Lives are pretty crazy, fast-paced and almost feels like sometimes you don’t even have a minute to catch your breath. It’s not all doom and gloom though.
Life also throws these special moments at you from time to time, and it’s those moments you need to treasure. When you do find those moments – don’t you ever find yourself wishing to reconnect with your roots?
A way to connect with our ancestors, indigenous people who were so connected to the world created around them, living in harmony with mother nature? Using herbs, nature, plants and land’s fruits in ceremonies, rituals, as a way to celebrate and appreciate life.
It got me thinking – why not bring those rituals and ancient ceremonies into my life today?
I was keen to explore how this could be done in the 21st century and incorporated into my life and the effect it could have on my wellbeing and spirituality. I chose to focus and try out:
- Smudging (with sage)
- Cacao Ceremony
- Palo Santo
I’ll be focusing on these three, and if you’re interested to see what they mean and their effects, keep on reading you pretty soul…
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Sage has been used for centuries by many cultures, for spiritual, healing and of course cooking purposes. Smudging sage has been used by indigenous Americans to call upon the spirits of various sacred plants to drive away negative energy and to restore balance to a space, body, energy or all three.
Our body is surrounded by an aura of energy, this aura can sometimes become disturbed, by your negative thoughts, actions and words. Anything that happens in your day that affects you in a negative way, can disturb those positive vibrations.
Smudging sage allows to clear away the negative energies and restore your positive aura. It is a powerful spiritual tradition, that can be easily practiced today. There are many smudge sticks available out there, I like to use Etsy, Energy Muse or Psychic Tree.
White sage (salvia apiana) is the most common sage used for smudging.
You’ll also need a fireproof bowl or dish to catch the ashes. The most common dish to use is an abalone shell – like the one I use below:
The whole process of smudging represents the 4 earthly elements of fire, water, air and earth:
- The abalone shell, represents water, naturally as it comes from the sea
- The sage represents the earth, as it’s a herb and essentially that’s where it comes from
- Once you light the sage, it represents fire (my favourite element of them all, perks of being a Leo)
- The smoke represents air
Why Are the 4 Elements Important During Smudging?
Well, you’re connecting all 4 elements during one spiritual activity during which you invite those four elements into your aura and your energy. During the process, harmony, balance and mother nature are invited into your life and energy.
What Does it Mean When Sage Pops / Explodes?
Technically speaking, it means there may have been something organic in your sage bundle that shouldn’t have been there – such as a seed pod, wood or even insects. They can get tangled into the sage mix that’s used to make up your smidge stick.
As well as unwanted guests in your sage, very often thick sage twigs can hold oils inside them that could pop when heated or pressured.
Whether there is a more spiritual meaning, it’s not definite to say. It may mean that your negative energy is suddenly removed? If I had to guess, based on the few times it happened to me, it tends to happen when my thoughts sway to something negative.
When I am absent from the smudging or when I think about something that is bothering me at the time. This is when the sage pops for me, as it’s happened a few times.
I am speaking from experience and I take that as a positive explosion – that this aspect of my life is being completely dissolved into air through the smoke. Puff, gone…
I am not claiming that this is its true spiritual meaning, there may be native interpretations and stories of what this represents – you can let me know in comments if you know what this actually means ?
We all heard of the normal cocoa, Nesquick, hot chocolate, we’ve all tried it. Sugary, milky and creamy. As a child, it was one of my favourite things to drink (accompanied by a cheese sandwich, don’t judge me…) but as I delved deeper into ceremonies and rituals that are now being brought back to our modern life, I got intrigued.
I came across Cacao, which is used as a ceremonial drink to open the heart, release the brain’s (or soul’s) creativityand connect with the third eye chakra. As it opens the heart, it brings you closer to your true self and dissolves past traumas or negative energies that were holding you back. It’s also amazing because:
- Cacao can release dopamine and endorphins in the body, soothing PMS symptoms depression and boosting our mood
- Cacao contains anandamide – AKA the bliss molecule you release when you workout and you feel a rush of good energy
Naturally, this was something I was very eager to try and open fully with my heart, mind and spirit. As well as cleansing your mental health, opening your heart, boosting your mood and releasing endorphins (happy hormones) it has medicinal benefits on your physical health too. It can help balance blood sugar levels and enhance blood flow to the brain, enhancing our focus and awareness.
Cacao has been used for centuries, originating in Native America particularly popular among the Incas and Mayans, who used it as a ceremonial drink to heal the mind, body and spirit.
Ben joined in on this experience and here’s how it went:
As we tried our first ceremonial cacao, it didn’t quite turn out as nice as we thought, even though we followed instructions and tutorials. However, I think we may have done it wrong…
We used soy milk instead of water which made it thicker. I think we might have rushed it? It was a spur of the moment kind of thing (I was feeling pretty low that day and needed a happiness boost) and we just googled how to do it, set our intentions, lit some sage and played a few songs.
But while we were preparing the cacao by stirring it, we were talking about what had happened earlier that day, mainly about work. Our energy and focus was elsewhere. As we used soy milk, it was a little too thick.
After a few sips however, I noticed my feet were getting tingly. Although determined to keep on drinking, the texture was just too damn thick. Ben drank almost the whole cup, but we both decided to try this again with a few adjustments.
We ordered another batch of the cacao block, we were determined to experience the wholehearted goodness we’ve been reading about. This time we ordered a whole block, so we could grate it fresh.
