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4 Cleansing Rituals for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Updated: Jan 9

One of the most powerful things I learned through my shamanism journey is using rituals to cleanse my mind, body, and soul. Now, for those of you who associate rituals with witchcraft, initiations, and voodoo crafts, I urge you to change your way of thinking.

Rituals are a wonderful way of emphasizing your intentions and can be used peacefully and harmoniously as an act of cleansing. I do various rituals when I feel my body or mind needs a good cleanse. I also often cleanse my own home to get rid of negative or stale energies that have built up over time.

Read on to find out more about rituals and the four different cleansing rituals I perform often to cleanse my mind, body, and soul.

What is a Ritual?

A ritual or ceremony can be defined as an event that follows a certain sequence of actions. A ritual can include using various objects, chanting, and performing a range of gestures. Rituals or ceremonies are ancient practices and have been used in all societies.

Worship rites, religious ceremonies, cult performances, and rites of passage are just some of the ways rituals are used to celebrate an event.

Purification and cleansing rituals are often performed with the intention to promote change and healing within a person. These cleansing rituals aid in increasing your vibrational equilibrium for healing to take place. What’s essential to remember is that rituals are the physical aspect of supporting an intention to enhance it through the use of energy.

Types of Shamanic Rituals for Cleansing

A shaman will perform certain rituals to aid the intention of healing and change so that a person may feel a sense of wholeness once more. Rituals or ceremonies could include the following types of practices:

  • Prayer

  • Meditation

  • Smudging

  • Sweat lodges or saunas

  • Fasting

  • Moon rituals

  • Pipe ceremony

But, I would like to remind you that ANYONE can perform rituals and that’s it’s not only the domain of the shaman, the priest, the pastor, or your psychic next door. The four cleansing rituals I’m sharing with you in this blog can be easily performed by yourself.

Read Rupert Isaacson's beautiful true story which shares how he and his family explore shamanic healing and rituals to heal his autistic son, Rowan - "The Long Ride Home: The Extraordinary Journey of Healing That Changed a Child's Life."

1. Smudging

The art of smudging is one of my favorite ways of performing a cleansing ritual. I use smudging for both cleansings of myself and for cleansing our home. I’ve performed various smudging rituals at offices and other people’s homes too.

To perform a smudging ritual on yourself, you need the following items:

  • A space to perform the ritual (I always do mine in my Place of Wellness or out in the garden)

  • Candles

  • Matches

  • Smudging wand (I make my own with imphepho, dried rosemary, or lavender)

  • A large open seashell (clam) or clay pot for catching ashes

  • A large feather (I use a magnificent eagle feather)

  • Incense

  • Rocks, Epsom salts, and any other special objects

  • Pot of sand

Step 1

Prepare your space. I like to make a large circle with Epsom salts, four rocks each facing the four directions, a candle placed outside the circle, and any other special objects laid around the circle. My smudging wand and seashell are placed next to the candle.

Step 2

Set your intention for healing and wholeness. Light some incense and stand in the circle created in Step 1. You can also choose to sit if you’re more comfortable with that posture. Once you’ve set your intention, light the candle.

Step 3

Start smudging yourself. Hold your smudging wand in the flame of the candle. Make sure it only smolders, releasing smoke. Start at your feet and hold the smudging wand about a foot or two away from your body. Use your feather to gently “brush” the smoke over your body as you raise the wand up from your feet to the top of your head.

You can keep the smoldering wand in the clamshell to prevent ashes from falling onto the ground (especially if it's carpet or hardwood flooring).

Step 4

While you’re smudging yourself, you can chant a prayer or express words of gratitude. When you’ve smudged your whole body (this normally takes anything between 5 to 20 minutes), you can keep the wand smoldering in the clamshell while you close your eyes and give thanks for the healing taking place. I also use this time to meditate for a few minutes.

Step 5

When the ritual is completed, place the smudging wand in the pot of sand or take it into the garden and lay the smoldering end in a flower bed. This will normally stop the fire burning in the wand. Throw the ashes into the garden as well. Never discard of in the rubbish bin!

This ritual can be performed as often as you feel the need to cleanse your body. I do it whenever I feel weighed down by negative energies, if I’m exhausted and depleted, or feeling unwell. You can have drumming playing during the ritual or gentle music in the background. There’s no set way to perform your smudging ritual and you can design it in any way you like.

2. Moon Rituals

I love to perform rituals during Full Moon and New Moon. The Full Moon is always a good time to release negative energies, let go of limiting beliefs, fears, and perform acts of forgiveness. The New Moon is a wonderful time to welcome in new projects, start new beginnings, and embrace changes.

