Palo Santo, or ‘holy wood’, has been prized in South America for centuries due to its spiritual healing and restorative qualities. An important element in many spiritual ceremonies, Palo Santo is now gaining mainstream popularity as many people are starting to tap into its amazing ability to dispel negative energy, promote relaxation and mindfulness, purify the air, ward off bugs, and more!
Burning Palo Santo, or smudging, is the practice of burning herbs or woods, and can be done for spiritual ceremonies, cleansing stagnant energies, or practical purposes.
With COVID-19, smudging with Palo Santo can be a great way to clear out bad energy from the home and purify the air, especially when we are spending a lot more time in the house.
In this post, you’ll discover how to burn Palo Santo the right way, and how often you should burn Palo Santo to reap its amazing healing benefits.
How to Burn Palo Santo
You will need:
- a Palo Santo stick
- a fireproof dish (ceramic or glass bowl, seashell)
- matches, candle or lighter
- feather for fanning the smoke (optional)
Acquire Palo Santo Wood
You can find Palo Santo in alternative healing, aromatherapy, metaphysical or holistic healing stores. If you’re unable to find Palo Santo locally, you can always buy it online. When buying Palo Santo, make sure the wood has been sourced with respect to the environment and the laws of the region.
Mature Palo Santo wood, harvested from fallen trees and trees that have died naturally, pack the most power. That is why, at LotsofZen our Palo Santo sticks are sustainably sourced and hand-picked from the ground in the forests of Peru. 1% of our profits are donated to charities actively involved in growing trees.
Set Your Intention
This step is fundamental to burning Palo Santo. Your intention is nothing but identifying what it is that you are trying to release from your environment or yourself. Your intention can be quietly stated in your mind, or it can be an affirmation or mantra, or a smudging prayer that captures your intention.
Keep a Window or Door Open
Before you burn Palo Santo, make sure to keep a window or door open to guide the smoke (and negative energy) towards these openings, and out of your space.
Light the Palo Santo Stick
Take a stick of Palo Santo and hold it at one end over a fireproof dish. Hold the opposite end, at a 45-degree angle towards the flame, and light it using a lighter or candle. Since Palo Santo wood is dense it may take a few seconds to light up.
Blow Out the Flame
Once you see a flame going, let the wood burn for around 30 seconds to a minute, and then blow out the flame, so only smoke is produced.
Fan and Re-light
Place the stick at an angle embers-down in the fireproof bowl, so it will get enough air to keep burning. If it looks like the smoke is dying, gently fan it with a feather or your hand to help it reignite and get it going again. You may need to relight it again, depending on how long you want the stick to burn.
Make sure to place your fireproof bowl with the smoking stick away from any flammable items, children and pets. Never leave it unattended!
Waft the Smoke in Your Space
Practice smudging by carefully holding the stick over the bowl and carrying it to different areas of your space, waving the stick through the air to release the purifying smoke, dispelling negativity, and attracting positive energy. Guide the smoke near corners, hallways and doorways and make sure to cover nooks and crannies where energy can stagnate. Remember to repeat your intention or smudging prayer as you move around the space.
Extinguish the Stick
Once you’re done, press the end of the stick firmly into the fireproof dish to extinguish it. Make sure it has stopped smoking before you leave it unattended. Never wash the stick to stop it from smoking, as it will be harder to light the next time. Store the leftover stick in a safe, dry place so it can be reused again.
How Often Should I Burn Palo Santo?
After you set an intention, it’s really up to you on how frequently you’d like to smudge with Palo Santo. There are some people who do it every day as part of a daily ritual. Many spiritual healers suggest you should smudge when you feel you or your space needs it.
You may decide to smudge for several reasons. To remove negative influences from your space, manage stress, meditate or simply make your home smell better.
No matter what your reason, now that you know how to burn Palo Santo the right way, be sure to enjoy its deep, tantalizing aroma and incredible healing benefits!