Getting Rid of Negative Energy:
20 Powerful Practices for Cleansing and Clearing Your Energy Field
BY BARBARA MOORE
photo: christian sterk
The physical world is a great metaphor for the metaphysical world, especially if you keep in mind the principle of correspondence: as above, so below. We can look at any number of physical entities—a garden, a closet, a whole house, a business, the body—to understand the concepts of clearing, containing, and cultivating. Because energy (both physical and metaphysical) is meant to flow, it is, unless inhibited, always moving. The physical world has structure and if we want the structures to remain healthy and intact, we have to take care of them.Without attention and care, things naturally move from order to disorder. Our nicely organized closet will change from order to disorder unless we put things away where they belong. A garden full of seedlings will produce better if weeds are not allowed to creep in. A business with a clear vision and a sound mission will lose its focus if other ideals or values are pursued. If not given enough sleep or food, our bodies will fall apart. Each of these processes—clearing, containing, and cultivating—play important roles in maintaining harmony. They are vital, but they are not difficult.
I believe that energy is part of the Divine. It is not out to trick you or trip you up because of some ritualistic loophole. There are basic principles governing how energy flows, but once you understand those, don’t be afraid to follow your intuition, your creative impulses, and your own common sense. We are all made of energy and are perfectly able to understand and work with it. You will be invited to try some of the practices as you read on. This is to help you start learning what it feels like to attend to your own energy cleansing. Think of this time as a sampler. Start small. You shouldn’t have a huge goal in mind or attempt to clear anything that you know is big and complicated. This will relieve pressure and allow you to focus on the practice itself and how you feel.
Everything You Need to Know About Clearing
Have you ever tried to plant a new garden into untended ground or attempted to organize an overfull closet with all the stuff still in it? Both activities can be done—unfortunately, the job will be harder than necessary, and we won’t be able to work as effectively. Clearing the new garden bed of rocks and roots, and removing clay or sandy dirt, will make it easier to place the seedlings or seeds in even rows and will make room for the addition of nutrient-rich soil. Emptying a closet helps you to see everything in it so you can more easily make decisions about what to keep, move, or discard. An empty closet allows you to see the space available so you can make the best use of it. These physical examples are good metaphors for energy clearing.
It isn’t hard to apply these ideas to our energy body. Sometimes we say that we have to take a break or go for a walk to clear our heads. If you’ve ever felt that way, you have recognized that your mental energy body was filled with thoughts that needed to be sorted through. Walking helps ground and get rid of negative or agitated energy. Once that energy is cleansed, it is easier to see what is on your mind. As you walked, you probably examined different ideas, discarding some and examining some more closely. You discerned which to keep and which to release.
Clearing your energy body is just like that. You consciously examine what is residing within you. Then you can decide what you want to keep and cultivate and what you want to release based on your free will. Most of us have a lifetime of energy built up like plaque on teeth or in arteries. Our energy bodies could look like a hoarder’s house, so full that it is hard to move around and where stagnation is the order of the day. This is why clearing takes a little more effort and time when you first begin this work. There is an accumulation of stuck, negative energy that needs to be removed.
Frequency: How Often to Clear
Energy cleansing is not something we do just once. It is an ongoing activity. Because most of us are not educated in good energy maintenance, as we walk through our days we are bombarded with other people’s energy in the form of thoughts or emotions. If we could see all this churning energy that is not being managed but just flung all over the place, it would probably be like walking through a strange metaphysical stew. Your energy body is sticky and things cling to it. If you don’t practice good energy hygiene, you will experience other people’s random energy clinging to you without you knowing it. That energy then affects you, perhaps even changes you, in ways that you aren’t conscious of and haven’t chosen.
The regularity of energy clearing will vary from person to person. Extremely sensitive people or people who haven’t strengthened their boundaries might need a daily practice. Others who have stronger boundaries or whose circumstances help them manage their environmental energy more (such as those who live alone or work from a home office) may only need a weekly or monthly practice of spiritual cleansing. No matter what rhythm of habit you eventually settle on, you may also include unscheduled clearings as needed, such as if you’ve just had a particularly intense experience or have been in a situation that was energetically fraught.