Second time we tried it, we couldn’t have timed it more perfectly. 8th August, Lion’s Gate, feeling the Sun’s power and the alignment of the stars. Creative energy bursting and as I embrace the event, I channel this lioness energy into my cacao, here we go…
This time we used water instead of milk and added a few tiny drops of vanilla extract. It was blissful. As we stirred the cacao in our pot, I smelled the rich cacao flavour, we both set our intentions and gently poured it into our ready cups, next to our sage.
With my second sip, I felt the tingly sensation flow into my feet again. The whole experience made me feel physically light, loose, kind of floppy and gentle. That was just physically. Mentally and spiritually I felt harmonious, at one with the Universe and what’s coming my way and generally happy, care-free and with not a single worry in sight.
I could understand how the cacao is good for depression and anxiety, and if you tend to reach to alcohol when feeling low, cacao would be a much better option.
We drank the whole cup this time, it was delicious. We also followed a different recipe and we’d recommend starting off with half the measurement (50g between us both, so 25g each if you’re doing it solo) and that was weaker than our fist attempt and much more enjoyable.
We’d recommend using water instead of milk – it is still quite thick so I doubt we will be using milk with it any time soon. Water is perfectly fine.
To sum up, I would highly recommend this to anyone who feels troubled, worried or stuck and needs a little boost of inspiration and creativity. It truly opened our hearts and made us feel lovey dovey too (hehe).
Palo Santo was mainly used by the indigenous people of Native America among the Incas and Mayans. It has the properties of getting rid of negative energy, as well as health benefits as it’s used to relieve common cold, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation as well as emotional pain.
It comes from a tree called Bursera graveolens, known in Spanish as Palo Santo which translates to holy wood.
Palo Santo is rich in brain-oxygenating terpens, giving it uplifting and positive qualities during the ceremonial rituals. Essentially, making us feel clearer of the negative energy.
After some struggle, I finally managed to get my hands on Palo Santo that is ethically and sustainably sourced – yas queen. I was excited to try it. As soon as I opened my packaging, I could smell it, without even lighting it up yet, I thought – wow, this is going to be quite glorious.
I got hold of my abalone shell, and up the flames went as I lit it up – woah.
I forgot how much I love the fire, but naturally as a Leo I am attracted to all things fiery. With my first sniff of the smoke, I could smell, dill… Honestly? It smells a little like freshly-cut dill and I absolutely adore dill. I think it’s one of the nicest and most summery smells out there so I was all for it.
I also noticed as it burned, that the Palo Santo released its oils, and I could hear them gently sizzling. It must have been a rather fresh ad indeed and genuine Palo Santo, making the ritual all the more special.
Yerba Santa is another herb, like sage and so this goes back to smudging – as I love my sage so much, I also noticed a few other smudging sticks and I was keen to try them. I came across Yerba Santa on the Psychic Tree website.
I am completely in love with Yerba Santa, out of all the incense sticks and herbs I tried, this is my all time favourite scent. It’s just gorgeous. It smells so herby, free, natural, like a late summer evening – that’s the best way I can describe it.
I’d recommend starting with Yerba Santa as it’s a natural smell and more familiar than Sage or Palo Santo.
It is used for emotional connection, to call love into life as it’s closely related to the heart chakra. We all need love, right? I am happy and lucky with my love, yet there is always room for more love…
It is also used for empowerment, cleansing and like sage, getting rid of the negative energy.
It’s a herb that also supports the respiratory region, and is therefore used to free the breath, heart, and lungs which aids in the release of stored emotions.
Is It Wrong to Practice Ancient Traditions?
Some might see these rituals and ceremonies as trying to be trendy, but honestly? It’s a little bit like meditation or yoga. We borrow practices from different cultures because of the benefits they bring. We are all learning and starting to realise that these ancient spiritual practices can help us in our daily lives and to make us calmer, at peace and spiritually connected.
As long as they are respected and use in a positive manner.
I personally am getting rather tired of the 21st century world, where everything evolves around technology and staring at a screen of your phone or at your desktop at work all day. Instead of reflecting on our own lives, we are looking at other people’s social feeds, what they’re up to and most of the time start comparing ourselves to those people.
Make sure you spare some time to yourself, maybe try smudging one night instead of looking at other people’s exciting lives filtered on social feeds and observe the difference in your own wellbeing.
I think it’s incredible that we have the means and resources to reconnect to our roots by reading about different cultures, different traditions and listening to people with experiences to enlighten us about what once was and how people once lived and practiced spirituality.
I bet there is a time and place you would love to go back to. After all, our roots and our ancestors have brought us here so learning about them and practicing their traditions is nothing to be ashamed of or hide away from. It should be celebrated and embraced by all those who want to.
If you’re a beginner, we have curated a special list of where you can get the above-mentioned ceremonial items here.
In Our Humble Conclusion…
Try it, next time you move in to a new home, light some sage to clear the negative energy. Have an evening to yourself burning some Palo Santo. On a cold winter’s night, prepare a yummy pot of hot cacao while setting your intentions.
Try it, see how you feel – after all, our lives should be full of experiences that help you find out who you truly are, and cleansed energy can help with that.
It would be absolutely lovely if you were able to please share this blog post with your friends or anyone who you think might benefit from trying any of the above rituals/ceremonies ?