Explain why purification is important prior to ritual, and what you do to purify yourself before you lead a rite. Include any prayers said, items used, and any stage directions needed to help your reviewer understand what is happening. (min. 150 words, not including prayers, items, and directions)
At CedarLight Grove, ADF, our method of purification largely depends on the hearth culture being represented for that particular rite. Occasionally it also depends on time and the amount of people attending, in which case we’ll attempt something much more fluid and simple.
For example, during our greek rites, we often use a bowl of water to purify participants. This is placed on a small table next to the entrance-way of our sacred space (but outside of it). As participants walk by this table, they are instructed during pre-ritual briefing, to wash their hands in the water for purification.
Alternatively, if we have a rather large gathering, we will place incense on either sides of the pathway (or wooden bridge, as we have installed in our permanent nemeton), and the smoke would purify the attendees as they passed through it. This would save time and have less “stop and go” at the beginning of the rite.
I officiated my first wedding last month, and used a similar purification method of combining the two. A shell of incense to waft the smoke over the couple, and a bowl of water to aspurge the couple during the ceremony. Smoke and incense are the two most popular forms of purification that I do in my personal practice, and that we do at the Grove. Sometimes the water is scented with oils or herbs, but it is still water.
The purpose of purification is essentially the removal or “washing away” of distractions, negative thoughts, and allowing your mind and body to focus on the task at hand. The goal is to be pure in intent and focus while speaking with the Gods (Serith). While not practical at my Grove, I do enjoy a good ritual bath before personal rites as well, as it is a more physical act of washing away or purifying, and relaxes my mind more than other methods so I might focus on my work.
(Word Count: 323)