This Cleansing Ritual Will Leave You Centered & Ready For The New Year

The beginning of a new year can bring up a lot of feelings. Amidst all the talk of clean slates and resolutions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and, as a result, lose sight of how you actually want to make the next year different. For those of you who wish to enact change, but struggle to find and commit to a goal, an emotional, Pagan-inspired cleanse (no, not the questionable green juice kind) may be the right place to start. Think of it like a meditation ritual that helps you tune into what you really want to achieve — and gently clear out what might be preventing you from getting there.

And don't stress: This doesn't have to be a total life turnaround in a day. Cleansing rituals, specifically those inspired by Pagan traditions, are actually best done slowly, as they’re intended to create enduring change, as opposed to instantly gratifying results.

I spoke with Francesca De Grandis, a shamanic innovator and thought leader in Paganism, about how to implement a ritual that will help you kick off 2016 in the best way possible. Follow her simple steps to determine where to focus your efforts, and what you should leave behind before starting the new year. This ritual will leave you feeling prepared, centered, and, most importantly, free.

Click through to learn how to start 2018 with your best — and most balanced — foot forward.

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Figure out your goals
Don’t panic if you don’t know where to focus your cleanse right off the bat. De Grandis recommends scheduling a psychic reading, or meditating and drawing “on Divine Guidance directly.” Anything you can do to center yourself and get to a place where you can reflect on the past year is a great first step.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Uncover your blocks
“Whether your new year goals include romance, serenity, excitement, physical healing, or anything else,” De Grandis says, “it can help to examine yourself for an inner block to your goal.” In other words, make sure you’re completely ready to make a change for the better this year. De Grandis explains that many people struggle to affect improvements in their lives due to something internal, particularly low self-confidence, “self-defeating” beliefs, or, quite frequently, fear. She recommends locating and facing this inner block, and, before you can respond to it with shame, instead mend it with a simple affirmation such as, "May this block be healed by divine love." There’s no telling how much time it may take, but, once found, self-acceptance will seriously help you in your cleansing.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Open up, because cleansing starts within
With your inner blocks abated, you can continue in this inward-focused, meditative state, but with a new mantra. De Grandis suggests something along the lines of, "May I have clarity about my needs for the year ahead,” followed by several deep, natural breaths. Sit quietly, and maybe repeat this affirmation, until an idea comes to mind — something concrete about how you could enact change in the coming year. It could be a small change to your daily routine (like taking a walk in the middle of the workday or cutting down on screen time), or it could be a new project you take on (like journaling or a new exercise routine). If nothing comes up right away, “that’s okay,” De Grandis says, “because this little ritual opens up your intuitive connection to divine guidance, so the guidance might come later. Watch for it.”
Put it in writing.

If you find it difficult to focus, grab a pen and paper. Jotting down ideas as they come to you can help your thoughts flow. Don't worry about organization and definitely don't throw your brainstorming away when you're through. Refer to it as you continue to hone the goal of your cleanse. And be sure to keep a notepad or journal on hand in the following days, too, just in case further inspiration hits.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Turn your intention outward
Now you’re ready to put your cleanse, which began within, into practice. On the first day of your new routine or when you first begin your new project, start by breathing deeply and reciting, per De Grandis’s instructions, "All aspects of my life are made fresh and new." Don’t let this grandiose statement make you feel obligated to do something equally grand — your cleanse can be as simple as sorting and cleaning out your inbox. It’s the intention behind your actions that will make it grand, and, ultimately, more meaningful. Once you finish, breathe deeply once again and say, “So mote it be!” (Or, if you prefer a more modern verbiage, "So may it be!" works, too.) Again, even if you only journaled for five minutes, recognizing the change you’ve enacted in your own life with these recitations will help you stick to them.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Keep it simple
More than anything, don’t worry about tailoring your cleansing to one specific thing — “beginning a new year can feel overwhelming,” explains De Grandis, and “ritual simplicity makes it easier for you to magically empower your upcoming year.” That’s why the recitations she recommends can be as effective in a digital cleanse as in a more spiritual one, since all areas of your life are, in some way, connected. Over time, a cleansing or clearing out of one area will have a positive impact on the rest of your life.
Show More Comments...