Palo Santo, also known as Bursera graveolens, means “holy stick,” “holy wood,” or “wood of the saints.” It is a mystical tree commonly used in certain sacred practices and traditions of indigenous people native to Peru, Ecuador, and other South American countries.
It is famous for being fragrant with a sweet, delicate smell, a note of pine and lemon, a woody scent, and a hint of mint. The soothing fragrance evokes a deep sense of nostalgia, and the aroma is said to be relaxing.
Burning Palo Santo is called smudging, a cultural tradition of indigenous people where a bundle of herbs is burnt while prayers are recited to clear negative energies.
The smoke of the burning herbs is said to be sacred in that it can do a spiritual cleanse, getting rid of negative energies in the soul of a person or a place.
The practice is not only limited to burning Palo Santo. You can also use other sacred herbs such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass, or mugwort.
The four elements used when performing the smudging ritual, namely:
A container can be a ceramic bowl, or traditionally you can use a shell. The shell represents the first element which is water.
The second element is earth, where sacred plants such as Palo Santo, sage, or sweetgrass are used. The sage stick is a gift from mother earth.
When the sage stick is burned, the smoke produced represents the air element, and the fire used to light the plants represents the fire element.
To do the ritual, you must place the smudge stick, leaves, or stem on your container. Then, light your plants or herbs and let the flame up until 20 to 30 seconds.
Place your hands just above it in order to extinguish the fire, depriving it of oxygen. It is not proper to blow it using your breath.
Allow the smoke to arise and smudge yourself first using a feather or hands. Then, move around in your surrounding space slowly and calmly, covering each corner of your place.
Recite smudging prayers for specific intentions while doing the ritual. Once you’re done, place the ashes of your herbs in nature.
The act of putting ashes back into the soil signifies the energy given back to mother earth, representing the cycle of life and showing respect.
In the modern world, this has been increasingly popular with non-native people who use Palo Santo or the well-known White Sage, especially for house cleansing. However, many non-native people are unaware of the cultural significance of this practice, which is considered a sacred tradition to the Native Americans and other Indigenous people.
It is still essential to show cultural appreciation and appropriation no matter how modern the world is. Don’t forget to always send your prayers and gratitude for the knowledge and guidance that the Divine Creator gave you!
Below is a Native American smudging prayer you can recite during the ritual.
May your hands be cleansed that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.
May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its message clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.
And may that same smoke carry our prayers spiraling, to the heavens.
Palo Santo Cleansing Prayer
Negative energies can be manifested through negative thoughts, overthinking, or self-destructive thoughts that create negative emotions and may lead to negative actions.
The existence of negativity could result in more stress, poor sleep quality, repeated arguments or quarrels among family members, feeling lethargic and unmotivated, uncomfortable staying in the house or working, physical health problems, and even overthinking or being consumed by negative thoughts. In addition, you may be feeling overwhelmed, like there’s no space to breathe, or the house feels messy, which could irritate you to the bones.
Also, the manifestation of negativity could lead you to feel disconnected from yourself or misaligned from the goals that you have set. Negative energies could affect your lifestyle, and you may not even be aware of it!
But, human awareness and consciousness have revolved so much that there are tools that can be used to remove all this unwanted, stagnant negative energy in your home or cleanse your heart, mind, body, and soul. Also, it may be a sign that you need to tap into spiritual or cultural practices you may have been disconnected from.
Amplify positivity and auspiciousness so you can welcome good energies into your life!
Recite the mantra below while doing the smudging. But first, set good intentions before you start.
The end goal of cleansing is to finish the ritual with a good feeling and a smile on your face. Set your aim and purpose to have a great day moving forward and a fresh new start.
I inhale to gather all the stuck and unwanted energies as I breathe.
As I breathe, I exhale all energies that no longer serve me.
As I bathe in this sacred smoke, I wash myself thoroughly from melancholy, stress, negativity, and low vibration.
As I breathe, I inhale all the light to push out dark energies in my body.
I cleanse myself from all unresolved trauma and unprocessed pain from my childhood.
I visualize the light from my crown chakra crawling through my spine and flushing away unpleasant vibrations through the root.
I am cleansed with the light from the Universe to give me a fresh start.
My heart, mind, body, and soul are now in high vibration!
I am now a clean slate and fill myself with gratitude, love, and peace.
I am now fueled with power, strength, courage, and healing.
I thank Universe for giving me the opportunity to purify myself.
I am now open to receiving an abundance of positivity, happiness, love, and peace!
But at the same time, I am forever grateful for this beautiful practice if I don't receive anything yet.
Palo Santo Prayer for Home
When you go home from work or grocery shopping and feel this heaviness inside, this is a big sign of negative energy lingering in your house.
A house is built as your safe space from the outside world where you can take a rest and recharge your energies so you can have a great start ahead early in the morning. It should give you that sense of physical and emotional security that makes you feel truly at home in your space after a long day.
The house that you are growing up in has a sacred space in your heart where your emotional and psychological lives are built. It is the place where the four walls surrounding you witness how strong you fight silent battles, how you uphold silent cries, and how you win victoriously in all the trials that have come into your life.
It should feel warm, cozy, comforting, full of memories, and continuing love. However, when it does not feel like this anymore, your safe haven and resting place becomes a constant battle between you and your negative energies.
A space with negative energies destroys your mood and could build up mental apathy, and conflicting thoughts are trapped within your mind. It creates a doom and gloom feeling where it’s not only you who can be affected by this, but you can also make other people feel miserable.
Moods, neither positive nor negative, are contagious. So, one pessimistic attitude can spread around, like in the workplace or home, affecting other people, making them feel stressed, complaining, irritable, angry, hurtful, careless, and unable to cope with stress.
So, bring consciousness every time you walk inside your house, or you are just staying to work or have a rest. Give yourself time to reflect, declutter your home and cleanse it of stagnant and unwanted energies.
Amplify the auspicious energies and invite positive ones to your house by burning a smudge stick like Palo Santo. Set intention and pray as you spread its smoke in your home.
The following prayers and mantras are recited during the smudging ritual to observe purity, spiritually cleanse, and remove negative energies to welcome blessings in the house. You can neutralize negative points with the help of reciting this prayer.
I am grateful for all the spirits and land stewards of this place
I appreciate the reciprocity I have with the spirits present here.
I am sending all negative energies away from this home.
I banish all energies that no longer serve me.
Be cleansed from all unwanted energies.
May this home be blessed with love, happiness, warmth, and peace.
I summon prosperity in this home and best wishes to settle in this new place.
I attract abundance in love, good health, success, and happiness.
May this place be a sacred dwelling for my family and me.
I open this space to welcome new opportunities, good luck, and positive energies.
Your home is an extension of your energy field. That is why cleansing plays a significant role in your well-being. Your home is your energy!
It is where you stay and where your energy settles. It reflects a lot of your mind— whether it be cleaned, cluttered, or things that you keep inside.
Make it your habit to do cleansing, organizing, decluttering, letting go of old things that hold unwanted energies, or surrounding yourself with plants with windows open. Doing this can also be a part of your gratitude for the space that you live in.