The past couple of weeks have been quite painful to endure and fathom. As if COVID wasn’t enough, the harrowing events that swept through KZN and Gauteng further proved that there’s a lot of healing that still needs to be done – collectively, as a nation. 

The lockdown restrictions have confined us to our spaces. Be it at home, or the office. And with the heaviness that surrounds us, perhaps energy cleansing for a better mental health could be what you need.

Before we delve into practices you can consider for cleansing your space, let’s unpack the concept of energies, popularly described as ‘vibes’. We spoke to Sangoma, Gogo Sisilo and Reiki Practitioner, Sharon Maphaha to unpack how energy cleansing or blockages contribute to mental health.

In our Wellness feature last week, we discussed how you can incorporate music in your mental health rituals. Mental health is a broad topic that can be tackled from various angles. The same can be said about practices that contribute positively to your mental health – one of them being cleansing your energy to ensure a good state of your mental health. Today, we discuss how energy cleansing contributes to your mental health with Sangoma Gogo Sisilo and Reiki Practitioner Sharon Maphaha.

Gogo Sisilo shares with us that the energy that everyone embodies is the ‘first layer.’ This is the energy that introduces you to a space before you even speak. ‘’Whether one is a Sangoma or not, whatever spirituality they practice or belief they are affiliated to, we need to nurture and protect our energies. I believe that these are vitally important to the holistic being of a person,’’ says Gogo Sisilo. 

Defining The Spiritual Nature Of Energies

With a specific focus on REIKI, Maphaha explains that as human beings we are made up of the physical and the spiritual bodies. “Energy is spiritual in nature and it is the intangible life-giving force.  This energy is omnipresent, it exists in and around us. It is responsible for creation; energy is that which brings everything into existence”, she unpacks.

Our energies can be affected by other people’s energies. ‘’Humans can absorb, transfer, and exchange umoya (energy) just like plants and animals do,’’ explains Gogo Sisilo. She further explains that the exchange and attraction of energy indirectly happens when we least expect it. This can happen in any public space.  Imimoya (energies) from other people can either build us or destroy us. 

How We Sense Energies – Consciously and Unconsciously 

Maphaha says that as human beings, we can sense energy around us and she gives the following examples:

  • The ability to know when your friend is not okay while talking to them over a phone even when they try to hide it. 
  • The patterns of happenings that precede certain events. Most people would tell you that they knew something undesirable was going to happen because when this and that happens, it is always followed by a death in the family, for example, maybe a person cannot sleep for the few nights preceding the event; people get different manifestations.
  • You may see a person for the first time and get a sense of calm and happiness without them saying anything.

Why We Need To Be More Spiritually Conscious Now, More Than Ever.

With the pandemic and political events that have gotten civilians anxious and uncertain about the future it is more crucial than ever to be spiritually conscious of our surroundings. ‘’Our spirituality provides us with opportunities to create our desired realities. But many people do not know how to access this level of power that exists within each and every one of us. Learning how to be still and confront the conversations that we have with ourselves is a good first step towards attaining this spiritual consciousness,’’ elaborates Maphaha. 

How To Protect Your Energy 

From a Traditional Healing Perspective:

There are various ways to protect your energy, amongst those are the following steps you can take to protect your energy suggested by Gogo Sisilo:

  • Personal protection – when witchcraft has already manifested, cleansing rituals must take place, for example ukulahliswa (getting rid of evil spirits) or any other cleansing, kufanele uqiniswe (cleansing) these are the insertions of muthi into the skin. This may be painful, but it is effective. Ukuphalaza (procedure used to vomit evil muthu), ukufutha nokucima (steaming) are also recommended in the process of cleansing and protecting energy.
  • Devices such as amakhubalo – these are barks of muthi or fragments that are folded and beaded into a necklace to tie around the neck.
  • Umzi  – this requires cleansing and protection from evil spells and energies, the muthi is dug into holes that only the Sangoma and the owner will know and identify so that ubuthakathi buhlale ngaphandle kwamagceke omzi (witchcraft doesn’t enter the home). 
  • Imoto – this is cleansing using impepho (sage) and muthi that the owner will keep inside the car to ward off accidents that are set by evil forces.

From A Reiki Perspective:

Maphaha recommends the following practices to cleanse blockages over your energy below. However, she also defines blockages as the spiritual energy inside us that is constantly flowing to keep us alive and well. “When the flow of energy is disrupted, a blockage results and therefore illness manifests. The things that block the flow of energy are anything that the body finds difficult to process. What are the things that the body struggles to process? Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, stress, etc., as well as junk foods, alcohol, smoking, various toxic chemicals, etc.’’ she explains.

How To Cleanse Blockages Over Your Energy
  • Allow yourself to have some alone-time to just pay attention to your body, emotions and thoughts with the intention to let go of anything that does not serve you. 
  • Ask yourself why you are holding on to those thoughts and emotions. 
  • Ask yourself what an ideal situation would be for you in relation to what you are experiencing emotionally/mentally. 
  • Allow yourself to step into the other reality that your ideal situation presents.

Gogo Sisilo ended off by sharing how she clears her energy and mind. She meditates Esigodlweni (Sangoma’s workspace) almost on a daily basis because the space surrounds her and brings her thoughts together. Isigodlo for her is the most purified space in her house. She feels closer to Idlozi nezinyanya (Ancestors/ ancestral spirits) when she is in that space, therefore her mind is clearer. 

You can get in touch with Sharon Maphaha by emailing

Gogo Sisilo can be contacted on

How do you cleanse your energy? Share with us in the comment section.