How to Choose the Best Energy Cleansing Practice For Your Needs
There are many, many ways to clear negative energy. One is not objectively better than the others. The ones that are best are the ones that work for you. The most important aspects to consider when selecting a clearing method are whether it resonates with your belief system and is something that you will do regularly. A technique from a culture that is very different from yours might not be the best choice because it doesn’t fit into your understanding. If it is too complicated or time consuming, or it requires you to purchase hard-to-find or expensive items, you are less likely to do it consistently.
For example, there are formulas for ritual baths that can be used for clearing. Some require the addition of oils, crystals, and salts as well as the use of candles. If you don’t have relationships with the energy (some would say the spirit) of the suggested oils or crystals, have no interest in them, and don’t even like baths, then that practice is certainly not the best choice for you to get rid of negative energy. However, if you love baths and have a wonderful collection of oils and crystals that you’ve worked with, then this technique is perfect for you.
In addition, you may find that you prefer specific clearing practices depending on what you are clearing. For example, you may find that a more physical clearing activity, such as dancing or walking, works best for when your mental energy body is overloaded but realize that meditation is more helpful when your emotional body is cluttered.
Let’s look in more detail at possible clearing techniques. They will be more like templates so that you can easily fill in the blanks in ways that make sense to you. Options and suggestions will be included, but remember, this is not a set system. You are not required to follow any particular instructions. In fact, if in reading these ideas you are inspired to create your own technique, so much the better. Your energy body is as personal and unique as your physical body. You get to decide what is best for it because, in the end, you and you alone are responsible for it.
20 Powerful Clearing Practices
Energy-clearing practices or techniques can be any activity that allows you to remove unwanted or negative energy. They create space in both the physical body and energy body. Because they create space, it is good to follow them with a cultivation practice so that you are controlling what will fill the space you just created. Some clearing techniques more rigorously focus on breaking up stagnant energy and should definitely be coupled with another action to release the energy you just loosened; these techniques will be noted and suggestions given for pairings. Likewise, some, particularly the earth-based ones, focus on gathering chaotic energy, which can then more effectively be cleared.
All of these techniques can be used or modified for clearing objects and spaces. As with so much metaphysical work, intention is as important as the action itself. While doing any energy work, make sure you are focused and your mind isn’t wandering. You want to be in control of what you are doing. Just as important as intent is only doing what makes sense and feels right for you. Running is a great exercise, unless you have bad knees, in which case swimming might be a better alternative. Likewise, burning sage is a great way to cleanse yourself or a space, but if you have smoke allergies, consider a movement- or water-based technique. A big part of energy cleansing work is being responsible for understanding yourself, your energy body, and your needs. Experiment, pay attention to results, and develop the perfect technique(s) for you.
As you read through these, make notes in your journal (or mark up this book) about ones you’d like to try. Knowing what doesn’t work is important too, so also note things that aren’t likely to be a good match. Even these early thoughts and decisions will help you start creating your own practice. Unless there is a reason to not try a technique, I’d encourage you to do so. The more you try, the more you’ll learn.
Movement is a great (and easy) way to move energy around or get rid of stagnant, negative energy. Movement can be subtle or vigorous. We will talk about both. Mountain pose and yin yoga are gentler forms of movement, good for clearing out any energy that is vibrating too highly for your comfort. Dancing and walking can be either slow or vigorous and therefore are easily adapted to suit your needs. We will look at standing, walking, dancing, and yin yoga as clearing practices.
1. Mountain Pose
Yoga’s mountain pose might seem like more of a non-movement activity. However, the act of assuming and holding the pose includes subtle but important movement. You don’t simply stand; you stand with intention. Place your feet about hip-distance apart. Rock from your toes to your heels, finding the edges of the sides of your feet, and then settle your weight into the middle of your feet. If you were making a footprint, your foot would be perfectly and evenly represented. Tighten your leg muscles so that your kneecaps lift up and your thighbones push back. Lift your rib cage up off your waist, making lots of space for your lungs to expand. Lift your shoulders up toward your ears and roll them back and down. Make sure your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles are aligned. Keep your chin level and lift the top back of your skull, creating space at the top of the spine. Take a deep breath in, letting it infuse your mental energy body. Release the breath and release the energy into the earth through the soles of your feet. Repeat as many times as needed to feel clear.
