Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tangible Witchcraft: Purification of the Body/Self

Like all witchcraft and indigenous traditions, Feri has rites of cleansing and purification. Not because we believe that humans are filthy or sinful- but rather, the socialization that we undergo to become adults adds "complexes" to the black heart of innocence that we had as children, but have now buried. We purify to reach that original state trhat we have lost.

Most Feri witches I know have taken a template that they learned from their teacher for a rite like kala* and personalized it into their own personal practice. I am no different in this regard.

I mainly do kala in the shower (convenient, no?), along with other rites of purification and refinement as part of a larger toilette for the body and soul. What does a soul scrubbing look like?

1. Shower (cleaning the physical body). I cleanse the body in preparation for the day as well as the spiritual cleansing about to take place.

2. Energetic Shower (which is an etheric and auric cleansing, using the Iron and Pearl Pentacles): bringing up red hot iron energy from the earth and bringing down white hot pearl energy from the stars. They meet and fill my still point and then my physical body, then my energy bodies until I pulse and thrum with it.)

3. Kala: lately I have been using sound to vibrate the water and infuse it with cleansing power- before I used breath and physicality (laying on of hands). I like to mix it up.

4. Refinement: After I cleanse my selves, I like to refine my skin and hair- not just for beauty's sake, but also for casting a spell on myself. I use oil for skin and hair (I am a dry person, so after a shower I need moisture and using an oil that has specific magickal and energetic properties is perfect for this.) Lately, I have been doing work that involves thinking before acting. I am a do-er (I like to take action!), and while most of my actions have helped me in my life or built awesome things, impulsive acts don't always stem from wisdom. So I am working on waiting, assessing, and then acting.

5. Mouth Tending: As I brush my teeth and tongue, I think about cleansing the mouth for the power of what the Buddhists call "right speech".** I imagine removing not just tartar and bacteria, but removing the intent to harm or speaking with a lack of intent.

6. Adornment: After getting dressed, I like to take a minute and think about what adornments I wish to wear and for what purpose. I use hair accessories that are beautiful and symbolic as well as keeping my hair out of the baby's grasp. All of my jewelry has meaning. My makeup and scents all have a purpose. When I "do myself up" there is usually a significance to what I select and why. Each on of my rings, for example, has a specific meaning assigned to it. Some of my necklaces are portable spells. I take Pride in my Self and how it looks and I work magick on myself regularly.

 What do you do for cleansing and purification?

*Kala is a rite of integration and cleansing where a witch takes what troubles her, externalizes it, drops it in water, cleans the water, then re-ingests the water, (converted troubles and all). Know that saying, "That which does not kill me makes me stronger?" That's exactly what kala is- we have lived through a trouble, examined it, gotten to know it inside and out, made our peace with it as being a part of us, infused it with mana (life force) and taken it back in. When done right, it's like doing a shot of kick-ass.

Unlike some witchcraft and magickal traditions which use a banishing to try and purify the Self, Feri believes that trying to cut away parts of you (even the undesirable ones that are tied up in knots) permanently is giving away your power (and isn't actually possible anyway). So we reintegrate that which befuddles, confuses, vexes, and troubles us. While the rite varies from person to person, the rite always includes water and often mana (the energy/life force that surrounds us and every living thing).

**Right speech, explained in negative terms, means avoiding four types of harmful speech: lies (words spoken with the intent of misrepresenting the truth); divisive speech (spoken with the intent of creating rifts between people); harsh speech (spoken with the intent of hurting another person's feelings); and idle chatter (spoken with no purposeful intent at all).

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm a recent reader, first time commenter.
    When I do a cleansing ritual it is pretty similar with a shower and energy work and general grooming.
    I've also found using cold water works best to energize me, and I prefer not to add anything smelly like perfume or scented soup, so I'm really 'naked'. I'm also really anal about removing any and all body hair that I can. I've done this as a part of my practices, oh, since the beginning, but recently I was told that it's a common practice in the Middle East (I'm partially of Syrian decent). I find it helps with my perspective before a ritual, to know I'm preparing for mine in a way that my ancestors did for theirs.
    Well, now I'm in the mood to go do more research on the subject:)Thanks, great article.


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