Summer. Lite your smudge stick or bowl upwards and say:

“I greet the brilliance of noon and its radiant fire. Fill, I ask, these my sacred herbs with inspiration, integrity and courage.”

  • Face the West, direction of Dusk and Autumn and once more raise your smudge tools, saying:

“I greet the deepening skies and the first star of evening. Fill, I ask, thee my sacred herbs with love and healing.”

  • Face the North, direction of Midnight and Winter. Life your stick or bowl, saying:

“I welcome the darkness and the time of quiet repose.. Fill these sacred herbs with acceptance of what cannot be changed and with the wisdom of the ancestors.”

  • Standing still in the center of your actual or visualized fire circle, next to the central candle, lower the smudge towards the Earth and say:

“Kind Mother Earth, bless your own sacred herbs and absorb all that is not worthy of beauty in this wand of herbs and in my intentions.”

  • Finally, lift your stick or bowl high in the air, saying:

“Father Sky, bless these sacred herbs that my wishes and prayers may rise and be transformed into whatever is right and of worth.”

  • Some practitioners end with Mother Earth, or you can vary it according to the nature of the ritual.
  • As well as charging your herbs with power, you can create a complete ritual by facing and invoking the six directions with your smudge and then smudging yourself as a means of empowerment or protection. Alternatively, you can empower a symbol by carrying it to each of the four directions in turn and smudging it while declaring the purpose of the ritual.
  • You can end by lowering it to the Earth and smudging it there, and finally raising it upwards and releasing the energies in the smudge skywards.



Lighting Smudge

  • Use long matches or a candle but do not get wax on the smudge.
  • Light the tip of the smudge.
  • Let the flame die down and then blow the stick until the end glows red and smoke begins to curl upwards. Take time to get it really smoking well, especially outdoors on damp days.
  • If you are using candles at the quarters of a circle in ritual, you can briefly hold the smudge into each flame in turn as you address the quarters.
  • Keep a fire source like a candle in a safe holder near where you are smudging. If the stick goes out, you can relight it any time during the ritual, adding a blessing at the same time.

Equipment You Will Need for Smudging

A Smudging Fan

The purpose of a fan is to spread and direct the smoke from a smudge stick or bowl of herbs around the person, object or place to be cleansed. If you prefer, you can use your hand or a leaf brush made, for example, of pine needles. Use your hand only if you are writing in smoke with your stick.

Feathers and wing fans are traditional and are believed to assist in cleansing the human aura or psychic energy field as well as adding the qualities of the particular bird to the magick.

You can buy feather fans or use a single large feather you have bought or found.


For burning pre-dried herbs without charcoal you need a heatproof dish as the heat is very fierce. It should be flat enough to allow the air to circulate. You can put a layer of sand or dry soil in the bottom as insulation. In the Native North American Indian tradition as abalone shell is used. This has natural perforations to let out the heat and ensure that the air is distributed evenly all around to give a regular streams of smoke. Shells are symbolic of the Mother Goddess.

A popular smudging bowl to use is ceramic, broad and flat with a shallow rim and wide lip that remains cool even when herbs are heated and broad feet so that it can be placed on a table or on the floor without the risk of scorching. You could make your own bowl, thus endowing it with your personal energies.

You also need a deep bowl for sand or earth in which you can extinguish smudge sticks when you want to end a ritual and they have not gone out naturally. You can also catch the ash or any sparks from your smudge stick in the bowl. Some people extinguish a smudge stick by tapping it on the edge of the bowl. Water is not used, except in an emergency.

Drying The Smudge Sticks

  • Hang your smudge bundles upside down using a knot in the twine so that the air can circulate. Ensure the are you keep them is warm and not damp, and not exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Leave the smudge sticks to dry for about two weeks. They are ready when they are dry but not completely moisture free. Watch out for mold.

NASA Image of the Day for October 10th

Electrical Circuit Between Saturn and Enceladus

This artist’s concept shows a glowing patch of ultraviolet light near Saturn’s north pole that occurs at the “footprint” of the magnetic connection between Saturn and its moon Enceladus. The footprint and magnetic field lines are not visible to the naked eye, but were detected by the ultraviolet imaging spectrograph and the fields and particles instruments on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The footprint, newly discovered by Cassini, marks the presence of an electrical circuit that connects Saturn with Enceladus and accelerates electrons and ions along the magnetic field lines. In this image, the footprint is in the white box marked on Saturn, with the magnetic field lines in white and purple.

