Whether it’s to refresh your spirit, to cleanse your home, or to help the not so friendly ghost move out, Palo Santo is a powerful helper.
Palo Santo is one of our favorite items at The Wandering Owl for clearing a person from negativity, a space from heavy energy, or even removing unfriendly Spirits. Don’t get us wrong, we love white sage, it’s one of the most widely known and used herbs for smudging. But not everyone likes the smell of white sage, and it can even cause respiratory issues for some people. But have you ever tried the sweet aromatic smoke of Palo Santo instead?
Literally meaning “wood of the Saints” Palo Santo is just as effective as white sage, but has a much gentler touch. Palo Santo grows from Mexico all the way into South America, is related to copal and frankincense, and is used commonly in rituals and smudging in those areas. It is very good at keeping energy clear and grounded, and has a light, sweet and slightly piney scent. In our experience it will work just as well as sage for helping to repel negative spirits, and will lighten and brighten your mood when smudging with it. Smudging is using the energy of sacred plants and herbs to drive away negativity, raise the energetic vibration and restore balance. It’s the psychic equivalent of a hot shower, only done using the sacred smoke. It can be done every day, but especially should be done before a ceremony or special event. Palo Santo’s scent makes it great to clear a home to make it easier to sell, when you move into a new home or apartment, or to clear new items like crystals you are bringing into your home.
Smudging with Palo Santo is very easy. It comes as a stick which is rich in resin. Light the stick with a candle or a lighter, holding the stick at an angle and letting it burn for 30 seconds to a minute. Blow out the flame with your breath or by waving the stick rapidly, and the stick will produce the needed smoke. Move the stick about yourself or your room, relighting as needed, allowing the sacred smoke to dispel the negativity. When not holding the stick, place it in a ceramic bowl or other heat resistant container. The embers will slowly go out unless the Palo Santo is exposed to flame again. Alternatively you could use a self lighting charcoal disc in a properly suited holder and using a knife shave pieces of the Palo Santo onto the hot coal. Always use caution when working with fire. You will be able to use a single stick multiple times.
As with all smudging make sure that you get the smoke to all the nooks and crannies. This can be done by blowing the smoke, or waiving it with your hand or a feather. For a room this might mean making sure the smoke goes under the bed, into the corners or into the closet. For a person this might mean in the armpits, or the neck under the hair. Give a little extra attention to the places the energy feels heavy or areas you carry stress in your body. For instance, if you work at a computer, you may want to give a little extra smoke at your shoulders or wrists where stress collects.
You can add extra power to your smudging with a prayer before lighting the stick. Prayers don’t need to be to deities, if you have an Ancestor practice you could pray to the Ancestors, or you could even pray to the Spirit of Palo Santo itself. You could also use a blessed candle to light the stick in cases where the negativity is very heavy and you need extra strength.
In addition to energy and spiritual work, Palo Santo repels mosquitoes, and is traditionally used to fight the common cold, headaches, and anxiety.
Come into The Wandering Owl and give Palo Santo a try. Or stop in for a Shamanic Cleansing by James which always uses Palo Santo as part of the cleansing. Have any questions about Palo Santo, smudging or any other product we carry at The Wandering Owl? Email email@example.com