White Sage was my go to for space clearing and cleansing ceremonies for years. I loved the way the sacred smoke smelled and the uplifting feeling I got from the smudging process.
I never used incense or resins or dark sage or palo santo because I thought it was all the same just different plants found in different geographical locations.
And on the surface--that's at least partly true. You work with what you have.
As I continued my education and my own spiritual journey, I learned the original use of white sage was that of a ceremony opener. White Sage was burned at the opening of sweat lodge ceremonies to call in the intelligent and helpful spirits.
That's why you feel a little buzz of energy and uplifted when it has been burned.
This was interesting enough to me that I began mixing up my smudge ceremonies with dark sage and resins. I stumbled upon Palo Santo and started using it as a white sage substitute. The more I thought about things, the more curious I became about when to use what.
An opportunity to continue my education white sage vs palo santo for home clearing and blessing ceremonies.
It turns out that White Sage does clear negative energy. It also removes positive energy from a space. It gets rid of everything.
This is great when you are moving into a new home, or you may have picked up that used dresser from the estate sale, or you just need to energetically start over.
Palo Santo only clears negative energy. This is great for day to day use because you don't want to clear all energy from your sacred space that you have worked so hard to establish. Be that an altar, or meditation room or I think even bigger than that--my home is a sacred space to me. Once a year I will cleanse the entire space with White Sage and use Palo Santo for touch ups.
I use Palo Santo to smudge myself in the morning, and white sage when I have had a particularly rough day.
Both botanicals are wonderful additions to your spiritual toolbox, and I encourage you to explore the unique energy each botanical brings to your sacred spaces--be that your home or altar.