I love to burn sage, palo santo and incense. I’ve been doing so for years and so have my family and friends. It smells great and can each be used as powerful tools for enhancing awareness and mindful connection. Burning these and other herbs through simple rituals and ceremonies can uniquely change the vibe of your space. So when should you burn sage, palo santo or incense and why?
Sage and Palo Santo are typically used to cleanse a space of negative energy, while incense brings in a specific scent blend to shift energy and elevate your mood (as in aromatherapy). Each should be used with set intentions for maximum benefit!
Scientific reasons for burning sage, palo santo or incense.
I know some of you think only superstitious people burn sage, palo santo or incense and that they don’t do anything except for give out smoke and scent. However, studies have found that burning sage, palo santo or incense releases negative ions into the air. These negative ions are linked to a more positive mood. The smoke from herbs, sage, palo santo or incense can also actually change the molecular structure and energy that will in fact cleanse the air.
How to burn sage, palo santo or incense?
Most people burn sage, palo santo or incense in a Smudging way. Smudging is a practice of burning special herbs in efforts to energetically clear away unwelcome energetic junk, negative energy and bad vibes to bring yourself and your environment back into to a more harmonious state. By smudging you want to invite positive energy.
When smudging a space, you burn plant material. The smoke fills and purifies the environment. As the smoke ascends, our wishes and intentions rise and mingle into the universe, connecting heaven, earth and humanity (or if you don’t believe in these things, it will change the ions and cleanse the air).
Smoke offerings are found in many traditions such as Buddhism, Native American and other spiritual religions. The smoke ceremony creates transformation and blesses the space and the people in it.
What is Sage?
Sage is a herb and there are many different kinds out there. The sage that is most often (but not limited to) used for practices as the ones mentioned above are white or desert sage. These kinds of sage are then dried and often rolled into crafted bundles for smudge sticks. You can also get the loose leave kind, although these are a bit more difficult to use in a smudging way.
The aroma of sage is known to increase oxygen supply to the brain, prompting a state of overall relaxation and muscle tension release. Sage can be used to clear out energy for a powerful reset and fresh start. So it’s great to use when moving into a new place, deep cleaning, before meditation, after an argument or any illness.
Light the bundle by holding a flame to it until it begins to smoke, then calmly move through your space, gently wafting and directing the smoke to where it needs to go. Make sure you have positive intensions while performing the ritual. It can help to say these positive intensions out loud.
What is Palo Santo?
Palo Santo is known as “Holy Wood” from Peru. It has a woodsy, fresh and uplifting scent, much sweeter and subtle than sage. You can buy sticks that are easy to use for burning. These sticks can also be used for powerful purifying and cleansing rituals, while keeping energies grounded and clear.
Palo Santo calms the immune and nervous systems and enhance creativity, making it a great option for starting out your day as part of a mindful morning routine.
What is incense?
Most of us have heard of incense, the long, thin sticks or cones that give off scents and smell nice. However, incense is much more than that. Incense is typically a blend of oils or herbs in a thin stick or cone. It is used as a healing fragrance to softly alter your mood and energetic state. It works as aromatherapy to heighten awareness. This is also why yoga studios and massage rooms are often burning incense.
Scents vary from soothing to energizing, soft and strong. Some scents might be too strong for you so try out a few different kinds until find the ones that are right for you. Just make sure you choose all-natural, non-toxic options to avoid toxic, synthetic fumes and headaches.
Have you ever burned any of these or other herbs? Let me know in the comments!