One of our most beloved products to create at Greens & Browns are our Herb Wands. Each wand is a unique blend of dried herbs and flowers, selected for their specific healing and purifying properties, bundled together with loving intention just for you. Our wands can be used in any way you’d like, such as potpourri or adornment to your space, but our favorite use is spiritual smoke cleansing.
Smoke cleansing is the historic and sacred practice of burning dried herbs to purify the energy of a space or individual with smoke. It has long been believed that smoke from specific herbs can banish negative energy and call forth positive energy and blessings in it’s place. We find that smoke cleansing with an Herb Wand is a beautiful beginning to your self care practice, as it grounds your intentions and prepares your space and spirit for a time of healing and restoration. It’s also an excellent way to use the Earth’s gifts to us–even in burning, Nature provides.
We take our Herb Wands very seriously, as we recognize the spiritual significance of herbal smoke cleansing. While our founder, Jessica, completely understood the appeal and attraction to smoke cleansing, she also saw that the available products on the market simply weren’t respectful. She sought out to create a product line that would honor the act of smoke cleansing, but not infringe on any cultural importance to oppressed and marginalized communities. For us, a big consideration was omitting specific herbs–most notably, white sage.
Traditionally, white sage has been used in smudging practices by North American Indigenous cultures. Smudging, particularly with white sage, is uniquely and distinctly Indigenous. It is so much a part of these cultures that white sage smudging is generally considered a closed practice, meaning that its performance is kept private and only shared to members of the community out of respect.
We’d like to encourage you to read up on North American Indigenous history–to understand the devastating effects of Christopher Columbus pressing down the first domino, and how that caused others to fall one-by-one, down a long stretch of death and destruction. How the Trail of Tears was an act of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and to take a look at more recent History–the discovery of mass graves at Christian schools used to convert kidnapped Indigenous children, or even how COVID-19 devestated reservations at an exponentially higher rate than the rest of America.
Certainly our treatment of Indigenous people is not easy to summate, but one small element that we’d like to touch on when it comes to white sage smudging is this: despite our First Amendment rights, Indigenous religious practices were not legally protected, and were often violently suppressed, in the United States until 1978. If you were Indigenous, the very act of sage smudging was enough to get you thrown in jail. Still today, while Catholic priests are eagerly called into hospitals to perform last rites, Indigenous people face opposition when their leaders attempt to perform smudging in hospitals for dying community members.
We hope that you can understand that the right for Indigenous communities to perform their own sacred ritual of sage smudging has been hard fought for in our country, and that it is insensitive and disrespectful for non-members of the culture to perform what is essentially a caricature of it. We firmly believe that white sage smudging should be reserved to the people who rightfully own the practice. We don’t mind being the ones to break it to you: participating in white sage smudging if it’s not your Indigenous culture just makes you look disrespectful.
That’s why, if smoke cleansing speaks to you, we created our Herb Wands. We saw too many spiritual shops full of white sage for ‘smudging’ and sought to provide an alternative for practices that are respectful and well intentioned. Each Greens & Browns Herb Wand is made of flowers and herbs picked for specific spiritual use, and intentions are placed into each wand as it is lovingly handmade. Create a comfortable environment, light your wand, and spread the smoke over yourself and your space as you focus on intentions for your subsequent self care practice.
We hope that you give smoke cleansing a try and notice how it aids in mindfulness, the clearing of energy, and creating an even deeper sense of spiritual connection to your self care. If you already participate in sage smudging: educate, elevate, and choose respect.
For more information on the morality of smudging with white sage, as well as general information on Indigenous History, you can find further reading here:
-Casey Dunham, Staff Writer