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Clear the Decks! -- 5 Ways to Release Old Programs

You might say that clearing old programs – from ourselves, our surroundings, and our shared cultural consciousness – is one of the primary aims of a magical practitioner. By “old program,” I mean, of course, a pattern that is imprinted in the ether, like a virus wreaking havoc on your computer, or an annoying song running through your head, distracting you from living your life to the fullest. Because in truth, we are one with All That Is. We are clear, sparkling water tumbling and dancing along with the cosmic wave of being. When we work magic from this truth, we are in full co-creation with the Universe. We are surfing the wave of our true, organic life force – of the Truth of Who We Are. On the other hand, old programs that no longer serve us are like confusing diversions that siphon off power from, and obstruct the path of, our fullest, most ideal magical flow.

And even though I’m pretty much always a clearing enthusiast, I’m feeling called to clear at an almost uncomfortably rapid rate lately. Are you feeling it too? Like a constant tension, bringing all kinds of stuff into the forefront of your consciousness in order for you to look at it and then release/reprogram it? And by “all kinds of stuff,” I mean stuff like:

  • Formerly unconscious culturally ingrained beliefs and habits (such as weirdness around food, sex, and body image)

  • Habits that are out of integrity, or just distracting (such as gratuitous gossiping or excessive TV watching)

  • Formerly unnoticed beliefs that shape your experience (such as “You can’t have money and do what you love,” or “Why does this always happen to me?”)

  • Past life vows or past life hurts (such as a vow of poverty or a fear stemming from an unhealed trauma)

  • Unhealthy relationship dynamics (such as codependency or guilt tripping)

  • Habitual stress and tension (such as overreacting or holding stress in your shoulders)

  • Etc.

I’m not an expert on astrology, but I’m thinking that so many of us are feeling this acute awareness of all these old programs – all this stuff we want to let go of – because of this grand cross thingthat’s currently coming to a head, now and through May 15th.

So with all of this in mind, I thought it might be helpful – for me, you, and all of us – to look at a number of ways that we can clear old programs: from ourselves and, in the process, our cultural consciousness, or what the Toltecs call the “dream of the planet.” (Because we are a mirror and a microcosm: when we evolve, the world evolves. And when we liberate ourselves, the world becomes more liberated.) You’ve probably heard of most or all of these before, but for inspirational purposes, I still thought it’d be cool to assemble specifics about them all in one place. Once you’ve identified that which you’d like to clear, try the techniques you’re drawn to and find what works for you.

1. Calling on Helpers

Depending on your preference, there are a number of helpers that would be excellent allies for clearing and reprogramming purposes. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Brighid

  • Isis

  • Lugh

  • Maeve

  • Archangel Metatron

  • Archangel Michael

  • Quan Yin

Try lighting a candle and incense in honor of one of these helpers, or just try a simple invocation. You might also request help from one of these beings before engaging in any of the practices below.

2. Past Life Regression

Of course, if you know of a past life healer that you’d like to visit to help you unravel and release past life programs, that can be great. Personally, I love doing past life regression meditations on my own, with the help of Denise Linn’s excellent guided meditation on her Past Lives and Beyond CD.

3. Tapping

Have you heard of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), AKA “tapping”? Somewhat like acupuncture, it’s a self-healing technique that moves energy through your body by getting your feelings flowing and helping you let go of tension and undesirable thoughts and beliefs. Generally considered an alternative modality in more holistic psychological settings, it’s also a great technique for any magical practitioner to have up his sleeve. Here’s an excellent explanation and quick tutorial.

4. Chanting

Our consciousness – and consequently that which it helps to manifest – is shaped and molded by language and patterns. Additionally, words and sounds have vibrations. That’s why chanting can support us in releasing old programs while simultaneously reshaping our vibrational patterns. You might chant an incantation, affirmation, or mantra, or sing a song. You might even consider multitasking by chanting or singing along with kirtan or pagan ritual recordings while in your car or cleaning the house.

5. Visualizing Light

Visualizing light for clearing purposes is of course the old standby. You might visualize a vacuum tube of light vacuuming up old challenging patterns, or a sphere of light unraveling and unwinding old patterns as it spins in a counterclockwise direction. Then, to reset your pattern in a more positive way, you could envision a sphere of light locking in the new pattern as it moves in a clockwise direction. (Remember “lefty loosey, righty tighty”?) You might also envision the cleansing light in white and the new pattern in a different color to signify the shift.

Bonus: Complimentary Techniques

As a follow up, or in tandem with your other efforts, personal cleansing techniques such as smudging with white or desert sage, or taking a sea salt bath, can be excellent complementary techniques to help clear away old patterns and reset your personal vibration.

Of course there are plenty of additional ways to clear, such as chakra clearing and Merkaba activation (I like Christopher Penczak’s version of the Merkaba meditation in Ascension Magick). The important thing is that you find the ones that work for you and then get clearing! You’re sure to find that the benefits are well worth the effort on a personal level, not to mention that you’ll be helping to make the dream of the planet that much sweeter.

Link and attribution caption for image: Flickr/Cornelia Kopp

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Tess Whitehurst is the award-winning author of a number of books, including The Magic of Flowers and Holistic Energy Magic. She's also a feng shui consultant and a worldwide intuitive counselor. She lives in Boulder, CO. Visit her and sign up for her free monthly newsletter at


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