The aim of ritual purification is to remove uncleanliness prior to a particular type of activity, and especially prior to an important moment in one’s life, a new season.
Be it because 2016 was a very weird year on several levels or because the New Year always brings with it a desire to cleanse oneself in preparation for the new year to come, we've looked into some of the main non-religious cleansing rituals for the body/spirit that are said to renew and uplift your energy.
Philosopher Alejandro Jodorowsky coined a term called "Psicomagia" which translates to "PsychoMagic". In very simple terms, psychomagic is the act of willfully manifesting into the physical world a mental or emotional illness or ailment that people can't see; giving the "patient" tangible validity to their pain. In the same way that this symbolic practice helps heal people emotionally, the merely physical act of practicing these rituals can be of great significance and release.
Burning Ritual For Cleansing
Burning has long been used as a ritual of release and can be very freeing; many cultures from all over the world have some variation of this ceremony in common.
The specifics of the rituals vary, but without getting religious and staying more on the symbolic meaning of the consuming and liberating element of fire, here's a simple burning ritual we recommend. • Create a "mind release" list in bullet form. This can be things that have been swimming around in your head keeping you awake or bringing anxiety into your life. It can also be something/someone you want to let go of in the New Year.
• Gather yourself (and friends if you wish) around a fire-proof bowl or fireplace. I personally think my little BBQ grill on our terrace is a great option.
• Once you have your “mind release” lists ready, take turns reading the list aloud (or silently, whichever you prefer), cast it to the flames and finish with the words “I release you”.
This is an opportunity to reflect on those significant times and leave space for new, more positive ones to come your way.
Sweat It Out
A temazcal is a stone and ceramic igloo-shaped sweat lodge that originated with pre-Hispanic Indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica.
It was and continues to be used as a curative ceremony thought to purify the body, healing the sick, improving health, and for women to give birth. A temazcal typically lasts between 40-70 minutes. The circular dome structure has no windows or openings except for the door, so when you are inside you are completely submerged in this ancient spiritual practice. Volcanic rocks are heated (these rocks are safe because they do not explode due to high temperature) and placed in a bit in the center of the temazcal. You and your group sit around the stones as the heat gets more and more intense. The temazcal guide might briefly explain the history of this ritual and sing some indigenous Mexican chants. If you ever get too hot or claustrophobic you can always step out. After the temazcal you are drenched in sweat and in a sort of meditative state due to the heat, music, and darkness. You are then encouraged to spread a natural clay mask onto your face and let it dry while you eat some fresh fruits; papaya, watermelon, bananas. After the clay is dry and cracking you close the ritual with a plunge into a cool body of water and wash away the clay and sweat.
This rich beautiful ritual is bound to leave you feeling glowing and serene.
If all fails and you can’t make it to Mexico, take a lil’ clay mask to your gym sauna and go to town on the 'Zen' playlist on Spotify.
A Meditation Ritual For Gratefulness
This one is pretty simple: Create a safe, quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes without interruption. Put a comfy mat or a cushion on the floor that you can sit on. Light an incense or candle for purification and aromatherapy. Be mindful of your breath; practice deep diaphragmatic breathing. Visualize this: “Your roots are going down into the Earth, through the layers, into the core, and then drawing that energy back up through your feet again. It moves up through your spine, coming out the top and down around you.”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP5F5y0xUhQ) Once you feel centered and mindful, start unfolding memories one by one from your mind, no matter how big or small, of things you were grateful for this year. Pace yourself, savor each memory and feeling. Say Thank You to the people, the experiences, the lessons, the hardships, the moments that brought you to where you are today. Sit with these blessings. Soak them in. Being mindful of the blessings in your life can immediately change your outlook and disengage you from feelings of dread or anxiety. And by blessings I dont just mean that happy-go-lucky #blessed feeling— but also the fucked up blessings in disguise life can throw at you. They’re all part of you and your story.
It is no coincidence that water has been used in rituals of all kind from the dawn of time. Water is the common denominator in all of us; without water there is no life. Attention is to be paid to the cleansing effect that water can have on us, not only when you need a shower at the end of the day. We don’t have to be affiliated with a religion or spiritual group to experience the purifying benefits of a personal baptism ritual.
• Take a rich, long bath not with the purpose of cleaning your body; but just of cleansing your energy. Some of us absorb the energy of others very easily, and this is a great way to go to bed with a clean slate.
• Take a plunge in the ocean; salt water is rich in minerals and healing qualities. Take a moment to sync with the rhythm of the waves and float. If you happen to live by the ocean or are vacationing by the sea this holiday; take a quick dive into the moonlit ocean. Do it naked if you can. A quick refresher and symbolic washing away of the past year. Be careful and do not do this if the tide is high or if you are alone. Always have someone with you.
Good ole’ apartment and closet cleaning
With a couple of these easy tips from the ancient practice of Feng Shui, you can move around the energy in your home or your work space. • Get rid of any clutter under your bed.
• Donate any clothes, shoes, and furniture you do not need, use or want.
• Maintain a clean and clutter-free stovetop.
• Burn candles and incense for relaxing aromatherapy.
• Own plants & flowers, bringing nature and fresh air into your space.
• Fix whats broken.