Hello dear friends!
Sometimes, our emotional landscape can get a bit turbulent. We feel pushed and pulled into places that we’d rather not go. We feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, worried, grieving, stagnant, fearful, ashamed, and plenty of other complex emotions at times. And sometimes, those feelings stick around way longer than we’d like them to.
In an ideal state, we would be able to sense, feel, process, release, and integrate our emotions with ease. But heck, that’s not reality for most of us most of the time, right? So, we have to reach deep into our self-care toolbox, and find some things we can do to help uncomfortable emotions be on their merry way. (GTFO, guilt!)
Over the past couple of years, I have really grown to love ritual and ceremony in my life. These acts of sacred mindfulness and intention can be a wonderful way to mark important days or honor milestones, to set goals or manifest blessings, and to do deep emotional/mental/spiritual healing.
I didn’t get into rituals much until after my divorce, when I realized just how much pain, anger, and hurt I had trapped in my body and psyche. I dove into alternative healing techniques and my spiritual practice, creating small but significant ways of releasing unhelpful emotions that I felt were holding me back. Sometimes the results of these rituals were profound revelations, and other times, they simply helped me relieve some stress and get some rhythm to my days.
In some of my energy work and shamanic training, I came to love working with the elements, so that will be the theme of these release rituals!
I hope that these little acts of sacred intention can help you find peace, connection, and healing.
I admit, I have been a pyromaniac since I was a kid, so naturally, I gravitate towards fire rituals. Anytime I can light something on fire, I’m happy! This fire bowl ritual is very simple, and can be adapted to whatever you’re needing in the moment.
Strips of paper (bonus: try flying wish paper!) and something to write with
Lighter or matches
A safe, ventilated area
On the piece of paper, write down whatever you wish to release. This could be a person’s name, a situation/conflict, or emotions/feelings.
Hold the paper in your hands as you pray/meditate/call in your guides to help you release this fully. Give thanks to the element of fire as well.
Dangle the paper over your firesafe bowl, and light it up! Let it drop into the bowl before it burns your fingers.
Dispose of the ash by flushing it down the toilet or burying it in soil outside.
The most stable, nurturing, and grounding element, earth is wonderful to work with when you’re feeling stagnant and heavy. If you’re weighed down by emotion, you can give that over to Mother Earth, knowing that her forces can easily transmute it.
Several stones or pebbles
A place outside- by a river, the ocean, an empty spot in the backyard, a cliff/canyon
Gather any stones or pebbles that call to you.
Infuse them with any emotion or feeling that you wish to release. Use one stone for each emotion, person, or situation.
Quick version: hold them in between your hands, visualizing the difficult emotions going into the stone.
Longer version: keep the stones next to your bed or work area. Set the intention that they slowly absorb your difficult emotions over the course of a day or two (up to a week)
Alternate version: write them on the rocks instead with biodegradable markers
Once the stones or pebbles are infused with the emotions you wish to release, gather them up and take them to a spot in nature where you can let them go
You may throw them (safely!) into a body of water, off a cliff, or down a mountain. Or, you may gently bury them in some soil, in your yard, or other area.
I really love the power of water for its cooling and calming properties. This is a wonderful ritual for self-care, and is especially great for releasing “hot” emotions like anger.
Bathtub (or small basin for a foot bath)
Epsom salts and/or pink himalayan sea salt
Essential oils (optional)
Water-safe crystals (optional)
Draw yourself a nice warm bath, or fill a basin for a foot bath, adding the salts to the water as it fills up.
Add your essential oils, if using. My recommendations include: lavender, blue tansy, vetiver, copaiba, cedarwood, or frankincense.
Add your crystals, if using. Some water-safe crystals include: clear quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, and rose quartz.
As you enjoy your bath or foot soak, visualize your pain, hurt, or other difficult emotions being drawn into the water. See it being pulled out of your body by the cleansing water. Watch these emotions drain out of you as you soak.
When it’s time to drain your bath or dump your foot bath water, give thanks to the element of water, and visualize your emotions going down the pipes/being soaked into the ground.
One of the quickest and easiest rituals I use involves the air element. Using the smoke of certain plants, we can cleanse ourselves and our space of anything that’s holding us down, and get a fresh perspective. Many people smudge on a regular basis, and you may set your own specific intention for this practice.
Smudge sticks, resin, or wood to burn. If you need ideas, check out this post right here.
Small fireproof bowl or abalone shell
Open at least one window in the space where you will be smudging.
Light your chosen smudge material in the candle’s flame, then hold over your bowl/shell as the smoke begins to waft.
You may call upon your guides, angels, ancestors, or anyone else who can help you with this emotional release, or you may simply state aloud that you now release the emotion.
Wave the smoke around yourself and your space, visualizing it cleansing the air of your unwanted emotions, and carrying them out the window.
Extinguish your smudge stick or other material when you’re finished.
These are four of my absolute favorite emotional release rituals, especially because they incorporate the elements too. You can do these things on a regular basis, if you would like, or make them a special part of each month/moon cycle/season.
Letting go of emotions that feel unhelpful to us, or feel like they’re holding us back, is essential to wellbeing. Sometimes, they just get stuck, and that’s okay. We often cannot “think away” our feelings, and that’s a great place to incorporate ritual and ceremony.
Alright, friends, which one of these rituals calls to you the most? Which have you already tried? I’d love to hear your experiences!
And as always,
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~