This is a contribution to the Kemetic Round Table’s discussion on Ritual Purity. For more information on this new project, go here!
As a Kemetic Orthodox priest of purity (a W’ab priest), it would be easy for some to assume that since I work with purifications and purity, I therefore have an objective scale of what is pure and what is not. I want to clearly dispel that notion from the beginning: I’m not an expert in anything at all. The truth is, in my experience, purity is not cut and dry. It isn’t something that can be measured, like weight or height, nor is it binary. Purity is dependent on individual circumstances, and exists on scale of “greater” vs. “lesser”, rather than “yes” vs. “no”.
In my practice, a person is ritually pure if they have undergone ritual purifications. Some purifications are more rigorous than others. There are specific purifications for the priest’s Daily Rite, and there are specific purifications for Senut. I wouldn’t use one for the other; one is not quite clean enough, and the other is overkill. There’s also personal purification rituals – anything I do to feel spiritually, psychologically, or emotionally “cleaner”.
In all of this, I try not to seek absolutes. To use the word pure in an absolute sense carries the baggage of perfection, I find. If I am pure in an absolute sense, I am at my total best mentally and physically. Rarely is that the truth. More often than not I find my way to shrine, tired from a day of work or worn down emotionally from the tides of life, aching in my limbs or back. Sometimes it is too much, and I step back, acknowledging that my presence in shrine would not be complete. Most times, however, I wash away the day’s events with prayers, natron water, and some calming breaths, and I go to shrine to love and serve the gods.
It is a personal continuum – a constant effort to be cleaner, purer – but not a losing battle for perfection.