Purification in All of Its Forms
Author: Taylor Ellwood
I had to laugh when I saw what Witchvox’s latest topic was…purification. I laughed because over Imbolc I’ve been involved in a highly unusual purification ritual. So the timing was naturally appropriate for writing an article about purification. A disclaimer to those who read this article: My approach to purification may sound bizarre, but please be open-minded enough to realize that it works for me. It may not work for you, but it works for me.
Let me tell you that purification comes in all forms and approaches for magick. There is purification that is done daily and there is purification that is done for special occasions. There are extreme forms of purification and there are forms of purification that are simple and yet nonetheless do the job. What is purification? Purification is the grounding of yourself, as well as the protection you make for yourself on your spiritual and physical levels. It is the closure you create when you finish a ritual and disperse the energies you work and it is also the affirmation of your own energy.
Does purification really make you pure? Purification purges you of energy that is not your own energy, so in a sense it purifies you. I think though that purification is more of an affirmation of your identity, a way of grounding your identity back into reality. Consider that when we do magick, we do ritual; we create around ourselves a different space, a different way of thinking. The purification is necessary to ground you back into yourself, ground you back into reality.
Of course the energy that is purified from you has to go somewhere else. And it does. The energy you work with goes back to where it is from. Now whether that energy is a godform, or elemental energy, or something else, it still has a place it returns to. The point of ritual is to create interaction. The point of purification is to return everything where it belongs.
But what if purification is used for more than just a ritual where you invoke a godform? For instance what if you’re purifying yourself, and doing so not to disperse energy, but actually to deal with an issue or emotion that comes from you? Or to purge yourself of your own energy for the purpose of cleaning house, so that you can achieve a different perspective of yourself and the connections you have with others?
Purification is different then. Purification is the means by which you begin the process of facing yourself, begin the ritual to change yourself and grow from the situation you are in. And purification, when it occurs like this, can take an unusual approach.
I mentioned earlier in the essay that’d I’d been doing a purification ritual earlier this week. My purification ritual lasted for two days and involved, among other things, willingly poisoning myself to stimulate a state of near death. Now no doubt you read this and you think he’s crazy…that isn’t purification…but it is. Purification is any process, which allows you to establish closure and move on from a situation. I’ll come back to this in a bit.
How often should you do purification? It really depends on you. I do purification every day when I get up, exercise and then meditate. I start my purification by first calling the Reiki energy to me. After that I do a Chinese energy induction ritual, followed by some Tibetan techniques and then finally lie down in the corpse pose and use pranayamic breathing, focusing on calling up the energy within me so that when it comes and pushes the other energy, the energy of everything else away from me, allowing me to establish and center myself. I do this every day if I can, though occasionally my work schedule will interfere. I know the days I don’t purify myself I don’t feel as focused.
But let’s get back to the ritual I mentioned. I’d said I’d intentionally poisoned myself. There is a magickal tradition called the path of poison. One of the ideas behind it is that purification can be achieved through the poisoning of the self, and the consequential purging of the self. Now if you think about it, this actually makes sense. The reason it makes sense is simple. When you get sick what does your body do? It sweats the toxins out. Sometimes you get sick because of the build up of toxins over time. Your body sweats the toxins out and purifies you in an effort. Now apply this to yourself on a spiritual level. Sometimes we need to sweat our spiritual toxins out. The path of poison is one way to do this.
I rarely use the path of poison, but sometimes it is useful. For this ritual I did not actually take any physical poison, but I nonetheless induced a state of near death in my physical body through what I call inner alchemy. Inner alchemy is the ability to manipulate your physiology. This can be done. Read John Lilly’s Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, if you don’t believe me. Also check out Hereward Carrington and Sylvan Muldoon’s book The Art of Astral Projection, which has in it an exercise that teaches you how to control your heart beat rate. If you can learn how to control your heart beat rate, why not be able to learn how to alter your physiology?
For my purification I did just that, poisoning my body, expunging out of it both the physical and spiritual toxins that needed to be ejected. And then from there I continued my ritual. The ritual was a death-rebirth ritual. The idea was to create a state of near death, to experience as it were, the ending of a life, and then the rebirth of that life, after a period of time. For those actually interested in learning more about the ritual check out my livejournal, which provides some of the details for the ritual. Read the posts from February 1st through the 3rd. Go to http://www.livejournal.com/users/teriel/. Now I realize that the ritual sounds extreme, but bear in mind that it worked for me, and gave me the purification I needed.
The purpose of the ritual was to cleanse myself of my own energy, to attain a state of zero, of being everything and nothing, for a little while, to gain some perspective on myself and situations I was facing. I wanted to establish equilibrium in my life and I felt this ritual was the best way to do it. So I poisoned myself and then two days later I brought my essence, my energy back into being. And I felt purified in a number of ways. I felt that I had purged my body of toxins, because although I poisoned myself, my body now had an urgent need to clear out what was affecting it. I felt purified energetically and perceptively. I was able to view my situations from a completely different perspective because the state of mind I was in for two days was essentially one that had nothing to do with my personality of Taylor and all of its hang ups, but rather was one that was objective, clinical, and removed enough to provide perspective. And finally when the rebirth occurred, that is the essence of my energy, my personality was reabsorbed into me I had those perspectives as well as a renewed appreciation for life. Admittedly it was extreme, but not as extreme as some cultural purifications go.
What I know ultimately in the end is that purification comes through all kinds of methods. Look at any culture and you will find some method of purification. Some methods are even more extreme than mine, but all of them work.