A shamanic aura clearing is a sacred energy cleansing practice that aims to readjust energetic imbalances within the receiver. It involves using spiritual practices and medicinal plants, as well as channeling the power of plant spirits in order to rid one’s auric field of disturbances caused by exposure to invasive negative energies.
Your aura or auric field is the electromagnetic energy field that surrounds and penetrates your physical body. Scientific research and measuring techniques involving electrophotography, such as Kirlian photography, have been able to capture the phenomenon of electrical discharges around animate, as well as inanimate objects. While changes in the electromagnetic fields of things like rocks or furniture is minimal, living beings will show continuous change in their auric fields. To see these changes in yourself, you can take a Kirlian photo of yourself at different times (try before and after meditation), and you will be amazed at the different colors and radius of your aura.
The Importance of Clearing Your Aura in Shamanic Traditions
Many spiritual and shamanic traditions recognize the existence of an energy body and the layers of energy that comprise the auric field. These layers, along with the bodily layer, reflect our psycho-emotional, spiritual, and physical condition.
A person’s aura reflects their health and well-being. Someone who is healthy and possesses mental clarity, emotional stability, and well-developed spiritual energy will have a larger, brighter, and more protective auric field. On the flip side, someone who is physically unhealthy or unwell mentally, emotionally, or psychologically will have a weaker, dimmer auric field.
In the shamanic world, which is filled with spirits and non-embodied entities of both positive and negative intent, the strength of one’s auric field will help fend off spiritual attacks, and make them less susceptible to intrusions by negative or parasitic entities.
Your energy body also shapeshifts and travels during a shamanic journey. If you have a clear, vibrant energy body developed by spiritual practice, meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet, you will have an easier time navigating interdimensional travel, as well as engaging with other spiritual entities as an independent emanation of clear consciousness. If your energy body isn’t strong and vibrant, your consciousness may fragment more easily as you navigate interdimensional realms, resulting in unclear visions and communications with other entities.
How Your Aura Becomes Fragmented
Many shamanic traditions recognize that adverse events and circumstances can cause one’s psychological, emotional, and physical well-being to experience trauma, and one’s energy body to lose vitality. Even after physical recovery and the passage of time, if the person still feels energetically depleted, and “not wholly themselves,” from a shamanic perspective, the person has experienced “soul loss.” Soul loss happens when a fragment of the person’s soul splits off in response to trauma, illness, tragedy, or emotional distress, leaving the individual feeling energetically incomplete.
From an auric perspective, this “soul loss” might be reflected by a gap or hole in one’s auric field. Some shamanic traditions have spiritual practices oriented towards mending the fragmented soul and the auric field. In neoshamanic terms, this practice is commonly referred to as “soul retrieval.” However, the practices and rituals that repair the energy body vary widely between traditions; many have been practiced for hundreds of years and may be known by different names.
Shamanic Consequences of Blocked or Fragmented Auras
Shamanic traditions have a holistic view of health, and many maintain that disease first emerges as imbalances, blockages, or gaps in the energy body. If these energetic blocks, imbalances, or gaps persist, this disequilibrium may eventually become expressed as physical disease. Clearing these blockages, and sealing the gaps in the aura, can restore the balance of the energy body.
While plant medicine ceremonies can be helpful in clearing energy blocks, especially through the purging process, having holes in your auric field can also pose some spiritual risks in ceremony.
If your auric field is weak or has holes in it, negative entities can attach themselves to you as you navigate interdimensional realms. A malevolent entity may be purged out by one individual in a ceremony, only to attach itself to another participant, through gaps in their auric field. A weak auric field increases the chance of picking up parasitic hitchhikers that can follow back to your waking life and home. This is a known phenomenon in the ayahuasca world, where people who traveled to South America to experience ayahuasca retreats, have brought entities back home to North America and Europe. This phenomenon puts the person in the position of having to utilize shamanic techniques to clear their space, or seek a shamanic professional to perform entity extraction.
Malevolent entity attachments are believed to trigger a wide range of problems – from sickness, through bad luck, to recurring interpersonal dramas – as these parasitic spirits feed off their host’s negative emotions and thoughts. For this reason, when engaged in shamanic work of any kind, it’s important to take care of your energy body, and make sure your aura is as clear and vibrant going into a ceremony, as well as that it’s cleared when you leave. This way you can ensure that you haven’t picked up someone else’s emotional weight (as well as the entities associated with it) during the ritual.
While it may be easy to say that it’s just a figment of the person’s imagination; for that individual, the presence of another intrusive consciousness lurking around their physical space might feel very real, and very distressing.
