sage smudge sticks, feathers, and a dreamcatcher
Image by Debbie Walkingbird 

Many cultures have a ritualistic cleansing practice, often done with smoke or water, to help remove negative or stagnant energy. There are also numerous practices that point to the idea of grounding: connecting oneself to the body and the earth while calling upon divine energy for support. These rituals involve regularly removing what does not serve us and recommitting our entire being — and, specifically, our body — to the pure channeling of love and light.

Without these practices, things don’t flow the way they should. This creates a breeding ground for doubt. At best, we feel discomfort, which makes it hard to keep doing the work we need to do. At worst, stagnant energy hangs around us. We feel like we’re losing touch with reality; our doubt goes off the charts. This is an unfortunate state to be in and entirely unnecessary, at that. We’re better off if we prevent it altogether.

Staying Connected to the Positive

Choose a way to clean your space, your body, and any sacred objects you hold dear. If you want to cleanse with incense, go for it. If you want to burn sage or palo santo or some other raw plant, that’s fantastic. If you’re into holy water, or tap water with essential oils, or even water you’ve collected from your favorite forest stream, dot a little on your heart or your third eye (the seat of your intuition, located on your forehead between your brows), or perhaps pour a bit on your head or hands.

You can say a prayer while you do so, sing a song, recite a mantra, or empty your mind of all thoughts. Pay special attention to the parts of your physical or spiritual body that feel energetically significant — your heart, your hands, your third eye, and so on. What matters most is that you’re putting intention toward releasing what doesn’t serve.

Grounding for Protection

Grounding is about protection. It’s about staying present enough to guard our own house, and to ask our guides to join us in that. In most cases, we physically get low to the ground — think praying, sitting in meditation, and so forth — or at least bring attention to the lower parts of the body. Then we ask for help from something outside us.

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By reconnecting with the light, we remind ourselves of what our spirit is here to do — inhabit this body, for a time, and use that time wisely. We then allow divine energy to come through us, filling us up with positivity and replenishing our resources.

As with cleansing, there are many ways to go about grounding. If you feel connected to a cultural tradition that makes that happen, practice that. If you’re called to make up your own thing or to adapt a version of someone else’s teaching, that’s fine, too. How you protect yourself is your business; my only goal is to convince you to do so.

Turning Toward A Spiritual Life 

When I use words like cleanse, ground, and protect, I don’t want to give the impression that there’s something dirty or unsafe about spiritual lightwork, because I don’t believe that to be the case. Instead, we owe these rituals to ourselves and our Team as a sign of respect. We don’t allow anything to build up, any outside energies to cling to us.

We hold ourselves accountable by affirming, over and over again, what we’re here to do: to work with light while in a human body. Repeating these practices over and over is a necessary part of turning toward a spiritual life.

In summary: find your thing, pick your way, and do it regularly. I’m a stickler about that last part. As you practice cleansing and grounding, you will start to know when you need them. These rituals will become comforting; they will become your spiritual home base.

Two Foundational Practices to Cleanse and Ground 

You may have already identified the cleansing and grounding practices that are going to work best for you. If you are still curious, I offer my own. My cleansing practice is smudging with sage, and my grounding practice is an adapted visualization meditation that I call Bringing In the Light.


We’ll start with smudging. This is a technique developed in numerous Native American traditions that uses smoke to cleanse the air, which in turn can clear any energetic nastiness hanging on to people, animals, places, and the like. While the act largely mirrors similar incense- and smoke-cleansing methods from Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East, using white sage — my preferred plant for cleansing — is unique to the indigenous communities from the North American continent. White sage has a powerful and immediate effect.

To smudge, light the tip of a single dried leaf or the end of a smudge stick, putting your intention into the flame before blowing it out and allowing the plant to smolder. I love the smell; it immediately opens me up to Spirit.

Then, using a small bowl or other sacred item (I like using an abalone shell) to catch any burning pieces that might fall, wave a feather to direct the smoke around your space, clearing out everything that isn’t for your own highest good and that of others.

Move the smoke over your whole body, being sure to cleanse your hands, heart, and third eye. When you’re finished, you can allow the sage to burn out on its own in the bowl, or if it’s very well lit, consider putting it out in a little bit of sand or fresh soil.

Bringing In the Light

Bringing In the Light is a mini-meditation based on one I learned from my teacher Pat Longo. This grounding ritual helps us replenish our energy directly from the source. It offers us a protective energy boost while spreading universal Source energy throughout the world.

This practice is done seated with the palms facing up.

Start by saying, either internally or aloud, “Dear guides, with gratitude I ask that you fill my body and soul with your love and protection. Please ground my energy so that I may serve the greater good with a renewed vibration.”

Feel your body connected to the earth. See your own energy reaching down to the planet’s very core. Then imagine a bright beam of light coming from above and filling you with divine energy. If visualization comes easily to you, it’s possible that you will actually see this light in your mind’s eye. If you’ve never in your life been able to “see” things in your mind’s eye, don’t worry — just imagine it.

Allow the light to enter in through the top of your head, beaming down through your face, and allow some of it to expand outward through your ears, sending forth all the knowledge of the universe. Allow the light to continue descending through your throat, neck, chest, and shoulders; into your arms; and through your fingertips. Allow it to move down through your torso and belly and down your legs to come out your feet.

See the light connecting you directly to the floor (if you’re indoors) and the earth beneath it. Now, allow that light to ground you even further. Take a few breaths, feeling how the light grounds you. When you’re ready, open your eyes.

I encourage you to adapt this ritual for your own needs over time. You will likely learn to do it quickly, sometimes even imperceptibly, as needed. The more you do so, the more you’ll be able to recognize when your energy requires a slight adjustment to realign with Spirit.

Copyright 2022 by MaryAnn DiMarco. All Rights Reserved.
Printed with permission from the publisher, New World Library.

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Medium Mentor: 10 Powerful Techniques to Awaken Divine Guidance for Yourself and Others
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book cover of Medium Mentor by MaryAnn DiMarcoWritten by an experienced psychic medium and teacher, Medium Mentor will guide you to connect more deeply to your soul’s innate abilities and employ them to enhance your everyday life and serve others. Through true stories and expert tips, MaryAnn DiMarco reveals the magic, joy, and responsibility of developing psychic gifts and working with souls on the Other Side, as well as how to interpret the powerful energy you experience and establish boundaries.

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About the Author

photo of MaryAnn DiMarcoMaryAnn DiMarco is an internationally recognized psychic medium, healer, and spiritual teacher, her work has been featured in media outlets like The New York Times, The Dr. Oz Show, Women’s HealthElle, and Redbook. 

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