Tracy and I did a burning ritual this morning to release things that were holding us back in our lives.
It was a beautiful, sunny, and chilly morning to venture down by the river’s edge to release the things that hold us back.
It was a beautiful and positive experience.
It’s one thing to “think” about releasing fear, doubt, or negative self-talk from your life. It’s quite another to create an experience that works with the elements of nature (in our case, fire, water, and air) to bolster your intention.
While I know, intellectually, that burning pieces of paper in a cauldron didn’t immediately and automatically drop negative energy from my life, the physical act of creating a ritual that engages all five senses turns a desire into something a bit more tangible.
Sometimes rituals might seem hokey or weird, but they are also powerful catalysts that take you from the dreaming/wishing phase and into the action/creation phase.
This is one of those rituals where you take the first step away from wanting to change and toward physically destroying what you want to release from your life.
To do this ritual, you will need:
- Fire-safe container for burning such as a metal pot, fire pit, etc… (we use a 4-inch diameter cast-iron cauldron),
- Pieces of paper,
- Pen or pencil,
- A lighter or match.
- Optional: Clear quartz crystal, sage and/or cedar smoke cleansing bundle.
Step 1: Write Down What You Want To Release
On a piece of paper, write down any bad habits or negative influences that are holding you back.
One thing holding me back lately is an attachment to some past failures that is shaking my belief in some of the projects I am working on now.
This focus (attachment) to past failures is showing up as procrastination and hesitation because I am projecting past emotions associated with failure into future goals that I have set for myself.
I also struggle with anxiety, and worse-case-scenario thinking, so it’s a bit of a double whammy.
When you do this ritual, it’s important that you get specific about what it is that is holding you back.
Don’t just write “self-doubt”. Write down what it is that you doubt about yourself.
Don’t just write “negative self-talk”. Write down the actual things you tell yourself that keep you stuck in life.
If you write down “Anxiety & Worry”, write out the top worries that keep you up at night, or that hang over your head.
Once you have written down the lifestyle or mindset habits that are holding you back, then it’s time to move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Prepare Your Ritual Space
Find an outdoor space that is sheltered from the wind, and away from flammable materials (like dried leaves, etc…).
We started the ceremony by burning some sage to cleanse the space around us and officially begin the ritual.
Take a few moments to quiet your mind. Meditate. Strike or play a singing bowl. Journal. Get clear, calm, and focused.
Step 3: Releasing & Letting Go
Read each piece of paper out loud. You can say something like: “I release anxiety and worry about my finances…” Feel free to get specific about your exact concerns.
After you read each piece of paper, crumple it and place it in the cauldron.
When all pieces of paper are in the cauldron, it’s time to burn them.
Step 4: Burn
Using a lighter or match, light the paper on fire and let it burn until there are nothing but ashes left.
Be sure to choose an outdoor location that is sheltered from the wind. I recommend placing the container you are burning your paper in on a bare patch of dirt or sand, on stone, or on a driveway. We placed our cauldron on a concrete bird bath.
Using a container with a lid is also a good idea should you need to contain or control the fire.
Once the paper is reduced to ashes, proceed to step 5.
Step 5: Release
Once the fire is out and there are no embers, you can dispose of the ashes in a few ways. We currently live near a river so we tossed them in and let the current carry them away.
Or you can allow the wind to carry them away. If you do this option, MAKE SURE THE ASHES ARE COLD. You don’t want a hot ember lighting anything on fire. (Be sure to abide by local “burn bans” during dry, windy, or other fire-hazardous conditions.)
You can also scatter the ashes on the ground, or bury them.
Tracy and I then re-lit our sage bundle, and then burned some dried cedar to invite positive energy into our lives.
You can then finish with a shower or bath and a change of clothes to signify a rebirth – your emergence and liberation from the things that held you back.
Working The Ritual’s Magick
Just doing a burning ceremony like the one I described above isn’t going to immediately release all negative self-talk, self-doubt, anxiety, worry, or self-destructive habits from your life.
This ritual is a starting point – an experience of letting go and releasing – but to make it stick, you have to commit to working on loosening your grip on self-sabotage.
You can repeat this ritual as often as needed. Do it once a week. Or once per month. Whatever you do, commit to putting in the work of shifting away from what has been holding you back and establishing a daily self-care and mindfulness practice to support your transformation.