How Ayahuasca Clears Your Energy Body
Ayahuasca can clear a lot of negative energy and blockages on its own, through its ability to elicit purging (or getting well, in shamanic terms). Even negative beliefs and stories, which often arise from past traumas, especially childhood traumas, can be cleared in an ayahuasca ceremony. Ancestral and family traumas also create an imprint on your emotional body, by leaving an emotional wound that affects how you see the world, relate to others, and perform in life. These traumas can potentially be cleared through plant medicines like ayahuasca.
Mariri, mariri, mariri…
The icaro being sung weaved its way into my mind, into my body, descending into my abdomen, and snaking its way into my intestines, as the ayahuasca worked her way through my body. As the mareación took hold, I felt a rising sense of nausea, which I struggled against. I crouched over and clutched my bucket, wanting to throw up, but lingered on the threshold of nausea.
Let the medicine do its work, I told myself. Relax and let her take out all which no longer serves me. Allow her to find it, wherever it may be hiding in the depths of my being. After all, that’s what I’m here for.
I became aware of a pattern I had, a toxic pattern of overwork, and that my relentless work drive was a form of violence against myself, that came from a story around love. I had a belief, passed through my family, that my value was intrinsically tied to how I performed and what I achieved, whether it was grades in school, or economic output.
That if I didn’t somehow prove myself worthy, through external success, recognition, income, website traffic… that I would not be worthy of love, let alone life.
It was tied to how I showed up in my world, relentless work drive, endless launches and exhaustion. And that all of this was damaging my health and my vitality, the long hours sitting in front of a screen, and how my body hated it. My body was starting to protest by showing signs of persistent inflammation.
“But what other way is there?” I asked myself. “I have to do these things to succeed! To have my business succeed! To pay my staff, cover my operating overhead. I don’t see any other way.”
“Are you ready to let go of this story?” Ayahuasca asked me.
“I’m not sure.” I replied. “Would this mean I’d have to shut down my business?” Or is it possible to succeed without killing myself in the process?”
The purge wouldn’t come.
Mariri, mariri, mariri.
More tendrils snaking deep into my soul, tightening their grasp around something lodged deep in the darkness my soul.
“OK. If I carry on like this, this story, that I must succeed or kill myself trying… this story will kill me. What would it be like to trust, that I can give up this story, and still achieve my goals?”
I finally surrendered to the icaro and to the ayahuasca. I heaved into the bucket a deep and violent purge.
Something dark, sad, and tragic came out. So much pain, so much suffering, the frustration of being trapped and imprisoned, rejected, and with no control over one’s life.
It was the spirit of my 4th aunt, who died a week prior to the ayahuasca retreat. She choked to death in the mental asylum in Taiwan where she had been locked up for 40 years.
I saw how her imprisonment by my grandfather into the mental asylum had affected the entire family. How it affected me, because she was my favorite aunt when I was a little girl. She was an artist. She was a hippie. She had musician friends who played the guitar. Not so different from the people in my medicine community, the world I live in.
My mother told me that 4th auntie “heard voices.” Perhaps she had intuitive shamanic gifts that could not be cultivated or integrated in an empowering way. Perhaps she had schizophrenia and needed medication. Perhaps she didn’t toe the line of what it meant to be a “good Chinese daughter” in a mercantile family. I will probably never really know.
But there were no psychiatric services in Taiwan, and a prevailing belief that needing a therapist meant you were crazy. So the family chose to lock her up, rather than find the support she needed to be in society, living as a free individual, working through her problems with the support of a psychotherapist.
As I purged her out, she turned into a bird, and flew away, into the light. As she did so, she turned back for a moment and she said to me,
“Tell your mother I love her and I’m happy to be free.”
~ Lorna Liana
While ayahuasca can clear out blocked, or toxic energies and beliefs, it’s not as effective with repairing holes in the auric field. This is what the icaros do…
How Ayahuasca Icaros Repair Your Energy Body
The icaros are a kind of embodied and melodious prayer that are empowered by the spirits of plants (devas), nature beings, deities, ancestors and archetypal energies in the attempt to weave an energetic container, open doorways to the inner worlds and create pathways/maps for those journeying within…
When we sing the Icaro, we are weaving an energetic design or blueprint into the subtle etheric bodies of the receiver – the spirit being in question then uses that design as a pathway to travel on to do its work. These song designs also act as keys to certain inner landscapes, worlds, and mysteries as well as vehicles for the participant to travel on.
~ Skye Cielita Flor
In the Shipibo tradition, curanderos (healers) who administer ayahuasca and other plant medicines will sing icaros throughout the night. By using music to influence your energetic frequency and vibration, the icaros are help repairing and strengthen your energy body, in addition to opening up pathways for journeying.
