Smudging with respect : How to
You might be wondering why this blog post is even relevant.
Let us start from the beginning. We love our planet and all of its diverse communities, so we want to ensure that our actions are aligned with our
values. Being kind as often as possible, you catch our drift?
Smudging, mostly with Palo Santo or White Sage, has become quite the
trend over the last few years. Thanks to wellness centers and self-love
advocation, people from around the globe are rushing to their favorite
shops to get their fix of smudging bundles.
Don't get us wrong, it,s not all bad. The thing is, as with everything else that
is popularized, the real deal becomes harder to come across, and the
sacred elements of these practices can become lost in translation. As
we've previously mentioned, LAJAGUAR is a kind shop and we want to be
certain that what you use is beneficial for both you and Mama Earth, so this
post aims to educate on how to practice these rituals with respect, as well
Palo Santo, Spanish for Holy Stick, is a bundle of wood assembled from
sacred trees, traditionally used in shamanic ceremonies across South
America. Once the tree has died naturally, it is required for it to rest in the
woods for at least 4 years prior to being used as we know it.
By using our logic, if all of us are using our daily dose of Palo Santo, how
can it be a sustainable practice? In fact, as you read these words, the Palo
Santo tree is currently on the watch-list.
Moreover, we've witnessed (and at some point, been a part of) people
using Palo Santo as a bug repellent or simply for its smell. While remaining
completely unaware to the fact, users are actually being disrespectful
towards these communities. That, ladies and gents is called cultural
So, before burning your Palo Santo stick, make sure that you actually know
where it comes from, how it's being harvested and how it is meant to be
White North American's insight on the practice:
- While Palo Santo often comes in bundles of 5-6 sticks, using one at a time is plentiful.
- Make sure you set a clear and positive intention while burning your Palo Santo stick.
- Pay respect to the community sharing its practice with you; perhaps even connect to someone who could enlighten you on this sacred practice.
- Do your research on brands you're buying from. Here's some information on a particular brand we carry in store: Palo by Aimee & Mia
Photo Credits: Palo by aimee & mia
While the use of White Sage doesn't appear as harmful for the environment as Palo Santo, when it is not purchased consciously, it’s quite offensive toward North American Indigenous communities and lands. Too often we see large bundles of sage burning, while traditionally one leaf is enough.
With this mass consumption, White Sage plants have been over-harvested
or appropriated. Good news is, Juniper Ridge is one kind company, harvesting consciously in the traditional way.
Photo Credits: Juniper Ridge
Now, to make sure your usage is respectful towards Native American
communities, you could blend your smudging practice with other spiritual
rituals like meditation, breathwork, journaling or lighting a candle. You can
also switch it up with non-Indigenous alternatives like:
Another idea would be to harvest your own sage plant! Regardless of your
choice, educate yourself, come up with rituals that are respectful for all, and
ensure that your practice is not harmful towards Mama Earth.
Because a big part of cultural appropriation is about dominant groups taking from other cultures and making it their own, we wanted to do a our part and make sure we pay respect to these cultures by giving back as much as we can. This is why we give part of our profits on smudging products to NWAC, Native Women's Association of Canada.
It's the least we can do, and we hope to eventually be able to give more in many other ways. Now, what are your thoughts on this topic?
Stay fierce with a kind heart xx