Smudging is the modern term for the ancient practice of using scented smoke to cleanse, purify, and bless a place or a person’s body, mind, and spirit. The practice is found in many spiritual traditions in the world and, depending on tradition, the type of herbs and the ritual for using them varies greatly. Sage and cedar are most commonly used, but other dried herbs, may be incorporated as long they are nontoxic.

To rid a home of negative energy, for example, you might light a smudging stick and wave it in the rooms of a house. Create your own ceremony for smudging. It might include a prayer, affirmation, or a particular sequence and frequency of waving the smudging stick as it releases scented smoke. Decorate the hand-held end of the smudging stick with a string of beads, tiny bells, or feathers.

Smudging Stick Tools and Herbs

(Smudging Stick Tools and Herbs)

To make the smudging stick, you’ll need a pair of scissors and twenty-five feet of embroidery or a similar type thread. You will also need:

  • 1 cedar branch 3/16-inch in diameter and roughly 12 inches long
  • 2 eucalyptus branches with leaves, no longer than 12 inches
  • 1 cup dried sage leaves and stems
  • 8 stems and buds of dried lavender

Begin by twisting the string several times around the dried eucalyptus and cedar branches. Keep winding the string around these branches as you tightly affix the dried herbs to the sticks. Work your way upward (and back down again, if necessary to hold all the pieces in place. To finish, tie off and cut away any remaining length of string. Decorate the hand-held end of the smudging stick with a feather and string of beads (optional.)

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(Finished Lavender and Sage Smudging Stick)

 

All abuzz about murder . . .

Former police officer Abigail Mackenzie has made a fresh start as a beekeeper and farmer in picturesque Las Flores, California—but she never suspected her new hometown would prove to be a hive of criminal activity.

When Abby invites her free-spirited friend, Fiona Mary Ryan, owner of Ancient Wisdom Botanicals, to her farmette for lunch, she never imagines that Fiona’s no-show will lead to a murder investigation.

Only hours after their lunch date, Fiona’s body is found in a burning car in what at first appears to be a tragic accident. But after the coroner’s report is issued, it’s clear she was dead before being placed in the vehicle. Someone has gone to great lengths to cover up a murder. But who—and why?

Driven by her loyalty to her friend, and her deeply ingrained skills as a trained investigator, Abby sorts through suspects—who seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Speculating that Fiona’s herbal business might hold the key to motive, Abby isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to smoke out a killer . . .

Includes farming tips and delicious recipes!

Praise for A Beeline To Murder A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery

“A mystery featuring a lady cop turned farmer who can’t help digging up clues? What fun!” —Joanne Fluke, New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries

“Beekeeping and garden tips, yummy recipes, and a darling dog named Sugar give this honey of a debut a special flavor that will leave readers buzzing happily.” —Leslie Budewitz, Agatha Award-winning author of the Spice Shop Mysteries

“Beekeeping, organic gardening, pastry ¬baking—an engaging debut mystery.” —Library Journal

“Lester’s novel is a fun read with some eccentric and intriguing characters who all seem equally as likely to be capable of committing a gruesome murder.” —RT Book Reviews

“Farming tips and murder vie for the reader’s attention in Lester’s appealing debut cozy, set in the California wine country . . . Recipes, including one for doggy treats, appear throughout.” —Publishers Weekly

Meera Lester is the author of the Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries, A BEELINE TO MURDER (Oct.  2015) and THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE (Oct. 2016). She blogs from www.hennypennyfarmette.com.

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