A larger white square above Enceladus shows a cross-section of the magnetic field line between the moon and the planet. This pattern of energetic protons was detected by Cassini’s magnetospheric imaging instrument (MIMI) on Aug. 11, 2008.

The patch near Saturn’s north pole glows because of the same phenomenon that makes Saturn’s well-known north and south polar auroras glow: energetic electrons diving into the planet’s atmosphere. However, the “footprint” is not connected to the rings of auroras around Saturn’s poles (shown as an orange ring around the north pole in this image).

The Cassini plasma spectrometer complemented the MIMI data, with detection of field-aligned electron beams in the area. A team of scientists analyzed the charged particle data and concluded that the electron beams had sufficient energy flux to generate a detectable level of auroral emission at Saturn. Target locations were provided to Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph team. On Aug. 26, 2008, the spectrograph obtained images of an auroral footprint in Saturn’s northern hemisphere.

The newly discovered auroral footprint measured about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) in the longitude direction and less than 400 kilometers (250 miles) in latitude, covering an area comparable to that of California or Sweden. It was located at about 65 degrees north latitude.

In the brightest image the footprint shone with an ultraviolet light intensity of about 1.6 kilorayleighs, far less than the Saturnian polar auroral rings. This is comparable to the faintest aurora visible at Earth without a telescope in the visible light spectrum. Scientists have not yet found a matching footprint at the southern end of the magnetic field line.

The background star field and false color images of Saturn and Enceladus were obtained by Cassini’s imaging science subsystem.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph team is based at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The magnetospheric imaging team is based at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. The Cassini plasma spectrometer team is based at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit and .

Image credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/University of Colorado/Central Arizona College/SSI


Astronomy Picture of the Day For October 10th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

The Milky Way in Infrared
Credit: E. L. Wright (UCLA), The COBE Project, DIRBE, NASA 

Explanation: At night, from a dark location, part of the clear sky looks milky. This unusual swath of dim light is generally visible during any month and from any location. Until the invention of the telescope, nobody really knew what the “Milky Way” was. About 300 years ago telescopes caused a startling revelation: the Milky Way was made of stars. Only 70 years ago, more powerful telescopes brought the further revelation that the Milky Way is only one galaxy among many. Now telescopes in space allow yet deeper understanding. The above picture was taken by the COBE satellite and shows the plane of our Galaxy in infrared light. The thin disk of our home spiral galaxy is clearly apparent, with stars appearing white and interstellar dust appearing red.

Your Daily Number for October 10th: 8

Today is great for signing contracts or finalizing deals. Your financial picture is looking rosier, so going out and spending some money wouldn’t be the worst idea. On the personal front, romance beckons. Just be careful not to do anything irresponsible.

Fast Facts

About the Number 8

Theme: Power, Responsibility, Good Judgment, Financial Rewards
Astro Association: Leo
Tarot Association: Strength

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for October 10th is 52:Keeping Still

52: Keeping Still

Hexagram 52

General Meaning: Regular periods of keeping still are an important aspect of personal development and forward motion. The most restful person may not be the one who sleeps twelve hours a day, but the one able to grab catnaps while cruising 600 miles-per-hour at 35,000 ft. Learning to act when it is time to act, and to keep still when it is time to keep still, is the key to obtaining the peace of mind which helps you stay focused when clear focus is needed.

Consider the spine, which serves as a switchboard for all the nerves of the body that mediate movement. When the spine is kept flexible and healthy through proper rest and relaxation, active movement can always be undertaken without strain. When the spine is held erect in a balanced sitting posture, the inner balancing of meditation can take place.

Treat your innate spark of energetic vitality like a candle in the wind you are protecting, as your only light in a dark forest on a moonless night. Avoid external conditions that threaten to snuff out the flame, and be careful not to suffocate it with your own ambitions of worries.

Time out. Relax now, take your shoes off and sit a spell. Let go of thinking. Breathe and meditate on the breathing.

Today’s Runes for Monday, Oct., 10th is Othila

Today’s Runes

Spirit Runes are most commonly used for questions about mysticism, spirituality, and religion. Othila is the homeland. Land was the purest form of immovable wealth in Norse civilization, distinct from the movable wealth represented by Fehu. This rune speaks of stability and safety stemming from inheritance, both material and genetic. With respect to the question asked, consider the background of the people and families involved…