~ also known as the “Holy Wood” has been used by the indigenous peoples of the Amanzonian region since ancient times to soothe and calm the spirit and rid the homeplace of negative energy. When lighting, allow the wood to catch fire, then blow the flame out. Palo Santo sticks may be re-lit many times. You can also shave the wood into chips and make a tea or burn on charcoal.
Before you begin healing work, ceremony or ritual, or shamanic practices it is recommended that you cleanse your energy field and your space. Cleansing with herbs help to create sacred space, and shift the energy. It clears and opens the doorway so that our guides and spirit helpers can enter more easily and assist us in the process.
Smudging is one common cleansing ceremony in which herbs are burned. One Native American teacher I worked with, Rainbow Weaver, called smudging “Cosmic Right Guard”. Burning your specific herbs in a clay bowl, abalone shell or other fire safe vessel, use your hand or a feather to brush the smoke over yourself and through your aura. Smudge throughout the space, around the sacred circle you’re casting, visualizing the negative energies rising out on the smoke.
Sometimes if you’re working indoors and the negativity is great, you may want to open a window. In Western North America the most frequently used herbs are sage, cedar and sweetgrass. Mugwort, also of the sage family, is used. In Mexico and Central America, copal, a resin derived from the copal tree, is used widely in ritual.