Purification Practices for Everyone

One of the running jokes within Paganism is references to “smells and bells” – our love for and use of various sensory tools and techniques when it comes to spiritual practice. Pagan rituals are often lush with texture. We use incense and sacred fires, singing bowls, bells, and chanting, rough cut stone and shining crystals, and so much more. Our tools of ritual and practice are a reflection of a religion that encourages us to lean in, be present, pay attention to and savor our world. Each tool also serves a valuable spiritual purpose.

A component of Pagan practice that can be useful for nearly everyone is purification for supporting spiritual and emotional health. Our tools for purification are some of the ones most noticeable on the “smells and bells” front. The stereotype of a hippie waving around a bundle of smoldering herbs springs from this set of practices.

We feel the need for purification because our experience of the world includes its spiritual impact on us. Interacting with challenging people, visiting emotionally charged places, and going through tough life experiences can result in a heaviness or discomfort that is not physical in nature. Purification practices offer a way to release some of that discomfort. For some of us, purification is a near-daily part of our routine. For others, it’s as-needed or linked to specific days of the year. Continue reading…

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