Monday, October 1, 2012

Cleanse/Clean: Somtimes it is Both

Yesterday at the house it was spiritual cleansing and redecoration day. A couple of days ago my wife went through and cleaned up her altar and changed out the seasonal wall hanging in the reading nook with the kids. Come this weekend, all of us took apart the small altar in the kitchen we use for offering portions of our meals before dinner and dressed it all up in harvest attire. After which the kids and I went up and cleansed/cleaned the temple room.

Both cleaning and cleansing are extremely important for several reasons in regards to the practice of Witchcraft, regardless of whether one in regularly engaged in magick or not. The first reason is simple; it is a matter of spiritual, energetic, and physical hygiene. As we go about our daily lives, various different situations, places, and interactions with other occur. As a result, our spiritual and energy bodies often collect the essence of those encounters, as well as through the creation of new bonds with other people and entities.

In addition to basic hygiene, cleansing oneself and the any space used for working by means of proper banishing is important. This rule is a simple one: If something was invoked, it NEEDS to be banished when the rite is done. Although it is very popular in some groups, absolutely no banishing followed by the statement, “go if you must, stay if you will.” The purpose of the banishing is being defeated in this sole moment. If for example elementals have been called up during a directional invocation, I do not want them hanging around after the rite. They need to go, and as a Witch we are not asking. For more on this please refer to the use of “So mote it be” vice “So may it be.” Banishing are not solely used for entities either, but of specific energies or our connection to them. Perhaps during a working the influence of a planetary sphere was tapped into and used; when the work is done, the link needs to be cut. There are some rare exceptions to this, but unless one is undergoing planetary initiatory work as found within the grimoire traditions, where there are methods to doing so, then a banishing is prudent.

Cleansing oneself also has another effect upon our magick. It allows the Witch to begin their work with a blank slate, without additional previous influences upon the task. One of the first thing s Witch does ritually is cleanse themselves, and the space they will be working. The methods vary in this. I am fond of a salt shower and sweeping the floor; the sweeping is both energetically cleansing and physically so. The standard Ceremonial and Wicca liturgy goes through a phase of ritually purifying, which is essentially cleansing, the space. All of this is so as to start from the place of potential

Cleaning is just about the energetic or spiritual, as mentioned above, but is about the actual physical cleaning of space. Debris can and often does build up over time in a working space. Therefore, an occasional scrub down of the space is warranted.

So there are the basics of why from a functional perspective. There are, however, a couple of other more symbolic associations in regards to why. Cleansing takes one back to the blank slate and as such is symbolic of the womb, standing in that place of potential. By cleansing oneself in the same manner every time before a rite, it becomes a ritual and is an aid in turning the mind towards the ritual mindset whereby it is in unison with this womb of possibility making the effort of the rite easier.

There is one more bit of Witchcraft lore associated with this time of year that I will briefly discuss. At the Autumn Equinox the lore of the Witch teaches that the Sun descends into the Underworld to later be crowned the Lord of the Mound at Samhain. What is rarely mentioned at this point, is that our Lady, after the Sun has departed, ritually bathes in the waters of the well. She does this before beginning Her own descent, at Samhain, through the gates whereby She is stripped of all Her worldly guises. Now there is a lot more around this tale, and it is not my place to get into just now, but what is important to note is the bathing and removal of worldly connection before entering the inward/below realms.

Enough about the lore and reasons; here is what was done to cleanse/clean the ritual room. Everything on the altar and additional work table was removed, as well as the various other items about the room (drums, staffs, swords, etc). I took out any offerings and disposed of them ritually. I used Florida Water to wipe down my altar and Deity statues. I swept the floor; both physically and ritually. I cleaned the base-boards with Chinese Floor Wash. Everything was reassembled; put back in its place. I then censed the room and ended with a Hermetic Rite that cleanses other planes of existence related to a place of being.

Do you clean/cleanse often enough?

Boidh se!

-Spanish Moss

"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."

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