© 1999, Revised November, 2000 ~ Stephanie M. Schwartz

Everyone, whatever the path, works to purify and cleanse themselves prior to any big spiritual workings.  However, it is certainly not limited to them and clearly is of great value to all people.  Additionally, this should be done on a routine basis.... whether once a month or once a week, depending on the spiritual activity or need.  Also, many people purify daily as a matter of routine or when in the middle of excessive negativity, or heavy empathic work or healing work.  There are several methods for doing this but I shall address the three most common forms.

I would also like to note that it is a good idea to first center and ground one's self prior to purification through whatever means you find works best for you.  Many people hold a piece of shiny cubed Pyrite stone or the more-subtle Hematite stone for a few minutes and find that is very effective.  Others take a few minutes for breathing exercises, bringing in healing light and exhaling used-up energy.  Others merely spend a few minutes in meditation or calm, silent reflection on the intent.  Clearly this entire process needs to be free of outside distractions (phones, kids, etc.) as much as possible.  Then, a person usually honors the cardinal directions and elements or calls upon their source of Divinity and will light a candle and/or incense to focus their intent.

One of the most ancient ways of purification involves a bath or shower of salt water (preferably using sea salt although table salt works if that's all you have) followed by a good rinsing. One also might reserve a few tablespoons of the salt water and drink it for internal purification.  Once in the shower/bath, the person will take a knife or scissors and, very carefully, make cutting motions over the entire surface of their body, severing all links..... particularly attentive at all the chakra points which is where links are most usually found. 

Then, as the salt water covers them, they mentally check and seal each chakra with energy very carefully, making sure any residual link fragments are dissolved by the blasts of energy.  After rinsing and the purification is ended (always with some form of acknowledged thanksgiving), protection and shielding is firmly put into place and checked for weak spots.  The person then proceeds with their spiritual work or their day.

This can also be done with sage and water.

One other form of sealing the chakras after the links are severed is to visualize and feel the golden energy of the universe flowing downward through your body into the core of Grandmother Earth and returning upwards through your body as bright white light energy, literally searing each chakra closed.

Now, some people new to this worry that if they sever the links they will lose the links to their loved ones that they wish to have.  Not so.  Links can be re-established after each purification as you choose to do so.  Better that you choose who you are linked to than to have unwanted links attached and draining you.

Do you really need to be concerned and do this?  Well, there are some people in this world who are extremely strong natural projectors or who are extremely needy and grasping.  It is not unusual, especially for empaths or intuitives, to suddenly find these folk linked to themselves without either party intentionally doing so. 

Then, there are those people that I call Psychic Vampires out there who link (knowingly or unknowingly, instinctually) so as to feed off another's energy.  Additionally, empathic persons can inadvertently create a link by an uncontrolled burst of compassion or caring for someone.

Anyone who is teaching or counseling also find themselves occasionally linked to a student with whom they have been working closely.  The same holds true for those receiving or seeking information for another whether through channeling, divining, or other means.  Mystics, spiritual workers, or healers who are working in groups often find themselves linked to the other members of the group.  Sex always forms links between partners.  Finally, there are those dark mystics who seek to link to you without your permission for their own purposes which could range from feeding off your energy to manipulating you to their intents to a full-fledged "psychic" attack. 

So, my answer is yes, you need to do this.

Another form of purification and cleansing, always with prayer, is the American Indian Lodge.  Not all indigenous people use this form but, when they do, each and every culture has their own version and their own procedures for this.  It is highly effective.  However, it should always be led by a legitimate, reputable Medicine Man/Woman, Holy Person, Elder, or trained tribal member as a sacred ceremony and therefore its description is not appropriate here.

As a side note, the Celts and other cultures also have a tradition for a sacred sweat lodge ceremony.  Again, the leader needs to be legitimate and reputable.

Another form of purification is what is popularly known as smudging.  This traditional practice is found around the world.  Assuming you have prepared yourself properly beforehand with your grounding, your intent, your prayers and connection to your source of the Divine, it is traditional to continue to offer prayers or affirmations of some sort while performing this process.  Using pure sage leaves or a combination of sage and cedar, copal crystals, sandalwood, or some other traditional herb, one lights it and wafts the smoke over one's body and breathes it in.  Most people burn it in a conch shell or some other safe container and use feathers or their hand to direct the smoke.  One pulls within, centers one's self, feeling the purifying effects of the smoke.  Smudging the entire body, front and back, could be assumed to also take the place of severing unwanted links.

One note here.... for some ancient Traditions, pure sage is used for purification, cedar is used to repel evil spirits and for protection, while sweetgrass is used to entice and please the spirits.  Bundles which possess all three are not necessarily the best to use for purification.  Copal crystals or sandalwood or other natural incense are also substances favored for purification smoke.  Many, many cultures besides American Indians use smoke and smudging for purification including Shinto, Buddhists, Hindu, South Americans, Persians, Arabs, etc.  Many Western European and Far Eastern Traditions, in the past, favored natural sandalwood incense although now it is very difficult to get it without chemical additives.

However, having said all that, I would also like to say that you make do with what you have.  I have been known to use plain water or perfumed incense or even to light a cigarette and use its smoke for purification purposes.  The old crone or medicine woman in the forest used what was on hand.  I, personally, would burn a paper towel if I needed smoke and had no other alternatives available.  Even a spontaneous shout for help to your Divine can be the most effective way of all. 

You are that which you are.... and your focused intent, energy, and prayers determine most of any working.  Therefore, do not feel that you cannot do any of this because you lack salt in the house or sage in your hand.