What Are The Magical Properties Of Sandalwood?

Magical properties of sandalwood

By Mark Piatt

Updated on July 18, 2023

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In folklore and magickal circles, the magical properties of sandalwood are often associated with protection, purification, consecration, and spiritual growth.  Since ancient times, sandalwood has been considered a “holy” incense that is pleasing to the gods.

Considered one of the most sacred trees in the world, the aroma of sandalwood promotes an atmosphere of peace and calm.  For this reason, burning sandalwood in places of worship is common.

The use of sandalwood first got its start in ancient India.  In nearly every Hindu temple and home throughout India, you will smell the pleasing aroma of sandalwood, especially when used during puja (worship).

Hindus wear a red paste on their forehead as a symbol of devotion to God.  This paste is typically made from sandalwood, kumkum, and Vibhuti.

In Buddhism, sandalwood is believed to be one of the sacred scents of the lotus.

Vesak Day (the first full moon of May) is the day that celebrates the important life events of Buddha – birth, enlightenment, and death.  Sandalwood has played an important role in these rituals.

In fact, the first known sculpture of Budda was made from Sandalwood.

In tantric practice, sandalwood is used to connect the crown chakra with the root chakra and helps open up the third eye.

Today sandalwood has made its way across the world.  

Sandalwood is used in ceremonial magick, devotional magick, and angelic magick.

The aroma from burning sandalwood or inhaling the essential oil also uplifts the mind and the spirit. 

 As a general rule, the four main magickal properties that sandalwood is often associated with include: 

  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Consecration
  • Spiritual Growth

But these are not the only magickal properties associated with sandalwood. 

 Some of the other important magickal properties associated with sandalwood are: 

  • Connection with your inner self and the divine
  • Business magick
  • Focuses the mind
  • Luck
  • Attracting good spirits
  • Enhances psychic powers
  • Improves your luck
  • Promotes pleasant dreams
  • Allows your wishes to come true

DISCLAIMER:

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only.  Occult properties of herbs and essential oils are provided for historical interest only.  For possible treatments of physical or mental diseases, please seek a trained and licensed health professional.  Enchanted Aromatics is not responsible for any adverse side effects resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, preparations, or procedures mentioned or from the following historical uses of herbs and essential oils.

Table of Contents

Magickal Correspondence For Sandalwood 

  • Sandalwood is considered masculine.  
  • The vibration of sandalwood is considered part of the water element.  Why, if sandalwood grows in a desert?  The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda classifies sandalwood as cooling, an aphrodisiac, and an anti-inflammatory.  These are all considered watery traits.
  • Sandalwood is associated with the moon and Pluto.
  • The astrological sign of sandalwood is mainly Aries, but can also be associated with Cancer, Virgo, Pisces, Scorpio, and Sagittarius.
  • Sandalwood is associated with the god Vishnu and the goddesses Lakshmi and Oya. 
  • Chakras that work with Sandalwood:  Third eye chakra, and root chakra.

What is sandalwood?

Sandalwoods are evergreen trees that consist of 25 species of the genus Santalum.  Many of these species are now endangered from overharvesting.

Sandalwood trees can take up to 80 years to reach full maturity before the heartwood can be harvested.  This is because as the tree ages, the concentration of aromatic essential oils in the heartwood increases.

Sandalwood is a hemiparasitic tree, meaning it requires another tree to grow.  The roots attach to the host tree and suck the xylem from the host tree.

“True” sandalwood is rare and is considered the second most expensive wood in the world after African blackwood.

Most “true” sandalwood you can purchase today is the species Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood.  

This sandalwood is recognized internationally as a “vulnerable” species.

For this reason, in India, this species of sandalwood can not be cut down.  

The only wood that can be harvested from the sandalwood tree in India is wood that has naturally dropped to the forest floors.

There are now two Santelum album plantations in Australia that supplies the majority of this wood (about 80%) to the rest of the world.

But even these supplies are now under threat from overharvesting.

There are some smaller Santelum album plantations in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands.

