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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in purification
Purified By Fire: Incense Inspiration

When we focus on incense sticks during meditation, we move into a mystical space that is both physical and spiritual. Like us, the incense stick is earthbound with an ember that burns for only a finite time, but the diaphanous spirit it releases is unbound by time or space. Rather than shutting down our senses to focus on an inner realm, incense involves our senses as we follow whirling smoke upward and outward while we take its scent into us, filling us as we breathe. 

The journey starts with a flame, and then a glowing ember releases smoke to rise above us in an ethereal dance. Ashes fall below, purified by the fire. We can use this to imagine negative thoughts being changed from darkness into the beauty of warm gray snowflakes and a scented spun-silver plume, lighter than air. We can watch as our atmosphere is altered to become reminiscent of the heavens and lifts our thoughts: Embers become shooting stars, and the silver ribbon of smoke becomes unraveled clouds. Altered senses may guide our inspired thoughts to travel along new, perhaps undiscovered, pathways. 

We can also imagine our physical selves being represented by the incense stick, our inner fire releasing magic into the world. That part of us emanates outward, expanding to mingle with the breath of those around us as we ride the wind to become part of everything. We can also see in the swirling smoke our life's path, not a straight line but a twirling, meandering ballet that moves us ever onward and upward. We may leave a bit of ourselves behind as we bounce off of our surroundings, working through them, but no matter what we do, we cannot avoid our final destination: oneness with all that is. As spiritual beings enjoying the physical experience of life, incense meditations can help us remember the beauty and wonder of our existence, where heaven and earth, body and spirit, are all available to us in every moment

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Easy Ways to Purify for Imbolc, Disablot and Candlemas (or any other occasion)

Just as autumn leaves compost and fertilize new spring shoots, the old and outmoded must be cleansed to make way for the new.

The upcoming holiday, whether you call it Imbolc, Disablot, Entschtanning, Gromnitsy or Candlemas, is traditionally very concerned with a deep purification of the soul, body and space. Purification is a big deal in Northern European practice-- and an even bigger deal if you engage in any type of trance work, like seið.

But how do you start? It’s really not hard or complicated to perform a basic clearing. Physical cleanliness is an important component, and, once that’s done, the energetic cleansing is much easier.

Here are a number of articles I’ve written on such clearing rituals:


 

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The Right Broom At the Rite Time: Sweeping Spell

My mom and I had an unfortunate phone conversation ending with her hanging up on me. Of course, after that, her line was busy for hours so I could not call back and smooth things over. Life, right? I felt so awful the whole weekend about it, I had to turn to my trusty broom and sweet the sad, bad energy away. Here's how: to purify your home, you need a special broom. A home purification is handy for clearing away bad energy after a squabble with your loved one, a bout of the blues, or just about any upset you need to get out of your personal space. I would go so far as to suggest that you sweep the negative energy outside every morning in your life. Bear in mind, this is not white glove-type cleaning; it is a symbolic act that is quite effective in maintaining your home as a personal sanctuary.

 You can make your own purification broom from straw bound together and attached to a fallen tree branch, or you can add mojo to a store-bought broom. Wrap copper wire around your broom or use it to bind the straw to the stick, as Venus-ruled copper lends an aura of beauty and keeps negativity at bay. Attach crystals to the handle with glue to boost your broom. Recommend crystals for space clearing and purification are:

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Rites of Spring: German Easter Traditions

Osterfeuer in Rugen, Wikimedia Commons

While the word Easter has long been used to denote the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ, I see no problem also using it to refer to the pagan holiday celebrating the return of spring. Aside from the secular aspects of contemporary Easter traditions that are less focused on resurrection and salvation and more on fertility – eggs, rabbits, chicks, etc. – the very word Easter is pre-Christian in origin (the original Christian holiday name is the Hebrew Paschal).

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Energy Clearing: Week 1—The Wyrd (Karma) of Used Things

Used things can be a boon or a bane. Often, it’s a bit of both.

Ritual purification was (and still is) a huge thing in many polytheist traditions, including Heathenry. For a few weeks, I’m going to focus on simple ways to examine the energy entering our lives and help keep it clean. For me, that’s a part of preparing for and welcoming the purifying aspects of Imbolc (Disablot/Tyr’s feast for some Heathens), prior Spring Equinox’s renewal.