When done with intention, the simple act of walking is also a wonderful practice. For me, walking is particularly effective when my mental energy body is clogged. That “all up in my head” feeling can happen after a long bout of writing or planning, listening to a deep lecture, studying or reading, or even after an intense conversation. Begin by standing in mountain pose for a few breaths while you focus on your intention, then walk, maintaining the good posture you established in mountain pose. With each step, feel the energy that you are focusing on break up and begin to move down to your feet. As your feet meet the ground, release the energy to the earth. Walk until you feel clear.
While walking try to maintain a strong, aligned posture. Also pay attention to what your body is doing while you are walking. Our bodies are a great source of wisdom and can tell us a lot about our energy body. Do you find your shoulders hunching forward as if your body is trying to protect the heart center? Are you bending forward from the waist, inhibiting your sacral or gut area? Bring your attention to those areas and see if there is other energy that needs work or attention.
Because walking is so good for removing intense or negative energy, I like to pair it with a simple cultivation technique. Repeating a mantra, either out loud or in my head, is my favorite. I choose one that invites the energy I want or a thought I want to replace the thoughts I released. For example, if my energy is out of whack because my car broke down and needs an expensive repair, I could take a clearing walk to release the anxiety and repeat to myself one of my all-time favorite sayings, which is from the fourteenth-century mystic and theologian Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Also, walking to clear anxiety due to a car expense has a poetic irony that I’m sure somehow supports energetic harmony.
Dancing is a natural energy mover. There are all kinds of dancing, as well as reasons and venues for dancing. Dancing at a party or in a club can be part of a spiritual energy cleansing practice—I know it was certainly cathartic for me when I was younger. Sometimes it is hard to work in a night of clubbing when we need it…and for some, that kind of venue wouldn’t feel right. I’ve danced in clubs, at parties, at weddings, in ritual, in ceremony; with formal steps and with riotous abandon. I think any kind of dancing can be part of energy maintenance.
For me, the best energy dancing happens when alone. There is no concern about anything else (clothes, other people, whether my friends are having fun, etc.). Just pick a song and move. Learning to trust your body and its wisdom can take some getting used to, but it is worth it and easy once you get the hang of it. It isn’t easy to explain how, and getting past the awkward stage (if you have one) is a good reason for dancing alone. You can experimentally move your body and see how different motions and rhythms feel. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.
Unlike most of the other practices, while I set my intention before beginning, with dancing I don’t really focus on anything after I start. In the walking practice I deliberately focus on my feet hitting the earth to remove negative energy. Dancing is more primal, and I’ve learned to trust my body. Sometimes these less consciously controlled methods are great choices, especially when you aren’t really sure what is wrong or where it is wrong. You just know something’s got to move, so you trust your body to do what it needs to. Through paying attention during your dancing and reflecting on the experience, you can learn about what was going on so that in the future you will have that experience and that knowledge to apply when necessary.
4. Yin Yoga
Westerners often engage in activities like tai chi and yoga for the physical benefits. However, these practices are deeply rooted in energy work. In their entirety they clear, contain, and cultivate. Consequently, when practiced mindfully, they are awesome for aura cleansing and energy health. Regarding clearing specifically, yin yoga is magnificent for this. Yin yoga focuses on holding passive poses for long periods, generally from one to five minutes for beginners. Physically, these long poses go beyond our larger, more visible anatomy and attend to the deeper anatomy. Long poses, particularly deep hip openers, also have an effect on the emotional body, allowing for the release of deeply held stagnant energy. If you’ve never done this before, go slowly and be prepared for an emotional as well as a physical experience. While I highly recommend yin yoga, any yoga is helpful for releasing because so many of the asanas create space in the body. Because of our principle “as above, so below,” this space is also created in our energy bodies.
As we move our physical bodies, we move our energy. Stagnation is extreme, prolonged, and inappropriate stillness. Anxiety is intensely vibrating energy. Your body can help maintain the appropriate vibration for you in almost any circumstance. Keep stagnant energy and anxiety out of your life and keep your energy clear and flowing by moving your body appropriately.
Using sound is a simple way to move energy by raising vibration, creating space, and breaking up stagnant energy. While this technique is mostly used for physical spaces or while doing energy work for others, you can also use it on yourself. Remember, intention matters. Traditional methods of using sound to get rid of old negative energy include rattles, drums, gongs, bells, singing bowls, and clapping. Technically, you could use singing or chanting, but I find those more effective for energy cultivation. While it is lovely to have a special instrument for your energy cleansing work, you don’t have to buy a fancy rattle or drum. You can put some dried beans or popcorn kernels in a covered container, like a plastic storage container. You can use a book or tabletop to drum on.
