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Incense is not just a fragrant tool to make your home more cosy or dispel the smell of jonko. These fragrant sticks have long been used in religious and spiritual rituals around the world. In ancient Egypt, Christianity and Buddhism, incense has a central place. American indigenous peoples were already burning Palo Santo and sage many centuries ago. Read all about the traditional uses of these fragrant rituals here.

What meaning is behind incense?

Incense has been around for thousands of years. It has been used all over the world in religious and spiritual rituals all that time, just like Palo Santo and white sage. There are several thoughts behind this:

  • cleansing spaces and persons
  • enhancing the effects of meditation
  • making contact with gods and ancestors
  • sacrificial ceremonies
  • relaxing

Smudging: purifying with incense, herbs and woods

The smoke emanating from lit herbs, wood and incense is said to be purifying. Palo Santo is not called 'purification wood' for nothing. The smoke is said to be able to expel negative energies and even entities and offer protection against evil. Such a ritual of burning herbs or woods to cleanse a room or person originates from the native Indians in America and is called smudging.

Incense for meditation, prayer and tranquillity

When you think of incense, you quickly think of laid-back floating people who are carefree in life. Walk into an average yoga studio or temple and you will smell incense. In Buddhism, incense is used in meditation and prayer, and you will also come across it in churches. The smell and ritual of burning incense, palo santo or sage can in itself have a positive psychological effect thanks to that association with prayer and contemplation. By focusing on the smell and the smoke, you can calm your mind and feel more relaxed.

What types of incense and smokeable plants are there?

You can light many different types of wood, incense and plants in rituals and ceremonies. Each has its own powers.

Cedar wood

Cedar wood is used in vision quest ceremonies, which, in short, should give you answers to life questions such as "who am I?". You may also encounter cedar wood when entering a sweat lodge, another place meant to cleanse your body and mind.

Palo Santo

Palo Santo, also called 'sacred wood' and purification wood, has a sweet scent that is said to be soothing and relaxing. In South America, you will find forests full of it. From these trees, sticks as long and thick as your finger are made. The wood looks like matchwood, only it lasts much longer. In fact, it burns very slowly, while emitting a wonderfully strong fragrance. It is often used to expel negative energy and offer protection.


Sage has a strong, spicy fragrance that is known for its purifying power. Among other things, sage is used to remove negative energy. Especially in homes, but also around objects. If your toxic ex has come to you and you want to get rid of that nasty energy, be sure to light some white sage and walk through your entire house. And don't forget all the stuff that once belonged to you together.


For us, tobacco is mainly a pleasure product and something to roll your joints with. But did you know that in many cultures it also has a spiritual significance? It is used by local peoples in ceremonies marked by detox and rites of passage. In the form of rapé, for instance, although you don't smoke this tobacco. You see tobacco in sacrificial ceremonies. If you've ever been to Thailand, you've probably seen cigarettes lying around in god's temples, next to incense and food. People put this here to make contact with the gods, for example to ask them for a favour.


Incense comes in many scents and sizes. The best known are the long, thin sticks that you prefer to light on an incense-holder. There are also incense cones. What is the best incense fragrance for you is very personal. Be guided by what you like to smell, what you have positive associations with and what your intention is when lighting the incense. Delve into the meaning of the scents to make the best choice among all the ceremonial smokes. For example, if you want to open your chakras, go for our 7 Chakra incense which includes sandalwood, lavender and myrrh.