All You Need to Know About Cleansing!


How to cleanse, what to use, and choosing what’s right for you!

Cleansing is a well known topic in the witch and spiritual communities, dating back to indigenous peoples in some cultures and many other herbal uses around the world. Cleansing tools like sage and palo santo have been used for purification rituals by Indigenous cultures of North America for thousands of years. In particular, white sage holds sacred significance among many Native American tribes, such as the Lakota, Chumash, and Apache. Whereas the use of incense for religious and spiritual purposes dates back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. They burned aromatic resins, herbs, and plant materials as offerings to gods and spirits, as well as for purification and ritualistic ceremonies. 

Today we will be discussing the importance of cleansing in your daily rituals, as well as choosing what type of herbs or incense to use for your specific intentions, how to perform an ethical cleanse for yourself or for others, and alternative methods if you are unable to burn anything in your space! So let’s get started!

People engage in cleansing practices for various reasons, primarily centered around the desire to refresh, purify, and restore balance on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Cleansing rituals offer individuals a means to rid themselves of accumulated negativity, whether it be to move energy, emotional baggage, or environmental toxins. Many believe that cleansing helps release past traumas, clear mental clutter, and promote overall well-being. For some, cleansing serves as a way to prepare for new beginnings, rituals, or spiritual experiences, creating a sense of renewal and empowerment. Whether motivated by a need for clarity, spiritual connection, or simply a desire to maintain a harmonious environment, people turn to cleansing as a tool for cultivating greater vitality, inner peace, and alignment with their intentions and aspirations.

Cleansing is a very important practice in the New Age community of energy work and witchcraft. This is mostly because of the belief that energy can become stagnant, accumulating negative emotions. Such beliefs often drive people to turn to the New Age scene in the first place. Cleansing with essential oils, incense, and burnable items like sage and palo santo offers the user or receiver a fresh start, as it is said to cleanse the spirit and energetic bodies of anything negative, trapped, or impure. Many practitioners will cleanse before or after a session, and many witches cleanse before or after spells to ensure that the intentions remain at the highest vibration possible and that the energy they are working with moves to the correct places or releases altogether. Most energy workers will cleanse to make sure that no energy from another person gets stuck to their energy.

Herbs and tools that are most commonly used in cleansing are, white sage, blue sage, cedar, palo santo, essential oils like lavender, mint and rosemary, and incense like dragon's blood, rose, and frankincense. 

White sage -  Use when cleansing and purifying both physical spaces and individuals, clearing residual energy after arguments or conflicts, and for protection from negative influences.

Palo Santo - Used when clearing negative energy from a space, enhancing creativity and clarity during meditation.

Blue sage - Best for purifying a space before or after a ritual. Promotes mental clarity.

Cedar - Wards off unwanted spirits or negative energies, and enhances connection to nature and the spirit realm.

Lavender - Best if used when in need of emotional balance or calm. Invokes peace in the space being used.

Frankincense - Elevates spiritual awareness and connection, enhances manifestations and good luck, use when in need of purifying a space. 

Mint - Can refresh and revitalize any space. Brings about mental clarity and focus, best if used for protection against negative influence.

Rosemary - Provides protection and promotes emotional healing. Used in witchcraft for bringing awareness. 

Rose - When in need of love and compassion in a space or with an individual. Enhances the effectiveness of self care routines and influences romantic encounters. 

Dragon’s Blood - Banishes negative energy and spirits, and can be combined with any other herb to enhance the cleansing powers of both tools. Brings protection in ritual settings. 

When cleansing yourself or others, it is important that you are in the right mindspace. Repeating a mantra or list of affirmations to keep your intentions clear can be very useful. In my own practice of cleansing a home, I go to each doorway and window and go from the top right corner, to the left corner then down the left side and to the bottom right corner then back up to the top. I envision that this is creating a barrier for anything that passes or wishes to pass through the threshold. If the energy is negative then it simply cannot pass through. 

Keep your mind open when cleansing and only do what feels right, if something feels off or like it isn’t working or you consistently have thoughts that it isn’t working then it is showing you that it is time to try something else! Intention is the only rule I would say to be strict on in any cleansing ritual! 

Some alternative methods to cleansing with something that needs to be burned can include, bells or chimes, singing bowls, sprays, essential oil diffusers, water and even just your hands! It is important to keep in mind that none of the tools will work if you insist that it won’t. So keep your thoughts straight and find what works best for you. It is most effective to cleanse yourself and your space at least once a week. If you are in any space often then make it a part of your rituals and habits to cleanse! And by all means, look further into the practice if needed, there is a plethora of information out there about this! 

However, there are many people that say the practice of cleansing or smudging is something that cannot be practiced by anyone but the indigenous peoples. I agree with this statement to a fault, they do have their own practice and ritualistic way of cleansing that couldn’t be recreated by just anyone. I believe it is everyone’s right to have access to cleansing, so I suggest staying respectful and ethical if you are using white sage to cleanse, but if you are worried about being disrespectful to anyone’s heritage and practices you can use anything else from the list! 

Have fun with it, keep your energy light and may the universe assist you in your cleanse!