Palo Santo

Bag of Oil or Holy Wood?

Palo Santo is a wonderfully fragrant wood that comes from the Bursera Graveolen’s tree. Grown near the coast of South America, this tree is from the same family as Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. It’s been used as incense as far back as the twelfth century. It’s believed that the Incas and the indigenous people of the Andes used it as a traditional method of clearing negative energy, a similar practice to White Sage smudging used by Native Americans.

Healing and Purifying Smoke

Similar to Sage and Cedar, Palo Santo is renowned for energetically cleansing and healing properties. When lit, it creates an aromatic and pleasant, healthy and healing, fresh smoke that attracts positive energy and dispels negative energy. As with all incense, it helps raise your vibration in preparation for healing or meditation. Wherever its smoke goes, it cleanses and purifies. Its uses range from purifying a room to an entire home, and its especially cleansing and grounding of people’s energies.

The Spirit of The Tree

For many people from Peru and Ecuador, the Palo Santo is thought to be a highly spiritual tree. The shamans believe that its spirit continues to live on in the tree long after its death, and so it needs to die naturally and be allowed resting time before being removed from the forest.

It’s during this natural death process and the time spent on the forest floor that Palo Santo goes through a metamorphosis. That’s when the essential oils develop. These oils not only give the wood its irresistible aroma but also its remarkable healing properties. The native name for this tree is ‘bag of oil’. Spanish monks also recognised its healing and purifying properties and called it ‘Holy Tree’.

Smudging With Palo Santo

For smudging purposes, you’ll need a piece of Palo Santo wood, matches, and a suitable holder in which to place the heated wood once you’ve completed the smudging. A great receptacle is an abalone shell with sand or salt inside, but any heat-resistant container will do.

Respect the energy of the wood and the healing properties that will emerge when it’s lit and starts to burn. Set the intention that this healing and purifying smoke will heal and cleanse wherever you direct the smoke.

To heal and purify your auric field:
Once your Palo Santo stick is alight, use your hand to guide the smoke toward the energy field surrounding your body. Starting above your head, set the intention that your entire energy field and all energy connections are now healed and purified. Sweep the burning stick and the smoke waves throughout your auric field. Allow the smoke to cover every area of your body from head to toes. Lift your feet, one at a time, and allow the smoke to heal and purify your connection with Mother Earth.

To heal and purify a room:
Set the intention that the smoke will heal and purify the energy of the room, stripping it back to its purest form. Use your hand to guide the smoke into the corners and recesses of the room. Work throughout the entire property one room at a time.

To heal and purify an object:
Set the intention that the smoke will heal and purify the object. Hold the object in the smoke or – for larger items – smudge around the object.

I’d love to hear how you get on with your Palo Santo smudging. Do drop me a line in the comments and feel free to ask any questions.