“So when you scroll through Instagram and see a non-Native person smudging with sage or palo santo and taking their artful picture of that, they’ve probably purchased that item from a corporate source. By Jennifer Hussein Dec 11, 2019 Because, ... A> cultural appropriation. Palo Santo. The popularity of white sage, tied into tight bundles called smudge sticks, is not as simple as a nice smell. I use sage a lot because I love the smell and it really connects me to my practice but I also want to be respectful of Native American culture and history. She had ... Anthropologie, Coachella, Burning Man, and so on. Ceremonial smudging has been practiced for centuries by people from many different ethnic groups and spiritual ideologies. “Only 5 to 10 percent of dry tropical forests are still intact around the world,” Susan Leopold, PhD, the executive director of United Plant told the New York Times. Peace, inspiration and luxury in a charming city landscape. July 19, 2019. Unless you’re Native, it probably wasn’t white sage. So if we’ve learned anything from sites like ancestry.com, it’s that culture and identity are much more fluid than we once thought. By all means, don’t stop buying palo santo. That’s right, you crystal toting crew. Naslovna; Pravila privatnosti i zaštite osobnih podataka; Pravo na pristup informacijama. “Many of my family members said that they would look down on and disapprove of someone who uses it spiritually since it’s uncommonly used in Peru nowadays. Palo Santo vs White Sage. Across Native communities, we use different medicines for smudging depending on where we’re from. When Non-Native People Burn Sage, It’s Cultural Appropriation—And We Don’t Support It. Dec 21, 2019 - Smudging, or burning sage, is a sacred Indigenous practice that has been commodified. Palo Santo Incense Stick Tray $ 14.00 $ 9.00 Select options; Laser Etched Keychain $ 6.00 Add to cart; Sale! But doing so requires rigor, which is perhaps the most potent part of Keene’s essay: “What I care about is the removal of context from conversations on cultural But national governments determine a plant’s regional conservation status, meaning a plant can be listed as endangered in one country and not another. These practices are sacred to these Peoples, not … Cultural appropriation, also called cultural misappropriation, occurs when a person from one culture adopts the fashion, iconography, trends, or styles from another culture. For guidance, I turned to Brown University professor Adrienne Keene, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an expert on the topic. In Indigenous practice, these medicines are … Not all communities use or used white sage or even smudge. Jul 4, 2018 - Smudging, or burning sage, is a sacred Indigenous practice that has been commodified. “Dry tropical forest have been decimated. It would be weird to practice it as a Peruvian tradition since it’s special and is rarely used in that way here.”, Respect for a culture’s traditions, even sharing in them, can foster deeper understanding between people. According to Mr. Miller Weisberger, the most abundant populations of palo santo are in Ecuador, but other regions have small populations. A boutique hotel specializing in urban retreats and events. … You’d think so: The scent of this bewitching, spicy, citrusy “holy wood” (a translation from the Spanish) is everywhere these days—infused in candles; wafting from yoga studios; for sale at mystic shops, home stores, and Anthropologie. © 2021 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Watch out for synthetic palo santo, where chemicals are used to produce the signature palo santo scent. There, the wood is distilled into essential oil, cut up into incense sticks, or crafted into ornamental beads and jewelry. Palo santo wood has gained popularity as a companion to burning sage or even as an alternative. Either way, the use of palo santo still needs to be done in a considerate way. No chainsaws here. 3. Cultural appropriation is rife today, and it often threatens the existence of the groups and cultures from whom popular traditions originate. Shamans burn Palo Santo sticks in … Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Indigenous and Latin American people have developed a cultural heritage around many different types of herbal healing and spiritual ceremonies. Palo Santo burning. Rumors have swirled on-and-off since 2005 about the endangerment of palo santo. I am from Poland, not really religious in general. See also 5 Good Buys from Brands that Give Back. Shamanic uses have decreased; it’s more profitable than spiritual. This is cultural appropriation, and here's why it's harmful. A quick #palosanto search on New Year’s Day revealed that plenty of palo santo went up across the United States as people smudged their homes to banish bad spirits and welcome in a promising new year. Sorry. Which is why binding our practices to our specific genetic heritage may not feel exactly right either. One, known as Bulnesia sarmientoi, grows in Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia; this plant has indeed been placed on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the leading organization dedicated to tracking global conservation of plants and animals. You can practice smoke cleansing with different kinds of wood and herbs. “The sale of Native spirituality is easily a million-dollar industry—not even including all the culture vultures and white shamans who sell fake ceremony. These practices have their roots in indigenous cultures, but palo santo is used in Catholic religious ceremonies in Latin America, too. Its essential oil is used in consumer products, like shampoo, perfume and soap for fragrance. Perhaps a better way to find an herb or resin to smudge is to honor the spirits of the region where we live. Slade states that smudging with palo santo has become the latest craze; however, her article questions the sustainability of palo santo and also questions if you are non-indigenous persons should you even be using palo santo as a spiritual aid. Natural Small Batch Candles + Pure Incense. But you can’t have this.”