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.

~ by Dver on July 7, 2016.

8 Responses to “Garbage In, Garbage Out”

  1. Miasma is generally the same across the board -consumer capitalism being the only thing I can think of that I might name as spiritually filthy without exception – it’s important to note that the concept of miasma differs between practitioners, traditions, and Gods. Though I guess that might be more appropriate for the subject of taboos, being in a receptive frame of mind can mean different things.

    F’ex, I could be writing an absolute piece of garbage erotica story, but the Twins don’t give a damn – if I lose myself in it, no matter how silly or ridiculous or seemingly unproductive it looks when I come up for air, the fact that I’m consumed by the thing is what they want. And I can name a number of other Gods to whom that would be abhorrent if I approached Them with that on my mind – but the Twins don’t exactly like other Gods or much of what They stand for.

    • Good point, and one I should have been clearer on. Specifics definitely depend on the gods and spirits involved. Dionysos has very different priorities and guidelines than Apollon, and that’s just within the same pantheon!

      • I’d like to actually read a post about that of you haven’t written one about it yet – that is, what it was like working with both of Them at the same time and what it was like preparing for each of Them, respectively, and I’d you ran into difficulties.

        • I never did write a post about that, and at this point I don’t think I will simply because it’s no longer part of my spiritual life. But it can be summed up pretty easily by saying that while the whole Apollon/Dionysos dichotomy is a bit overblown by those influenced by Nietzsche, They do definitely have major differences especially when it comes to purity/miasma. As a Dionysian, I had never felt much call to even use khernips, much less purify myself in bigger ways, but when I did any kind of worship of Apollon, especially for the oracles, I went through quite an elaborate set of purifications and kept His ritual space purified as well.

  2. I would like to be able to watch television occasionally. However, it is too expensive to subscribe. I go to a coffee house every day where I can access he Internet. I am retired, so money is short. I might buy the movie in which I was interested.😉 Most programs are dreck and I would rather use my money for an Early Music concert. (We just finished the Connecticut Early Music Festival and next week will be the Amherst Early Music Festival! I am on Cloud 9.)

  3. […] Read her full article here: Garbage In, Garbage Out […]

  4. I’ve also started to see how distracting my exposure to certain media has been in relation to my spiritual work. If you don’t mind could you go more into detail about what kinds of guilty pleasures you eliminated from your life? It could help give me an idea as to what to remove from my life.

    • Well, let’s see… I gave up regular TV entirely, mostly to avoid exposure to advertising, but also to avoid watching mindless stuff just because it was on. Now, I have Netflix and Amazon Prime and I have to deliberately choose to watch something, which makes a huge difference, plus I find that the avoidance of advertising is a huge plus in my attempts to disengage from consumerism. I gave up reading or watching things that promoted values I dislike… for instance, I stopped reading – even casually if they were in a doctor’s office or something – any of those lifestyle type magazines that are all about appearances, buying things, and very superficial ‘spirituality’ along the lines of The Secret. I have a sweet tooth, but switched from eating mass-produced junk made by unethical companies and filled with artificial crap, to higher quality sweets from better companies (still getting a candy fix, just more discriminating about what I put in my body and what I support with my dollars). Stopped reading Yahoo to get my news headlines so I wouldn’t also have to see “news” about celebrities and other nonsense. Those are just the examples that first spring to mind. Although, as someone else commented, the specifics in this process are going to vary by person, path and deities involved.

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