Please meet my friends, holly and pine. Oh, and a lovely Old One, a piece of quartz that asked to come home with me the last time I was on my land.
Holly represents protection, strength, and perseverance, as well as immortality and fertility. It has a strongly masculine energy, even though the berries we most associate with it are female.
Pine represents a feminine, goddess energy. She also stands for immortality and persevering through difficult times, and presents a feminine version of protection, as well as wisdom and patience.
These two plants are two of the most prominent of our plant friends in this part of the world to remain green throughout the winter. As such, they also have wonderful magical properties for aiding in introspection and connecting with deep, ancient earth energies.
In my journeys with plant friends, I have discovered how simple and powerful it can be to create my own "smudge."
Both holly and pine are ideal for this. Holly leaves can simply be collected and left to dry for a few weeks. Once dry, they burn and smoke quite nicely, if briefly.
Pine sticks can be collected from downed branches and twigs, and left to dry for several weeks. I like to use twigs that are about the diameter of a chopstick, or a little skinnier, and break them into easy-to-manage lengths. They dry up nicely, and burn and smoke just as nicely. A good, dry pine stick will smoke for as long as the more traditional smudge plant, the California sage.
Holly smoke has a lovely, light, faintly sweet smell to it. Pine has a rich, deep, forest smell that seems to transport one directly to the center of an evergreen grove.
Together, they smell like winter and celebration and cleansing and home.
That last word just popped out. I don't even know why I said "home" but it feels right.
Quartz, well, I put it in the picture because it seemed to balance it somehow. But quartz is a magnifier of whatever energy is present, so here, it magnifies everything stated above. It's always a good addition to ritual, so long as the energies you're working with are beneficial and wholesome.
I don't know what made me want to write this post. I did ceremony for myself tonight, and I brought these lovely energies into it with a smudge. I love working with materials I've harvested and prepared myself. I love replacing commercially produced products with sustainable, self-harvested materials. I love bringing my land into my home and my ceremonies in this way.
The beauty of pine and holly is that you can readily harvest these materials yourself, no matter where you are in this part of the US, whether town, country, or city. Holly is everywhere and no one ever minds if you take a sprig. Same for pine–you can harvest twigs from branches that drop naturally and are usually lying around on the ground below them. Dry them for a few weeks, and you've got an environmentally friendly, sustainably "produced" smudge you will love to use.
Try it and let me know if you like it.
Fen Druadìn (they/them) is a storyteller, a visionary, and a book midwife.
Fen's mission is to change the world for the better, one paradigm-shifting book at a time.
Fen works with CEOs and consultants who care deeply about their impact on the world and want to enhance both their legacy and their personal effectiveness through the power of a professionally published work, in their own words.
Fen has applied the magic of more than two decades of professional storytelling, an impressive business background, and a deeply rooted, trained connection to earth-based medicine and spiritual practice to develop a system that helps clients do their most focused, powerful work, and produce a book they're proud to hold in their hands.
When they're not working with clients or writing their own books, Fen can usually be found wandering the woods alone, sitting around a campfire with friends, or swimming in the cold spring waters native to the Southern Appalachians.