The Benefits of Sage and Palo Santo
In the spiritual realm people often use Sage or Palo Santo for cleansing, rituals, intention setting and warding off evil spirits - this is also known as smudging.
Smudging is one of the best ways to perform a smoke cleanse. It is one of the oldest ways to cleanse the energy in both spaces and people. So what are the differences between the two and how do you use them?
Here is a brief history of Sage & Palo Santo and an explanation of how you can incorporate the two into your daily life to help clear energy and enhance intuition to bring a sense of enlightenment.
Sage also known as Salvia Officinalis was cultivated by ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Sage is used in cooking, medicine and rituals of sorts. Sage is a member of the mint family and there are about 750 varieties of sage, including regular garden sage and scented types like Annual sage.
Sage is most popular in natural healing, most commonly in Native American and other Indigenous cultures. In Indigenous cultures it is believed that sage cleanses, purifies your aura, home, and is used in ceremonies to banish negative energy.
Palo Santo is known as “holy wood.” This wood is native to South America and grows mostly within dry forests. This wood comes from the same tree family as frankincense and myrrh. Palo Santo is often used in many parts of South America and Indigenous cultures to purify the air and to rid away evil spirits. Palo Santo does not have a strong scent when burning but has an earthy aroma.
Simple Cleansing Ritual
• Smudging is the most common type of ritual for cleaning the energy of a physical space, person or object.
• First, it’s best to start with a simple intention of focusing on clearing the negative energy out of your space and mind.
• Once you have your intention, light the Sage or Palo Santo and hold it at a 45 degree angle pointing the tip down towards the flame. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds and then blow it out (you should always have a burn proof bowl or shell underneath while doing so to catch any loose burning pieces or ashes).
• Place it on any heat-proof burning surface like an abalone shell (a traditional vessel that represents the element of water).
• If left to rest the stick will smoulder and release smoke for approximately 5 mins. If used for smudging, walk around the room, space, object, or person, fanning the smoke over its entirety, while focusing on cleansing and clearing negative energy. When cleansing your home to rid evil or negative energy, don’t forget to let the smoke into each nook and cranny for the best possible results and make sure that all of the windows and doors are open to allow the negative energy to escape the space.
• Once you have finished smudging to remove the negative energy, you must push positive energy into the space to maintain balance. To do this, declare your intention out loud or silently in your head.
• Lastly, don’t forget to give gratitude and reflect! You can do this by laying in silence and thinking about the desired outcome and how grateful you are for such or you can also try journaling!
Simple Prayer for Clearing Negative Energy
~ Spirit Source Creator with this smoke I cleanse the negative energy in my Aura, removing and clearing what no longer serves me. With this smoke I cleanse any negative and unwanted energy and fill my space with grounded, light filled energy. With this smoke please protect me. ~
When to Smudge
• Before you go to bed after a long day
• If you are like me, you like to smudge after being around many people,
especially at a super market or shopping center
• Before and after you have had guests at your home
• When you move into a new home
• When you start a new job or open a business
• Before and after a healing or mindfulness session
• Before a meditation or yoga practice
• During and after any illness
• Negative encounters and breakups
• After an argument / conflict
• When someone has put ill will towards you
• You can also smudge your crystals, tarot cards and other divination tools
What you will Need to Get Started
To learn how to smudge with Sage or Palo Santo you will need a few different tools for your altar:
- A Smudge Stick - This can be made of either Palo Santo wood or Sage. Be sure to look for ethically sourced and sustainably harvested options!
- Abalone Shell - We love using Abalone Shells to hold our smudge sticks because they fit nicely in your hand and are nice to walk around with while performing your ritual. Alternatively, you could use any burn proof bowl made of ceramic, glass, or clay. Add sand for a simple and practice addition to put out any burning embers.
- A Feather - This is optional and is used to waft the smoke around a space or toward yourself.
Author: Adriana Liane + Dominique Cadeau
Editor: Dominique T. Cadeau
Photo: Archives at Shutterstock