7 Rituals For Letting Go Of The Past

Ritual spread

Are you constantly thinking about something hurtful that someone once said to you? Or are you holding on to painful memories from an old relationship that ended badly? Refusing to let go of negative thoughts like these can make you feel like you are stuck in a rut and unable to move on. They also prevent you from taking back control of your own life.

The art of letting go can be a tricky skill to master if you are used to clinging on to negative experiences. However, many simple rituals can help you to break this cycle and focus on the next chapter in your life.

How rituals can help you in letting go?

The feelings that follow hardship are usually intense and consist of negative emotions such as worry, anger, or fear. However, rituals encourage you to enter a calm state of mind which makes letting go easier.

The first step in the process is always acknowledgment; what is it that’s holding you back? Once you know this, then the act of performing a simple ritual can really go a long way towards helping you cut ties to the past and look to the future.

7 powerful rituals for letting go of the past

Here are seven rituals you can use to help you let go of the past:

1. Burning ritual for letting go

Burning ritual

Burning rituals are commonly performed on New Year’s Eve or other meaningful holidays, as a way to release something that no longer benefits you. They are particularly common amongst Shamanistic cultures and numerous other indigenous groups around the world. During these rituals, the smoke symbolizes the negative thoughts and feelings drifting away, and also carries positive affirmations and prayers to the higher spirits so that they may be fulfilled.

Here are the steps to perform a burning ritual:

Step 1: To carry out a burning ritual, you first need to bring to mind the thing that you want to be rid of.

Step 2: Write down what’s on your mind on a piece of paper. You must remain calm during this process as strong emotions can lessen the effect of the ritual.

Step 3: You then need to throw the piece of paper into the flame or burn it using a lit candle, and imagine your worries and fears being carried away in the smoke.

2. Mantra meditation for letting go

Letting go mantras

The practice of meditation has been used for centuries to calm the mind and gain focus, so it is an extremely effective way to rid yourself of negative emotions surrounding past hardships.

Adding simple mantras to your regular meditations can increase the benefits further, as research has found that stating your worries makes it easier to release them.

Here’s how to do a mantra meditation for letting go:

Sit in a comfortable upright position, close your eyes, and focus on taking deep breaths. When you feel ready, state your chosen mantra over and over again in an affirmative voice to focus your intent. There are literally hundreds of mantras to choose from, or you can make up your own – but remember that simple is always better!

3. Moon ritual for letting go

Waning moon

The moon is an ancient symbol that has been revered since the very first humans walked the earth, making it a powerful aid to help you release fears and worries. You will ideally want to work your letting go ritual during the waning moon as this symbolizes inner reflection, optimism, and new opportunities. However, it can also be performed on the new moon which represents new beginnings.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Carry a bowl of water outside (or near a window if it’s too cold to be outside) and place it in front of you. The water will act as a conduit for your intent and also symbolizes the ebb and flow of emotions.

Step 2: Light three white candles and place them evenly around the bowl and place a black crystal inside the bowl such as Tourmaline, Onyx, or Obsidian, to represent banishment and protection.

Step 3: Take a piece of paper and write down everything you want to get rid of and cut it up into small pieces, before placing them all in the bowl.

Step 4: Now it’s time for your invocation or mantra! State what you want to get rid of out loud and ask your guides for assistance – the stronger your intent, the more power you will add to the ritual. Something like:

I am ready to let go of what no longer serves me. I ask that the universe supports me to embrace new beginnings and move on with my life.

Step 5: Once you are done, find a secluded spot outdoors, such as a private garden or country park, and tip the water and paper out onto the ground. You can even bury the paper in the earth if this feels right to you.

4. Smudging ritual for letting go

Palo Santo smudge

Smudging is an ancient practice that has been used by Native American and indigenous cultures for centuries to clear away negative energies and invite peace and harmony. The most popular herb used in this ritual is white sage because of its’ intense purifying properties. Research has found that white sage can also clear up to 94% of bacteria in a room for 24-48 hours when burned, which makes it a great herb to cleanse your space if you have been feeling under the weather too.