When I use sound for clearing myself, I often incorporate movement and then follow the clearing with stillness and silence, breathing out the activated energy and consciously breathing in a light vibration such as peace or grace. Sounds can wake up the mind and our energy. When you feel lethargic, make a little noise to wake up your energetic body.
Water is a wonderful and refreshing tool for clearing. We will talk about the easiest method, washing, as well as how to create and use infusions. Water can be used in creative visualization as well, when actual water isn’t handy or when you need a deeper dive, so to speak.
The simplest technique is to wash your hands or face with plain water. Sometimes that isn’t enough, so a full bath or shower is better. While regular tap water works just fine, many people like to infuse their water to enhance its ability or create it for a specific purpose.
Adding essential oils is a common way to do this, but make sure you know what oil you are using and why (and make sure it is safe for contact with skin). While lavender is really popular, it is more a cultivating oil because it soothes and heals. I find rosemary is great for energy clearing. Please note that some people have a sensitivity to rosemary, and it should not be used by pregnant women. My personal favorite, though, is clary sage, although it is not typically prescribed for clearing and should not be used by pregnant women. If you have favorite oils and check them out first for safety, try them. Even though there are common prescriptive uses, we all develop our own relationships with the spirits of the oils.
photo: natalie collins
Placing a crystal in a container of water and letting it sit for a few days can infuse the water with the qualities of the crystal and thereby support your clearing work. I use a black quartz crystal that a friend found in Russia and gave to me. Make sure you research whatever you want to use because a few crystals do leach into the water. Safety first!
Salt is a great natural cleanser, so you can simply dissolve salt into your water to boost its clearing abilities.
Solar and lunar infusions are also popular. These infusions are easy to make. Simply put water in a container and leave it in the sunlight or the moonlight for a while. I put water in a lidded jar and leave it on a windowsill. For a solar infusion, I leave it all day; for a lunar infusion, I leave it overnight. I tend to use solar infusions for clearing and lunar for containing and cultivating, but that reflects my relationship with these heavenly bodies. Think about your own relationship to them and decide which is more appropriate for you. Depending on how interested in astrology you are, you can even refine the purpose of the water by paying attention to what sign the sun is in or what sign or phase the moon is in. Traditionally, a waning moon is used for releasing or clearing.
Whether you are just washing your hands or your whole body, another way to cleanse with water is to use soap infused with oils or herbs known for their clearing properties. I’ve found some lovely soaps infused with sage, sweetgrass, and cedar to be extremely effective. There are lots of oils that have cleansing properties. If you can’t find soap with your favorite infusions, perhaps a local soapmaker could create a custom blend for you or you can try making it yourself. If good safety precautions are used, making soap is easy and satisfying.
8. Visual meditation
Visual meditation is a useful and versatile method for clearing. There is so much room for imagination here, so let your ideas run wild. Knowledge of chakras is not necessary for energy work, of course, but even a minimal understanding of the chakras can be useful. Chakras are energy centers in the nonvisible body. The idea comes from many Eastern traditions and has been embraced by many Western energy workers. The word chakra comes from the Sanskrit, meaning “wheel” or “circle.” While there are many chakras, most Western practitioners focus on the seven main ones: crown (violet), third eye (indigo), throat (blue), heart (green), solar plexus (yellow), sacral (orange), and root (red). If you Google “chakras,” you will find many good images that show their location and the energy and issues that they represent.
One of my favorite general self-clearing meditations that involves water is to lie down, close my eyes, and visualize my energy body and my chakras. I begin at the bottom, with the red root chakra. I see it clearly in my mind and then set it spinning. I move up the chakras, moving from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet, keeping them all spinning at the same time. Then I imagine a swoosh of water coming through the top of my head (through my crown chakra) and moving through each chakra in turn, cleansing them as it goes. The water flows back to the earth to be redistributed as needed. I admire my shining, sparkly clean spinning chakras for a moment and then settle them back down. That’s it. Easy as can be and so incredibly refreshing.
