The Pure Magic of Palo Santo and How to Use it in Your Spiritual Practice
By Melanie Beckler, 05/14/2016
The Power Cleansing Properties of Palo Santo
I first learned about palo santo when I was working at a small crystal and metaphysical shop in Lake Tahoe. We sold these wonderful sacred sticks there and I was immediately drawn to them.
Fascinated, I looked up the properties and discovered the incredible properties that these simple looking little sticks of wood held. I started burning palo santo in the morning before opening the shop and I found it to be a wonderfully effective way to energetically cleanse the shop and quickly raise the vibration at the start of the day.
So What is Palo Santo?
Palo santo wood comes from the tree of the same name and is indigenous to South America. Its name means “holy wood” thanks to the many healing and spiritual properties it carries. Much like sage, the smoke of palo santo is so powerfully cleansing that almost every shamanic ritual in South America incorporates burning it. It has a piney, mint and citrus like smell that’s really quite unique – it’s hard to believe that you’re burning wood.
For generations, medicine people, Incas, and other tribal people in the Andes have used palo santo wood for healing. The spiritual properties come during the death of the tree. Each tree lives for up to 90 years and then lies dead for at least four years before any wood is harvested for rituals. It’s during this time, when the living tree transforms, that it gains its sacred properties.
The Many Benefits of Palo Santo
As you might expect, the list of benefits from using Palo Santo is a long one.
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Eliminate headaches and symptoms of the common cold
- Reduce inflammation, asthma, and allergies
- Ease emotional or mental trauma like depression
- Use it in conjunction with other healing modalities like crystal healing or Reiki
- Deepen your spiritual connection
- Raises your energetic vibration
- Enhances creativity
- Use in massage therapy to relieve pain in the joints and muscles
- Relieve difficult skin conditions and promote healthy skin
- Potential anti-cancer effects
- Calms the immune system
How to Use It
Palo Santo is most commonly used for purifying energy, cleansing people and objects, healing illness, inspiring creativity, protection, attracting good fortune and love, and clearing negativity. If you have a meditation practice, consider burning a little Palo Santo during before and during your practice. Whenever you burn it, not only does it raise your vibration, but it helps to connect you to the divine source as well as Mother Earth.
Many people enjoy using it as an energizer to lift their spirits or prepare for a task or project.
Steps for Cleansing
This process is similar to smudging with sage, so if you’re familiar with that process, you can simply add a stick of palo santo to your sage bundle.
When you light the palo santo, be sure to let the open flame burn for about 30 seconds before you blow it out so the flame properly catches. Hold the stick (and sage bundle, if using) and set your intentions or say a prayer. This can be for the day ahead, the day that’s finished, or any period of time or life event you wish to focus on. Allow the sacred smoke to fill the room.
Walk methodically around the room, being sure to wafting the smoke up toward the ceiling and down toward the floor. Move through your house until you’ve entered each room. When cleansing yourself, begin down near your feet, wafting smoke all around you until you end at the crown of your head.
Be aware that, unlike standard incense, palo santo may relight itself several times while you use it, or you may have to hold it in the flame for quite a while before it lights at all. I find the scent and power of Palo Santo to be quite strong, so that a little goes a long way.
When you’re finished with your particular ritual, if the stick is still burning, you can place it in a metal or ceramic bowl in order to let the ember die out naturally on its own.
Where to Get it
You can find Palo Santo in many local crystal and metaphysical shops, or natural food stores…
Alternately, you can find it online from Amazon and other online retailers.
Palo Santo also pairs wonderfully with white sage, sweetgrass, juniper, or cedar.
With love and light,
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