- On August 2, 2014
image by Stephane Spatafora
I think we can all agree, the accepted bare minimum for personal hygiene is to bathe and brush our teeth at least one a day if not more. Internal detox like juicing, cleanses, and colonics are getting more popular. Most people who have tried internal cleansing say they feel better afterward and usually do it again. Health professionals agree that juicing and detox diets are needed to rid our bodies of toxin buildups and to help our system operate better. So we have cleansing for the inside and cleansing for the outside but what about cleansing our energy? If you think about it, it really does make sense. Every day we are surrounded by negative energy sources (the crazy lady on the train spewing strings of horrible words you never knew existed down to your super negative co-worker that appears was hired just to make everyone else miserable). Don’t forget about self inflected misery; we are all prone to self misery brought on by unfortunate events that leave us emotionally drained (break-ups, passed over for that promotion, unexpected financial drains, death ect.). Whatever the cause, external forces and emotional distress can leave us down-in the dumps and in need of a good energy cleanse.
What is an Energy Cleanse
Energy or Spiritual cleansing has been around forever. You will find the practice in many religions and in ancient civilizations such as Mayans, Native Americans and in Hinduism. Shaman, Spiritual Healers, and Yogi agree that everything, including humans are made up of pure energy. If you don’t really subscribe to the metaphysical thing Quantum Physics also consigns the belief that all matter is made up of energy particles. Quantum Physics (and Spiritual teachings) state that energy vibrates at different levels, including low. When your spiritual energy is low, you can cleanse it to release spiritual blocks and negative thinking that may be putting you in a yucky mood. Energy cleansing isn’t just for your body. You should also cleanse the spaces where you spend lots of time like your home and work place.
How do you Cleanse
The two methods that I personally use are water and smoke. Water is the easiest since it’s readily available and you bathe at least once a day anyway. The second method is with smoke, more specifically burning white sage. White sage burning is a common practice in many cultures. When you burn the sage it gives off a thick blanket of smoke and leaves a very distinct smell not to mention it looks very “spell-like”. I say don’t be intimidated by it, you should definitely try this method. I’ll give instruction on cleansing further down.
When Should You Cleanse
It’s said that you should cleanse on Full Moons to release whatever is holding you back – Full Moons are used for release. It is also said that you should cleanse around the New Moon to prepare for new beginnings – New Moons are about fresh starts. It has also been suggested to cleanse your new spaces when you move in; you don’t want to bring old energy into your new place and you don’t know what was going on before you got there – you don’t want old, bad vibes lingering. I agree with all of these and I’ll add that you should cleanse your energy or space whenever you feel you need to. Whenever you feel down, feel off track, have been around a negative person/situation, or things just aren’t working – cleanse.
Steps to Perform an Energy Cleanse
First, you need to form a clear intention to focus on during your cleanse; the more specific the better. You should put thought into this before you cleanse, it can be an hour to a few days before hand. For example, if you are feeling down on yourself and insecure you should focus on releasing self-doubt, fear, or removing anything blocking your self-expression. If you have been arguing with someone you may decided to focus on releasing selfishness, close-minded behaviors, or defensiveness. If you feel blocked financially, you should release a mentality of lack, fear of not having enough, or hording because you don’t feel there is enough. If you are cleansing a space, think about what has been going on there that you want to remove for example, arguing, sadness, or dishonesty. You may not know what has been going on in a space or situation but you know that it doesn’t feel right, in these situations release negativity in general. Remember, cleansing is about releasing or washing away what you don’t want; therefore, your intention should be energies or behaviors you want to rid yourself of.
Once you are clear on what you want to cleanse away, think about what you want to replace the negative energy with. Similar to when you bathe you put on moisturizer and deodorant after to increase the effectiveness and longevity of your body cleaning, you need to do the same thing when you cleanse spiritually. What do you want to replace the negative energies with? In the above examples you can replace fear and blocked self-expression with self-love, courage, and freedom of expression; replace selfishness and close-minded behavior with openness, understanding, and receptiveness to needs; replace general negativity with love, kindness, and abundance. When I cleanse, I usually find a bible verse or prayer related to my needs to help me focus on my intentions.
Water is the easiest cleanse to perform; all you need is a bath, shower, ocean, or any body of water ( lake, river, stream ect) that is safe to stand in.
- Bath: draw yourself a comfortable bath and sit in it. I highly suggesting adding bath salts or essential oils like lavender to enhance the effectiveness. As you sit, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Think about what you want to release as you breathe out and what you want to take in or replace the negative energy with as you breathe in. Repeat until you feel at peace. Meditate on your prayer or envision what a positive outcome will look and feel like.
