How To Use White Sage And Palo Santo
How to cleanse your house with White Sage & Palo Santo
It’s understandable to want to do these things correctly, and what I often find myself telling those that ask, is that it really comes down to intention.
What are Sage and Palo Santo?Whilst similar in purpose, Sage and Palo Santo are quite different in other aspects.
White Sage is made of the dried leaves of the Salvia Apiana plant. A perennial, evergreen with woody stems native to the southwestern United States, and northwestern Mexico.Burning white sage is a tradition practised by some Indigenous American and Canadian peoples. Smudging is often used as the umbrella term for these rites and practices, and the ceremony of smudging has been adopted by many in the New Age community.The appropriation of this practice has unfortunately led to over harvesting and often illegal harvesting, which directly impacts the Indigenous communities that grow white sage.
Palo Santo is made from the Bursera Graveolens tree native to parts of South America. The Spanish term Palo Santo translates to Holy Wood, and it’s use reportedly dates back to the Inca empire. Shamans and healers from many Indigenous Latin American cultures have been using the wood, and the oil and smoke from the wood in traditional ceremonies for centuries. Appropriation is again an issue when it comes to using Palo Santo.Commodifying the use of Palo Santo for profit has unfortunately flooded the market with imitations, and local traditional farmers cannot compete with the bigger corporations.Sustainability is also an issue when the product being sold is not harvested with respect towards the environment it is grown in.
How to Cleanse EthicallyI know it’s often uncomfortable to talk about the realities of cultural appropriation ingrained in the New Age culture.But I’m a big believer in having tough conversations and continuing to educate ourselves throughout life.There are a few simple things to keep in mind when purchasing cleansing products.
- Is it ethically and sustainably sourced?
- Will I be using these products in an educated and non harmful way?
- Will I commit to educating others about the the traditional history and use of these products and continue to educate myself?
- Will I use these products respectfully and mindfully, in a way that honours Indigenous culture?If you’re comfortable to commit to those mindful practices then cleansing can be a powerful and uplifting ritual.When I speak about the intention towards cleansing, I keep those above points front and centre in my mind.The Palo Santo and Sage we stock is ethically and sustainably sourced according to our supplier, we also stock a great range of incense that can be used in place of those products. And our range by The Nature Alchemist is full of great mists, oils and potions that can be incorporated into cleansing rituals to.And if you’re interested to learn more about cleansing our range of books will satisfy your thirst for knowledge.
Cleanse Your Own WayThe most important thing to remember when practising a cleansing ritual is to find what feels right to you. If you put your intentions into the practice, and you feel comfortable and connected with what you are doing it’s going to make all the difference.Sage should never be used under the influence of anything according to traditional Indigenous practices. Matches are preferred over lighters when you light the Sage or Palo Santo, and you should never blow on them either, fanning the smoke gently with a feather is again what is practised traditionally.And don’t feel like you have to burn the whole bundle or stick at once, both Sage and Palo Santo can be stubbed out to use in future rituals.If you’re cleansing an enclosed space don’t be afraid to open up some windows or doors, the energy you’re trying to clear needs to go somewhere.And remember that Sage and Palo Santo are not the only plants that you can use when cleansing. Common garden sage, lavender, and rosemary are all excellent when dried and used to cleanse with smoke.Once you’ve lit your cleansing weapon of choice, the ritual can take any direction you like.You may want to fan the smoke around the room, around yourself or let it sit in a dish and gently waft throughout the space.You may also want to gently meditate on some personal mantras, speak your intentions out loud, or play some music.Whatever you choose to do, make it mindful and focus your intentions.Cleansing space is something you can do as often as you like, and can be a healthy habit to practice for your mind, body and spirit.