There are numerous categories of Shipibo icaros. One important type of icaro is called an “Arkana,” which confers powerful energetic protection. At Soltara, a Costa Rica ayahuasca retreat center which works with Shipibo maestros (master healers), in the last ceremony of the retreat I and the other retreat participants received Arkana icaros, whereby the Arkana was placed on the crown of our heads. The Arkanas we received were selected based on what the Maestro’s intuited each individual most needed, after having led four ayahuasca ceremonies.
Essentially the Icaro weaves a design into the energy body of the receiver that is then used to seal in the essence of the healing and plants you have received during your treatment or dieta. This design stays in the energy for some time and serves as a kind of shield from influences that may upset the integration of the healing that has been received once leaving the presence of the ceremonial space/curandero care.
~ Skye Cielita Flor
Because the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition is oriented towards “doctoring” — deep healing using plant medicines (as opposed to communal prayer ceremonies with all night singing practiced in Brazilian churches) — icaros repair the energy body in a targeted way that medicine circle songs do not. Medicine circle songs indeed do raise the frequency of the group, and carry their own transmissions, but this is not the same as having an icaro sung by a Master healer, specifically to seal the essence of the plant medicines you received into your own energy body.
How to Clear & Energize Your Aura Before & After Ayahuasca Ceremony
Many ancient wisdom traditions have practices that are meant to cleanse and invigorate the energy body. Practices like yoga, meditation, breathwork, prayer, chanting, sweat lodge, and others have a purifying, nurturing, and expanding effect on one’s auric field.
In the world of plant medicine shamanism, some of the energy clearing practices you may encounter offered before or after ceremonies include:
In South America, flower baths (baños florales, baños de limpieza, baños de florecimiento) are a shamanic healing and energy cleansing practice used from the high Andes to the Amazon basin. Flower baths are used to wash away unhelpful spirits, clear negative thoughts and emotions, and purify the mind and body. This ultimately serves to cleanse your energy body, so that energetic and spiritual blockages are removed, and that the energy of the universe can enter to correct the imbalance. Floral baths may also be used to help bring down a strong “mareación” (the effect of ayahuasca).
In ayahuasca culture, depending on the tradition and lineage, flower baths may be offered before or after a plant medicine ceremony. Anyone participating in the ceremony, including the healers and ceremony helpers, will be expected to take a flower bath to be purified before the ritual. Flower baths may also be used on their own, for shamanic healing and energy cleansing purposes.
Image Credit: Flower bath preparation at Soltara Ayahuasca Retreat Center in Costa Rica
The shaman prepares the flower bath by filling a tub or bucket with water and medicinal plants, such as like mocura, ajo sacha, rosa sisa, chiric sanango, piri piri, or any other plant medicine needed for the patient’s healing. Agua florida may also be added for perfume.
Recipients of a flower bath are asked to approach the ritual with intention and reverence, in order to receive the most spiritual benefit from the medicinal plants in the bath. The water is then poured over the recipient’s body and allowed to air dry, so that the leaves and flowers of the medicinal plants are not washed off, and the essential oils remain intact, sealing in protection and healing.
Ideally the floral bath is taken by the banks of a stream, river, or other body of water, so that the water carries away the negativity to the sea.
Temazcal / sweat lodge
Another spiritual purification and energy cleansing ritual commonly offered before ayahuasca ceremony is temazcal or sweat lodge. A sweat lodge, or inipi of the Lakotas, is typically a low, dome-shaped hut made with natural materials, with willow or birch branches serving as the frame. Inside is a firepit, where hot stones are placed, upon which cedar, sage, or sweetgrass is burned and water is poured to create the steam that carries the prayers and purifies the spirit.
Temazcal is the Mesoamerican version of a sweat lodge, and a purification practice dating back to the Aztec and Olmec civilizations. In ancient Mesoamerica, temazcal was a curative ceremony believed to purify the body after exertion such as a battle or a ceremonial ball game. Temazcal was also used for healing the sick, improving health, and for women giving birth.
The significance of entering a sweat lodge or temazcal is much like returning to the womb of Mother Earth, from which we all came to pray for healing and guidance. The use of temazcal and sweat lodges has expanded and been adopted around the world (not without controversy), for physical and spiritual healing, energetic cleansing and purification, and prayer.
In South American indigenous traditions, curanderos may burn tobacco, copal resin, or palo santo, using the smoke to create a bridge between this reality and higher spirit realms. The smoke is fanned over a person and/or throughout the area in need of cleansing using a hand or a feather (eagle feathers are especially valued for these rituals). The purpose of this is to purify the energy body, and, if used to purify a room, create a safe, sacred space in which clinging negative energies can be dispelled.