 Other names used for sandalwood include: 

  • Ananditam
  • Cendana
  • Chandana
  • East Indian sandalwood
  • Kulavuri
  • Old mountain sandalwood
  • Sandal
  • Sandal tree
  • Sandanam
  • Santhanam
  • Srigandam
  • Taliaparnam
  • Ulocidam
  • White Sandalwoood
  • White Indian sandalwood

Be careful when purchasing Sandalwood.  Many vendors sell what they say is sandalwood at an inexpensive price.  Most likely, it is not even sandalwood.

Fake red sandalwood and red sandalwood powders are prevalent around the internet.  These are not sandalwood and some have even had red dyes added to them.  

For example, some vendors sell red sandalwood but when you look at the species, it is Pterocarpus soyauxii.  This species is African coralwood.  These vendors pass this wood off as red sandalwood.

In the past, yellow sandalwoods and red sandalwoods such as Pterocarpus santalinus were popular in magickal circles.  Today these species are endangered, and should not be used.

Other sandalwoods you may run into are Hawaiian sandalwoods, which include Santelum. ellipticum, Santelum, freycinetianum, and Santelum paniculatum.

Santalum spicatum, found in Australia, is another sandalwood that you are likely to encounter.

Although available, I recommend that you DO NOT purchase sandalwood essential oil because so much wood goes to waste to create a single ounce of the sandalwood essential oil.

If you do purchase real sandalwood essential oil made from the heart wood (the center wood that holds the most essential oils and aromas), expect to pay over $200 an ounce.  If you are purchasing 4 ounces of sandalwood for $13, I guarantee you are either not getting sandalwood or the essential oil is highly adulterated.

The other possibility is some sandalwood essential oils are distilled from the bark or from fallen branches. 

These sandalwood essential oils can sell for much cheaper because they are not as powerful as the essential oil distilled from the inner wood of the sandalwood tree.

Ridiculous amounts of material are used to extract essential oils.  If you read our article “How Many Pounds Of Material Does It Take To Make Essential Oils“, I think you will be shocked.

For this reason, treat every drop of essential oil with great respect.

If anyone knows how much sandalwood is required to distill the essential oil, please leave us a comment at the end of this article so we can add that information.

 There are many ways you can incorporate sandalwood into your life and magick including in: 

  • Incense sticks and cones
  • Wood Chips
  • Sandalwood powder
  • Lotions
  • Candles
  • Essential oil
  • Healing Poppet
  • Soaps, shampoos, and body washes
  • Perfumes and colognes
  • Sandalwood water
  • Smudging
  • Spell bags and satchels
  • Simmer pot
  • Infusions

Since there is more than one way to accomplish your magickal goals, using the magical properties of sandalwood is just one tool from an arsenal of tools and techniques you should be using in your magick.

Use our suggestions as a base, and make them your own. 

If a spell does not feel right, no law says you can not change your spell to fit YOUR needs.  

Unlike some individuals, I do not believe that spells should be hoarded and not shared.  I also do not believe that a spell must be followed exactly.  Intent and your belief are what create a spell, not props.

But if the props help you focus your intent, then, by all means, use your herbs, wands, crystals, or whatever helps you manifest your spell into reality.

Our spell examples follow sound magickal practices.  And please, it is important that whatever spell you use or create, HARM NO ONE.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can use herbs in your magickal rituals, check out the following book by Ally Sands “Plant Magic for the Beginner Witch: An Herbalist’s Guide to Heal, Protect, and Manifest“.

Can Sandalwood be used for magickal protection rituals?

Throughout India, Sandalwood has been used in protection rituals for thousands of years.  People first noticed that sandalwood would not be scavenged by termites.  This is how sandalwood first gained its reputation for protection and warding off negative energy.

Today, around the world, you will find sandalwood being used in a variety of protection rituals.

 Using or wearing protective sandalwood beads is believed to help protect the wearer. 

Wearing these beads is also believed to attract good spirits and angels.

Sandalwood helps to promote a sense of security that adds to its protective beliefs.

