Learn all about cleansing. What it is, why we do it, how often to do it, combining the spiritual with the mundane, and methods of cleansing.
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What is Cleansing?
Now in the mundane world, cleaning is pretty important right? Daily, weekly, or monthly chores are necessary to keep our homes and spaces tidy, and dust-free. We tend to bathe or shower regularly; we clean wash our faces, and hands to get rid of dirt, bacteria, and oils that might be building up. Even brushing our teeth so food doesn’t build up in our mouths and our breath remains clear and stink-free.
Spiritual cleansing is very similar to our mundane cleaning, and in fact the two are very closely tied together as well. Spiritual cleansing is utilizing various items and methods in order to remove the built up negative, stagnant, or unwanted energy either in a space, on our person, or on an item.
Those of you who are already entrenched in the metaphysical or spiritual world might have heard banishing and cleansing used sometimes interchangeably, and I find that this varies a lot between practitioners. In my opinion, cleansing is essentially a light form of general banishment, you are essentially banishing away that energy you no longer want in your space. Cleansing is usually targeted towards the general energy in a space where banishment is usually removing a specific entity.
Why do we Cleanse?
Have you ever been in a room after there has been an argument? And it just feels almost charged? Have you ever been to a weird place or a home and felt a chill, or felt uneasy? We can cleanse our spaces to get rid of those feelings and energies that we don’t want, so that then we can bring in the energies that we do want.
If you are a spiritual person or magickal practitioner look at cleansing as a spiritual house keeping. The more workings you are doing in your areas, the more often they are going to need some upkeep.
Why should you cleanse your space?
Cleansing is going to keep your space, especially those spaces you are utilizing in your practice, tidy and ready for use. Your spellwork will be more effective, because there isn’t unintentional energy there, you’ll be able to have more focus when you are meditating or trying to do a working, and the overall general space will just feel lighter and more enjoyable to be in.
Why should you cleanse yourself?
When it comes to cleansing ourselves, we mostly do this to let go of any negative energy we may be harboring, or that we may have absorbed from other people. If you are having a very emotional day, try taking an intentional cleansing shower, and see all your stress and worry flow down the drain.
Why should you cleanse an item?
We cleanse our tools or items we want to use in our practice to remove any unwanted energy that may be attached to them. Lets use a candle as our example. If you are using store bought candles, chances are that they were made in a factory, were handled by several people as they were being shipped to a store, and then sat on a shelf at that store for at least several days, meanwhile being touched and grabbed by other people. Everyone who has touched that candle and every space that candle has been in has left an energy trace on that item, its not necessarily bad or negative energy, but its probably also not what you want when you go to use that candle in a spell. Cleansing it gives you a nice clean slate to work with, where you can then begin adding in the energy that you want in your working. The only items I do not personally cleanse before doing a working are those obtained by other practitioners, so items already charged with a specific energy or intent.
How Often Should you Cleanse?
This is going to vary soooo much from person to person, based on your individual needs, your beliefs, and lifestyle. Here are some general guidelines that are good to follow if you’re needing a push in the right direction.
Ideas for when to Cleanse your Home
- After you’ve just had company over
- Before a protection working for the home
- When moving into a new space
- During periods of time that correspond with cleansing/new beginnings, i.e. New Years, or Spring Cleaning
Ideas for when to Cleanse a Specific Room or Space
- After an arguement
- If you’ve been in the space for an extended period of time
- Anytime the energy feels “off”
- Before performing a magickal working in the space
- Before meditating or doing a focusing ritual of some kind
- After doing a magickal working in a space (if applicable to the type of working)
- Inbetween magickal workings of a different intent
Ideas for when to Cleanse a Specific Item
- When bringing it into your home for the first time
- Before using it in a magickal working
- After using it in a magickal working
- After using it for another person
- After letting someone else borrow the item
- When changing the purpose of an item to a different intent
- To assist in undoing a working
- When recycling an item into your practice
Ideas for when to Cleanse Yourself
- If you are feeling in a “funk” or in general having a bad day
- If you are feeling stuck or stagnant
- If you have spent a lot of time around draining or demanding people recently
- If you have spent a lot of time in a “heavy” feeling space or location
- Before magickal workings
- After magickal workings (if applicable to the type of working)
Real quick side note, but I’m not saying that cleansing is a replacement for a professional, medication, or anything else you might actually need to feel better. Please go see a doctor if you need to. I’m just saying that I usually feel a little better when cleansing after a bad or “meh” day.
Little disclaimer here first, this is in no way a comprehensive list of cleansing methods. These are just what tends to be the most common, or what I personally use in my practice.
There are also different levels to cleansing, and you should do your own research and experimentation on particular methods, plants, and items to see how “strongly” or “gently” they cleanse. Some days you may want a completely blank slate, while others you just want to lightly remove the negative or stagnant, and keep all the good energies you’ve been building.
You can utilize smoke cleansing through burning either an incense stick, resins, loose incense, or an herb bundle also called a smoke wand. Different herbs or resins are going to have different properties, so do your research and test them out to see what works best for you, obviously those with cleansing, purifying, or banishing properties are going to be especially potent. When cleansing with smoke, you typically will maneuver the smoke around the room, space, or item being cleaned, being sure that the smoke has reached every spot.
