Shed Old Burdens: A Ceremony of Letting Go

The old year is only just over: it’s the perfect time to do a
little ceremonial letting-go of the disappointments or burdens of
the past so we can enter the New Year lightly and with hope.

Nearly every spiritual tradition on the planet has practiced this
technique, for millennia, and with meaningful results.

Find out the simple, easy steps for this ancient and very powerful releasing ceremony:

Who knew something so simple could be so effective and liberating? But it is. There’s just nothing more powerful than watching your unwanted “stuff” going up in flames.

1. First, find a well-ventilated place where it’s safe to burn things, and a non-flammable container. If you don’t have a fire-pit, an outdoor barbecue grill works well. Apartment-dwellers can use an ashtray placed underneath the stove-fan. Be sure to have water nearby just in case things get out of control.

2. Give this some thought, then write on a small piece of paper whatever it is you most passionately want to burn out of your life. (Examples: bad habits, like cigarette-smoking, self-destructive obsessions, distressing behaviors or memories, or a quality–like insecurity or self-doubt–that you’d like to be free of.) Now crumple the paper, or use both hands to figuratively wring its neck. (This feels very satisfying.)

3. Light a match and–focusing on your desire to be free of this thing–light a corner of your paper. Place the paper in the container and give your issue up to the fire. Watch the smoke rising, the paper burning to ash, and allow yourself to feel lighter. As you enjoy the flames’ bright beauty, imagine your life feeling different, once this has gone out of your life.

4. Compost the cooled ashes or give them to a houseplant as fertilizer. Making a conscious effort to change can truly help things grow.

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (Skylight Paths, 2003).


Elena T.
Elena P3 years ago

Thank you :)

LMj Sunshine
LMj Recovering S3 years ago

Works for me, thank you!

LMj Sunshine
LMj Recovering S3 years ago

Works for me, thank you!

LMj Sunshine
LMj Recovering S3 years ago

Works for me, thank you!

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kamryn M.
Kay M4 years ago

like this idea!

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Janine F.
Janine F6 years ago


gail d.
gail dair6 years ago


Donna B.
Donna B6 years ago

I have heard of a ritual similar to this, it would probably be very effective psychologically.