As with the other letting go rituals mentioned above, it is important to state your intentions when smudging. Firstly, you will need to open a few windows in your home. Then simply light a bundle or sprig of white sage (ensure you use a bowl if you are indoors so the embers do not fall onto the carpet) and visualize your worries and negative thoughts being carried away by the smoke.

If you are not keen on the aroma of white sage, there are several other herbs that you can try including cedar, sweetgrass, and copal.

5. Using crystals for letting go

Rose quartz

Crystals come in many forms and colors, all with their own unique properties, so it’s no surprise that there are several varieties which can help you let go of negative feelings connected with your past. Let’s run through some of the more popular crystals now:

1. Rose quartz: Rose quartz is a crystal of unconditional love and is renowned for its powerful healing properties. Wearing rose quartz around your neck or carrying a tumble stone around with you, can help you let go of negative emotions, learn the art of forgiveness, and assist you on the path to self-love and trust.

2. Citrine: Citrine is a wonderful crystal to raise your self-esteem and build your confidence after a traumatic or difficult period. Its stunning yellow coloration acts as a reminder to live life with a positive attitude and let go of the past, just as the sunrise represents the start of a new day. This crystal is also one of the best crystals for temper issues.

3. Aragonite: Aragonite is a powerful grounding stone, making it a very beneficial stone to have if you are prone to mood swings, as it helps to balance emotions and relieve stress. Aragonite is a great aid to any meditation practice because it helps to calm the mind and promotes inner peace.

6. Shaking ritual for letting go

All mammals shake; you have probably witnessed a dog getting up and shaking off before moving onto another activity on numerous occasions! Humans also shake when our fight or flight response is activated. Known as TRE (trauma releasing exercises), active shaking can be an excellent form of stress management as the vibrations involved can literally release negative energy and relax your muscles.

There is no right or wrong way to shake but the best way is to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, soften your knees, and relax your shoulders, then shake for 5-15 minutes – that’s it! This ritual is especially beneficial if you struggle to sit still and perform the more traditional forms of relaxation such as meditation.

Here’s a video demonstrating a shaking ritual:

7. Cord-cutting ritual for letting go

Cord-cutting rituals are the perfect choice if you have just suffered a breakup or have been betrayed by someone in your life. It is also very effective at releasing you from harmful addictions or traumatic memories. The cord in this ritual, represents the invisible emotional connection that exists between you and the thing or person you are trying to cut out of your life.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: To perform this ritual, you will need a piece of black string, yarn or cord (if you don’t have black, then you can just use the darkest color you do have). You will also need a photo of yourself and one of the person or thing you are wanting to cut ties with. Alternatively, you can simply write your names down on separate pieces of paper.

Step 2: Next, you will need to roll up each piece of paper and tie them onto the opposite ends of your cord. At this stage, it is very important that you visualize the connection and see it in your mind’s eye.

Step 3: When you feel ready, you can cut the cord with a pair of scissors and sense the emotional connection fade away. You can also use a candle to burn the cord in half as fire represents the healing process.


We are all guilty of finding it difficult to let go of past mistakes or traumatic experiences. However, sometimes we just need to step back and re-evaluate what is important and what we can let go of. Adding one of these rituals (or one of your own) to your daily routine can really help you to relax your mind, re-centre yourself, and learn the art of self-love.

The most important aspect in every letting go ritual is the intent. You must believe that you are ready to let go of the feelings that are holding you back, in order to move forward.

As much as we like to believe it, we cannot control everything that happens in our lives; the most important thing is understanding that you are enough, just the way you are.

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About the Author
Carla is a writer, author and a practicing Wiccan for the last twenty years and loves anything to do with nature and spirituality! She lives in Cambridge UK, with her two daughters and husband. When she is not working she has a special interest in creative writing, with two novels in progress.
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