Updated: Jul 27
Looking for a beautiful cleansing ceremony to release what you no longer need? A burning bowl ceremony could be for you.
A burning bowl ceremony is a simple and powerful way to release everything that no longer serves you using the element of fire to cleanse the soul.
Here, Vanessa Rivero, a health coach and yoga teacher, explains how she uses this ritual, with tips for practising at home.
What is a burning bowl ceremony?
This is a ritual that's close to my heart. I’ve been practising the burning bowl ceremony since I was a child. We did this as a family every year during Winter Solstice, which is one of the most powerful days of the year.
My mother would cook, light candles, decorate the house, and prepare everything for the ritual. The burning bowl ceremony always happened after dinner, at around 8pm. We'd sit down in a circle with the fire in the centre and write down all of the things that we no longer wanted in our lives on pieces of paper. We'd then place these pieces of paper on the fire.
I remember feeling powerful and free because I knew the fire was burning all of my negative thoughts. It made me realise that I was ready to continue my life without them.
I believe this ritual is not only something symbolic and magical, but also therapeutic because it's a physical representation of you burning what no longer serves you. You can replace it with whatever you want to manifest in your life.
Whether you're a spiritual being, or just looking for fun ways to move on from negativity, I promise you will find relief from this ritual.
How to prepare for a burning bowl ceremony
Gather your materials
A fireproof pot or bowl that can resist high temperatures
Create a beautiful space
Before you start, make sure your house or sacred space is clean. We want to create the right environment for our intention to be fulfilled during the ceremony.
Make sure your space represents your goal too. For example, you can’t say you want to let go of habits if you’re constantly holding up to material things you’re not even using. Or, you can’t say you want more clarity in your life if your space is cluttered and nothing is in its place.
At home, we all used to help with the deep cleaning of the house - even our closets.
Get yourself ready
Just like your home, you also need to clean yourself before the ritual. It’s considered a sign of purity and represents that you're ready and willing to let go and receive.
Prepare your meals
I believe it's important to cook something not only for yourself but for your family, friends, and complete strangers (keeping socially distant and safe) too. It brings good karma, inspires others to join the celebration, and fills your soul with gratitude.
Cook with the intention of filling your life and heart with love, abundance, compassion, and happiness. Sharing it with others is an unmeasurable act of love. What we give is what we receive.
Choose the perfect place
Every house has its heart and centre from where the energy flows the most. The heart of the house can be found by intuition only. It's important to take a moment to meditate or walk around the house and feel the energy.
Look for a room that is alive and flowing with energy and memories. It’s normally the room where you're more drawn to spend time in. We're looking for this space because the energy of the burning bowl will flow more easily from the centre to the extremities of the house.
If you have to practice outside, or it's impossible to do it in the heart of the house, open your windows so the energy of your ceremony can bless your home.
How to have a burning bowl ceremony
Once your preparation is complete, you're ready to get started with the ceremony.
Place all of your materials either on the floor, mat, or blanket you normally use for ceremonies.
Light a candle to represent the beginning of the practice. Begin to write down old habits and thoughts that are no longer serving you. These might be fear, anger, drinking too much alcohol, or snapping at people, for example.
Spend time writing and meditating on this. Once you feel complete, say out loud or in your head: “Today, I release what I no longer want in my life. May the fire element cleanse my soul, mind, house, and life. May the negativity in this list be burned and purified.”
Take the paper and use your candle to burn it. Place it in a fireproof bowl that can resist high temperatures. Keep some water nearby in case the flames get out of hand (we always want to stay safe). Stare at the fire while it burns the list, letting the smoke take the list away from you.
Once your list has finished burning, write a new list with the things that you're manifesting in your life. What can you bring into space that you've just have created? Once you complete your list, meditate on how achieving these goals will make you feel. Picture yourself accomplishing them. Where will you be? How will you know you have accomplished it? How will you feel? Who will be there with you? Create a clear picture in your head and even journal about it.
To end the ceremony, show your gratitude to the fire element and your higher self. Close with a small mantra, quote, or prayer that resonates with who you are and who you want to be. Open your eyes to see the new you.
Extra additions for your ceremony
Add flowers to your ceremony to offer them to the fire
Drink cacao to open your heart
Meditate and practice candle gazing
Have your tarot cards nearby for readings
Practice with your family
Please take care when practising with fire at home. Do so only in a safe and controlled manner that will not endanger you, others, or the surrounding environment.
Vanessa is based in Florida and has a BSc in Applied Psychology, with four years of experience in the field. She's also a yoga teacher and is currently transitioning to helping others through yoga, ayurveda, and health coaching techniques to bring a holistic approach to a person's health.
Vanessa encourages people to get to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms. She's passionate about how stress can influence both our bodies and minds, and specialises in stress management, helping clients return to their natural state of well being by listening to their bodies.
Read more articles like this