All you need to know about Incense, Smudging and Copal & Palo

Incense: the history, spiritual benefits and how to use it!

History of Incense

Incense has been used for thousands of years across many different cultures and religions. The word "incense" comes from the Latin word "incendere," which means "to burn." It was first used in ancient Egypt for religious ceremonies and rituals, and it quickly spread to other parts of the world, including India, China, and Greece. Incense was often used in religious ceremonies to create a connection between the earthly realm and the divine.  

Spiritual Benefits of Incense

Incense is believed to have many spiritual benefits. Here are a few:

  • Purification: Incense is often used to purify the air and create a more positive and peaceful environment.

  • Meditation and Prayer: The scent of incense can help to calm the mind and facilitate a deeper state of meditation or prayer.

  • Spiritual Connection: Many people believe that burning incense can help to create a stronger connection with the divine or spiritual realm.

  • Healing: Certain types of incense, such as sage and frankincense, are believed to have healing properties.  

How to Use Incense

There are many ways to use incense, depending on your personal preferences and spiritual practices but please remember to always burn incense in a well-ventilated area and never leave it unattended.

  • Meditation or Prayer: Burn incense during your meditation or prayer sessions to help create a peaceful and calming environment.

  • Purification: Burn incense to purify the air in your home or workspace. This can be particularly beneficial if you've recently moved into a new space or if there's been a lot of negative energy.

  • Aromatherapy: Use incense as a form of aromatherapy. The scent can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and promote a sense of well-being.

  • Spiritual Rituals: Use incense in your spiritual rituals. This can help to create a stronger connection with the divine and enhance your spiritual practices.  

Enjoy the beautiful and spiritual practice of burning incense!

Smudging: the history, spiritual benefits and how to do it!

History of Smudging

Smudging is a practice that has been used by various cultures around the world for centuries, but originates from the Indigenous people of the Americas. It involves burning sacred herbs, such as sage, cedar, or sweetgrass, to cleanse and purify a space, object, or person. The smoke is believed to carry away negative energy, attract positive energy, promote healing, and create a sense of peace and harmony.

Spiritual Benefits of Smudging

The spiritual benefits of smudging can vary depending on the individual and their beliefs. Some common benefits reported by practitioners include:

  1. Clearing negative energy: Smudging is believed to help remove stagnant or negative energy from a space, allowing for a fresh start and a more positive atmosphere.

  2. Purification: The smoke from smudging is thought to purify and cleanse the energy of a person or object, helping to release any emotional or spiritual blockages.

  3. Spiritual connection: Many people use smudging as a way to connect with their spirituality or higher power. It can be a ritualistic practice that helps create a sacred space for meditation, prayer, or reflection.

  4. Stress relief: The act of smudging and focusing on the present moment can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can be a calming and grounding practice.

How to Smudge

The act of smudging is often accompanied by a prayer or recitation which helps set the intention of the energy of the smudge. Here are a few common methods:

  1. Space clearing: Open windows and doors to allow the smoke to carry away negative energy. Start at the entrance of a room and move clockwise, gently waving the smudge stick or bundle while focusing on your intention.

  2. Object cleansing: Pass an object, such as a crystal or piece of jewelry, through the smoke to cleanse and recharge its energy.

  3. Personal smudging: Gently waft the smoke around your body, starting from your feet and moving up to your head, while visualizing any negative energy being released.

  4. Rituals and ceremonies: Smudging can be incorporated into various rituals and ceremonies, such as weddings, births, or spiritual gatherings, to create a sacred and harmonious environment.

Remember, smudging is a personal practice, and it's important to approach it with respect and intention. If you're new to smudging, I recommend doing some further research and exploring different traditions and techniques to find what resonates with you.

Copal & Palo: the history, spiritual benefits and how to use it!

History of Copal

During Renee's healing adventure in the wilds of Mexico, she came across the ancient ritual of burning Copal & Palo and fell so in love with it that she had to share it with us all! Similar to incense sticks, Copal is a stick made from the resin from the sap of the Burseraceae family of trees. It has a long and rich history of use in spiritual and religious practices in Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztecs and Mayans, as an offering to the gods and as a means of communication with the spiritual realm. It is considered a sacred substance and is often used during rituals, ceremonies, and religious ceremonies. 

Spiritual Benefits of Copal & Palo, and how to use it!

Burning Copal and in this instance combined with Palo Santo is believed to have several spiritual meanings and effects:

  1. Purification and Cleansing: It is believed to clear negative energies, purify spaces, and create a sacred atmosphere. Burning copal & palo is thought to release fragrant smoke that carries prayers and intentions to the divine.

  2. Connection with the Divine: Burning copal is seen as a way to invite divine presence and receive their guidance and blessings.

  3. Enhancing Spiritual Practices: Copal is often used to enhance meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices. Its aroma is believed to help calm the mind, deepen focus, and create a sacred space for spiritual exploration. 

  4. Honouring Ancestors: In many cultures, copal is used to honour and communicate with ancestors. It is believed that the smoke from burning copal carries messages and offerings to the spirits of the departed, fostering a connection and showing respect for their wisdom and guidance.


Feathers can be used as a tool during smudging rituals, where you burn sacred herbs (such as sage or palo santo) to cleanse and purify your space or yourself. You can use the feather to waft the smoke, spreading it around and directing it where needed.

Some people believe that feathers have the ability to absorb and transmute negative energies. You can use a feather to gently brush or sweep your energy field, starting from the top of your head and moving down your body, visualizing any stagnant or unwanted energies being released and cleared away.

Feathers can be placed on altars or sacred spaces as symbolic representations of spiritual connection and protection. They can serve as reminders of your intentions and the presence of higher energies.

As always, if there's anything more you’d like to know about any of this magic feel free to contact us at yogaandoilsnz@gmail.com, through our socials, or pop into the crystal shop for a visit at 3 Walton Street, Te Awamutu.

With love, happiness and plenty of Magic,
The Yoga & Oils Team


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