Release Old Burdens for Spring

The Earth renews herself in spring and so can we. If you have a habit you want to release (like smoking, compulsive eating, or chronic complaining, for example), or if old emotions are weighing on you, the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air–and the power of your own focused intention–can help you to transform these burdens from the past so you can feel lighter and ready to begin anew.

These simple, effective rituals practiced by people from all around the world can help us to let go of our old issues. You can do any or all of these four simple elemental ceremonies. They have worked for thousands of years to help people feel free.

1. First, give some real time and thought to the things you want to release.

2. Now write them on one very small piece of biodegradable paper for every element you want to ask for help. (Really stuck stuff may need all four!)

3. Choose one or more of the following rituals. As you perform each one, be sure to ask the element for help and thank it when you are finished.


The all-embracing Earth takes everything back into herself, slowly transforming all things into the essential elements of which they are made. Bury your paper, marking the spot with a stone, if you like. When you see the stone, be reminded of the process going on underneath it. Earth is slowly helping your issues to transform.


Flowing Water is a wonderful purifier, cleansing and making things new. Take your paper to a river or stream and tear it into tiny pieces, then offer them to the water. If you donít have moving water nearby, you may flush the papers down the toilet. (Be sure your paper is really small!)


Lively Fire changes everything into itself with lots of lovely light and heat. Burn your paper in a safe receptacle (with proper ventilation and water nearby), watching as the transformative power of fire turns your paper into flame and smoke and ash.


The Air carries our intentions outward, bringing in new hope like a fresh breeze. Take your paper to a high place and tear it into tiny pieces, then release them into the air. Watch as they flutter and float downward.

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2001).

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