Palo Santo - Sustainability & sacredness

Feb 04, 2019

Cosmic Bazaar is dedicated to only offering products that are 100% sustainable and Earth friendly. We believe that no animal, plant or land should be harmed or disrespected in any way. Our products must be energetically balanced from inception till it is sold. Unfortunately we can no longer sell Palo Santo without going against this core mission and our personal beliefs & intuition.

Palo Santo is a very sacred wood, used by shamans in South America (specifically in Peru & Ecuador) for thousands of years. Recently, partially due to the rising consciousness in the world, this holy wood as become extremely popular, and a massive amount of people are demanding it for it's sacred cleansing and therapeutic properties. We must consider the ecological impact when thousands of people around the world are burning and using this holy wood every day.

As you may know, Palo Santo is traditionally only harvested from trees that have died naturally, often after growing for over 50+ years, and have then rested on the forest floor for an additional 4-10 years. The wood is then harvested consciously and the tree is blessed and thanked with very pure and loving intentions. This sacred shamanic teaching allows for the Palo Santo tree's energy to be passed on in a harmonious and sacred way. On a physical level, this teaching also makes sense since the revered aromatic and therapeutic qualities are only fully developed when this process is followed; it also ensures the sustainably of the tree. Unfortunately many are no longer following this ancient wisdom, the sacredness of the tree is being violated.

Due to the massive global demand for Palo Santo based products (including now soaps, shampoos, salves, tinctures, perfumes, etc) - economics, capitalism and greed has kicked in. Palo Santo, even in South Africa, has become extremely popular in the past few years. With this global trend, more and more trees are required to meet the demand, and the once abundant population of Palo Santo trees is now rapidly diminishing. Those who sell the wood for immediate economic gain will harvest from dead and living trees alike, with no regard for a resting period. This has led to severe deforestation of Palo Santo. It creates a real threat that someday there will be no more Palo Santo trees left for future generations to enjoy.

According to one source: Palo Santo is currently endangered and under government protection in Ecuador. It is illegal to cut down or damage live trees. Work is ongoing to try to preserve the remaining Palo Santo trees and grow new trees. Each fallen tree is replaced with a new seedling and logging is strictly forbidden. (No mention of whether the protections are effective or not.)

Another source says: Palo Santo harvesting used to be strictly controlled by law in Peru. Only trees that had fallen naturally were allowed to be harvested. With its increased popularity in recent years, the Peruvian government has been unable to enforce its policies to prevent over-harvesting of Palo Santo. The tree is now endangered in Peru.

Similarly, other sacred plants and herbs such as white sage, Ayahuasca and even certain medical mushrooms also under risk of endangerment. We must consciously think about each and every product we buy. Especially with the global rising consciousness, trends can quickly swoop and turn into mass unconscious consumption. Nature can only grow so fast, and at the rate we are consuming many of these sacred plants, dangerous alternatives and deforestation can happen.

We are in the process of finding alternative smudging and cleansing herbs, specifically indigenous and abundant in South Africa, that we can offer you instead. Also remember though, when it comes to smudging, the real magic and power is behind your intentions and rituals you do.

We hope you understand why we're making this move. And we encourage you to do your own research and think about the journey the Palo Santo stick you have as had to get into your possession.

Lots of love and blessings,
The Cosmic Clan


Sources for further reading:

Thanks to Wendy May for sharing her thought provoking post. Certain extracts have been used with full credit to her:

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