. Addressing Scent and Sensitivity in Class, Live Be Yoga Takes a Yoga Class Mixed with Native American Spiritualism, Green Your Practice: 39 Eco-Friendly Yoga Essentials, Eco-Conscious Home and Lifestyle Products, 5 Ways to Harness Moon Energy For Self-Care, Elevate Your Meditation Practice by Engaging Your Senses. But some wellness bloggers have suggested that palo santo is critically endangered. What’s in abundance? Is it our right…” Issues surrounding appropriation are often pushed off with a twee explanation as to why it’s really all okay. ... Palo Santo wood from life trees do not possess that resinious, deep scent that the Palo Santo wood sticks you get for burning does. Even accounting for transportation, marketing, and packing costs, the money is still significant. However, much of the public remains confused about what the term actually means. None of his Palo Santo is wild crafted and it is 100% farmed. Only mature plants, around 50–70 years of age, develop the “heart”—a dense, deeply resined core—necessary for distillation into an essential oil. She said that because dry tropical forests have a dry period (unlike rain forests) they are hospitable to human activity. Peru’s National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) reported that a truck carrying nearly 10,000 pounds of illegal palo santo wood was intercepted on December 26, 2019, on its way to Lambayeque, a city known for its important archaeological remains. I have seen various opinions about whether using palo santo is cultural appropriation or not, people seem to be divided on this issue. Andi Scarbrough, a crystal healer and the founder of CrownWorks (and, it should be noted, a white woman), recently decided to stop including palo santo in … Palo santo has a sweet yet complex scent. As groups migrate to escape oppression, ecological threats, or genocide, they shed or rework their spiritual identities and adopt new ones. But the debate reignited in the spring of 2019. It's cultural appropriation of a threatened plant. Palo Santo, or Bursera Graveolens (found in Ecuador and Peru) and Bulnesia Sarmientoi (found in parts of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia) is a sacred tree traditionally used by Indigenous communities as a sacred practice. From the appropriation of headdresses and moccasins, to textiles and beadwork, retail chains and brands can't seem to help themselves when it comes to romanticizing Indigenous culture. I have seen various opinions about whether using palo santo is cultural appropriation or not, people seem to be divided on this issue. Rachel who goes by the Instagram handle @yoga_girl, muses whether it is cultural appropriation to practice yoga as a white or non-Hindu person. Palo santo (Bursera graveolens), also known as “holy wood,” a sacred wood used for energetic clearing and healing in most indigenous and mestizo Latin American spiritual ceremonies, is arguably one of the more ethical products in wellness culture. That was only 42 years ago. Who is benefitting from the sale of these products? The tree species being used in the wellness world is called bursera graveolens, which grows all over the Americas including Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Galápagos Islands and plentifully in mainland Ecuador. It’s true, smudging with palo santo has reached latest-craze status. Sustainable Palo Santo. A quick side note on Palo Santo, another popular source to burn: it’s also being over-harvested and near being endangered, so please avoid and do not buy! This month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the first time released a review of bursera graveolens’s conservation status and declared it “of least concern.”. Shamans burn Palo Santo sticks in … And palo santo trees produce the finest oils when they die naturally and sit on the forest floor for several years. Estimates are that only five to ten percent of dry tropical forests are still intact around the world,” said Susan Leopold, Ph.D., and the executive director of United Plant Savers, a conservation organization. What are your thoughts on this? Indeed, in Ecuador, people are beginning to use the tremendous profits from the wellness market to support sustainable harvesting practices where the tree thrives. A few factors are at play. While smudging has become popular, it’s very rarely done with the participation or consultation with those groups. What grows there? Experts like those at the IUCN say that more demand combined with responsible cultivation and harvesting could be good for the species and its habitat. I’ve been reading a great deal about this topic and wanted to know your thoughts on whether burning white sage is a