Moon rituals are perfect for cleansing yourself of negative energies by releasing what’s no longer needed in your life. I’m always amazed at how calm and relaxed I feel after doing a moon ritual as if I’ve shifted a major burden off my shoulders!

To perform a moon ritual, I use a small firepot and gather natural items such as a twig from a tree, bundles of herbs, a leaf, or even some imphepho. I burn some candles around the space as well as some incense. I light the fire and set my intention.

Once the fire is burning nicely, I perform three little rituals, adding one of my natural items each time. One is to honor the four directions, the next is to honor Great Spirit, and the last to honor all past friends (those that have moved on to greener pastures, as my father would say!).

When I’ve completed performing my three rituals, I sit and enjoy the fire burning in front of me. There’s something extremely peaceful and powerful about a fire burning. I spend the time reflecting on my intention and allow myself to simply BE.

3. The Egg Ritual

Using an egg is another way to perform a cleansing ritual. Also known as the limpia, this cleansing or spiritual ritual is a Mexican ceremony used to cleanse the body, soul, and mind. The egg is used to draw out any negative energies and forces that may be in your body.

For this ritual, you need an egg (preferably an organic or free-range egg), a glass of water, some salt, and a candle. Once again, it’s all about setting the intention for healing and change to take place so that you may feel whole and complete.

When I perform this ritual, I do it in my Place of Wellness. I light a candle, give thanks for the protection and healing I’m about to receive, and then I take the egg in my hand. I gently roll the egg over my body, from the tip of my head, down my neck, back and front, and over the rest of my body. During this time, you may say a prayer or chant.

Once I’ve done my whole body, I crack the egg into the glass of water. You can read various messages from the way the egg looks in the glass such as if the yolk takes a certain shape, wisps of whites waft up the glass, or if bubbles form on the top of the water.

However, I prefer to simply accept that the egg has done the work I intended for it to do and I give thanks. I then meditate for as long as I need to and ask if there are any messages I do need to be aware of.

When I am done, I through some salt into the glass of water and egg and flush down the toilet. This is important to do as it’s the best way to discard all the negative energies the egg has drawn from your body.

After each egg ritual, I perform on myself, I always feel lighter, cleaner, and rejuvenated.

Read this fascinating book by Erika Beunaflor, "Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo: Limpias Espirituales of Ancient Mesoamerican Shamans" as she describes the various Mexican rituals and ceremonies and when they are used.

4. Burning Letters Rituals

Letting go of limiting beliefs and painful memories is a very good way of cleansing your body so that healing and change may take place. While I use smudging, moon rituals, and egg rituals to help me release negative thoughts and hurtful experiences from my past, I also sometimes perform the simple ritual of burning letters!

The first step I take is to write a thank you letter to the person or event that created the painful memory in me. I will also write a thank you letter to any limiting belief I have and wish to release. By expressing your gratitude for the lessons you’ve learned from these painful experiences or limiting beliefs, you’re setting the right intention for letting go.

In this letter, you can express how grateful you are for meeting that person, for the way they treated you because now you know better, and for their contribution to your own personal growth. Love and gratitude are far more empowering than hate and fear.

I then light a candle, give thanks for the love and protection surrounding me, and I burn the letter. It’s always a good idea to do this outdoors (I nearly burned down my precious table in my Place of Wellness the first time I performed this ritual!).

Once the letter is burned, you’ll feel an immediate lift within yourself. Once more, you’ve shifted a load that you no longer need to carry.

You can create a whole ritual around burning letters. Set the scene by burning some incense, laying a circle of salt around your candle, including some special objects in the circle such as your favorite rock or shell, and chanting a prayer while you burn the letter.

Doing this ritual during the Full Moon adds more power to your intention to let go of a painful memory or limiting belief.

Final Thoughts

Rituals are performed to enhance your intention so make sure you set a powerful one. These ceremonies are used to honor and connect with the energy of whatever it is you’re working with be it fire, water, eggs, plants, and more.

By connecting with these energies, you’re increasing the vibrations of your equilibrium, which in turn, brings on healing and change.

By performing some of the simplest rituals, you’ll benefit from the incredible healing that takes place. You’ll feel lighter, more energetic, and alive, and generally have an overall sense of wellbeing. By setting your intention for healing and change to take place, performing a ritual will ensure this happens in the healthiest way possible – by using energy.

This post was originally published on April 1st, 2021, and updated on May 6th, 2022.

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