Creating a sacred container for ceremony that provides a fresh palette for spiritual work to take place without the intermingling of outside energies…
This post comes to you from Emily Mikaelah, a Brooklyn-based energetic healer, teacher and spiritual development coach. She carries the ancestral teachings of the curandera women of Venezuela that have been passed down to her from the generations of medicine women in her family. In 2016 she founded Helios + Solene to create safe and sacred spaces throughout her travels to bring the powerful healing medicine of Spirit into the lives of others. She holds workshops sharing her practice with the community through group classes, women’s circles, and one-on-one private sessions. To learn more about her offerings, please visit her online portal.
Clearing the energy of a space has quickly become a common practice throughout many cultures. Traditionally this cleansing ritual was used before ceremony to raise the energetic vibrations of a space and release it of any evil spirits or negativity that may have been lingering.
Growing up I remember seeing my mother cleanse the house at least once a week with white sage, copal and palo santo. We would take sacred baths and smudge ourselves ceremonially. Every time we moved or refreshed a space, after any large gathering, every holiday and, of course, on Sunday mornings to the sounds of salsa music and live drumming.
The act of sacred smudging is a ritual that is easily attainable with just a few simple tools. Sacred herbs, often found in bundles, are typically placed into an abalone shell or a flame resistant vessel. White sage is the most commonly used — it helps to release any negative energy from a space, body or object when burned. You can also use palo santo if you want to cleanse and ground your space, as well as copal and cedar before and after Ceremony. I choose to burn my sage individually. Because it is so powerful, I like to honor each leaf (you can choose to bundle it as well). Traditional tools used in sacred smudging have been used for years to honor the four elements in the natural world: Earth, the sacred herb; Air, the smoke rising and the use of a feather wand; Fire, the lighting of the flame; and Water, the abalone shell.
Today I will teach you how to make a sacred smudging wand for your energy clearing rituals. These wands become close allies and support us in our rituals during their lifetime. It is important to note that, when making your wand, your energetic footprint goes into them… they become an essence of you. It is advised to keep your intentions during the creation process pure and the vibrations high.
Ethically sourced feathers
A scrap of surplus leather
Decorative materials of your choice
After you have sourced your feathers, it’s time for a deep clean. Feathers can contain micro bacteria from their animal carrier, so it is important to cleanse them thoroughly before handling. (I use a blend of water, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.) Excess debris can be removed with dishwashing soap and water and allow them to soak in the hydrogen peroxide/ alcohol/ water mixture for at least 2 hours. Measurements vary based on the recipe, but I split it evenly three ways. After they have been cleaned, allow the feathers to dry in partial sunlight or near a cool fan. Don’t try to blow dry or apply heat as it may damage the feather and curl the ends. Once fully dried, hold them to your heart and say a prayer of intention. Smudge the feathers with some sage and making process can begin.
Arrange the feathers in a way that appears visually pleasing to you. Explore color, height, texture. Once you find an arrangement with which you feel aligned, wrap the stems with floral tape to hold them in place. Floral tape has enough flexibility to hold the feathers in place while still allowing slight adjustment after taping. It is also a gentle adhesive that will not damage the feather if you decide to unwrap and start again.
Cut a piece of surplus leather for your base. I source mine from fabric houses in NY’s garment district. Typically these are scraps about to be discarded, so projects like these allow new life to be breathed into them. You can also find wonders at your local thrift store. The height of the leather swatch should be as long as you want the handle, plus one inch. So if you want a 4″ handle, the height will be 5″. The length will vary depending on how thick you want your handle (we will be rolling the leather), but I would say at least 10″.
Align one edge of the leather against the stems, making sure to cover the tape and begin to tightly roll it like a cinnamon bun. It should be tight enough so that the stem won’t glide out and you don’t see air pockets between each layer. You can use rubber bands — or a friend — to hold in place!
Cut a long piece of cording of your choice (at least 3 feet) and begin to tightly wrap around the leather base. Begin at the top nearest the feathers and wrap each end of the chord downward evenly until you reach the bottom of the base. Adjust tightness until it feels secure and tie off on the ends. If the end is uneven you can cut it straight. Add beads or bells as decor or leave the cording as is.
Enjoy your new smudge wand! Take care of her and use her often. Thank her and her animal carriers for their offering in this creation. Give gratitude and make an offering to them in a way that feels suitable to you. Your new smudge wand will assist you in clearing energetic debris from your body and surroundings, and will bring sacredness to all spaces in which you use her. Enjoy your new companion!
+What are your thoughts on smudging? Let us know in the comments below!