Warning: Contains material some readers may find offensive.
Skryclad: Clothed In Visions
Observations of the light and the dark of what is, was, and might be in the Pagan community's expansion and evolution.
I have always taken pride in observing that most Pagans tend to leave campgrounds, hotels, and other borrowed or rented spaces in better condition than how they found them. I actually look forward to the routine of walking around my tent or cabin and not only picking up the small debris that I or my friends have dropped but also digging up the bits I see left behind by previous campers. It helps me settle in for the transition homewards. Unfortunately, this custom of cleaning a space that you have used does not seem to extend to the leftovers of magick and workings. Over the years, I've attended so many gatherings, festivals, and conferences that I cannot even begin to guess how many that may be. By comparison, I can count on my two hands the events where there was an active effort on the part of the organizers to clean up the energy of the space where a ritual or a working took place before it was used by a different practitioner or group. I do know a significant number of groups or individuals that do clean up after themselves in shared space, but it is far from the norm, and not the majority from my experience. And by clean up, I mean clearing and the settling of the energy of the space not merely putting the chairs back in their places or picking up the leftovers from a ritual or working.
A few years ago I was at an event where I received an urgent text message from a friend who wanted me to help to clear up a space before they could proceed with the class that they were about to teach. When I got to the room, the air was thick with an unsettling energy and there was a slight pressure and the buzzing sound in my ears. We asked everyone to leave the room and we closed the door. We then proceeded to use our voices, bells, and energetic work to cleanse and to banish what still remained in the room. My friend was then able to open the door and bring people in for the class that she was about to offer. Immediately before the class that she was about to offer, there had been a workshop on the evocation of demons wherein there had also been a brief ritual. I did check into it and found that there had been no bad reports about class. The practitioner had done their customary closing for the ritual, but neither they nor the organizers were aware of the need to fully reset the space.
I hope that more teachers, practitioners, and organizers will become sensitive to the need to make sure that the energetic atmosphere of spaces be cleansed repeatedly throughout an event. It is part of my normal routine to check the feel of space before I begin class or working, and also again when I am done. Sometimes I find that I need to do one cleansing and sometimes I need to do two. In most cases this is neither complicated nor lengthy and often goes unnoticed by the attendees. I often use chants or toning in my classes which is an unobtrusive way to reset the energy of a place. I used the example of the remnants of a class on the evocation of demons (Goetia) because it would catch your attention. By the way, nothing wrong with well done Goetia. For the class that my friend was about to give, a devotional ritual to Aphrodite would also have left a residue that needed cleansing. Each class, or ritual, or working should have the benefit of as white a canvas, as blank a slate, and as neutral a starting point as can be reasonably achieved.
Because so many of us also use our homes as our ritual spaces, I would encourage you to consider the importance of magical hygiene so that the people that share your home, or apartment building, or neighborhood do not receive a nonconsensual exposure to your workings. You may also wish to also take this idea one step further and consider the energy that you are carrying with you as you go about the activities of your day.
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