Burning sage and palo santo go way back in history when shamans would light these little nuggets and sticks on fire to help clear the energy before hosting spiritual rituals. For some reason, I have always been attracted to this mystical practice of burning shit.
Michelle refers to me as our resident witch – a term of endearment I love so much.
Prior to being a yoga teacher and really getting into my practice, meditation and yoga paraphernalia, I went by pagan and used to get into spells. This went on from about twelve to sixteen or so. I was dead set on becoming Sabrina the Teenage Witch of the western suburbs. After high school, I went to DePaul and quit any white magic I was into and started burning joints instead. That was cool too.
Once college let out, I eventually found my path back to the New Age side of things. It took a few years and some corporate gigs, but over time, I was back where I started. Listening to Enya, burning shit to clear the energy within my home and on my yoga mat. I think there is something so cool and powerful about setting rituals that are unique to you.
For me, one of my favorites is a Let Go burning ceremony. This is a simple, yet strong ritual that you can do at home, although I’ve known yogis to literally set fires in the alleys of Chicago. It’s truly one of the best ways to release some garbage you don’t need anymore.
Why hold onto negative feelings? Past anxieties? Guilt? F that. Let that shit go. The less baggage, the better. Let’s burn, shall we?
What you’ll need:
A blank piece of paper and a pen
Sage (Whole Foods)
A bowl of water
What to do:
Go sit in a quiet space.
Take that paper and pen of yours and write down anything you need to let go of or are working on letting go of.
Write down anything that you want to get off your chest. Are you pissed off at someone? Write it down and let.it.go. Do you feel guilty about being bitchy to someone or for losing your temper? Why keep beating yourself up? It’s over. What about those pesky insecurities we all have? Work on ditching those little assholes like you would a bad boyfriend. There is no room for that crap. Write it down. Let go of anything and everything you possibly can. Will it magically disappear? Probably not. But will it take the edge off and start the process? You better freaking believe it.
Now you need to make sure you have a safe place to light shit on fire.
Honestly, no matter what time of year, I do it outside. I wouldn’t want to trap that negativity in the fireplace. That stuff needs to be let loose in nature in my yogi opinion. Be gone! Set up your little spot, making sure you have your sage, an empty bowl, a bowl of water, and a candle/lighter.
Have a seat. Place the two bowls in front of you, along with your hand towel. Sitting in a comfortable position with your paper of let go’s in your hand, close your eyes. Breathe. Take a few minutes to manifest some positive energy. You’re letting go of some negative, possibly heavy crap, so be sure to cultivate the proper energy. Visualize what it is your about to set on fire and let go.
Take ten giant breaths.
Open your eyes, grab your lighter or candle and without (this is important) without folding the paper, light that bitch on fire.
Place it in the empty bowl and watch it burn. Let go.
You want the entire paper to burn into ashes, so if any pieces of it stay whole, put some flames to it. Once you have watched it all go down in flames, turn to your bowl of water and dip your hands into it. Cleanse them of what you’ve let go.
Some folks take time to pray, meditate, breathe, cry…you do you. Finally, burn some sage. Clear the energy and invite the good vibes into your world. You’ve just participated in your first “let go” ceremony. Congrats!
The most peculiar thing happened to me the last time I did this in the new year. I had to light my paper on fire a couple of times to really turn it into ashes. But there was one word, literally one freaking word, that wouldn’t burn all the way thru. And wouldn’t you know, it is one of the hardest things I have to work on in my mind, heart and in my life. For a moment I was pissed off at it, but then I realized that perhaps it was there to help me. To build strength in this department I struggle in. Like, “hey, I’m here! I know this sucks for you! It won’t be easy to let me go!”. So then I lit it on fire, again, and watched it burn into ashes. I felt and still feel better regarding this issue I held onto for WAY too fucking long. It was a giant relief to break that negative mindset and move forward.
I urge anyone looking to move forward and let go of things that serve absolutely no purpose or worse, only adds frustration, to LET IT GO. You can do it alone or grab your best guy or gal, sister, or do it with your significant other. Just do it. You will feel lighter. I can promise you that.