Garbage In, Garbage Out
“This is why purity is so important. This is why it’s so vitally crucial that we carefully choose what we read, what we watch, to what we expose ourselves (and it’s a choice we each have to make for ourselves, not one that should be dictated by any external authority). When we feed ourselves with words and art saturated with the Gods, it builds worlds in our minds. If we’re not careful, we can let in anything at all indiscriminately and that also builds worlds within our minds, polluted ones, rather than the worlds hospitable to our Gods and dead. These things matter and it’s an area that we alone control. What are we going to nourish in ourselves? What kind of landscape are we going to create within ourselves – one that nourishes the holy or one diametrically opposed to it? That is what religious purity is: creating worlds within ourselves hospitable to our Gods and spirits, and it’s important.” (Galina Krasskova)
This is definitely important for everyone who honors the gods, but it is especially vital for religious specialists, and unfortunately requires a lot of careful discernment and vigilance in our modern society. There are so many potential distractions, 24/7, most of which are not conducive to a holy state of mind. And if you’ve got a religious vocation, you know that it’s not enough just to have your mind and body pure during ritual – even if you do a lot of ritual – not only because ideally you want to be doing the Work all the time, but also because everything you do and are on a daily basis feeds into the Work and what you can give to the gods and spirits. Garbage in, garbage out. It’s really that simple.
Around the time I first got called to be a spirit-worker (after many years as a devotee and pursuing less all-encompassing Work), I would typically relax by watching, reading and doing the most soulless, meaningless, mundane things. I figured that everyone needs a break, especially after Work this demanding, and it didn’t do me any real harm to occasionally indulge in some guilty pleasures. But I was wrong. Over time, the spirits urged me to give up more and more of those things – not to give up relaxation (in fact, They are generally more likely to insist on me getting some down time than I am), but to change the ways I enjoyed that relaxation. To disengage from the mundane world of modern, materialistic, spiritually bereft human society (note that is not the same as the physical, tangible, natural world, which is important to stay connected to). To resist the appeal of distraction, and to find ways to make everything part of my path, even how I take a break.
As I began to cull things from my life that did not support this mindset, I found that I was attracted to them less and less. In fact, I became rather repelled by them and could start easily seeing them as the miasma they are. I no longer even wanted to get near them. It’s hard to see a speck of dirt on a filthy window – much more noticeable once the glass is clean and clear.
Even so, I find it’s a good practice to check in with myself regularly and examine all the influences in my life, all the noise and images I let into my mind, and see what builds up my spiritual core, and what might be depleting it. This doesn’t have to lead to a monkish existence or totally eschewing modern life. I still watch some television shows, and go grocery shopping, and surf the internet. I still chill out with a few drinks and snack food and watch kids’ movies to unwind. But there is, underneath the surface at all times, an awareness, an evaluating eye, a mindfulness – exactly the opposite of the headspace that our culture promotes. It has made me a better spirit-worker, brought me closer to my gods and spirits, and given me a certain amount of clarity that is desperately hard to come by these days.
I realize I have discussed this topic before, but I think it’s an important one to revisit periodically and remind ourselves of.