Palo Santo is a mystical tree that grows in Ecuador and Peru and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. In Spanish, the name literally means “Holy Wood”.
It is burned in ceremonies by Shamans for its energetically cleansing and healing properties. It creates a pleasant, fresh smelling smoke with hints of mint and citrus. Its uplifting scent raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper spiritual connection. It is also said that Palo Santo enhances creativity and brings good fortune. I keep a bowl in my living room. Even unlit, its beautiful aroma fills the space.
It is also excellent for cleaning your crystals.
One of the most stunning qualities of palo santo wood is its inherent ability to purify all that it comes in contact with on an energetic level. Wherever its smoke goes, it cleanses and purifies, so it can be used to purify a room, an entire home and especially people. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Shamanic wisdom explains that an attraction to the aroma of palo santo is a sign of emotional and spiritual purity. There are some, however, who feel a peculiar discomfort when in the presence of its aroma. If this happens to you, do not be discouraged! This is all part of its purifying effect and gradually you will also enjoy its natural fragrance as the wood’s cleansing and purification takes effect. Just try, try and try again, and you will soon find the palo santo aroma irresistible and enjoy a feeling that can only be described as being lighter (energetically, of course!).
While some smudging herbs are used solely to cleanse a space from negative energy and others are then used to attract positive energy afterward, palo santo is rare in that it does both at the same time. It both purifies and attracts positive energy. Palo santo’s spirit is often generous with its healing powers as its smoke enters the energy field of those it reaches to clear negative thoughts and misfortune. It is through the process of burning, much like smudging herbs and incense, that it releases the sacred wood’s oils that cleanse the space and people it comes into contact with, attracting positive energy, and even healing people on both physical and more subtle levels. This increases the ability for people to concentrate and it enhances their meditation.
There are strict local laws that forbid the logging of palo santo in the Amazon rainforest and these sacred trees cannot be removed until they have rested on the forest floor for several years. On top of this, the tree can never be cut down. It is only permitted to be harvested long after dying a natural death. And though this may be enforced for environmental reasons, spiritually it’s a must. The tree simply doesn’t give us what we need unless we respect it and harvest it in a sustainable manner. It’s through the process of this natural death, followed by years on the forest floor that its essential oils and healing properties develop, giving the wood the power to purify, attract positive energy, heal and smell, well, simply amazing. While we cannot guarantee that everyone adheres to sustainable harvesting, we can tell you that Botanica Taino's palo santo sticks are harvested in this way that does not interfere with the trees’ natural cycle. On top of this, every fallen tree is replaced with a seedling to rejuvenate the palo santo population as well as natural biodiversity. It is a delicate process of not only respect for the environment, but also for the powerful and generous palo santo spirit.
Incense is one of the most ancient ways to invoke the power of smell, as it is able to stir up memories and create moods and shape attitudes. Scents can return us to our childhood faster than the speed of light.
The queen of all ceremonial cleansing scents is Sage. Ceremonial sage comes in many forms: in smudging sticks large and small; in loose leaf clusters, in sticks and even in sprays. It can come straight by itself or blended with other fragrant herbs or plants, such as lavender, rosemary or cedar.
One of the uses of this noble incense is for preparing sacred space for ceremony and prayers by cleansing your space with its smoldering smoke or sensuous spray. Prayers offered during the cleansing ritual can consist of words elaborate or short, rhyming or prose and they can be memorized or spontaneous from the heart and soul.
Sometimes a rhyming verse makes a prayer easy to remember. It seems that rhyming stays with us. For example one short prayer goes like this:
Cleanse this space, remove the past
I’ve found my happiness at last.
Fill this space with Joy and love
Send Your Blessings from Above.
This one also rhymes:
Negativity of this my sacred space
I banish you by the light of my grace
You have no hold or power here
I stand and face you with no fear
Be gone forever you will obey
From my sacred space you must away.
Here is another:
God of All, Goddess of Light,
Shield & Protect Me Day & Night
Positive Feeling Alone Come Near,
All Others Wither & Disappear.
Sometimes the sentiment expressed is enough to help one remember.
Into this smoke I release
All energies that do not serve;
All negativity that surrounds;
And all fears that limit.
Even a simple “I cleanse my sacred space now as I prepare for ceremony and prayer” will work. Take a look at Botanica Taino's offerings of this special herb. You are sure to find a type that suits your ceremonial needs.