Our feet walk the earth but are usually not attended to in reverence to their work.
In most contemporary cultures, where there aren't many opportunities to go barefoot, few acts are as intimate as touching the feet of another person. Our feet are our primary means of connecting with the earth, yet they usually remain confined in shoes or sandals. Cleansing the feet of a friend or loved one is a sign of trust, closeness, and openness. Cleansing your own feet can be a relaxing interlude that can help you feel refreshed. Foot cleansing also has become a popular stress reliever and beautification ritual.
Ritual foot cleansing has a long and intricate history involving many methods and motivations. It has been used as an initiation, a welcoming gesture, a purification ceremony, and as a means to demonstrate humbleness. Cleansing ceremonies involving the feet are performed in many different parts of the world. In many cases, the meaning of the ritual was twofold. It was a way of cleaning a guest's feet before entering a home and a sign of hospitality. In Buddhism, clean water mixed with sandalwood to clean the feet is one of the eight typical offerings. By cleansing the feet of an enlightened being, it is possible to cleanse one's own karma.
You can perform a foot washing ritual on yourself or a companion as a ceremonial activity or as a way to unwind. You may want to start by trying a traditional ritual, or you might feel comfortable inventing your own. Try mixing elements like traditional flower infused water with something more modern like a sugar scrub. Take the time to set your intention for the foot washing ritual. Perhaps you would like to cleanse away old energies in your life so you may step freely toward your future. Or, maybe soaking your feet in warm water will help you relax after a long day at work. Remember to thank your feet for their support. Whether done with pleasure or as an offering, a foot cleansing ritual is a sacred act that honors the divine in you and others.