Fire can be a powerful clearing ally. You can incorporate fire in your energy-cleansing work through actually burning things, through candle work, and, as with water, through visualization. Because it is so powerful it can be dangerous, so always, always be sensible and careful.
The most common way I use fire is to write down the energy I want to release on a very small piece of paper. Using a set of tongs I have for this purpose and a cast-iron cauldron (any fireproof receptacle will do), I hold the paper with tongs and light it using a long-nosed lighter or a candle and let it burn in the container. If I were a really careful and diligent person, I would bury the ashes in the ground. Sometimes I do that. Sometimes they stay in my cauldron until the next cleaning…especially in the winter because the ground is too hard to dig.
10. Candle work
Another way to use fire that I’ve heard of but haven’t personally tried is to burn a small candle, putting all the energy that you want released into the candle. To put the energy into the candle, hold it in your hands. Center and ground. Focus on cleansing negative energy. Feel it leave your body and enter the candle. You can seal it by using a toothpick or other small, pointy object to write the name of the energy you are releasing. Watch it burn until it is gone. Depending on the candle, it could take a good while. If you don’t have a small candle, I would dedicate one candle to this purpose and mark it in small increments, using one increment per cleansing session.
11. Visual Meditation
As with water, visual meditation with fire is another way to incorporate this powerful tool into your cleansing repertoire. I suggest visualizing a bright white glowing light instead of regular flaming fire. After getting comfortable in your meditative state, visualize a glorious white light surrounding you, engulfing you like a loving embrace, as you take a long, slow, deep inhale. Allow it to permeate your energy body and all the way to your core. Hold your inhale for a few counts and release it, along with the light that is taking with it all the energy that you have released. This practice, which takes only as long as a slow inhale and exhale, can be done at any time. For example, I don’t know about you, but when stuck in traffic it is sometimes challenging to maintain a nice, calm harmonious energy. Giving in to the urge to be angry or swear or yell at people (as if they are on purpose trying to create traffic) may relieve feelings for a minute. Unfortunately, the aftereffects to yourself and others in your vicinity aren’t worth it because all you’ve done is fed the chaotic, confused, frustrated energy already present rather than clearing negative energy. Instead, this quick and effective practice of breathing in and out with the light can make your and maybe others’ drives a little less frenetic.
Air is one of my favorite clearing elements, not because it is somehow the best out of them all but because it is a good match for me and how I work. If you already have an affinity for an element, that one may be your best medium for clearing. If you are unfamiliar with or have little experience working with the elements, try them all and see which feels most natural for you. Unless a practice really resonates and feels natural, you are unlikely to do it with any consistency, and consistency is important in any kind of practice. The techniques here include smudging, breath work, and organization.
Incense is commonly associated with air, and the fragrant smoke from burning herbs or resins has been used for cleansing negative energy for centuries. In fact, most people interested in clearing energy start with sage. It is the most popularly given advice and has become part of mainstream culture. Burning sage is indeed a great way to cleanse the aura as well. It is one way that is part of my regular home-clearing work. By the way, when reading about working with sage, you may see the phrase “smudging ceremony.” The word “smudging” sounds like it might imply using the ashes; however, it really means to pass something through smoke or to pass the smoke over and around something. It is the smoke that purifies. Using a sage bundle or stick incense, light the end, let it burn a few moments, and blow it out. The end should be glowing red, with smoke coming out of it. Move the smoke over and around the item, space, or person to be cleansed. You can use loose incense on a charcoal or electronic burner, too. Using herbs on these, though, creates a lot of smoke, so be prepared. I usually use sage when clearing spaces.
13. Breath work
For personal cleansing with air, breath work is incredible. We already mentioned breath work a little in the section on working with fire, so you know how easy it is: no tools are required, and it can be done anywhere without anyone even noticing. Well, they may notice a complete transformation in your demeanor, words, and actions after you’ve cleared yourself, but that just means you were successful. Again, as with many of these practices, breath work can be used for containment and cultivation, too. Here, though, we are focusing on clearing negative energy. The key here is emptying yourself and creating space. This means that while you definitely want to take long, slow, deep inhales, the focus is on your exhale, the release of energy. When using breath for clearing, follow these steps:
+ Inhale for a count of three.
+ Exhale for a count of five.
+ Hold your breath (or, more precisely, your lack of breath) for three to five counts.
