Juniper Smudge Bundle

Tara L. Callaghan
by Tara L. Callaghan
2 Materials
I went hiking this weekend in Rochester, MI, and was lucky enough to find some wild juniper. I cut a branch and brought it home to make smudge bundles for myself, my nesting partner, and my best friend. The scraps and little broken bits that were left will go into another project I will post in the future.

Juniper is considered a fire element, but can be used for general purposes. It has a sharp, piney scent that makes it ideal for Winter months, but as an evergreen it's perfect year-round. Burning juniper stimulates and revives a the tired mind, body and spirit. Useful for purification and said to stimulate contact with other worlds, it was often used in ancient times to cleanse temples.

Here's my lovely juniper branch with a few other things I collected while hiking.

1. Cut each individual frond from the branch. Juniper has thorny like bark, so snipping it off with scissors will be much easier than trying to pull them off.

2. Arrange the fronds into a bundle shape, making sure to layer them to build depth and keeping them all facing one direction.

3. Tie off the end with a simple knot. Note: If you need help keeping your bundle secured while you get the knot into place, try using the tie from a bread bag.

4. Using a spiral pattern, wrap the embroidery thread from the base of the smudge bundle to the tip.

5. Wrap the tip five or six times to secure it. This anchors the thread and helps prevent it from slipping out of place.

6. Reverse the spiral pattern, wrapping the embroidery thread from the tip of the smudge bundle to the base. This will cause the threads to crisscross the length of the bundle, making it firm and secure.

7. Wrap the base five or six times to secure it. Knot the two ends of the embroidery thread together to finish the bundle.

8. Hang the juniper smudge bundle for approximately a week to allow it to dry out. The thread may become loose as the leaves dehydrate; simple re-wrap the bundle securely before burning it.

Note: Like any plant bundle, occasionally it needs to be re-wrapped in order to keep it secure. The threads will obviously burn with the juniper and fray or become loose.
Suggested materials:
  • Juniper fronds   (wild harvested)
  • Red embroidery thread   (Michael's)
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