However wonderful alliteration may be, it does not connect words any deeper than in sound. Purity is a state of cleanliness, and perfection is a state of being without flaw. Something that is clean may not be without flaws, and something flawless can be dirty. It’s true that sometimes “purity” can refer to a way of living, but most of the time it’s a transient state. We are impure, so we purify; then we are pure, and life renders us impure again. It’s a cycle, one that I’d say we all must go through in the course of our relationships with the gods.
Perfection is something else — something much less helpful. Perfection is the state of being without flaw, and usually that means long-term. Perfection is a constant state of being. None of us is intrinsically perfect. We have quirks and problems that mark us as human. No matter how grave our flaws, we can still be pure. We can still clean ourselves up and go before the gods. It’s true, in shrine you can make all the right offerings, say all the right words, make all the right motions — but does that add up to perfection? Our shrines are messy sometimes. Our lives are discombobulated. Our thoughts are jumbled. We are not perfect.
Instead of agonizing over not being perfect, let’s strive to be pure in each moment. When I go to ritual next, I will be clean. I will be focused. I will offer what I have with my whole heart. When I kneel before my shrine, I will do so with love for my gods. If I should be distracted? I will refocus. I am human, and I am not perfect. But I can make myself pure for that moment.