Salt has many cleansing, purifying, and protecitive properties. Try sprinkling it on items you want to cleanse or in specific areas such as doorways or window sills. You can also bury items in salt, just make sure you do your research first to ensure this is safe for the item you are burying!
While many herbs have cleansing properties, burning them isn’t the only way to activate them! Try making a blend of loose protective herbs, and maybe some salt, and sprinkle it across your doorways and windowsills. You can also use this as a carpet powder and vacuum it up after letting it sit for a few minutes. Many of your same blends can also be boil or just soaked in water to become a room spray or floor wash, giving you many versatile ways to cleanse a space.
Sound uses vibration to cleanse a space. While chimes, bells, and singing bowls tend to be the most commonly used ways to sound cleanse, you can also use any instrument and even your own voice! If you like to use a particular instrument to cleanse, maybe combine this with a sigil placed on the instrument in some way to boost its cleansing prowess.
Dancing or any form of ritualized movement can also be used to cleanse a space or area. This can be especially potent when combined with sound cleansing and visualization!
Certain crystals have a knack for cleansing as well. Selenite being the most prominent one. You can place pieces of selenite around your home or space, or place a piece ontop of the item you are wanting to cleanse. There are even selenite bowls that you can place objects into in order to cleanse them. There’s mixed information about whether or not Selenite is self-cleansing or if you need to clear the energy from it as well, so I’d just choose whichever feels right to you. I personally do not cleanse my selenite itself unless I’m really feeling like it.
Running water can also be used to cleanse. You can place an item, or yourself in running water, be it a stream, a shower, or a sink. Make sure you do research once again to make sure your items are water-safe, as many crystals in particular are not water safe. Great to pair with visualization for an easy daily cleanse of yourself (with your normal shower!).
Bathing rituals are one of the oldest forms of cleansing. Usually used before rituals or magickal workings, this typically involves a ceremonial bath with cleansing herbs or oils, and physically washing yourself from head to toe. This is great to use in tandem with charged or blessed waters, herbs, candles, and visualization.
Although not actually water, Florida water, which is a kind of alcohol-based cologne, can also be used for cleansing and is used by many different practitioners to cleanse items or their sacred spaces. Please be careful when using in excess as it is alcohol based and therefore is a fire hazard. You can make your own florida water or purchase from many metaphysical shops as well as online.
Burying in the Earth
You can also bury an item in the ground for the energy to be reabsorbed by the Earth, just make sure the item is safe to be buried and make sure you don’t forget where you left it! One of my favorite things I’ve heard is burying items in your house plants’ soil, so that they may take the negative energy away for you.
Using the Sun or Moon
Just as the Earth can cleanse, so can the Sun and Moon. Place your item in the sunlight or moonlight and let it sit for a little while to burn away any unwanted energies, this will also charge the item as well. Once again make sure that the item is safe to be left out, many things will become discolored if left out in the sun for too long.
Using waters charged by the Sun and Moon can also be powerful ways to cleanse! Use these magickal waters to house your room sprays, or add to your cleansing baths.
Sigils for cleansing can be created using any standard sigil method. Then charged and placed on candles, on cleaning products, or just on pieces of paper and put in strategic locations.
Candles can be used on their own to cleanse a space, or in combination with previous methods such as sigils, or herbs! Try dressing a candle by carving in a cleansing sigil, then coating with a cleansing oil or florida water, rolling it in a blend of cleansing herbs and salt before lighting. Please be wary as oil, florida water, and herbs all can be a fire hazard. Never leave a lit candle unattended.
Sweeping with a Broom or Besom
Brooms or besoms have become a symbol synonymous with witchcraft for a long time now, and brooms themselves can find their place in our practice through both physical and spiritual cleansing. When spiritually cleansing the home you usually will sweep counter clockwise and starting from the back of the home and going out through the front door, I’ve heard of both physically sweeping the negative energy out with the dust, or simply sweeping above the actual ground to just move the energy.
Visualization can be used for clearing as well. You can use it solely on its own, or in combination with all of the earlier mentioned methods. See the negative energy being pushed out the door with the broom, or driven away by the smoke. Visualize the energy coming off your body and going down the drain with the water when you shower. Of course I understand that not everyone can visualize and that’s perfectly ok! This is not a necessity for cleansing, so feel free to just utilize any of the more physical methods we’ve previously discussed.
Shopping List for Cleansing Products
Merging the Spiritual with the Mundane
Mundane cleansing, or just actually cleaning either yourself, your space, or your home, is more important than spiritual cleaning, and can be combined with the above mentioned methods to do both.
No amount of spiritual cleansing is going to remove that layer of dust on your altar. So what are some ways you can combine your physical and spiritual cleansing methods to help save time and energy for yourself?
Ideas for Combined Spiritual & Mundane Cleansing
- Physically sweeping dust as you move the broom clockwise through your home
- Using charged water, herbs, & oils with cleansing properties to make your own cleaning products
- Drawing sigils on your cleaning bottles, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, vacuum, etc.
- Using cleaning products to draw sigils on glass, floors, and so on
- Visualizing the negative energy washing off of yourself while in the shower
- Choosing cleaning products specifically for scents or colors with cleansing properties
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