A reader of our blog recently wrote to ask for more information about a practice known as “clearings” which are being used by people who want to keep their energy “positive.” What is this about, and is there any science behind it?
What she is describing is known as “spiritual clearings” which allegedly clear “energetic blockages” and “negativity” which New Agers describe as being capable of luring unseen negative entities to us. For this reason, clearing rituals can call upon higher beings such as archangels and Ascended Masters in a series of chants and incantations that allegedly help to clear away this negativity and blockage.
As this article in Conscious Lifestyle Magazine states, both physical and metaphysical energy is meant to flow and we have to do our part to make sure this happens without obstruction.
“I believe that energy is part of the Divine,” writes Barbara Moore. “There are basic principles governing how energy flows, but once you understand those, don’t be afraid to follow your intuition, your creative impulses, and your own common sense. We are all made of energy and are perfectly able to understand and work with it.”
She goes on to encourage people to get to know what it feels like to attend to your own “energy cleansing.”
As an example, when we get a feeling that we need to take a break and go for a walk to clear our heads, this is due to a recognition that our “mental energy body” was too full.
“Walking helps ground and get rid of negative or agitated energy. Once that energy is cleansed, it is easier to see what is on your mind.”
She goes on to claim that most of us have a lifetime of energy built up inside us, sort of like plague on our teeth or in our arteries.
“Our energy bodies could look like a hoarder’s house, so full that it is hard to move around and where stagnation is the order of the day. This is why clearing takes a little more effort and time when you first begin this work. There is an accumulation of stuck, negative energy that needs to be removed.”
Our energy bodies are “sticky” she says, and things cling to it, so we need to practice good energy hygiene, otherwise other people’s energy could get stuck to us and impact us in a variety of ways.
For this reason, we need to engage in routine “clearings” that keep everything neat and clean and running at maximum energy efficiency.
Clearing methods include movement-based techniques such as yoga, dancing, walking, etc. Water-based methods include washing with plain water or water infused with essential oils such as rosemary or lavender or whatever oil with whose “spirit” one has developed a relationship. Meditation, burning, saging, crystals, are all methods that can be used for this purpose.
While it might sound innocuous, the whole concept of energy clearing is based on several false assumptions.
First, it’s not referring to the veritable energy in the human body which is well-known to science. These energies are in the form of mechanical vibrations (such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Instead, the energy in our so-called “energy body” is of the putative nature, and are alleged “energy fields” that human beings are supposedly infused with. There is no evidence that this energy, aka chi, qi, prana, vital force, exists. Scientists have been looking for it since the time of Sir Isaac Newton to no avail – in spite of the fact that our science is sophisticated enough to detect the presence of an energy force, particularly one that proponents claim can be manipulated for better health.
Second, the concept of an “energy body” is based on the belief that our bodies are composed of both a physical body and an invisible body. The invisible body, also known as the energy body, is said to be what clairvoyants and psychics see as energy fields that surround the body like auras. New Agers believe that this energy body is interconnected with the physical body so profoundly that if one dies the other dies as well.
In addition to the fact that the energy itself doesn’t exist, there is also no evidence that an “energy body” exists which means that the assumption that the two cannot exist without each other is preposterous. No one has an energy body to begin with which means it’s as good as dead – but we’re all still alive.
As for the “aura” that New Agers claim to see that serves as evidence of this energy’s existence, it actually has a very scientific explanation.
According to Victor Stenger, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, there is nothing mysterious about the human aura. It’s called “black body” electromagnetic radiation (a form of veritable energy and completely substantiated by science) which produces an invisible infrared light that is the result of the random movements of all the charged particles in the body that are caused by heat.
“The type of light that is emitted from a living body has a characteristic shape that is completely specified by the body’s absolute temperature,” he writes. “As that temperature rises, you can begin to see the aura.”
But this “energy” has nothing to do with a person’s “life force.”
“The aura from black body radiation lacks any of the complexity we associate with life,” Dr. Stenger says. “It is as featureless as it can be and still be consistent with the laws of physics. Any fanciful shapes seen in photographed auras can be completely attributed to optical and photographic effects. The auras are unrelated to any property of the body that one might identify as ‘live’ rather than ‘dead’ and the tendency for people to see patterns where none exist.”
As stated earlier in this article, there are occult beliefs associated with the practice of clearing which involve summoning so-called “good” spiritual entities such as Ascended Masters and archangels (not of the Biblical variety) to chase away “bad” spiritual entities or “unseen negative entities.” Because of the obvious dangers of summoning these entities, any clearing ritual that involves summoning these spirits would be considered spiritually, physically and mentally dangerous and should be avoided.
It's also important to note that the authors of the Pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life, define this putative energy source as the "new age god" which serves as the "life-force or soul of the world" (Section 4). Turning to this "new age god" for healing or help is the equivalent of worshiping a false god and would be a sin of idolatry (Catechism No. 2113).