When I was quite young and started playing around with an Ouija board, my dad would tell me to visualize white light around me or even, draw a circle of salt on the floor surrounding the area. He said this was a protective measure, and seeing as he had such little regard for the mess the salt made, I went with it. While my methods have evolved over the years, this was my first introduction to protecting myself while I practiced divination. I've found though that with this work, it's a lot more than just keeping "bad spirits" away, and it has much more to do with keeping my energy separate from those around me. So protection is good, but learning to close down is even better.
So first, what do I mean by "closing down"? Well, for us mystics, readers, intuitives and empaths, it's a way to shield ourselves from unwanted input when we're off the clock. Like when you go home from your day job, but your boss calls you up and asks you to check some report from earlier in the day. It's annoying like that, but not necessarily as obvious, which can lead to all kinds of other detrimental effects outside of mild annoyance.
To help illustrate the point, when I started very actively reading for others, I didn't have an opening or closing ritual. I just did the reading and went on with my day. But, for me, that created a real lack of distinction between when I'm reading and when I'm, say, doing the laundry. The doors were still open, the energy still present, and because of it, I was feeling way more than I should have been. I recall a period where I became very depressed and anxious and it finally occurred to me that I was unable to separate my feelings from those of anyone else around me. I also felt drained and hyper sensitive, which compounded the depression, especially energetically. Then one day it was like a light bulb went off and I said to myself, "I need to create separation between reading and everyday life" and that was when my opening and closing ritual was born. It's evolved a bit over the years, but the intention remains the same.
So if you do not have a solid closing ritual and are feeling the impacts of remaining open, here are a couple suggestions to help shield, protect, ground and close. Following that, I will provide my exact ritual which you can use/adapt to your liking, if you so wish.
1. Grounding: This can be done before, after, during a session or as needed. To ground, you can try simple visualizations to help you centre and connect to Earth. Standing barefoot and imagining yourself deeply rooted is one way; actually being out in nature is another, if it's possible. Grounding can also be done with the aid of certain crystals for example, jasper, black tourmaline or smoky quartz to name but a few. Himalayan sea salt is also wonderful and protective and I have this all over my house in various forms.
2. Visualization: The most common visualization that I've come across is imagining white light surrounding you. I do find it effective, but when I do this, I like to imagine that the white light is like a thick, impenetrable wall. It's still see through, but nothing's getting in!
3. Mantras: Simply stating a powerful mantra or affirmation will help to shut you down. It can be as simple as "I am closed". However you choose to state it, make sure you're stating it positively toward the intent. For example, rather than saying "I am no longer open" rephrase it to focus on what you desire i.e. "I am now closed."
4. Gestures: If you're out somewhere and feeling overwhelmed, but don't have the ability to speak an intention out-loud or zone out with a visualization, sometimes a simple gesture can cut through the energy and state your intent. To close my sessions, I perform a very easy movement with my hands that could likely go unnoticed if in a crowed. Take you left hand and hover it above your right hand creating a gap of space in between and then sharply move them away from each other back to their respective sides. It's kind of like an "I'm over it" movement.
5. Aura: During the time I was suffering some of the ill effects of remaining open, I had my aura read. During that session, I was told that my aura extended way to far out and because of this, I was picking up the impressions of everyone around me. This made walking in a room overwhelming because it was hard to distinguish someone else's sour mood from my own. The reader taught me a simple technique to bring my aura close in to me, and it's another gesture, but not nearly as subtle as the one described above. So, to bring your aura in and protect yourself from outside input, start with your arms extended out to either side. Then, slowly and as if there is pressure and tension, start bringing your arms toward one another, imagining that in the process you are tugging your aura close into your body. I promise this works!
Okay, so those were some quick and simple steps to help close down and protect your energy, but my ultimate suggestion is this: If you're reading for others, perform a specific opening ritual and then a specific closing ritual, to effectively put an end to the session and energy that manifested from it. Since I've incorporated this into my practice, I don't carry a reading or person around with me and actually, I tend to forget pretty quickly what it was I even told the person I was reading for.
Your rituals can look any way that make you comfortable. For me, I begin every session by focusing on my energy centres and picturing them opening for the purpose of receiving insight. Then I invite my guides, Higher Self and divine source forward, asking only for guidance from high spirit and for the highest good. I surround myself in a white wall of light and state that the session is open and I am ready to begin.
When the session is done, I close down each energy centre, imagining them dimming as I work through my body. I thank my guides, my Higher Self, the divine source and any other being that assisted in the session. I still imagine myself surrounded by a white wall of light and to finish, I state that the session is over and I am closed. The final step is the simple hand gesture I described above.
It only takes a few minutes to perform each ritual, so it's not a time consuming process. You could opt to remain in that state for longer, before you begin to read, if that is what feels good to you. For the ritual piece though, I suggest you feel it out and see what affirmations, mantras, gestures and visualizations work best. Each of us is different and our practices need to reflect that.
And as one last tip, in the event that you've tried some of the above methods and you're still feeling some residual build up of energy, you can always try the very effective method of shaking it off. If I find myself continuing to think about something, or there is an emotion that keeps cropping up, sometimes you gotta just give it a full body shake up. And yes, it is just as it sounds. Literally shake that shit off. Shake your arms, shake your legs, move your body from side to side and throw that energy around. This helps to break up some of those icky sticky feelings and create fresh energy to work with; like a reset! Quick disclaimer: We're not talking wild thrashing - just a solid shake - no one needs to hurt themselves with this one! Second quick disclaimer: This isn't a method I would use to try to dispel shadow energy. If you're dealing with some icky sticky feeling, but it's coming from within (not build up from readings and outside input), then that stuff needs to be confronted, acknowledged and dealt with. This is a whole other topic though, but I did just want to mention that for some things, there isn't a "fast fix". Sometimes we need to do some due diligence to know when a feeling can be visualized away, and when we need to dig a whole lot deeper than that.
So, those are my tried and true methods, but I'd also love to hear some of yours. If you have a favourite technique for protecting your energy, grounding your sessions or closing down, I'd love to hear them - leave a comment below and let's discuss!
Until next time...