Cleansing your space with smoke
Your home is a sacred place where you should feel at peace, loved, and connected. After a hectic day out in the world, arriving home should bring a feeling of solace, rootedness, and comfort. One of the best ways to achieve a peaceful home full of positive energy is through the practice of smoke-cleansing your space with sage or palo santo.
Throughout our lives, we tend to pick up the energy around us, and sometimes negative energy can stick around the spaces we occupy. After a particularly stressful day at work, you might carry home some of that tension. Perhaps you had a heated argument with your partner, or a family member visited and made some negative comments that just didn’t sit right with you. Maybe you can’t put your finger on exactly what's wrong, but your space feels stagnant. Sound familiar? If so, it’s time for a smoke cleansing ritual to clear the energy that is lingering in your space and invite in positivity.
What is Smoke Cleansing?
Smoke cleansing is an ancient practice of cleansing places and people with the smoke created from burning botanicals, resins, and wood. The intention behind smoke cleansing varies across different cultures, but most modern practitioners use the ritual to cleanse negativity from a space, or in preparation for meditation.
Smoke cleansing is a highly personal practice, but the basic premise is that you light fragrant herbs or wood, like Sage or Palo Santo, and slowly move throughout the home, wafting the smoke throughout your space.
To begin your smoke cleansing ritual, make sure that you have a window open in each room so that the negative energy lingering in your space can be released. Begin on the lower level of your home near a doorway and begin to move around throughout your space allowing the smoke to spread. If you are cleansing a space of negativity you might want to move counter clockwise to encourage release, while if you are calling in positive energy you might choose to move in a clockwise pattern to invite the good vibes in. As you move throughout your home, you can say affirmations or mantras that fit with your intention such as, “I am peaceful,” or “Joy is present in my home.”
Your home is more than just a physical structure; it is a sanctuary where you should feel safe, loved, and at peace. However, negative energy can sometimes linger in the spaces we occupy, causing us to feel drained, anxious, or stressed. Smoke-cleansing your space with sage or palo santo is one of the best ways to clear negative energy and invite positivity into your home.
Sage bundles are commonly used in spiritual practices and are believed to have antimicrobial properties that can clear the air of bacteria and toxins. Palo santo is a type of wood that is also used in smoke-cleansing rituals, and is believed to have healing properties that can soothe anxiety and promote relaxation.
Smoke cleansing is a simple and effective way to clear stagnant energy in your space, and can be especially helpful after a stressful day or when experiencing negative emotions. By performing a sage cleanse or palo santo energy cleanse ritual, you can create a peaceful and positive environment in your home, helping you feel more connected and grounded.
History of Smoke Cleansing
Smoke cleansing has been used around the world for centuries, but it is important to note the distinct difference between smoke cleansing and “smudging.” Smudging refers to a very specific ceremonial practice for Indigenous North Americans and is considered a closed practice. While other smoke cleansing rituals use the sacred plant Sage, and may seem similar, smudging is reserved for Indigenous people and it is important to avoid cultural appropriation during your smoke cleansing practice.
Additionally, smoke cleansing has led to the overharvesting of the white sage which is essential to the smudging ritual. Choosing sage that is ethically grown and harvested, or purchasing directly from Indigenous sources is a great way to support Native people and avoid culturally appropriating or contributing to overharvesting. For this reason, it’s essential to leave the root intact when harvesting white sage. If someone is harvesting white sage and doesn’t know how to properly do so, they’re preventing more plants from growing—and thus endangering the plant species.
One of the oldest smoke cleansing traditions comes from Ancient Hindu texts of the Vedas, written in Sanskrit. The texts describe using incense to cleanse the homes of the sick, in order to create a peaceful place for recovery from illness.
Ancient Romans burned Cinnamon and Rosemary to encourage healing, especially after a death. In certain parts of Africa, spiritual leaders would burn fragrant herbs over charcoal or throw them in the fire and allow people to “bathe” in the smoke as a way to cleanse and heal. Countless groups from around the world used the practice of burning herbs or wood to cleanse temples, prepare for ceremonies, connect with the spirit world, or remove negative energy.
Sage vs. Palo Santo
Sage and Palo Santo are popularly used for smoke cleansing rituals. Choosing which is right for you depends on your intention. Simply put, Sage is used for cleansing a space of stagnant energy and essentially wipes the energetic slate clean within a space. Palo Santo, on the other hand, is used to invite in positive energy. You might choose to use a combination of the two as you design your smoke cleansing ritual - or alternate depending on your intention.
Sage, or Salvia apiana, is often referred to as bee sage, white sage, or sacred sage. It is an evergreen shrub that is native to the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is most commonly used in ceremonial practices by Indigenous North Americans. Sage is used in smoke cleansing to actively remove negative energy from a space. It burns easily and creates a deliciously woody and herbal scent.
Palo Santo, also known as holy wood, is an aromatic wood that comes from the Bursera graveolens trees that grow in South America in Peru and Ecuador. When burned, the wood gives off a sweet, woody, and somewhat citrusy scent that some people compare to licorice. In smoke cleansing rituals it is said to invite creative energy and positivity into a space. Make sure to purchase ethically harvested Palo Santo that has been made from trees which have naturally fallen, to avoid contributing to overharvesting!
Benefits of Smoke Cleansing with Sage and Palo Santo
The benefits of smoke cleansing are endless and it is an extremely powerful practice if you’re looking to create an ideal environment in your space. Cleansing rituals help remove negativity and can help you stay grounded in difficult times or after particularly stressful situations.
They create an environment of peace and calm, and invite in creativity and good vibes. In addition to the many spiritual benefits, they can also positively affect your health, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Sage specifically even helps rid the air in your home of germs and harmful bacteria. Beginning a smoke cleansing practice offers protection against negative energies and outside influences, and can be a powerful tool in achieving overall wellness.
Cleansing with smoke is a popular method used by crystal enthusiasts to clear and purify their healing stones. This process helps to rid the crystals of any negative energy, restoring their natural and powerful vibrations. Incense smoke and smudge sticks are two common tools used to clean your crystals. The use of incense smoke for crystal cleansing has been practiced for centuries, and the ancient art of smudging has roots in many indigenous cultures.
To cleanse your crystals with incense, hold the crystal in the smoke or waft the smoke over the crystal while focusing on the intention of purification. This technique can be done with a variety of incense, including sage, palo santo, and cedar. Smudge sticks are a similar tool, made from dried herbs like sage, and can be used in the same way.
In addition to incense smoke and smudge sticks, some people also prefer to cleanse their crystals with singing bowls or through exposure to moonlight or sunlight. The important thing is to choose a method that feels right for you and your crystals. Whichever method you choose, remember to set an intention of purification and focus on the positive energy you wish to bring into your life.
By regularly cleansing your healing crystals, you can ensure that they are operating at their full potential and contributing positively to your well-being. Whether it's with incense smoke, smudge sticks, singing bowls, or another method, incorporating crystal cleansing into your routine can help you feel more connected to the earth and the natural world, and bring you a sense of peace and balance.