It’s been a hard week, right? There’s something in the air (and news), and it’s making me want to tell all my loved ones that I love and care for them. (Hug people, hug yourself, tell others you love them, help those you don’t know!)
This week, I was reminded about the moment a few weeks ago when I ran across the most beautiful smudge stick I’d ever seen, because of heartbreak, too. One of our Domino editors was going through a recent breakup and ordered a customized smudge stick to clear her physical and mental space. Her custom smudge stick by Brenda Azu arrived and, of course, it cleared our dear editor’s space, but the breath-taking beauty and thoughtfulness brought a level of self care into her mental space she hadn’t yet incorporated.
Thus, our love and now obsession with these customized smudge sticks, which are quite possibly the best and most thoughtful gifts you can give to either yourself (you deserve it!) or your loved ones. (And each smudge stick also comes with a crystal, a feather, and all in a recycled fabric pouch for re-using.) The sticks start at $12 and go up to $35, depending on the mix and size of the stick.
Oh, and a little smudge stick 101: It’s an ancient practice going back thousands of years. Today, we use smudging as a tool to clear your home, office, or even self, taking kind of an energetic shower of sorts. The ritual itself can be calming, but dried sage, which is usually the main component of a smudge stick, can directly reduce our stress responses. You can smudge whenever you damn well please, but it’s especially great in transitions, like moving into a new space or after an argument or breakup. You simply light the bundle, allow it to flame then blow it out. The smoke will begin and that’s where you walk it around your space, mentally clearing and visualizing letting go of things. It sounds silly, but the practice can be powerful if you lean into it.
Got an astrology fan in your life? Of course you do. Azu also makes smudge sticks based on each astrology sign. For example, our dear, sensitive cancers (me!) get attached easily, so clearings are very important to release unnecessary energies. The cancer smudge stick is a blend of sage, yerba santa, lotus, and palo santo. Plus each stick comes with a crystal based on what each sign ideally needs most.
Azu sources the herbs and flowers for the sticks organically and locally, and has been creating them for about six months, after first making them as birthday gifts for friends.
Need a little heartbreak healing after this week? Azu says that sage, bay leaves, lavender, and roses are her go-to heartbreak stick mix. (Pro tip: You can write into her and ask for a customized stick based on whatever you may be going through at the moment. She’s a delight and pro to coordinate with.)
“For a broken heart, I would say [go for] herbs that nourish the feminine while clearing out lingering energy,” says Azu. “Sage is a master plant and clears out all energy, while blessing it.” Then the addition of bay leaves (which contain myrcene and eugenol) are great because “both of these compounds possess great anti-inflammatory properties used heavily in stress reduction.”
Lavender is always a great choice for any situation, Azu says, because it brings peace, restful sleep, and happiness—and can be burned to address insomnia, depression, grief, sorrow, and anxiety. And the roses in the sticks aren’t just for show. “Roses are the highest vibrational flower,” says Azu. “Roses retain their abilities with attracting love and enhancing a romantic environment.”
While smudging, you can sip on some cacao. “My favorite heart healing medicine at the moment is cacao, drinking it everyday is a complete life changing experience,” says Azu. “Cacao release serotonin—it actually makes you happy, as it bursts open your heart chakra allowing the healing process to be a lot gentler and faster.”