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5 Ways to Clear and Purify Your Energy This Samhain
 

Samhain naturally lends itself to magical workings related to healing, renewal, and release of old bonds. And, this Samhain is a Saturday when the moon is waning: two additional aspects that lend themselves to same. With this in mind, check out the five Samhain-attuned clearing and purification practices below.

1. Hecate Cauldron Purification Ritual
After casting a circle, and calling on Divine protection in a way that feels powerful for you, light a black candle to the goddess Hecate. In a notebook or journal, brainstorm all the qualities and conditions you'd like to purify and release from your life. This might include things like fears, unhealthy relationships, compulsive thought patterns, and addictions or unwanted habits. When this feels complete, tear out the pages, place them in a cauldron or pot, and safely use the candle to light them on fire. Thank Hecate. After opening the circle, throw the ashes in a moving body of water, or just flush them down the toilet. Let the candle continue to safely burn throughout the night, extinguishing before going to sleep or leaving the house. You can continue to burn the candle down at intervals until the next new moon.

2. Mugwort and Sweetgrass Smudge
In case you don't know, smudging is when you light a bundle of herbs so that it's smoking like incense, and then wafting the smoke around a room, area, or person in order to purify and fine tune energy. On Samhain, it's particularly appropriate to smudge with a mugwort bundle, as well as a sweet grass braid, or with both herbs bundled up together in one. The mugwort protects from negative spirits and energies while harmonizing the natural portal between the worlds that opens up most fully at Samhain. The sweet grass also harmonizes the portal of light, assuring that only the most positive and loving of spirits and energies are permitted to come through. This practice will also generally harmonize, purify, and fine tune the energy of your space.

3. Anise and Sea Salt Bath
In addition to being relaxing, a warm bath with a few drops of anise seed essential oil and a cup of sea salt is highly purifying to the energy field. Removing old patterns, stagnant energy, and repetitive thought forms, it also protects against negativity and unsavory spirits. Light enough candles to light the room pleasantly, then soak for at least 40 minutes. (Be sure to have plenty of drinking water on hand to replenish your fluids.)

4. Cord Cutting Ritual
Light a fire in your fire place or outdoor fire pit. Take a moment to assess all the things you'd like to cut the cords from in order to free up your vibrant, Goddess-given personal power. These might include old relationships, responsibilities, beliefs, or habits. For each one, tie a single piece of black embroidery thread around a red pillar candle with a knot. Then, with great certainty and focus, snip them all away with a sharp pair of scissors. Cast the old cords into the fire and watch them burn. Light the candle as a symbol and representation as your calm, vibrant, and unhampered personal power, and let it burn throughout the night. Extinguish before bed, and light again at intervals until the next full moon.

5. Road Opening Door Cleanse
Like the sunset is a threshold between day and night, Samhain is a time when the weather is rapidly shifting into the winter-like half of the year. It's also the end of an old harvest cycle and the beginning of a new one. This is what makes it a portal between the realms of seen and unseen, known and unknown. Draw upon this threshold energy by cleansing your physical door today as a symbol of clearing away anything that may be holding you back. Place a few drops of sage and rosemary essential oil in a bucket and fill it with warm water. Using a rag, wash your front door, first inside, and then out. As you do so, say or think, "I am clearing the way for my positivity to flow. I am making way for blessings of all varieties. I am reinforcing my boundary of light."

(And if you haven't already, check out this fun new Llewellyn book!)

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I'm Back, and I'm Bionic!

Dear friends and patient readers, I am sorry to have neglected you for so long. But the cause has been a good one! Three decades ago, I injured one knee, and four arthroscopies, lots of PT, and a good deal of pain later, it was time to give up and have the total knee replacement that had been planting itself securely in my path for the last several years.

I spent the latter part of autumn in aggressive physical therapy and preparation for the procedure. The surgery itself was in early December, and I've been rehabbing ever since. I'm doing very (very!) well, but this is a challenging surgery to have and to recover from-- lots of hard work involved. Much pain to be pushed through. I also returned to work months earlier than most people do after TKR; I'm a teacher, and I wasn't willing to be separated from my students for months. So, I gritted my teeth and was back at work only 4.5 weeks after surgery (for reference, most people don't return until 4-6 months postop).

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