The importance of purification
This week through my weekly goddess tarot pull I’ve been learning on the importance of purification. For anyone who didn’t see my earlier post this week, I do a regular weekly tarot pull from my goddess oracle deck and spend a week reflecting on the lessons of that goddess, learning about who she is, and brain storming how her lessons relate to me. For anyone who has never done this before, it is a really great way to expand your knowledge of your tarot deck, learning deeper meanings to the cards outside of the guidebooks that usually come with the deck, and to challenge yourself to heal and make changes to yourself.
Anyway, so this week I pulled the card for the goddess Sulis, who is the goddess believed to rule over the Roman baths in England. I’ve never been really connected to Celtic deities at all before, despite having some English ancestry. However, I have visited the Roman baths a couple of years ago on a trip to Europe, and I had already met Sulis in the baths when I visited the museum there. Interestingly Sulis is quite localised as far as I am aware, there has been not much mention of her outside of these public baths at all.
Purification has always been a major part of my practice so when I pulled this I was a little like… “But I already do this and have been for years? Why are you bringing it back up?” The guide book wasn’t much help either, it suggests “taking a meditative bath, having a stroll near water, and cleansing the body.”
Somehow I feel that this is not really all that Sulis wants to tell me. I mean, if this card came up in a reading, do you really think the person you are doing a reading for would appreciate being told to take a bath? I already have like 5 baths a week (because relaxingggggg), shower everyday, wash my hands and mouth out before any kind of ritual work, obsessively clean the house and burn sage every where, yell at people for messing my house up and disturbing the spiritual vibes with their rubbish etc. I mean to be honest I really believe that this guidebook hasn’t captured the true healing message of purification.
So I was a bit stumped at first, considering ritual purification with water is already quite a significant part of my spiritual practice.
As someone who has practised Shintoism for 11 years, Shinto has had a huge impact on the concept of purity and my understanding of how important purification can be when connecting with deities. And this concept of purity is present in a lot of world religions as well- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are just some examples. But physical purity represents much more than simply having a clean body.
So how does ritual purification of the body relate to purification of the mind and heart? Each time we perform an act of ritual purification, we need to think about more than just being nice and clean. The act of ritual purification is also performed to remind us to purify our minds and hearts of the negativity that so often plagues many of us in this modern world. Have you reflected on how you have been thinking recently? Have you insulted yourself? Discouraged yourself? Hated your body and the things you say or do? Made fun of yourself in front of others or in your heart? Told yourself you were disgusting, degraded yourself or disrespected yourself mentally? These are all things we do on a daily basis even without realising. Some of us are so used to doing it that we barely question our own behaviour towards ourselves. Yet this kind of negative thinking is key to a lot of our internal suffering, especially if you suffer from a mental illness. We need to be on guard and watch the thoughts at all times to keep our minds ritually pure from what brings negativity and “evil spirits” into our lives even in the mind. We need to start questioning the truth behind our thoughts rather than blindly allowing ourselves to be absorbed into them.
Ritual purification also needs to extend to our heart. How do we treat others? Do we talk about others behind their back, discourage and pull them down with our words, or speak to them in a rude tone of voice? Do we belittle others or treat them as stupid just because we don’t particularly like them or their choices? Do you stand at a check out and abuse a helpless retail employee because you can’t have things your way? We need to guard our behaviour and see through the eyes in the heart.
Additionally, we need to look at outside sources of negativity that may be affecting us. Are you ignoring a family member or not getting involved with your family for selfish reasons?Are you avoiding a confrontation? Do you have a friend who pulls you down and discourages you? Do you have an abusive relationship with someone in your life? Do you have responsibilities you have ignored but are bringing you stress? Are you pretending the shit storm isn’t there and not facing reality? We need to cut off and remove these loose ties, or fix broken ties that are worth fixing. We need to make intelligent decisions and choices, and rectify these unfinished areas of our lives so we can stop carrying useless burdens around.
So next time you perform a purification ritual, remind yourself to think about how your can extend this ritual to cleanse you of the negativity that we build up in our own hearts and minds. As the water washes over you, your heart and mind are cleansed symbolically of all this negativity that you have gathered and been carrying with you. Think about where we make some changes and tidy up some loose ends in ourselves while you perform this ritual. Where can you change your behaviour so that you do not bring harm to yourself? Where can you change your behaviour so that you do not bring harm to others?
This is the true beauty of the purification ritual, and this is how the purification ritual can be so much more than just a physical experience!
I am so thankful for Sulis bringing this into my life this week. I still have a four days of the week remaining to reflect on this learning, so I am looking forward to applying this to my life!