New Year Rituals I Live By

by Aiyana Fraley
tulsi holy basil

I was raised on rituals and I have five new year rituals that I want to share with you. These have been staples for me in creating powerful changes, uplifting my spirit and setting the right tone for the new year. The new year herbal bath was something my mom taught me and I want to pass along this gift to you. I wrote this list in the order I do it in. You can do it in any order that feels right to you, but I find that this sequence builds on itself. 

1. Choose a word or phrase for the year. This becomes the overall theme for my year and helps keep me on track. My 2022 word is Becoming. For me, it symbolizes the and the major life changes I lived through last year and the embodiment of it to who I am and can be. It allows for all aspects of myself to exist within the present even those that I haven’t met yet. I have been watching my transformation for years and this word sums it up perfectly. 2022 is the year of embodiment of that transformation. What word represents you?

2. Create a vision board for your personal goals and one for your family goals. This morning at breakfast me and my husband talk about our goals for the year. The things we want to accomplish together. We talked about adopting more earth friendly habits in the home and ways we can reduce single-use plastic. We also talked about different avenues of education for our daughter and our family’s health. We each made our personal goals that included career, finances, health and education. I am big on education and love to nurture my inner child. The first thing that came to me to nourish both was art. I added pottery and knitting as ideas to dip my toes into this year. Once you’ve established you primary goals for the big picture of your year, you can create a vision board. To create a simple vision board, gather a poster board, magazines, scissors and glue. On your poster, you can divide it into segments that cover the areas of your life you’ll be focusing on. For example, relationships, career, family, health. I wrote an article about vision boarding ideas for MASSAGE Magazine that discusses different ways to go about it. You could also forgo making a vision board and write them down in your journal or on a piece of paper and hang it in your office or a place you frequent to be reminded of your goals throughout the year.

3. Clean out your home. It is a new year habit of mine to get rid of a large bulk of things I haven’t used in a while. I go through my closet and look at the clothes and shoes I haven’t worn in a year and put them in a donation pile. The same goes for books, kitchen items and the pantry. I also like to empty out junk drawers. The amount of useless things I find there always surprises me. Every now and then, there will be something I needed that I didn’t know was in there. This is good practice every few months so the task isn’t grand and if you’re in the habit of letting things go it makes it easier to do. 

4. Spiritually clean your home. After I have tossed and donated the things I no longer need, I do a deep cleaning on my home to clear the energy and make room for uplifting vibrations that come with new beginnings. While I clean, I play uplifting music. I usually play mantras, but use whatever music brings you good spirits. To clean, I like to use lemongrass in my cleaner spray bottle and mop water. Lemongrass is a powerful energy cleanser. Its strong citrusy aroma clears away layers of toxicity and negativity that often get stored in the corners of our home and furniture. It’s a good idea to also move the furniture around when you do this. Lemongrass also has the ability to cut old belief patterns and habits that keep us repeating behaviors that are not good for us. This can be anything from arguing and complaining to hoarding. You can also add lemon essential oil to the mix for a combined powerful cleanse. 

Next I use smoke medicine with powerful affirmations. Smoking sacred herbs while chanting mantras or positive affirmations clears the air elemental energy of our home of low vibrating thought forms and replaces them with positive ones. Sage, juniper, rosemary, mugwort, lavender herbs or frankincense resin are excellent choices for this purpose. Smudge bundles of white sage are commonly found in health stores and metaphysical shops, but I urge against using white sage unless the supplier ethically harvests them. The increase in popularity of smudging has led to an over  harvesting of white sage making it and other popular smudging herbs such as palo santo unsustainable. Instead, choose plants that are local and readily available in your area. For example, rosemary and garden sage are available in most grocery stores. You can even dry them yourself. 

If smudging is not possible where you live, use this recipe to make a smokeless smudge spray. Or you can lean on an all time favorite of mine – diffusing. Add any of these herbal essential oils into the diffuser. Use the essential oil you have at home if these are not on hand. All essential oils have incredible healing properties.

5. Take an herbal bath or rinse. This is such a treat at the start or end of the day, and easy to do. You’ll need a large container to make a half gallon size of tea herbal infusion. You can use an emptied milk jug filled halfway, a bowl or large jar. There are so many good herbs to use however let’s keep things simple with herbs you can find at your grocery store. Of course if you have access to an apothecary you will certainly be able to find a wide selection there. 

My herbs of choice are chamomile and tulsi, also known as holy basil. Chamomile is a wonderful herb for purification and protection of negative energy but one of her unknown powers is to attract abundance in the form of money. It is said that gamblers would wash their hands with her before they went off to play to seal their winnings. If financial goals are heavy on your list, I would recommend chamomile. She is a daisy-like flower in the sunflower family and very much empowered by the sun’s energy. When using her for this purpose, I would place your chamomile tea in the sun for several minutes to empower that aspect of her for your herbal bath. 

Holy basil is another purifying and protective herb and considered to be one of the holy plants of India. In working with her for some time now I have seen her ability to attract an abundance of pollinators and not only bees but also some rarer pollinators like the blue wasp, which I will share a story about in another article. What I have experienced is the gentle nature of her wisdom which she shares so generously. This is the power of Tulsi and why she is revered in India and for many plant lovers. She offers enlightenment, protection, and opens the gates to your intuition. I think she is a powerful ally for the new year is because she is the loving mother who comes to listen to your dreams, hear your sorrows, and then gently guides you back to your heart to show you the answers are within you. She’s the mirror who reflects back to you your own strengths. And what a powerful way to start a new cycle then to be reminded of that. 

You can find these herbs in the tea section of your grocery store. You will need about 8 tea bags of the herb of your choice. Here are the directions of how to make an herbal bath using tea bought bags. 

How to Make a New Year Herbal Bath


  • 8 tea bags or 8 teaspoons of herb (chamomile or tulsi are recommended)
  • 8 cups of water


  1. Place 8 cups of water into a pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Plant the tea bags into the hot water and allow them to steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove the bags.
  3. While you are waiting for the tea to come to room temperature, prepare your bath by filling the tub with warm water. (If you don’t have a bath go to step 5.)
  4. Add your herbal tea to the bath water and soak for about 15 minutes. Add to your relaxing experience by lighting a candle or dimming the lights. As you are soaking, the plant’s healing properties will nourish your body and cleanse your aura.
  5. If you do not have a tub, take a shower and at the end rinse yourself with the warm to room temperature water in the shower. Start with your head by pouring a small amount to cleanse your crown. Let it pour over your neck and face, then rinse the rest of your body with the infusion. 

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