During every flu season and pandemic I am often asked if there is more we can do to stay healthy. The first thing is not to stress and destabilize your health and judgement. The best preventive measures are maintaining a healthy body and mind through mindful nutrition, exercise and meditation. Next action is wash your hands and stay home or wear a mask if your are sick. If you are like me you may just naturally have a face masks and essential oil hand sanitizer handy during work, flights or jaunts away from home. Next I might offer that you practice fire purification.
Fire has been used for environmental purifications for centuries. When medicinal herbs are offered into fire, there are several therapeutic effects on the environment and practitioner. Studies have scientifically validated the ethnopharmacological effects of performing fire ceremonies. Medicinal smoke emanated by burning a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs, reduces viruses and aerial bacteria. One study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed a 94% reduction in airborne bacteria with measurable reductions up to 30 days later. Medicinal smoke disinfects the air of viruses and bacteria such as Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonassyringae persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens.
Ayurveda is based on the knowledge that all matter is composed of the 5 elements earth (bhumi), water (jala), fire (agni), air (vayu) and space (akash). Fire purification procedures create balancing effects on these 5 bhutas and surrounding environmental forces. The same benefits extend to the person or people performing the healing operation. The therapeutic outcomes of a fire ceremony are amplified when combined with the sound energy of mantras, blessings or prayers.
A simple fire purification can be performed at anytime of the day. However the cleansing benefits are greater at sunrise and sunset according to many traditions. There are many procedures ranging simple to complex, but here are some tips on how to start.
- First determine if the fire will be indoors or outdoors, depending on size of fire and ventilation. I often choose my altar, fireplace or outdoor fire pit with a safe container such as a copper pot.
- Next choose what medicinal contributions and healing medicaments will be delivered to the fire. Here’s a list of some traditional and common substances that can be used.
- Black sesame
- Bhimseni kapoor
- Rose petals
- Sandalwood powder
- Lotus seeds
- Dry neem leaves or powder
- Rice or barley
An intention, prayer or mantra for wellness, healing and elemental balance can be recited as each item is offered into the fire. What you mentally offer to the fire should align with your deepest belief system to create strength in your intentions. There are hundreds of options depending on your religion and cultural practices. This link to the Mahamritunjaya mantra is for creating a field of protection from disease. This link is a mantra that prays for balance and auspiciousness in macrocosmic and microcosmic elements.
3. While the fire is burning visualize healing golden light surrounding you, your home and your community.
4. Visualize the golden healing light in your heart center purifying your body and thoughts and hold your palms out toward the fire and visualize all your actions and deeds being purified.
Stay healthy in body and mind friends.
Dr. Christie Smirl