The Magic of Palo Santo (and how to use it)
Palo santo is a sweet, aromatic ‘holy wood’ used to promote positive energy, raise your vibration, and enhance creativity. The smoke from the palo santo wood is used in the same way you would use sage for smudging or burning incense. The palo santo ritual for me, is uniquely special… I use palo santo to set my intention for my workday, to help bring in creativity and a feeling of calm. The relaxing, sweet aroma and intention setting ritual makes palo santo a magical addition to my day.
So, where did it all begin?
For centuries the indigenous people of the Andes have been using palo santo – which means ‘holy wood’ in Spanish - for spiritual purification and energy cleansing. The sweet scent of pine, lemon and mint is synonymous with healing and good fortune. Palo santo brightens the energy of a space, promoting feelings of joy while reducing stress and anxiety. I love palo santo for extra clarity and concentration in my workspace. I also use it to reduce worry and emotional overwhelm.
While clinical studies on the wood’s medicinal effects are limited, palo santo has been traditionally and anecdotally used to help treat the common cold, headaches, emotional trauma, and even depression. Palo santo oil can be diffused for aromatherapy and may reduce tension, calm the nervous system, and boost mood. It is even said to repel mosquitos!
Palo santo and sage – how they differ…
These two have a similar scent but palo santo has a more subtle scent, underscored by crisp freshness and is a little sweeter than sage. The main difference between the two is this – sage helps remove negative energy from a space and palo santo promotes positivity. Simply put; sage clears out the bad, and palo santo brings in the good.
How to use palo santo sticks:
- Light a palo santo stick with a lighter until it starts to flame.
- Hold the stick downward at a 45-degree angle.
- Let the stick burn for about 30 seconds.
- Blow out the flame, if necessary. The stick will burn with its thick, aromatic smoke for as little as a couple of minutes, or more.
- You might choose to let it sit in a fireproof dish or waft it around your space.
- They usually go out in their own time, however should you need to put it out don't use water - gently nudge it into a little bowl of sand or some soil.
To set your intention using palo santo…
Set an intention about what energy you would like to cleanse from the space (negativity, stress, doubt, fear, etc), then move the stick across each corner of the room, removing that energy. Enjoy the rejuvenating, sweet aroma and welcome in a positive intention for the space (enhanced creativity, peace, productivity, etc).
Palo santo also helps you let go of sticky thoughts and emotions.
Using palo santo to cleanse your space is a powerful way to clear your mind and let those ‘sticky’ thoughts and emotions go. Untangle yourself with each thread of the palo santo smoke as its winds its way through the air. When you are mindful of the energy of a room, you can change it to serve and nourish you, rather than let it drain you. I often burn palo santo at the end of the week to let the working week go and bring in the weekend with joy and togetherness.