Responsible energy hygiene asks more from us than having a spiritually clean aura or home. It requires more than protective wards and talismans for ourselves and our spaces. It asks us to pay attention to the ruts we find ourselves in again and again - the patterns in our lives that demand our attention from their repeated surfacing in our minds and relationships.
An oft-neglected aspect of energy hygiene is our emotional body, in which stagnancy, hoarding of emotions, and unprocessed grief can make us vulnerable to energetic harm in the form of entity intrusions and chronic jinxes. On the other side of the coin, emotional stagnancy can keep us from having the courage we need to truly live in the present moment, let alone pursue our goals and dreams. The heart is far more of an engine of manifestation than we tend to realize, and tending to its energetic health alongside regular spiritual cleansing helps ensure that we experience the type of flow that helps sustain luck and joy.
Water: Rivers and Ocean
The element of Water is one of our greatest allies when we seek to clear our emotional lives. Working with Water can be as simple as visiting a river or other moving body of water and making a small offering to its spirit while asking for help. Visualize the River moving through you and your heart, clearing away stuck energies and inviting fresh, new, living wellsprings inside you.
I recently visited a nearby river almost daily to help me move through chronic fears and doubts about new beginnings. Sitting on the concrete overhang beside it, I prayed for respite from emotional turmoil, and for my spirit and mind to be carried to new shores. (The apple I was carrying in my jacket - a planned offering for other spirits - popped out of its pocket and rolled down the overhang into the smooth flowing waters below. I accepted that more was needed from me to help me have what I was asking for.)
The Ocean can be worked with similarly - bring your prayers and an offering. In lieu of a physical object, Song will do. Though bathing in the Ocean is ideal, if this isn't possible due to weather, location, or accessibility, standing on the shore and imagining its tides washing over you can do so much, as can bathing with Sea Salt. The Ocean is especially potent in helping us resolve patterns rooted in
our relationship to mothers, maternal figures, and ancestors,
our relationship to the ideas of home, belonging, community, and connectedness,
and fear of the unknown.
Conjure, Rootwork, & Botanical Allies
Lemon is central to Cut & Clear magic in the hoodoo tradition. Most often employed to rid oneself of excess attachment to a past lover, it can also be performed to sever emotional connections to past events, persons, and ways of being. Similar to concept of cord-cutting (and quite effective when paired with visualizations meant to achieve that), Cut & Clear work is one of the closest things to shamanic soul part retrieval that we encounter in the Southern Conjure tradition. In severing connections between the emotional body and trauma-inducing past or present experiences, the soul is freed up to access the energies it truly needs to sustain itself.
The late Dr. E. - founder of ConjureDoctor.com - conceived of a bath and oil formula he titled Love Uncrossing especially to address chronic issues in love and self-esteem. It’s often our patterns in romantic relationships that make us most aware of issues in our emotional bodies. Consisting of traditional botanicals associated with spiritual cleansing alongside herbs like Lavender and Hyssop for healing and forgiveness, his formulas and the beautiful spells he crafted to use them in help to unravel stuck energy in our emotional bodies, employing the element of Water through consistent bathing rites and the element of Fire through candle work.
When Cut & Clear magic or work with Lemon isn't effective at helping restore you to yourself, Black Walnut is traditionally worked with in a singular nighttime bathing rite meant to sever connections completely. Similarly, artist and spiritworker Katelan Foisy espouses imbibing Black Walnut tincture over a period of days to quell the pangs of the heart and the obsessive thinking that may come with it.
Violet, also known as Heartsease, is an excellent ally for helping quell what can sometimes be the overwhelming pangs and pains of the heart. Useful for helping us process grief and loss more easily, it can be drunk as a botanical infusion, carried in a pouch, or the live plant can be spoken to and kept by one’s bedside.
Shadow work is a powerful way to address long-standing emotional patterns, but it can be difficult to engage in if one is inexperienced or doesn't have a guide to help navigate the murky waters of the sub/unconscious where potential for delusion and self-sabotage can be quite high.
I've engaged in a number of different modalities meant to address my shadow and found that the most effective ones acknowledge that our personal Shadow is not under our conscious control, nor is it overtly connected to cultural stories about "darkness" and expression thereof. It consists of parts of ourselves that are inaccessible to our conscious minds because we forcefully exiled them at some point in our lives. Effective shadow work aims to safely access these previously inaccessible parts of ourselves and transform them from clever saboteurs into powerful, gift-wielding allies through the power of love over time before integrating them back into our whole selves.
In one of my cosmologies, Hummingbird is known as the Warrior of the Heart. Ever-focused on our own heart’s capacity to be clearer, fuller, stronger, and more open, Hummingbird is called upon in some folk traditions to aid with the attraction of a long-term lover.
Hummingbird can be called upon to help us see where we are blocked in our hearts and what needs to be shifted, transformed, released, or retrieved there. An offering of sugar water is a kind gesture for this animal ally that can get the gears of our emotional lives moving again when they’ve gotten stuck on an event, experience, or story in our lives.