Does the smudge stick size matter?
Is a big smudge stick better than a small one?
There is a lot of variety of smudge sticks these days. You can find white sage, blue sage (also called sagebrush) or a mix of herbs and plants like sage and cedar or sage and lavender. These sticks can range from the very simple branch with leaves tightly wound together with colored string to the very ornate and beautiful wrapped with a center of lavender buds and flowers. But in choosing a smudge stick there are a few things that are good to know.
Is bigger better?
Often times the large smudge stick seems like the better value. And if you’re new to smudging you may not be sure how fast the stick will burn. I’m often asked how big a stick to get for a large house. But sage sticks usually burn very slowly, especially if they are tightly wrapped. This was a small 3-inch smudge stick that has been used three or four times to do a 1200 square foot condo. As you can see it’s still has a lot of uses left in it. So you don’t need a big sage stick to do a large house.
Large sticks may last longer but be harder to put out
The biggest issue with a larger stick (or a fat smudge stick) is the fire can go inside the stick and be very difficult to extinguish. There are a couple of ways to extinguish a stick. You can smother the stick by covering it with sand. This can be good but grinding a stick in sand can damage the stick or loosen the ties. Or you can put the sage stick under running water. This works but then you need to wait for a least a day or two for the sage wand to completely dry out before using it again.
Some people I know leave the stick in the fireplace to slowly extinguish itself but with a large or fat stick, the fire inside the sage wand just continues to burn. They would return to a room filled with smoke and no stick left. To avoid this, look for sticks that are less than 2 inches in diameter (in fact, just over 1 inch is best) or no more than the width of two fingers.
Small sticks may be harder to keep lit
There is a downside to smaller sticks and that is they can be harder to be kept lit. This isn’t a problem if you’re doing a quick smudge of yourself, a door, or an object. But if you’re doing your mansion it can be annoying to continually be relighting the stick. For very large houses, I’ve had to carry matches with me so I could relight the stick along the way.
A large, ornate stick means more falling ash
There is some truly beautiful smudge sticks out there. They are works of art. They are also very effective as they are a combination of helpful herbs bundled together. But extra care should be taken with ornate smudge sticks as there are more burning pieces that can fall off onto carpet or fabric-covered furniture. Make sure if you are using an ornate smudge wand that you have a dish or shell to hold underneath to catch the falling ash.
What are my favorites?
I prefer a stick with a little branch handle. To me, it seems more natural to hold. Here’s an example:
I like a smaller smudge stick. I have had issues with fat sage sticks burning from the inside out because they weren’t fully extinguished. Here’s an example of what I like:
For important clearings such as a new house where you’ve just moved in or new year’s clearing a decorated or ornate stick is wonderful. If it’s a celebration or an occasion to be marked I choose a very special smudge stick to mark the date. Usually, I plan to use this stick just for that one occasion. I may toss the leftover piece into the evening fire. Or leave it for the family to display on a shelf in the family room.
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