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Purification: my least favorite topic. As a Pagan, I can understand the need for ritual purification, and the ideas surrounding it. I used to study Ceremonial Magick, and purification was a primary way for the mind to set aside the mundane and continue in the sacred world. In Paganism, purification is a necessity to come before the purity of divinity. It is the practice of removing the energy sticking to you that is antithetical to the performance of and participation in the coming rite. It is separating yourself not only from the mundane, but also from negative thoughts and emotions, such as hatred, anger, suspicion, fear, and worry, which do much to hinder most ritual.
As an animist, however, I’ve always seen purification as a futile exercise. The spirits are always around us. They live here, too. They already know you delve in the muck and mud to earn your daily bread, they already know that you travel through the mire to get to the ritual space, and if they are paying attention, they’re already aware of whom you have helped, whom you’ve wronged, whom you’ve had sex with, whom you have upset. If the Gods and Spirits want your attention, they tend to make themselves known, whether you’re “pure” or not. As much as I understand the purpose of purification, there’s always that part of me that rebels against the need to do so.