practice I should consider replacing with something else. This information comes from @zennedout on Instagram! Controversial opinion alert: Skip trendy Palo Santo and break into a box of Incienso de Santa Fe, also sometimes branded "Incense of the West," an incense that smells like the … But the practice also raises issues of cultural appropriation and sustainability. Instead of sticking to tarot cards and runes, it seems that the latest trend is now Indigeneity. I am not doing it for likes on insta, or to be "cool" or "different". Its dark, mahogany-lookalike wood is used for its essential oils and in making products like furniture. If you’re gardening your own greenery, choose plants that can thrive in your area. Yes, burning herbs, resins, roots, specific woods, incense, etc as cleansing or for prayer is something shared across many spiritual traditions. For centuries, she writes, Natives were forced to practice their customs—such as burning white sage—in secret, until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. Find the perfect handmade gift, vintage & on-trend clothes, unique jewelry, and more… lots more. How do you people look at this? New to Palo Santo? Palo santo sticks are burned as a sacred tool in spiritual ceremonies like smudging, which has varying purposes but is commonly said to cleanse negative energy. Recent international interest in palo santo as a spiritual aid is increasing the wood’s value, and in some cases, affecting how local communities regard the tree and its ecosystem. Just two months earlier, another 7,500 pounds had been intercepted, the wood hidden among bananas and lemons to disguise its distinctive scent. Long story short: I have Elder Futhark runes that are carved in palo santo. “They come to a ripe age at 50 to 70 years old. Indigenous people aren’t saying that smudging, palo santo, and sage are forbidden. The 21-year-old model discusses cultural appropriation, cyber bullying, the impact social media has had on her generation's view of beauty and more. Peruvian history is in many ways different from US history, so I returned once again to my Peruvian friend for guidance. I’ll use the Palo Santo I have, but I won’t buy more of it, and I’ll urge my witch friends to do the same. She confirmed that palo santo forests have been devastated. The money from the sale of essential oil pays for reforestation. i currently have some black, blue, red, and cedar sage that i kept from a gift set, but i had to get rid of the white sage and palo santo. But the practice also raises issues of cultural appropriation and sustainability. There are actually two trees called palo santo. Easy to Find Alternatives to Burning Sage and Palo Santo and WHY It's Important to Respect the Cultural and Spiritual Traditions of Others Through Your Spiritual Practice Find here everything you need to know about the Wood of Saints: the benefits, how to burn the wood, Palo Santo vs Sage & More! Credit… Danny Ghitis for The New York Times. If you’re using it in a quasi-spiritual way without proper knowledge or training, yes, probably. Land that might be razed to raise cattle would have higher economic value if farmers can plant palo santo and sell it for a good price. These ones are some of the simple but elegant kuripes he makes for us. And that tree is in fact threatened and may be confused with bursera graveolens when people are researching the topic online. Palo santo — the aromatic wood that has been used for traditional healing and in spiritual ceremonies in indigenous and mestizo Latin American cultures for centuries — has seen a growth in commercial popularity alongside concerns about its conservation status. “Without a doubt buying palo santo is potentially jeopardizing and people could be participating in the decimation of isolated rare populations of palo santo,” said Mr. Miller Weisberger. Cultural appropriation is the adoption of certain elements from another culture without the consent of people who belong to that culture. “The isolated pockets throughout Central America and on the Galápagos may be subspecies or even a different species that is so reduced that suitable harvesting isn’t possible,” said Mr. Miller Weisberger. As these ecosystems vanish, she warns, palo santo may go with them. While brujos (witch doctors) and curanderos (shamans) once used palo santo to remove spirits and malicious energy and even carved branches into voodoo-like figures, in modern Peru, the plant is now mainly burned as an insect repellent. Burning Palo Santo releases the elemental plant spirit of the sacred three which brings a sense of relaxation, peace and wellbeing to any space it is burned in. The first: a case of mistaken identity. Adriana Ayales is a rainforest herbalist who grew up in Costa Rica and runs Anima Mundi Apothecary. Though palo santo isn’t endangered, its habitat, tropical dry forest is threatened. “Look for companies where they themselves have gone to the area where the trees are from, met the farmers, know their names, know the area and regularly return to the area. See also Addressing Scent and Sensitivity in Class. A few of these cultures and faiths include Buddhists, Hindus, and Natives of North and South America. Palo Santo. White Sage and other smudge products (burning sweet grass, palo santo, etc. I had asked to borrow a bowl she had made in collaboration with another local female entrepreneur to display ‘my palo