Spring Cleaning! We all seem to do it at roughly the same time each year. Most of us aren’t even aware that we do this annually. We seem to intuitively know that we are about halfway through Winter and preparing for Spring. We may pass by some blossoms and see the first stirrings of new life and growth. We see North America watch the groundhog come out of its burrow to predict the weather for the rest of the season. The Neopagan community celebrates Imbolc with the goddess Brigid and the Christians celebrate Candlemas. There are a host of other celebrations and rituals from different traditions and religions. But what do they all have in common?
A simple one word answer is Purification. In the Western Mystery Tradition there are many purification rituals done at specific times as part of a larger ceremony or on their own used to purify our temples and self. In the Golden Dawn and their descendant schools, the purification and consecration comes at the beginning of each larger ceremony. In Martinism purification is more of an ongoing activity foundational to both the Outer and Inner Ways. The Neopagan schools have their forms of purification as well as the exoteric religions and their mystical counterparts. But why is purification important?
In the Western Mystery Tradition one answer to the above question can be found in Israel Regardie’s the Golden Dawn. “The entire object of all magical and alchemical processes is the purification of the natural man, and by working upon his nature to extract the pure gold of spiritual attainment. This is initiation.” One would have to ask what type of magic is this? The schools of the Hermetic Order of the Golden and Martinism are theurgical, a bit different from what most would think of when they read the word magic. Unfortunately the term Theurgy has been misused over the years. Theurgy comes from the Greek word Theos, meaning Divinity or God, and Urgy meaning work. It translates to Divine or God Work. A large part of Theurgical practices have to do with purification, as Regardie nicely put it. It is working with the Divine Unity of all within us. The first step is to purify and prepare our body, spirits and soul for this experience.
This time of year is excellent for working with purification. In magic the right timing makes the work at hand flow really well. There are several ways to work with the timing and tides of magic. The Wiccan, Druid and other Neo Pagan practitioners have done an excellent job of resurrecting the wheel of the year as an annual calendar of these tides. It is based on the cycle and interrelationship of the Sun and the Earth, the solstices, equinoxes and with the cross-quarter days representing the halfway points between each season. Following this pattern of the year gives the symbol of spirit as used in Western Magic. It also allows one to be more in tune with the Solar and Earth energies. In the Golden Dawn only the equinoxes were celebrated although Pat Zalewski makes some good points regarding the solstice work for the 2nd Order in his Equinox and Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn. But for the most part, Golden Dawn groups today generally just work with the equinoxes. In Martinism there is more of an emphasis on the Winter Solstice relating to Esoteric Christianity, although some groups do perform rituals for the other solstice and the equinoxes. But none of the last two schools work with the cross-quarter days. Aligning our work with not only all four seasons of the year but the cross-quarter days, adds to the meaning of the Work done in the Golden Dawn and Martinist schools as well as a deeper relationship with the Sun and Earth.
Imbolc and its counterparts of purification are celebrated on February 1st. Working in harmony with the energies of the year, purifying our homes and ritual or meditation areas can take place harmoniously. There is also an inner side to this work, where we purify our thoughts, words and deeds. The article on Disciplined Action from the Confraternity of the Rose-Cross’s website is an excellent starting point for this practice.
Attempting to distill what it is being celebrated and honored is an important part of esoteric work. Just copying what has been done over the years has its merits too, but many times we tend to forget the significance of what it is we are doing and why.
Following are two rites of purification. They have been found to be very effective to purify the home and an excellent everyday preparation for ritual work and meditation.
Purification and Protection of the Home
Modified from a lesson of the Probationers course of the Fraternity of the Hidden Light
- Items Needed:
- water in a cup used for ritual
- Smudge Stick– white sage is excellent if available
- Prepare yourself by taking a few moments to get into a relaxed meditative state.
- Place the cup of water, a pinch of salt next to it, and your smudge stick on a table in front of you preferably as close to the actual center of your home as possible.
- Gaze at the water and then the salt for a few moments
- Place your hands, palms down, over the water and vibrate, EL (Ale) and see light fill the water.
- Place your hands, palms down, over the salt and vibrate, ADONAI (Ah-Doh-Nye-Eee) and see light fill the salt.
- Place the salt into the water and say something along the lines “May this water and salt aid in the purification and protection of this home”.
- Gaze at the smudge stick and lighting source for a few moments (be sure to use a non-flammable object to catch ashes from the smudge stick).
- Place your hands, palms down, over the incense or smudge stick and vibrate YHVH (Yeh-Ho-Wah) and see the incense or smudge stick full of light.
- Light the incense or smudge stick. Once it is going on its own, place your hands palms down and vibrate ELOHIM (El-Oh-Heem) and see it full of light.
- Say over the incense or smudge stick something like “May this incense and fire aid in the purification and protection of this home”.
- Walk around your entire home and fan the smoke from the smudge stick throughout. The scent may be strong so be sure to keep some windows open. Be sure to get those areas we sometimes forget to cleanse such as closets, cabinets, etc. When done put out the smudge stick. Stay still for a moment and feel the unwanted energies clear from your home.
- When you feel ready, pick up the cup. Walking around the home, use the first three fingers of your dominant hand and flick little bits of water throughout. Use caution around electronics and glass surfaces as salt is corrosive.
- Go to the windows. Dip your index finger in the water and draw on the windows a symbol of protection that is meaningful to you, for example an upright pentagram, a celtic cross, etc. Then go to the doors or any other entry ways into your home and draw these same symbols over the top of the door frames.
- When finished return your cup next to the smudge stick.
- See a sphere of white light encompass your entire home expanding out to the property lines. When this feels strong vibrate IAO (Eee-Ahh-Ohhh) 3 times.
- Then say “It is done!”
Modified from the Traditional Martinist Order Home Oratory Section
“May a ray of light issuing forth from the Center of Unity be guided to the Galactic Center, then to the Sun, and to our Mother Earth to the exact place where I am. May it fill my entire being and purify me, going to down to the center of our Mother Earth carrying all my black impurities at the beginning which grow less black, then gray, then less gray and then blazing white. Then may it return to the Sun, then the Galactic Center and to the Center of Unity finishing its cycle. May peace and harmony be in my heart and in the whole world may Omneity and my Holy Guardian Angel guide me every moment of my life, may all praises be theirs. Amen.”
This can be done sitting or standing after a relaxation technique of your choice. The visualizations are to follow the ray of light through the Universe to our place on Earth. When the light fills your being see it entering through the Crown Chakra as bright white light. See it fill your entire aura with light, catching any dark impurities and moving them down towards the feet. When you feel this is done, see the ray of light going through the levels of the Earth to its core. Feel the inner central fire there work on these impurities until they have been transformed to a bright blazing white. Then follow the ray of light back up to the Center of Unity as stated in the prayer. At this point you should not see your physical body. If you do, do not have the ray of light go back up through the feet and body. This is not a kundalini exercise.