Don’t worry, I’m not about to talk about how to rid your aura of toxic vibes.
Instead, I want to present purification as a path to clarity and ease, and as a way to create social change and fairness.
Let’s start here: The Priestess archetype rules purification, the second step of a well-crafted ritual.
During Imbolc season, we walk with The Priestess and learn to purify.
Purification can be an opportunity to ditch excess baggage, get rid of distraction, and pair down to the essentials.
In a ritual, we use purification to help us focus.
Even if we’re distracted by really exciting things like an upcoming vacation, that’s still an obstacle that keeps us from being present and gleaning the most insight from the experience.
So The Priestess archetype shows us how to pair down and release so we can enter an experience with a clear mind and focused attention; an empty cup waiting to fill.
During Imbolc we spend the entire 6 weeks purifying, getting clear and paired down for the year ahead.
That can look a lot of ways.
Some of us clean out closets, clean up food intake, or arrange the files in the computer. We might make smoke bundles to purify our home or temple, or teas to move stagnation. We might “fast” from people who distract us from our goals.
Personally, I’m purifying my brain, specifically around racism and misogyny.
Oof. Yeah, no small thing.
The ‘why’ of this is obvious, so I’ll talk about how.
Step 1: I remember that while I am not “bad”, some of my thoughts and behaviors are harmful to others and perpetuate harm and unfairness.
Step 2: I stay open to change and suggestions for change.
Step 3: I sift. I’ll explain.
So, imagine a big sturdy wooden frame, maybe 6 x 6. It’s covered in metal wire with 4 inch squares. If I dumped a bunch of construction debris over this, is would sift out things like big chunks of concrete, boards, bricks, and fluffy pieces of insulation.
In regard to racism and misogyny, sifting out this big stuff is the equivalent of eliminating big things like murder and violence against women and people of color, ownership of them, making them enter through different doors, and attend different schools. This sifting began before I was born, thanks to the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation movement.
But there’s still a big pile of debris that made it through those 4 x 4 holes, right?
So I start over. Another 6 x 6 frame. And this time, the holes are 2 x 2. I dump the same pile over it, this time sifting out metal brackets, board-ends, chunks of bricks, long nails. Now we’re sifting out things like casual violent name-calling, inequality in the home and work place, blocked access to funding and jobs, and sexual harassment. This stuff started to sift out when I was a kid.
But still, a big pile of debris made it through those 2 x 2 holes.
So I start over. And over and over. Smaller and smaller holes, sifting out more and more each time.
Each time I shrink the holes and re-load the debris think whew, good riddance. That was so awful.
Then I look at the pile that still made it through.
I think Am I blind? How could I have missed that? This is obvious!!
And I start over. Same frame, smaller holes.Dump the same pile through.
These days, I’m down to a sieve with smaller holes than before, and also a pile of debris.
So I’m listening. I’m responding.
I keep purifying and sifting, removing more and more each time.
When someone writes me and says ‘you’re white, you can’t use this word’. I do not shrink, I shrink the holes of the sieve and send it through.
When I hear ‘your offerings don’t feel inclusive’ I do not shrink, I shrink the holes of the sieve and send it through.
When I catch myself making an assumption, taking an opportunity for granted, being lazy about evolving, I do not give up and shrink in defeat, shame, or guilt. I shrink the holes the sieve instead, and send it through .
One day, that pile of debris might be a clean little sandcastle of shiny mica dust and particulates from outer space that caused/causes no harm.
But not yet.
I have a long way to go. We all do. All.
So I roll up my sleeves and do the work of purification in honor of fairness, non-violence, my own sacred work, and the ritual that is my life.
Your life is a ritual, too; a sacred rite that honors nature and the divine.
What do you need to release to get clear & focused so that you can do your work, make a difference, and craft your life into a legacy you’re proud of?
love & late winter,
PS: the woods at the apothecary