Sacred Desert Smoke-Cleansing Blend

Chaparral and a soft desert sunset. Photo by Mantis.

This is a cleansing mix that I created, and for now I’m calling it the Sacred Desert or Desert Spirits blend. Not sure yet. I felt called to prepare this sacred blend for ritual, meditation, and healing work, at about the same time as I prepared the Incense Cedar burning sticks that you may have seen on my post of a couple of weeks ago. Having lived in the desert for about 14 years, and having been blessed by the firsthand experience of this spiritual and mystical place that’s been the refuge of seekers for thousands of years, I wanted to create a medicine that incorporated some of its native plant spirits.

A few hours in the sun to dry off the moisture. The oils need many days to dry out.
Washing the Chaparral to remove dust and impurities

The first ingredient was Chaparral, also known as Creosote Bush. This is the most common plant in the wild where I live. It’s a mighty spirit. For years I have enjoyed it on my hikes and nature walks, because they smell like desert rain. When it actually rains, the smell is clean and a bit pungent. It smells beautiful! These beauties live for a very long time, sometimes thousands and thousands of years, growing in concentric rings around its old parts and releasing substances that obliterate other plant species around it. It really takes over its surroundings, and it is that power of clearing and purity that I wanted to incorporate into the blessing blend. Moreover, I hear that the timelessness of this plant is perfect for inner mystical journeys, mystical practice and “time traveling”. It has been traditionally used by the mystics and peoples of this land for smudging and blessing.


I harvested some of the plant with much respect for the land and for the individual plants, asking for permission each time. Handling this powerful spirit plant was a learning experience in itself! One of her Spanish names is “La Imperatriz” (The Empress), partly due to her clearing out other plants around her, and establishing her “empire”. It is no wonder, for this plant demonstrates strength, and a bit of a holy bite. Like The Empress from the Tarot, La Imperatriz clears out the space around her not to destroy, but to create room for growth. And she carries a bit of The Empress Reversed medicine – smothering out and snuffing the negativity or unwanted presences. My prayer is that these energies suffuse the cleansing mix.

Incense Cedar, hand-ground, ready for the blend

The second spirit was Incense Cedar, a drought-loving tree which I harvested in the desert edge. I’ll invite you to check out my post on that for all the goodness. But in short, Cedar provides a warm sense of protection and well-being, readying my personal energies for spiritual work, clearing away doubt, and inviting in goodness and good fortune. Just as it was used by the Cahuilla as aromatic brooms to sweep the home; it may be used as a smoke-cleanser to sweep away the darkness and invite in a nice spiritual sense and positivity.

White Sage

Finally, I added another very famous desert plant that is burned for its blessing: White Sage. Although it is found where I live, I sourced it from a local store here in the desert. First, I absolutely love the scent it releases. Cedar and Chaparral smell nice on their own, but sage adds some oomph. Additionally, this holy plant is mighty in its ability to cleanse and purify. Being a desert dweller, it mandated its presence in my blend.

The final blend, after being hand-mixed and rubbed to mix the oils

I carefully processed each plant material individually with my hands and then blended them together, also with my hands and lots of blessing contact, so that their oils would rub together. Chaparral is very oily, so I had to leave the blend to dry for several days. Spiritually, I asked the plant spirits to come together in it and do the good bidding of anyone who will use it. Now it’s ready. I have tried and it works beautifully: the material catches on fire somewhat easily; the different scents come together smoothly; and the blessing energies I believe are there. I’ve sent out a couple samples so other folks can give me some input, I can’t wait to hear back! And I can’t wait for my evening meditations where I clear away the energies of the day and invite mystical awareness by burning this sacred mix.

The final blend.