 Carrying sandalwood chips in your yellow protective mojo bag can help protect you from the negativity of others. 

Why a yellow mojo bag?  Yellow represents protection and can help repel that nasty negative energy.

When creating a protective mojo bag, sandalwood is used to enhance to protective powers of some of your other herbs and protective objects you have placed in your mojo bag.

 Herbs you may wish to place in your mojo bag to help protect you include: 

  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Nettle
  • Nutmeg
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Nettle
  • Nutmeg
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sandalwood
  • Skullcap

 Burning sandalwood incense in your home is used to help protect your home from negative energy and evil influences. 

You can either burn sandalwood incense sticks or cones or burn pieces of sandalwood in a charcoal burner.

The best type of incense to burn is incense you create yourself.  

Making your own incense is not that difficult.  The best book you can purchase on making your own incense is  Wylundt’s Book of Incense.

For magickal protection, it is common to burn sandalwood, combined with frankincense and myrrh.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils (and herbs) that can be used for magickal protection, check out our article “16 Essential Oils For Protection“.

Can Sandalwood be used for magickal purification rituals?

Sandalwood represents purity.  For this reason, sandalwood is commonly burned during religious ceremonies from a variety of religions.  According to Hinduism, burning sandalwood is a reminder of the sweetness of the divine.

In Christian religions, the fragrance from burning sandalwood is said to represent the sanctity of the body of Christ.

Burning sandalwood during meditation is said to purify the body and calm the mind.  

 Scattering sandalwood powder around a room where there is a sick individual is said to help purify the room. 

The aroma of sandalwood can help promote healing, peace, and tranquility for the sick.  

 Sandalwood can help remove any negative energy around you and purify both you and your surroundings. 

Burning your sandalwood, along with a few other important herbs, resins, or spices, in a censer is a good way to purify your space.

 The following herbs, woods, resins, and spices are often burned in a censer to purify and protect spaces. 

  • Cedar – Attracts good spirits and eliminates negative energy.  Has a warm, woody aroma.
  • Copal – Purifies the energy of people, places, and objects.  Has a clean, light, woody aroma.
  • Dragon’s Blood – This resin has powerful healing power.  Smells earthy and dense with a musky, slightly sweet floral smell.
  • Frankincense – Most desirable incense for purifying a space.  The fragrance is powerful, woody, earthy, and spicy with a touch of fruity nuance.
  • Juniper – Dispels negative energies and can be used to cleanse ritual spaces.  The aroma of juniper is exquisite.  Juniper has a pleasing, woody, slightly spicy fragrance. 
  • Lavender – Lavender is used to help purify the body and spirit and is often used for cleaning purposes.  Burning lavender has a fragrance similar to the lavender we all know but with a deeper, smokier fragrance.
  • Mugwort – Used for spiritual cleansing and consecrating tools and spaces.  Burning mugwort smells similar to marijuana.
  • Myrrh – Used for purification and cleansing rituals.  Myrrh emits a sweet holy smoke that is resinous with an amber/woody and slight medicinal smell.  
  • Palo Santo – Considered a “holy” wood, used to purify magickal tools and spaces.  The sweet aroma from Palo Santo is a subtle, woody fragrance that exhibits hints of citrus and mint.
  • Rosemary – The aroma from burning rosemary can purify a space and bring peace.  The smell from burning rosemary can be pungent, and earthy, but very fragrant with a slight piney smell.  
  • Sandalwood – One of the most sacred woods for purification rituals.  The aroma of sandalwood is a sweet/woody scent with balsamic, musky, and floral tones.
  • Sweet Grass – Sacred to the Native Americans, burn sweet grass to purify your mind, body, and spirit and to cleanse your space.  Burning sweet grass has a distinct, vanilla-like scent but can also smell like freshly cut grass.  
  • White Sage – White sage has the best success of purifying a space.  White sage is one of the best herbs you can use for purifying a space.  White sage has a sharp, very pungent odor that is spicy.  
  • Yerba Santa – A “holy” herb, smudging Yerba Santa is often done for protection, cleansing, and setting magickal boundaries.  Yerba Santa has a complex, sweet, and spicy scent.  

