Experts Reveal When To Smudge Sage Versus Palo Santo By: JANELL HICKMAN

Experts Reveal When To Smudge Sage Versus Palo Santo

Growing up in a Caribbean household, the smell of sage was always omnipresent. My mother, aunts, and grandmother often reminded me to “clear the space” prior to getting cozy. Along with Florida Water (ICYMI: Solange brought her own bottle to the Met Ball), it’s been my saving grace in new or uncomfortable environments.

It’s no surprise that the practice of smudging has accelerated in popularity, but the ritualistic burning of woods and herbs is by no means new. It has been an ancient cleansing practice for many cultures, particularly those of Native American descent, and has roots in Asia and the Middle East as well.

“Smudging is the use of sacred plant medicine to bring or clear energy into a space using the combined elemental energies of fire (flame), earth (plant), and air (smoke),” explains crystal healer, Azalea Lee. In short, smudge ‘deposits’ the energy of the plant into the space helping to dissipate old, lingering energies. Essentially, the practice can “unstick energies stuck to the aura of objects and people,” according to Lee.

Experts Reveal When To Smudge Sage Versus Palo Santo
Photographed by Lauren Edith Anderson.

While there are many ways to smudge, people traditionally lean towards either palo santo or sage to keep the good vibes going. But there’s a bit of confusion about what to use (and when) since each plant medicine has its own unique benefits.

“Known as ‘holy wood’, Palo Santo is able to be used once these trees have naturally fallen in the rainforest and lie dead for four to ten years before they are harvested,” explains Sabrina Riccio, a soulistic alchemist, soul activator, and medicine priestess. “This sacred plant medicine offers a grounded and clear energy while also enhancing creativity and/or bringing forth good fortune,” she shares.

“Sage comes from the Latin word ‘salvia’ which translates as ‘to heal.’ Often, burning sage can bring forth wisdom and clarity as it increases your spiritual awareness,” she continues. “[It carries] more of the masculine/yang aspect. White sage specifically has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years for cleansing, purification, warding off evil spirits, and negative energies.”

After you set an intention [Editor’s Note: All three practitioners interviewed emphasized this] it’s up to you on how frequently you’d like to do it. “Some people do this [smudge] every day, as a ritual or way to start their day. I say do it when you feel your space needs it,” adds meditation and mineral guide, Lauren Spencer King. “There is no wrong time. When I smudge before I have

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10 of the Incredible Benefits of Palo Santo

10 of the Incredible Benefits of Palo Santo

Cleanse Your Energy, Find Calm, Deepen Your Connection to the Earth with Palo Santo Wood

Palo santo is one of the most fragrant woods in the world. Its sweet scent of pine, mint, and lemon has, for centuries, been a harbinger of healing and good fortune. Shamans, saints, and those seeking a stronger spiritual connection with the world use palo santo to protect, experience, and heal. Here are ten of the incredible benefits palo santo offers:

 

1. Spiritual purifying and energy cleansing.

For centuries the indigenous people of the Andes have been using palo santo for spiritual purification and energy cleansing. When the wood is burned it’s believed to clear negative energy and restore tranquility and calm.

Form: wood burning

palo santo yoga

2. Inspiring creativity and bringing love and good fortune.

Burn palo santo sticks or use the charcoal for ritual smudging that will welcome creativity, love, and good fortune into your space. The wood can help brighten energy and promote feelings of positivity and joy. The scent is also shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance clarity and concentration.

Form: wood burning or smudging

3. Bringing a deeper connection to the divine source.

If meditation is the yin, palo santo is the yang. The uplifting scent is the perfect partner for your meditation practice. Raise your vibration, and discover peace and groundedness as you sink into a deeper connection to the Earth and your inner consciousness.

Form: wood burning or smudging

burning palo santo

4. Physical healing.

Palo santo is used to treat a wide variety of physical ailments including colds, flus, anxiety, depression, asthma, bronchitis, headaches, and emotional trauma. Use the oil to provide pain relief for arthritis and joint pain with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Palo santo tea (made by simmering the wood in hot water) acts as a natural digestive aid. The oil can be added to soaps, scrubs, and lotions to cleanse and moisturize the skin. The wood also contains high concentrations of a compound called d-limonene, which is thought to aid in the prevention of a variety of cancers.

Form: simmer the wood to make tea or apply oil as a topical tincture

5. Energetic protection and the removal of negativity.

When used for smudging or burning, palo santo can eliminate negative energy, creating a calmer, more tranquil space. Set an intention about what you want to clear out of your space, then move from corner to corner, removing any bad energy, uplifting your spirit, and filling your home with good fortune.

Form: wood burning or smudging

 

6.  The enticing and clarifying palo santo scent.

Can we wax on a bit here about the remarkable, lasting scent of a palo santo smudge? For our kitchens and bedrooms, vehicles and workspaces, the brightness of citrus, marked with the ancient notes of its natural heritage, bring a uniquely clarifying scent to every space. The benefit of burning palo santo wood in a smudging practice is its lingering scent.

Form: wood burning or smudging 


7. Mobility of use while in travel modes.

Unlike a sage bundle, palo santo wood is graciously proportioned for spiritual seekers who spend ample time away from home. Palo santo sticks are well-paired with car rides, hikes and other travel experiences. People are known to cleanse their hotel rooms before sleep for a more peaceful, deepened rest.

Form: wood burning or smudging

8. Vibrational cleansing and renewal for crystals.

Crystals do much of the heavy lifting in the work

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