santo’. In Peru, for example, palo santo forests have been ravaged for the industrial market, which has forced the country’s government to categorize Bursera graveolens as being in “critical hazard.” While the cutting of live trees is prohibited here, it’s difficult to enforce. See also Green Your Practice: 39 Eco-Friendly Yoga Essentials, But my inquiry did spark a discussion among Yaksetig and her family, one that she hadn’t yet had with her parents and grandparents. The piece, triggered by a “Starter Witch Kit” she heard about (since pulled from the market), is framed within the shameful context of European-American suppression of Native traditions and languages. “Burning Palo Santo and doing some cleaning! students and peoples have in White Candle for any color Clear quartz for any crystal Rose for any flower Table salt for any salt Tap water for any water 4 Catholics are familiar with the scents of burning frankincense and myrrh in church, a practice that dates back to the Old Testament (Exodus 30:1-10). Smudging is the ceremonial practice of cleansing and blessing a space by burning sacred plants such as sage or Palo Santo. A few blog posts went viral claiming that the palo santo tree is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species. For many palo santo farmers, responsible stewardship of the land is an intrinsic part of harvesting. This is just one form of cultural appropriation and magical colonization that take place within Pagan and Witchcraft circles. While it’s unlikely that all of these harvested trees were bound for the wellness and ritualistic markets, demand combined with illegal and unsustainable practices may result in Peruvian palo santo forests disappearing forever. So in theory, if you are careful and do your research, your palo santo purchase may support positive development in certain regions. Given how high the stakes are, how much do you trust an online source to give you the straight scoop on how that There are a lot people who are essentially middlemen of Latin American distributors who aren’t doing that kind of legwork,” said Ms. Ayales. “Find out what your own ancestors may have burned for cleansing, and use that. These hand made Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) kuripe’s have been made by our friend Maximiliano who lives in the Andean mountains of Ecuador. See also 6 Simple Ways to Clear Negative Energy. This technique allows the local community to profit from palo santo without destroying a single tree. Shutterstock. That’s relatively short. I think we can all agree that this year has started to shift some foundations to open us up to ways we’ve been blind towards others. Sage Burning and Cultural Appropriation. Recently she traveled to northern Peru where palo santo grows and spoke with the farmers who cultivate it (possibly illegally). I just like the smell. Smudging, or saging, has become a … But there will always remain the thornier question of cultural appropriation and smudging. But just because it’s not on the watch list doesn’t mean it isn’t threatened. tree thousands of miles away was harvested? 3 Palo Santo wood is still used by Amazonian tribes for healing and in shamanic rituals. I know you’re not used to hearing you can’t have something. Palo Santo grows on the coast of South America and has been used by the Incas and indigenous people of the Andes for centuries for energy cleansing and healing. Since the time of the Incas, the fragrant palo santo tree has been harvested by shamans in Peru and Ecuador, who use its essential oils or smoke to cleanse away evil spirits before initiating ayahuasca rituals or to aid the dying on their journeys to the afterlife. Hey, all! “Burning Palo Santo and doing some cleaning! It is often used by shamans in sacred plant spirit ceremonies such as Ayahuasca (another thing we whites appropriated). Handmade Palo Santo Kuripe (self-applicator). Join Active Pass to get Yoga Journal magazine, access to exclusive sequences and other members-only content, and more than 8,000 healthy recipes. Either way, the use of palo santo still needs to be done in a considerate way. in order to “clear negative energy”) … Experts like those at the IUCN say that more demand combined with responsible cultivation and harvesting could be good for the species and its habitat. “The tree is becoming extinct.”. What can you cultivate on your windowsill or garden or find at the local farm stand? Palo Santo and Cultural Appropriation Grow Your Own Cleansing Herbs Since the time of the Incas, the fragrant palo santo tree has been harvested by shamans in Peru and Ecuador, who use its essential oils or smoke to cleanse away evil spirits before initiating ayahuasca rituals or to aid the dying on their journeys to the afterlife. The rush to decode our DNA has awakened many of us to our own complex heritages. Can we get the same spiritual effect from a questionably sourced box of sticks snagged on Amazon? Across Native communities, we use different medicines for smudging depending on where we’re from. The other species, Bursera graveolens, is also called palo santo but grows closer to the equator and isn’t on the Red List—yet. Once they do, they field-dress the trunks with machetes by hacking away at the termite-softened bark to reveal the tree’s heart, then pack the wood into woven bags, strap it to the backs of their bikes, and return to the manufacturing area.