The censor is a fireproof container where you burn your aromatics on the hot coals to cause your aromatics to burn and spread that magickal smoke.

The good thing about incense censers is they can be used with any type of incense, including wood, sticks, cones, or any other type of loose aromatics.  Plus, burning your incense in your censer is much safer than burning your incense out in the open.

Some people will fill their censers with sand, rice ash, or even diatomaceous earth.  I prefer to use the ash of the coals.

 Don’t know how to use a censer?  Check out the following short video from Legacy Icons demonstrating how to use an incense censer. 

If you are interested in checking out a variety of censers from Amazon, Click Here.

 In sick rooms, anointing light blue and white candles with sandalwood and burning it promotes a sense of relaxation and calm, and can create a protective atmosphere. 

Blue candles represent water and have everything to do with healing, tranquility, and peace.  White candles are cleansing and about new beginnings.  

Can Sandalwood be used to consecrate items?

Sandalwood can be used to consecrate objects, places, or people.  Typically, sandalwood smoke is used to consecrate objects used for holy purposes or magickal rituals.

By consecrating an object, you are elevating that object to a spiritual purpose. 

The devotion of the object to a particular purpose will make that object sacred from that point forward.

Once the object has been consecrated, you should treat that object with great respect.  That means that object is only used for its intended purpose.

 The following list is an example of items that can be consecrated with sandalwood. 

(Any object can be consecrated if it holds a special sacred meaning)

  • Dedicated places
  • Altars
  • Circles
  • Cups
  • Bowls
  • Wands
  • Staffs
  • Knives
  • Daggers
  • Athames
  • Bells
  • Chalices
  • Crystals
  • Candles
  • Scourges
  • Tailsmans
  • Crosses
  • Cingulums (rope belt)
  • Discs (amulets)
  • Besoms (brooms)
  • Cauldrons
  • Tarot cards
  • Pentacles
  • Robes

 Following is an example of how to consecrate your spiritual and magickal tools using sandalwood incense (or any other purifying incense). 

(Remember, this is just one example.  There are many ways to consecrate an object).

  • Prior to starting your ritual, clear yourself of negative thoughts and negative energies and create a protective shield around you.
  • Light your sandalwood incense.
  • Draw down the divine or whatever power you may be calling.
  • Imagine the positive force of the divine that is flowing into you or the object you wish to consecrate.
  • Imagine becoming one with this power.
  • Project that power into your object.
  • You may wish to move the magickal tool you are consecrating through the sandalwood smoke or move the smoking sandalwood around your object.
  • State your prayer or intent out loud, dedicating its use to its intended purpose.  For example: “I (state your name) consecrate this chalice, that with the force of true will, and the highest good, it may become a resource and tool for the accomplishment of my True Will.”

 If you would like to see a detailed demonstration of a pagan ritual for consecrating an object, check out the following short video from Witch N The Working. 

Can Sandalwood be used for promoting spiritual growth?

Sandalwood can be used as a catalyst to connect with your spirit or divine source.  Sandalwood can help quiet your mind and provide inner piece, while at the same time, providing you with a deeper connection with your spiritualism.

For many thousands of years, people have learned that meditation is a powerful tool.  Burning sandalwood incense has been used for centuries to enhance meditation practices.  

The sweet woody fragrance of sandalwood has a way of seeping into the back of our minds, calming the mind, and promoting focus.

Even if you are not meditating, burning sandalwood incense creates a calming and peaceful environment.

 It is believed that by combining sandalwood and acacia oil can help improve your psychic powers and gives you a more powerful spiritual connection. 

Combined with a carrier oil, you can use sandalwood essential oil and acacia essential oil to anoint yourself by rubbing the oil on your third eye, wrists, or temples.  Doing this will help enhance your connection to your spirit and allow your psychic abilities to be enhanced.

 Burning sandalwood and jasmine can help enhance dream recall and promote pleasant dreams. 

