Interested in using Palo Santo Wood to cleanse your space?
The burning of aromatic plants is an ancient ceremonial practice held by many of the American Natives. This practice involves the burning of sacred herbs or woods to release a fragrant smoke used to cleanse space and people of all negative, malicious energy.
The specific combination of herbs and woods to burn vary from tribe to tribe, and are picked with careful attention of time of day, year and lunar cycle. You’ve probably come across bundles of white sage advertised as ‘smudge sticks’ - while these lack much of the intricate authenticities of real Native American smudge ceremonies, these sticks and are a tool for helping to calm one’s mind and surrounding energy.
The ritual of cleansing using fragrant smoke seen throughout many cultures and religions. If you’ve ever been to a catholic church, smudging is not unlike the use of incense or frankincense to cleanse spirit.
A Ritual to Cleanse
What you’ll need:
- Candle ( consider our Palo Santo candle )
- Palo Santo Incsene
- Heat-safe container ( ceramic sake cups are perfect for this )
Cleansing your environment with palo santo is much like praying, there really are no rules. There are best practices ( i.e. you should only go clockwise around your house, or you need to cleanse every doorway ) but ultimately this is your ritual - do what feels right for you.
Some like to do it in groups, but many prefer to find a quiet, solitary moment to complete the ritual.
First, focus on breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for 3 seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat 3 times or until you find yourself in a state of mindful clarity.
When you are ready, light your candle. Take your Palo Santo incense and hold in the flame for 20-30 seconds, until the wood has caught fire and embers have formed. As it lights, give it intention- just one word.
Something like “peace”, “positivity’ or “clarity”. Whatever you feel like you and your environment need most in that moment. Go with your intuition. Once lit, begin to wave your palo santo gently to extinguish the flame. White smoke should start to billow.
You’re ready to say your prayer. Your prayer is just that - yours. It doesn't have to follow any of the preconceived religious norms you may associate with the word 'pray'. It’s a way to set your intention into a space and help manifest and welcome the good into life. A common way to start is to ask negative spirits to leave and to ask positive spirits to come. Don’t be afraid to deviate, let your words flow naturally. Speak loudly, softly, or even just a whisper.
While staying mindful of your breathing; begin to walk around the permitter of your dwelling, paying special attention to smudge around the doorways of exits and entrances of your home- these are especially important. Mindfully, work your way around your space, calling to the good spirits and asking the negative to leave. Let the white fragrant smoke fill the air. Once you’ve fully cleansed, return back to the place you’ve started.
It’s time to complete the ritual. With one last deep breath, say your final intention and exhale deeply. Place your palo santo into your heat safe container and extinguish.
Be mindful that Palo Santo is not like traditional bamboo incense and will most likley need to be re-lit after a few minutes. It helps to have a small, lit candle nearby for easy re-lighting.
Interested in exploring more Palo Santo?