Written by Nick Polizzi
The primordial healing traditions of the world vary in many ways, but one core belief they all share is that everything inside of us possesses an energy or spiritual charge.
Feelings of negativity aren’t dismissed or coped with in these cultures; they are worked with and cleared, often through the ritualistic burning of herbs or plant resins.
If you feel stuck, stressed, overwhelmed, blocked, low energy, or laden with inner conflict in your life, this ancient method of clearing the air is definitely something to try.
Combining the right intentions with specific herbs can make for a powerful ritual.
Below, I’m going to share three shamanic ceremonial herbs that are perfect to use for space clearing and how best to use them all together.
- Use Sage to clear
Sage is a wonderful purification herb that can be used in your home, workspace, automobile, or any other place you spend time in. I like to use sage, known by the scientific name Salvia officinalis, when I’m traveling to cleanse hotel rooms before I settle in.
We burn it after having guests over, to reset the space and send everyone’s energies along with them. For anyone working in healing arts, Sage is especially important to use after each session, to purify the healing environment between clients.
To start working with this herb, open a window or a door and then slowly walk through each room with a piece of burning sage, allowing the smoke to spread over all the surfaces. Try setting the intention of clearing, releasing, and letting go of anything that no longer serves you, or that doesn’t belong.
“I release attachment to anything that does not serve my highest and best self.”
“I let go of any negative thoughts, worries, or any energy that does not belong here.”
What do you want to clear, release, and let go of in your life?
- Use Palo Santo to call in your desires
Palo santo’s ancestral “holy wood” medicine brings with it a sweet citrus scent and a hint of pine. The native South American tree, known as Bursera graveolens, is believed to bring good fortune and enhances creativity in those who use its medicine. Now that you’ve cleared old, negative, stuck energy from your space with sage, what specific good fortune would you like to call in? As you walk through your space with your stick of burning palo santo, be present to what you want to create more of.
- Perhaps when you’re walking through your living room, you may want to call in joy, connection, healing, and celebration into this space.
- In your kitchen, you may want to call in health, wellness, and vitality.
- In your office, call in productivity, contribution, inspiration, focus. And don’t forget wealth!
- In a child’s room, you might be inspired to call in safety, protection, and growth.
- In your bedroom, you might choose to call in passion, love, sensuality, and rejuvenation.
What do you want to create for your life?
- Use Copal as an offering
Copal, or Protium copal, is a sap like plant resin often used in Maya medicine. When you light it, let it burn like an incense. In addition to its clearing properties, consider also using copal as an offering, giving thanks and expressing gratitude for your sacred space and the abundance you’ve already been blessed with.
Traditionally, copal has been used as an offering to Tlaloc (Aztec god of rain, water, lightning, and agriculture) and to Chalchiuhtlicu (Aztec goddess of running water, springs, rivers and lakes). However, you can use copal as an offering to whichever Higher Spirit you connect with, or use it to express gratitude for all the things and people you’re thankful for.
“I offer up my gratitude for this space. May it serve as a sanctuary for all who enter.”
What are you grateful for?
If you’re new to the practice of clearing space using sacred smoke, sometimes it’s best to simply start with one herb and get to know its action well. Let it work through you, paying attention to how it behaves when burned.
Pure intention and presence mean everything here.
Host of Healing Kitchen: Let Food Be Thy Medicine
& Founder of The Sacred Science
Nick Polizzi is the founder of The Sacred Science, a website and blog dedicated to explorations of alternative healing modalities and indigenous healing traditions. His work stems from a calling to honor, preserve and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of indigenous peoples around the world. He has spent his career directing and producing feature-length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine. His work illustrates the power we humans possess to overcome the many challenges that life can bring when we own our truth.
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