Whether you use it for cleansing, as part of a ceremony, or you simply like the smell of it, smudge sticks can be a hassle to light and have smoked the whole time you want or need it.
The most common reason your smudge stick won’t stay lit is that there is insufficient airflow to continue the smoldering release of fragrance.
Continue reading to learn some tips and tricks to keep your smudge stick lit so that you can focus more on what’s important, like your spiritual realignment or the cleansing of negative energy in your home.
How Long Does a Smudge Stick Last?
How long a smudge stick lasts ultimately comes down to three main factors:
- How long is your smudge stick is
- How thick your smudge stick is (the diameter of the smudge stick)
- How much do you use your smudge stick
Most smudge sticks average about 7.9 inches in length and 2.8 inches in diameter. If you frequently use a smudge stick of similar dimensions, you can expect the stick to last about two weeks.
If your smudge stick is bigger or smaller, your use time will vary accordingly, and if you don’t need to remove negativity from your household that often, a smudge stick can last much longer.
Where Should You Put it?
When using a smudge stick made of sage, you need to put the lit bundle inside a fireproof container so that you don’t accidentally cause damage to yourself, your property, or others. Traditionally, an abalone shell is used for the full cleansing effects of the sage.
The idea of lighting a sage smudge stick is to remove negativity from a space, so if you know that only one room in your house needs this cleansing, you need only light the smudge stick and leave it on the abalone shell in that particular room.
If many rooms in your house need cleansing, you may need to use several smudge sticks and have one in each room, or you can leisurely walk around those rooms with the smudge stick and abalone shell.
Do You Need More Smudge Sticks to Keep it Lit?
You may have multiple smudge sticks that you can use for your needs, but it would be a waste to burn them all at once (unless many rooms need the fragrant smoke simultaneously).
If your smudge stick happens to go out, it is fairly easy to relight it to continue your practices, and there is no need to light other smudge sticks. Lighting one smudge stick with another doesn’t make much sense and is very ineffective, considering how the whole bundle burns.
It is better to use a separate item like a match or lighter to relight a smudge stick, and, hopefully, it will remain lit this time.
Common Mistakes that Stop Smudge Sticks from Burning
As we said earlier, the most common mistake that stops smudge sticks from burning is a lack of airflow to sustain the oxygen the small fire needs. However, there are several reasons why your smudge stick may not be getting enough air:
- The stick you buy is usually bound tightly with cotton strings, and these need to be loosened some to allow for more airflow
- There are not enough air pockets within the smudge stick – try poking some holes into the sage by using a skewer or some kind
- You may have placed something on top of the smudge stick that smothers the embers and prevents the bundle from further burning
It is also possible that your smudge stick may be in an area with too much of a breeze. A heavy breeze can put out the weak embers of the smudge stick and prevent it from burning.
Can you Relight a Smudge Stick?
You can, and you should relight a smudge stick that still has plenty of use left because there is nothing wrong ceremonially with a smudge stick accidentally going out.
If you’ve used a fair amount of a smudge stick but still have some left, you can follow the same practices in the section above to create airflow and relight the smudge stick.
Be careful when relighting a smudge stick because you don’t want the leaves so loose that large flames are produced, and everything burns too quickly.
Final Thoughts on Smudge Stick That Won’t Stay Lit
Smudge sticks are just one way to remove negativity from your home, but they can be especially powerful for all of your spiritual purposes.
If you are having trouble keeping your smudge stick lit, try creating more air spaces so that the smoldering stick has enough oxygen to sustain a slow burn.
By finding the perfect balance, you can enjoy the fragrant smoke for longer without wasting time trying to relight a smudge stick over and over again or being forced to use a new stick each time.