This final hold creates the space necessary to give stagnant energy room to break apart and to create room for other energy to help move it along. Do these long, slow, deliberate breaths a few times, using your inhale to help break up stagnant energy. After your final round, hold your lack of breath for as long as you can—no longer than five counts. You do this to enhance the creation of space, to experience the emptiness. This space is now available for you to fill, so as you take in your next breath, consciously choose what you want to bring in (this, too, is cultivation, but it is hard to have an exhale without an inhale).
The last air technique is particularly helpful for clearing the mental energy body and for people who feel overwhelmed by their work. I classify it as an air practice because I associate this element with communication, logic, and order (among other things). While it may be normal for people to be “at work” all the time, via their email and smartphones, we know it isn’t healthy and does not increase productivity, even if it feels like it does. This practice may feel unrealistic and will take time and discipline to accomplish. I don’t tell you that to make it seem harder but to make sure you have realistic expectations. Even though it took me a while to get here, this one energy cleansing practice—which, again, is part containment and cultivation as well as clearing—has visibly changed my life significantly. Here it is: at the end of my work week, before I shut down for my weekend, I clear my emails, clear my computer desktop, and clear my actual desktop. Crazy, right? Who has time for that? You’re so busy! I know; me too. The benefits are amazing, though. You can leave with a clear mind. When you come back, you do not start your workweek with chaos. You have control over your workspace and the work itself.
There are lots of resources and articles about how to do this, but I’ll share a few of my tips. For my emails, I do not use them as visual reminders to take care of something. Back in the day when I’d have a hundred or more emails in my inbox, it just created anxiety and a sense of “busy-busy-busy” that can be really addictive but is definitely not harmonious. I create folders for projects and put the emails there. When I’m ready to focus on that project, then I attend to the emails. If the email is not project-related but still requires a reply, I have a folder for those as well. For anything time sensitive, I make a pop-up reminder in my email program.
The same goes for my desktops. Everything gets put away so the visual chaos is gone and a sense of order prevails. Along with a daily to-do list, a good running to-do list helps make sure nothing falls through the cracks. As above, so below. Approach this project with calm energy, and that energy will flow through it. Keeping things clear and neat will flow back to you, maintaining a nice, complementary practice that benefits your work and your energy body, extending to the process of spiritual cleansing.
Related to clearing the work area, something that I struggle with is keeping my phone clear. I’m not very good yet at deleting apps I no longer use, texts that are weeks old, emails that are no longer necessary, and voicemails that I was saving “just in case” but never listened to again. Oh, and let’s not forget photos. Have you ever wanted to show someone a photo on your phone, only to have them sit there growing more impatient while you scroll through three hundred images? Sometimes I take a dozen pictures of a thing, person, or event, hoping that one is just right, intending to go back and weed out the ones that aren’t just right. The thing is, I hardly ever do. Then, when I go to my photos to actually refer to one, anxious energy rises up and is not pleasant to experience; it also makes it difficult to find what I’m looking for. The good news is that I’m slowly getting better at this.
You see, maintaining a healthy energetic life is always a work in progress. The nice thing is that once you establish a system and practice it consistently, it eventually becomes second nature, so you can move on to the next area without feeling overwhelmed. Organization and energy clearing work wonders in both the physical and energetic worlds.
When you are feeling scattered or flighty or are in a very reactive state, earth-based practices are just the thing. For stagnant energy, though, I suggest using the other practices. Earth is good for settling chaotic energy and gathering it together so it is easier to release. Here we will discuss the benefits of working with crystals and trees, the importance of pets, and the magic of naps.
The simplest and most common practice is to carry a stone or crystal in your pocket so you can touch it whenever you need grounding. The type of stone can determine a more specific flavor of grounding. I have a few personal favorites, namely tiger’s-eye or any one of a small collection I’ve gathered over the years while on hikes. A good crystal book or well-staffed metaphysical store or rock shop can help you and is a particularly good choice if you don’t know much about crystals because you can actually hold them and see how they feel to you. Salt is such a good energetic and aura cleanser, but, except for using it in a bath, I usually use it for clearing spaces rather than personal energy. Like breath work, crystals are also used for cultivation. They carry specific energy within them, and luckily we are able to access it when needed.