It is believed that our subconscious comes to the forefront during our dreams.  Because of this, many people seek answers from their dreams or draw inspirating from their dreams.

If you can not remember your dreams, than what good does this do you?  for some people, sandalwood and jasmine will help them remember their dreams more clearly.

 A wish can be a powerful tool for manifesting our desires.  Sandalwood can be used to help make those wishes come true. 

Sometimes your wishes can come true, within reason.  

In the following short ritual, you will learn how to visualize receiving what your desire, with the help of sandalwood incense.

  • Meditate and remove all negative energy from your mind.
  • Once your mind is calm, write your wish on a piece of paper.
  • Try to condense your wish to as few words as possible as you will soon be writing this wish on a small piece of sandalwood.
  • If you wish, you can even create a sigil to represent your wish.
  • Write your wish on your piece of sandalwood.
  • Light your sandalwood on fire.
  • As the sandalwood burns, close your eyes and focus on receiving your wish.  Visualize the wish coming true.  As you do this, the smoke will be carried up to the divine.
  • Picture the emotions you will feel if your wish comes true.  This power of visualizing can help make your wish come true.
  • The smoke will be carried up to the universe, to help manifest your wish into existence.
  • Be sure to give thanks to the divine for hearing your wish and granting your wish.

If you are not familiar with creating sigils, I highly recommend you check out the following book on sigil magic:  “Sigil Magic: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Magic Sigils, Wiccan Symbols, Talismans, and Amulets for Magical Protection, Witchcraft Purposes and Good Fortune (Spiritual Witchcraft)“. 

 Sandalwood can be used to balance your root chakra, which will help promote feelings of security and stability. 

Before meditating, or performing rituals, you need to first ground yourself.  For some people, grounding themselves can be difficult, especially if they are anxious or unsettled about something.

Meditating while burning sandalwood incense will help you find the grounding you see.

 The sweet aroma of sandalwood is believed to attract angels and spirits. 

If you wish to communicate with good spirits and angels, burning sandalwood may help open communications with these entities.

Burning frankincense along with sandalwood seems to be especially effective in connecting with angels during prayer.

The intent is what is important.  As you communicate with your angel, focus that intent on connecting with your angels.  Visualize yourself surrounded by their love.

 Here is a good all-around incense recipe you can use while performing your rituals and spells. 

Grind your ingredients down with a mortar and pestle and mix them together.  Add the mixture to your censer with burning coals.  

  • 4 parts Frankincense
  • 2 parts Myrrh
  • 2 parts Benzoin
  • 1 part Sandalwood
  • 1/2 part Cinnamon
  • 1/2 part Rose petals
  • 1/4 part Vervain
  • 1/4 part Rosemary
  • 1/4 part Bay leaves

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, check out these Mortar and Pestle sets from Amazon.

 Burn the following incense during esbats (a coven meeting or a ritual time other than one of the sabbats) or the full moon to become attuned with the Goddess. 

  • 2 parts Sandalwood
  • 2 parts Frankincense
  • 1/2 part Gardenia petals
  • 1/4 part Rose petals
  • A few drops of Ambergris oil

What does sandalwood smell like?

Sandalwood has a lovely rich woody aroma that is sweet and spicy.  Some say the fragrance of sandalwood is smooth and creamy with a hint of vanilla mixed in.

The aroma of sandalwood is very distinctive.  For this reason, sandalwood is often added to soaps, lotions, perfumes, and luxury candles. 

The aroma from sandalwood is considered a base note – meaning it compliments and enhances other scents.

Conclusion

Because of the huge demand for sandalwood, it is the second most expensive wood.  

Sandalwood should be a necessary item in any magickal repository because of its protective properties.  

Besides its magickal properties, the fragrance of sandalwood creates an atmosphere of peace and calm.

This can decrease anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, and even nervous tension.

If you are interested in learning about some general magical properties of essential oils, check out my article “15 Magical Properties of Essential Oils“.  

If you know of other magical properties of sandalwood or different ways in which you use sandalwood on your spiritual journey, we would love to hear from you so we may incorporate what you share in this article.

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