- Shower: Stand in the shower, you have to let the water touch every part of you including your hair. Focus on the water flowing down and around your body. As the water washes over you think of it as washing away all the negative energy you want to release (your intention). Take a few deep breaths in and out. Once you have released the negativity, think about the water pouring down positivity all over your body. If you have one, meditate on your spiritual verse or envision the positive outcomes.
- Ocean (or other natural water source): Go out as deep as you feel comfortable, you can either stand or tread water to keep yourself afloat. I highly suggest getting wet up to your shoulders if you aren’t comfortable submerging you head. Focus on the water, the way it surrounds your body and the movement of the tide. As the tide pulls away, think of it as pulling away the negativity that you wish to release; take deep breaths in and out in a similar rhythm with the tide. Then focus on the tide pushing you forward and blanketing your body with the positive energy you desire. Meditate on your spiritual verse and/or envision the outcome of your new positive mind-state.
Smoke cleansing or more specifically, sage cleansing is my favorite. I do this at least twice a year or when I need to change the energy in my home. First, I’ll start with supplies that you will need and then explain the steps for personal cleansing and space cleansing.
- White Sage or Desert Sage. Do Not use the sage you cook with. You can purchase it in bundles (smudge sticks) or packages of leafs. You won’t find it in a grocery store, unless you visit an Indian Market/Bodega (Indians commonly practice sage cleansing). You can purchase from a spiritual store ( including a Santeria) or Wiccan store.
- A container: Sage burns very hot so you need something heat-resistant so that you won’t burn your hand or crack the dish. Common containers are small metal cauldrons or large shells. If you don’t have that, you can make an “ashtray” by folding aluminum foil and then placing it in a heat-resistant bowl or container. Do not use glass.
- Something to spread the smoke with: you will see spiritual healers use a feather, you can also use your hand or a fan.
- Incense sticks or oil or essential oil.
For cleansing your energy I suggest using a smudge stick, it’ s easier and you don’t have to worry about burning yourself; however, you can use a few loose leafs in a bowl. You are able to hold a smudge stick in your hand so you only need aluminum foil or heat-resistant container to set in down in. Take a shower first. You can start the energy cleanings in the shower by taking breaths and thinking about your intentions (similar to the shower cleanse above).
- After you dry off, light the smudge stick. Let the sage catch fire and burn for a few (less than 30 secs.) then blow out the flames. You cleanse with the smoke not the fire. When the flames are out a thick white smoke will continue to be emitted from the bundle.
- Start just above the top of your head (don’t get the bundle in your hair) and move your hand in a circular motion, moving down your body. Again, you aren’t touching your body but just outside the perimeter. Don’t hold the smudge stick in one place (keep it moving around) so if you brush yourself it won’t burn your skin. Keep moving all the way down to you get to your toes.
- Take your time. While you are moving the smudge stick around your body take deep breaths to calm yourself and think about the things you want to release and then think about what you want to draw in. When you get to your toes, set the smudge stick in the ashtray. It will continue to smoke, take in breathes while you meditate on your intentions, say a prayer or visualize your positive outcomes.
- After you are done you can either run a little water on the smudge stick or dip it in sand to extinguish it. After it’s cooled, wrap it and save it for another cleanse.
- Burn incense or oil, the smell will add to the positive energy you are now feeling.
You can use either a smudge stick or loose leafs to clean a room, house, or work space. Before you begin decide on your intention, the same as with a personal cleansing. You will be holding the container so make sure you have something heat and fire resistant. As stated above, aluminum foil with an aluminum pan will work if you don’t have anything else. Light the sage and then blow out the flames; you may have to blow on the embers a little to get them smoking. Open a window (one in each room or a door to outside) to let the smoke escape out.
- As you walk around the room use either you hand, a hand fan, or feather to push the smoke away from the container and around the room. Make sure to get the corners of rooms, in the closets and around your bed and other furniture. When you get to doors, make an X from corner to corner across the door while thinking or saying that no negative energy can enter or penetrate your space. As you move through the house think about all the negative energy leaving out through the window; focus on your intentions. After you demand the negative energy to leave, welcome positive energy in its place. Continue to do this until you have cleaned all spaces in your home (don’t forget the basement). After you have completed the cleanse, you can pray, mediate or envision your positive outcome for a bit. Then extinguish the smoke. After it has cooled, throw the bundle or leaves away, you shouldn’t have anything left over. By throw away, I mean take them out of the house.
- Lastly, burn some incense or oil. This will help strengthen the positive energy and cover-up the smell of the sage.
You should immediately feel a sense of calm and peace. You mood will be lighter and you may even feel more focused or full of ideas. Have you tried an energy cleanse, what are your experiences?