Smudging is a ceremonial practice, that technically involves a direct burning of a single plant. The most primordial way of enjoying aromatics, is that of simply lighting them afire which in turn will release a thick, aromatic smoke. The most ancient way of doing this is by using a single raw aromatic, that is on its own combustible. It is, essentially, like burning a little fire (controlled and contained), of either a bundle of dried herbs, or a chunk of wood. This can be done either ceremonially, or for fumigation purposes (for example, as an insect repellent).
The most known culture to use this technique to this day are the First Nations of North America: in their smudging ceremonies, local botanicals such sage, sagebrush, cedar leaf, western red cedar, and sweetgrass are used for clearing a space and preparing it for a ritual, to cleanse the aura of a person, and for healing. A similar tradition and technique is used in Central America with Palo Santo chips. But these are not the only cultures that use this technique for multiple healing, ceremonial and cleansing purposes.
Because these plants are only partially combustible, it is best to use a feather or a fan during the burning, to aerate the incense and continue its burn. This method is especially suitable for open spaces and the outdoors, where the wind can also help continue the burn. Additionally, the smoke can be quite strong and leave a scorched after-smell, which does not function as an "environmental scent" per se; rather they create an atmosphere of healing with the Earth's gifts and medicines, creating an overall sense of well-being.
In our Smudging collection, we've included not only herbal smudging wands, bound together by a dried leaf that Ayala weaves around the wand; but also some of our herbal incense cones, which can be used for fumigating or cleansing a space.
Ayala Moriel Parfums
Four Sages Incense cones are a purifying herbal medicine, inspired by the Indigenous People's smudging ceremony of clearing space and aura. Here I used ethically wildcrafted botanicals and ones grown in my garden from both the West Coast of Canada and the Western Galilee, where I now live.
Four Sages incense cones contain Coastal Mugworth, White Sage (Sagebrush), which are both types of artemisia, a pinch of wormwood and clary sage from my garden, and of course - three-lobed sage that is the iconic scent of the Galilee.
These are hand-rolled in the traditional technique, made from finely ground sage leaves, and bound with natural gums or wood bark.
No saltpetre or charcoal used in these cones. Cones are generally faster burning than a thick joss stick (range of burning time may be from 7-15min, and produce more smoke. They are more convenient to burn while traveling and outdoors, and they stand on their own base, and therefore don't really require special equipment or vessels.
Burning instruction: Prepare a heat-proof vessel, on a sturdy surface away from flammables and out of reach of children and animals. To prevent scorch marks, it is recommended that you layer some sand, earth or ash on the vessel. Place the cone and light the tip of it, and allow the flame to extinguish. Because these are handmade cones, each has a different burning times.