W’ab Wednesdays Return!

Welcome back to W’ab Wednesday, my personal exploration of purity and it’s place in my life.

Today I am thinking about purity of relationships. What is purity in an interpersonal context?

No relationship, romantic or platonic, can ever be completely free of conflict–even if that conflict is so simple as disagreeing on where to get lunch. Purity can never be considered a lack of conflict. That simply isn’t realistic, and certainly isn’t healthy. I think that between people, purity refers to an attitude, rather than a concrete state. When we are open with one another, and when we are considerate of ourselves and others, we are in a state of interpersonal purity. Harboring grudges, speaking passive-aggressively, and of course outright hurting each other all contribute to impurity. Rather than avoiding conflict, then, we strive to meet it openly and appropriately, without lashing out.

Loving everyone is a noble goal, but that is equally as problematic as being abrasive and bitter. It isn’t necessarily appropriate to love everyone. It isn’t appropriate to love a person who has hurt you deeply, or a person who actively wishes harm upon you, in my opinion. It is, however, appropriate to act to safely maintain the space you need from these people.

As with everything, it comes down to the balance of Ma’at. We maintain closeness where needed, and create distance in other areas. We give of ourselves and we receive in return. When these things become disproportionate, we fall into impurity.

What is most important is to remember this: impurity is a part of life. We correct the balance for a time, and move on, constantly adjusting and moving and balancing within Ma’at. Purity is an action, not a state of being. So we do it: in our homes, within ourselves, in our lives.

A Side-Effect of Menstrual Taboo – Today’s W’ab Wednesday thoughts.

Menstrual taboos are a sensitive subject. As a follower of Kemetic Orthodoxy, I do not engage in particular kinds of worship during my menstrual period. Many people hear this and consider it backwards. How can menstrual taboos be woman-positive, when something inherently feminine is considered “impure”?
I have given my opinions about menstrual taboos here a few times already, so I won’t rehash them, but a recent situation drew to light what I believe to be a very woman-positive side-effect of observing menstrual taboos. During Retreat, I had a purity crisis – I found myself unable to work as a priest due to an early cycle. I needed to talk about my cycle and my inability to work gracefully, without hedging or beating around the bush – and I found that I was.

There are more available euphemisms, to be sure – ‘purity issues’ is a favorite, I think – but in general, menstrual taboos have given me the right to talk about menstruation comfortably. It isn’t something awkward; it is a regular fact of life. I report for work as a priest, and when I cannot, I can say that it is due to my cycle. There are some who prefer not to be so overt, and I respect their decisions; but I feel that for me, practicing menstrual taboos has normalized menstruation and ironically, made it a topic that is not taboo.

(Belated) W’ab Wednesday: Purity of Intent.

W’ab Wednesday will be happening on Thursday this week, as life did not allow me the opportunity to post until today. I’d intended to write one up earlier in the week, but didn’t get a chance. That is where the inspiration for today’s W’ab Wednesday post comes from: what does intent count for in terms of purity?

My intent with this series was to post every Wednesday. Today’s post was late. Only by a day, but it was still late. BUT: I had intended to post it yesterday. It was only because I wasn’t able to get to a computer for most of Monday through Wednesday that there wasn’t a post. Does my intention to post count for anything? What if this situation were different? What if I was obligated or responsible for something, and even though I intended to do it, got sidetracked or wasn’t able?

Intent can’t make something appear. If our intent is good but we miss the mark and forget or can’t get something urgent and important done, it simply isn’t done. Gaps remain unfilled and work is unfinished. A project turned in incomplete, no matter what it was intended to be and no matter how hard we tried, is still incomplete. No matter what I wanted, this blog post still went out late.

Purity is like this too, I think. We can intend to be pure as much as we can intend to do anything else. But if we just can’t do it, for any reason, then we aren’t pure. Sometimes this feels like a judgement. When we can’t be fully ritually pure because we are not feeling 100% or we are overwhelmed with other responsibilities, we can feel like we are failing somehow. Purity is not something that makes us good or bad. When we are impure, it is not always because we are doing something wrong. Purity just is.

That is my meditation this week. I cannot will myself to remain in a state of purity when life is getting in the way. I hope you find it helpful too. 🙂

W’ab Wednesday – knowing when to stay back.

Today’s W’ab Wednesday thought is on when it is better to step out of or away from a ritual. Sometimes we are not able to be pure. Sometimes, illness or other impurities disrupt our ritual rhythms and we need to step back. There is always a balance. We may want to dive headfirst into our work, but our physical or mental states might make it wiser to choose less formal practices. That is my reflection this week. I hope you find it useful too.

W’ab Wednesdays! Spiritual and Physical Purity.

I am starting a series which I am calling “w’ab wednesdays”. The word ‘w’ab’ means ‘pure’. In these posts I’ll be sharing my personal opinions on purification, ways to purify yourself and your space, and anything else potentially related to purity.
Today’s purity thoughts are on spiritual purification and physical cleanliness. I find that the more I purify spiritually, the more driven I am to keep myself and my living spaces clean and tidy. This means keeping the laundry basket from overflowing, keeping my trash bins at a reasonable level, vacuuming regularly… chores upon chores! I also find that when my space is clean and I am clean, my spiritual practices are more focused. The two feed into each other, creating a feedback loop of purity.

When my space and physical self are clean I am also healthier. I find I get sick less often. Therefore my spiritual health indirectly impacts my physical health. Purity has impacted all areas of my life for the better. 🙂