This technique, also called smudging, allows good spirits to come and bad (or “stuck”) ones to leave. Smoke is also used in spiritual practices worldwide as a mediator between the human and the divine: frankincense is burned by Christians, various kinds of incense by Buddhists and Hindus, and bukhoor by Muslims.
What’s also interesting about smudging is that, according to Native American belief, it incorporates natural elements into the ritual, honoring them and invoking their power. The bowl used to store the herbs represents water; the herbs/resins represent the earth; the fanning of the smoke represents air; and the actual burning of the plants represents fire.
Mapacho is the South American name for Nicotiana rustica, a potent variety of tobacco with a much higher nicotine content than Nicotiana tabacum, the tobacco commonly used in commercial cigarettes. It is one of the oldest plant medicines in the world, used ceremonially for purification, healing and prayer by indigenous peoples of the Americas since ancient times.
Mapacho may be used in a number of ways; aside from smoking it, it can be insufflated as powdered snuff or liquid, drunk in liquid form as a potion, used in herbal baths, or as a standalone soaking agent. When mapacho is smoked, however, the smoke is blown onto oneself or over another individual for protection, purification, healing, or as a blessing. It is not inhaled in the way that Nicotiana tabacum is, in cigarettes.
Mapacho is used for grounding and protection, to cleanse the energy body, and for purification. It is detoxifying, antiparasitic, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial. When taken as a tea or insufflated through the nostrils, it can have a laxative effect as well as elicit purging. The effects of mapacho are both grounding and energizing.
In Colombian-style ayahuasca ceremonies, you may be offered liquid tobacco to take through each nostril at the beginning of the ceremony, before ayahuasca is offered, for strength and purification of the physical and energetic body. In Peruvian-style ayahuasca ceremonies, mapacho cigarettes may be offered for you to smoke if you wish to ground yourself during a strong mareación, if you feel you need spiritual protection, to cleanse negative emotions and energies, or simply to connect with tobacco as a Master Plant teacher and receive its guidance.
In more Brazilian-style ceremonies, tobacco snuff (called rapé), may be offered at some point in the middle of an ayahuasca ceremony. However, ceremony participants often partake in rapé before, during, and after, individually.
How Do You Know If You Need an Aura Clearing?
Many ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats will have some type of shamanic cleansing ritual for participants before the ceremony begins. If you are going to a local ceremony, you will most likely be smudged, at the very least. If you feel like you need more than just pre-ceremony smudging, any of the shamanic cleansing techniques outlined above will be useful. But, how can you recognize that you’re in need of a deeper aura clearing?
Prior to Ceremony
To minimize shamanic risks if your energy body feels depleted or fragmented, it’s a good idea to do some energy clearing if:
- You are emerging from a particularly challenging or traumatic part of your life
- You found yourself in a recent emotional drama with family, friends, at work (or with strangers online!) that left you feeling depleted, energetically frazzled due to the energetic intensity or toxicity
- You had to travel through a bad part of town to get to the ceremony location
- You partied with other recreational drugs or alcohol in a more hedonistic environment and lower energetic vibration than the ceremony you will be entering
During the ceremony, you and everyone else might go through deep emotional processes and physical purging. You can always clear your own aura using any of the above practices or ask that a shaman, facilitator or ceremony assistant do a “limpieza” or “limpia” (energy clearing) for you. Consider doing this if:
- Your neighbor in an ayahuasca ceremony is going through a deep, potent, and dramatic purge, and it feels as though some of the energy rubbed off on you
- You found yourself attacked or intruded upon by negative entities during the ceremony, and you are uncertain whether the medicine helped you clear them all
- You found yourself purging a long-buried past trauma, reliving difficult emotions, and you are astonished at how deep and pervasive its residual effects have been throughout your life
Additional energy clearing after ceremony can often be overlooked, especially because the afterglow of the ayahuasca is often very elevating. Here are some reasons to consider an additional shamanic cleansing during or after the ceremony as part of your integration process:
- You found yourself in an emotional drama with family, friends, at work (or with strangers online!) after the ceremony, that discernibly impacted the ceremony afterglow and lowered your energetic vibration
- You are still processing emotional turmoil triggered by the release of a past trauma during ceremony
- You sense that you picked up someone else’s negative stuff, or entities, from the ceremony you were in, especially if it wasn’t well-facilitated
Final Thoughts About Shamanic Aura Clearing
It’s important to be sensitive enough to acknowledge when your energetic body is in need of readjustment, and then act on it. Shamanic aura clearing can expedite the process of healing and shorten down-phases in life, adding vitality and reducing chances of physiological illness.
Just like medicine is there to treat the physical body, spiritual disciplines are there to ensure the healthy functioning of the energy body. However, these two are really codependent—neglecting either can endanger the other, so it’s important to take care of both!