Keeping yourself safe has been your focus lately. Every day before you hit the Covid streets, you remember your pandemic wear and keep your travel-size sanitizer in your bag or in your car. You go out, but you keep your social distance. You come home, take your shoes off at the door and wash your hands. But with all the negativity in the air and the stress of uncertainty, you not only need to stay masked up in every public place you go, you also need to protect your energy, sis.
This may sound too “woo woo” for some, but energy is a real thing. It never dies, it only transforms. So, you want the energy around you to transform into a positive force that's strong enough to keep your mind from running down the rabbit hole of what if’s. You also need to repel the haters and the lost souls trying to drain all your energy and steal the “‘j” out of your joy.
Spiritual cleansing and protection rituals have always been part of African and Indigenous heritage. During these days and times, we all need to reclaim some of this magic to protect our mental and physical space for total wellness. Remember that it's important to ensure that any tools used to cleanse your space were harvested ethically, safely, and with respect to the populations who cultivate them. You can start with getting to know the mystical side of sage, frankincense, and palo santo.
Sage is an herb that can be used to season food, but when it is used for wellness, it is said to rid negative emotions, clean off clinging energies and spiritual protection. You can find it in an oil form or as a dry bundle tied with twine. One bundle of properly dried sage can last for years.
How to use it: You can wear the oil before leaving the house or light (preferably white or desert) sage bundle as a smoking wand and walk to all corners of your home speaking your intentions, saying a prayer or chanting an affirmation of “Peace, clarity, protection.” While you are “saging” your home, you should open windows and/or a door to let the smoke out.
Frankincense is a white resin made from a tree found in Africa and India. If you remember the Nativity scene, one of the gifts given to Jesus by one of the North African kings was frankincense and myrrh. Like sage, frankincense can be used to clean the energy in a space or around people.
How to use it: Wear it as an oil or get a small charcoal disk (generally sold in an aluminum cylinder pack of 8 to 10 where incense is sold). Put the charcoal in the center of a fire-safe dish, like an old porcelain tile or shell. Place a few pieces of frankincense in the piece of the disk and light the resin close to the base of the charcoal until it sparks and begins to burn. Let the flame burn until the charcoal glows red, then blow out the flame. The charcoal will slowly burn the resin and release a sweet perfumed smell.
Palo Santo is Spanish for “holy wood.” It is a wood made from trees found in South America and, when burned, can repel mosquitos and other insects. The oil form can also be used for pain relief. In wellness circles, palo santo is burned to relieve stress and clear away negative energies.
How to use it: The oil can be burned in an oil diffuser, the resin can be burned on a piece of charcoal, or the stick can be burned and placed in the center of a heat safe dish. Burn the tip of the stick until you see an ash forming at the end, then blow out the flame and let it burn. The smell is pleasant and is said to have a cleansing effect.
*Keep in mind that burning sage or any type of resin or incense can worsen breathing problems. One recommendation is to burn oils or incense near an open door or window.