While studying Kemeticism, I’ve read various takes on ritual purity. Some Kemetics use natron water, others recite prayers while they bathe, while others still do nothing beyond their regular hygienic practices. I’ve read various arguments and explanations about why someone chooses to practice a certain way, too, and through them, have come to a decision about my own understanding of ritual purity.
First, I have to take into account that I live in a modern world, with modern plumbing and hygiene and medicine. Through my everyday habits alone, I live a cleaner life than people of ancient civilizations did; therefore, I feel no need to engage in multiple baths, full-body shaving, or natron to feel clean.
Of course, some may argue that while modern hygiene physically cleanses a person, it neglects to address anything spiritual. However, one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences in my life was purifying myself when visiting a Shinto shrine in Japan for the first time. Before passing beneath the first torii gate, I ladled cool spring water from a well and poured it over both of my hands, one after the other. I emptied the leftover water into the pool surrounding the well so as not to ruin the purity of its source. And I felt spiritually cleansed.
Perhaps it was the energy of Japan, or perhaps Shinto priests bless the spring water in some way. But if something as uncomplicated as cool water can make a person feel spiritually pure, then I see no reason why I have to go to greater lengths to achieve the same result. At the end of my shower, after I’ve scrubbed myself clean, I lower the temperature and let the water wash over me. Not only is it good for my skin, but it mimics what I felt in Japan on a grander scale.
All that said, I am trying to reach the point where my mundane and religious lives are so tightly interwoven that they are essentially indistinguishable from each other. When I shower, I’m barely thinking about ritual purity; often, my mind simply wanders, and I’d like to refocus myself. Previously, I would recite Richard Reidy’s Morning Rite for Bathing during my shower, and that helped immensely. Since I’ve done it before, it should come easily to me a second time. I will leave you with the ritual in full, as I think it speaks for itself.
I, [insert reciter's name], am a child of Ra.
I am a child of the Lord of Life, Lord to the Limit.
I am created from the tears of the Eye of Ra.
As Ra bathes in the waters of the Lake of Rushes,
so now do I bathe in the waters of the Lake of Rushes.
As Ra I am purified and cleansed.
As Ra I am renewed and rejuvenated.
And now with words of effective power, with words of the netjer Djehuty, Tongue of Ra, whose words are truly effective, I say and I proclaim,
O water, may you remove all evil,
As Ra who bathes in the Lake of Rushes,
May Heru wash my flesh,
May Djehuty cleanse my feet,
May Shu lift me up and Nut take my hand.
May Set be my strength, and may Sekhmet be my healing.
May Wadjet be my protection,
May Anpu be my guide,
May Wepwawet open the way for before me in safety and in peace;
May Heru grant me victory,
May Heru bring me victory;
May Amun-Ra grant me life and may He prosper me daily.
May Amun-Ra be my life and may He prosper me greatly! (200-201)
[See more posts on ritual purity at Kemetic Round Table!]
- Reidy, Richard J. Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World. Bloominton, IN: IUniverse, 2010. Print.