Sage vs. Palo Santo: How to Cleanse Your Energy

Before burning Palo Santo and Sage and adding them to your daily routine, understanding each ritual’s true purpose and sacred history is essential. Sage vs. Palo Santo is one of the most asked questions today regarding healing and cleansing. For centuries, Sage has been a part of indigenous tribes’ spiritual ceremonies to cleanse and purify, while burning Palo Santo sticks has been a sacred practice used by Indigenous communities of the Andes to cleanse their spirit and ward off evil spirits.

To understand the difference between cleansing with Palo Santo vs. Sage, we must first discuss their history and know that both are spiritual tools used for centuries by shamans and medicine people of Indigenous cultures. There are many ways to disrespect these Sage and Palo Santo rituals, so you should be mindful of their true purpose. 

Sage and Palo Santo are similar in some ways, as they are both designed to cleanse your energy to your space, encouraging a more positive and peaceful environment. People have been using different herbs, woods, resins, and plants for thousands of years now, including these two. Here is the difference between the two and how you should use them. 


The sage we use to cleanse and smudge is made up of the sage plant’s leaves and has a stronger, more plant-like smell when burned. When it comes to burning palo santo vs. sage, sage is the more powerful plant, as it can be used to clear out all the negative energy in a space, leaving the room positive and radiating in good vibes. If you are experiencing heavy energy in your space, such as arguments, divorce, bad relationships with family or roommates, reaching and burning sage can help clear out the toxic energy. 

Sage is heavy-duty and can easily cleanse you and your space. However, it can also clear out the positive energy that you want to keep because of its strength. But don’t worry, you can easily invite it back; just keep this in mind before burning sage. You can invite positive spirits back by positive music and meditation to set intentions, dance, and crystal ceremonies. 

Palo Santo

Palo Santo, which means “holy wood” in Spanish, is a cut-up wood from the Bursera Graveolens trees often sourced from Ecuador. It is best known for its ability to add positivity to your space, whereas sage removes negativity. That’s why burning sage and palo santo together is a good thing. So if you are wondering if you should burn sage or palo santo first, the answer is clear. Burn sage first to clear out the bad energy, and burn the palo santo to bring back the good ones. If you simply want to encourage positive energy while purifying the air, palo santo is the better choice as its scent is relaxing and calming. Another thing that you should note is not to follow up burning palo santo with any steps as this adds positivity back to your space, and you want to keep that energy. You should always be mindful when using any of the two, as your intentions play a massive part in both practices. 

Palo Santo Sticks vs. Sage: How to Burn

Many are wondering if “can you burn sage and palo santo at the same time.” As mentioned, if you want to use both, it is advisable to start with sage and end with palo santo. However, lighting them isn’t the only step that you should know. Before you begin your ritual, make sure that a window is open to release all negativity from your home. This is a critical step. Otherwise, you will trap all the negativity inside. Once you open a window, you need to set your intentions for the ceremony and not skip this step. For example, your intentions can be removing all the energy from a new home or cleansing a space after a huge fight. You can also invite abundance, happiness, and comfort in your home by setting it as an intention.

Burning Sage

First, you need to untie your Sage bundle and remove all the decorative ribbons, leaving the thin white string that holds the sage and flowers together. In Indigenous smudging ceremonies, they do not believe in using butane lighters as they believe it kills the medicinal effect of the herb, so it is better to use a match instead. After lighting the sage bundle, let it burn for about 20 seconds and then blow the fire out by waving it in the air. While the smoke still lingers, walk around the space from corner to corner, letting the smoke hit the walls and corners of the room. Once your space is cleared and the smoke goes out the windows, you will be left with a refreshed new safe space. Once you’re done, do not put it out with water; instead, leave it on a dish or burning plate such as an abalone shell. 

Burning Palo Santo

Light the palo santo stick for 30 seconds and then blow it out. Let the smoke circulate for 1-2 minutes to clear your space of negative energy. To achieve the best results, set a positive intention before starting the ritual, as this process is greatly intentional beyond the physical smoke. Once done, place it on a dish while it extinguishes out. 

The Mecka

Ready to clear out negative energies and invite positive energies into your life? Get our smudging kits and start enjoying the benefits of burning sage and palo santo. Here at Mecka, our goal is to help create a ritual and a process that allows you to relax and enjoy the important things in life. We can't control what happens to us every day, but we can control how we react and feel. We should cherish every moment we have, but that's a lot easier said than done. That's why we find products and techniques that will help lead better lifestyles and instill better habits that will hopefully one day make our world a better place.

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