Even though it has become a joke in some circles, hugging or leaning against (as well as sitting or standing beneath) a tree is such a powerful way to cleanse negative energy. A tree feels so powerful and wise; I always feel complete trust when I ask a tree to be an ally. No matter how chaotic or reactive my energy, I know a tree can handle it. Likewise, even just going outside and touching the ground works if you don’t have access to a tree.
Holding, stroking, or playing with a pet is very calming. There are plenty of articles about how these activities calm the physical body; as we know, the physical and energy bodies are connected. However, use care with this practice. Interact with the pet to settle the energy, but do not release it into the animal. Instead, after you feel settled, follow this activity with something like mountain pose or breath work to release and get rid of any negative energy.
The next practice might not seem like energy work, but it is among the most effective techniques I know: take a nap. Of course this isn’t always possible, but if it is, then just try it. I’ve long said that the most powerful magic practices I know are to tidy up (which moves stagnant energy) or to take a nap (which settles chaotic energy). When the energy of the mental or emotional bodies are worked up, sometimes being conscious is counterproductive. As long as your mind can keep spinning stories, it is easy to feed obsessive thinking or stoke already heightened emotions. Sleeping is an effective way to give the mind and emotions space to calm down.
Spirit-based practices are perfect for contemplative types or those who like a more devotional experience with their energy work. Some of my favorite spirit-driven techniques include prayer and good works.
Prayer—or communion with a deity or however you envision the Divine—can be a simple and direct method of managing energy. In the same way I ask a tree to take unwanted energy from me and give it back to the earth to be redistributed where it is most appropriate, I can also pray to my concept of the Divine, asking it to do the same. For those who already have a prayer practice, this is a natural and easy method. For those who do not pray, it can become a simple, quiet, and beautiful experience if it suits your belief system. If, however, the act of prayer is tied to unpleasant memories, substitute meditation for prayer. They are not the same thing but are very close. In prayer we commune with the Divine, while meditation is a way to connect with our highest inner wisdom.
20. Good works
While it may seem strange to couple a spirit-based approach with mundane physical-world actions, this is a powerful technique. If you know the nature of the energy you want to clear, determine an act that counters it. For example, if you want to clear selfish or clingy energy, do an altruistic or charitable act. If you need to release and cleanse angry, negative energy, forgive someone. While most of the practices explained above are great for in-the-moment energy experiences, this one is particularly good for chipping away at long-standing, deep-seated energy within yourself. Sometimes energy takes up residence in us and shapes our behavior in ways that are not consistent with our values. While we would like a single ritual or healing session to take it away once and for all, that generally doesn’t work because those behaviors have become habits. Even if the energy has been released from the energy body through spiritual cleansing practices and healing work, the physical body (including the mind) has to catch up. It takes time for the physical body to release old habits. Consciously training yourself to behave in a way that is in line with your ideals through consistent action will create lasting change. If the behavior of the physical body isn’t changed, the energy will probably return since the environment is so inviting.
Now that you’ve learned some clearing techniques, you’ll probably want to learn ways to keep everything nice and clean. Containing your own energy is important so that you do not get depleted. Further, once you’ve gotten rid of what doesn’t serve your true purpose, you don’t want it coming back and taking up residence.
Make some notes about your reactions to some of these techniques. Try at least one from each section. Note the energy you felt before the technique and how the energy changed afterwards. It is important to keep good notes because although we always think we will remember everything, unfortunately we just don’t. Your journal will become an important tool as you learn about energy work and develop your own personal practice.
1. Which seem like ones you’d never use? Why?
2. Which are you looking forward to trying? Why?
3. Of the ones you’ve tried, which surprised you the most? Why?
About The Author
Barbara Moore is an author writer and tarot expert. In the early 1990s, at a party, someone put a tarot deck in Barbara’s hands; she’s held on tightly ever since. Tarot provides just enough structure so that we don’t get lost as we explore the mysteries, plumb our dark corners, and locate our North Stars. Barbara has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She’s published a number of books on tarot, including Tarot for Beginners, Tarot Spreads, The Steampunk Tarot, The Gilded Tarot, The Mystic Dreamer Tarot, and Tarot of the Hidden Realm. Writing is solitary work and is relieved by teaching tarot at conferences around the world. Barbara also loves working directly with clients, helping them uncover guidance and insight in the cards. Connect with Barbara online at tarotshaman.com