Spiritual purification in the religious sphere is the act by which a man cleanses himself, from what corrupts his soul, from what is considered sinful or harmful within the relationship of faith. In every religion, the concept of purification is of primary importance, as it brings the faithful back to divine grace.
There are people who want to cleanse themselves through purification rituals, and not infrequently identical people are looking for new rituals. Almost as if the quantity of what is learned can improve the quality of what one is.
It would be legitimate to ask ourselves whether this instance of purification derives from an authentic desire to become sacred and holy. Or else we only seek atonement for what conscience or morality deems harmful.
Understanding why we approach purification, and in general, a ritual is useful to understand if we are within a devotional sphere, or a real desire to prepare for subsequent theurgical commitments.
The spiritual purification we are talking about is not attributable to the religious sphere, it does not respond to the need to make amends by virtue of broken commandments. It is not spurred on by feelings of guilt, or even by moral precepts. But rather by a preparatory and indispensable act to be able to operate correctly and profitably.
However, it is useful to deal briefly with purification in the religious sphere, since through the sign it left, we can go back to the substance of this rite. My experience leads me to identify at least six types of purification.
The admissible purification
Through which the one who wants to enter the new community undergoes spiritual purification. Aimed at freeing him of the legacy of the previous life, in such a way as to be acceptable in the new brotherhood, and to prevent it from being corrupted by something external.
Luke 2:22 – When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they took the child to Jerusalem to offer him to the Lord.
Then follows the purification of the things that are to be used for the fulfillment of a ritual, or of the places of the ritual. In order to free them from what has been collected in their handling from parts of impure, or to exorcise their material part, and thus make them useful and welcome in the rite.
1Chronicles 23:28 – They depended on the sons of Aaron for temple service, presided over the courtyards, the rooms, the purification of all sacred things, and the temple service activity,
2Maccabees 1:18 – Being we to celebrate the purification of the temple on the twenty-fifth of Casleu, we thought it necessary to give you some explanation, so that you too celebrate the feast of Booths and fire, which appeared when Nehemiah offered the sacrifices after the reconstruction of the ‘altar.
Then we have an expiatory purification through which the faithful offer a sacrifice or behave in order to balance what has been done previously and contrary to the dictates of the religious community to which he belongs.
Ezekiel 43:22 – On the second day you will offer a flawless goat for sin and cleanse the altar as you did the bull.
Ezekiel 43:23 After the rite of purification, you shall offer a bull without defects and a ram from the flock without defects.
Numbers 19:13 – Anyone who has touched a corpse, that is, the body of a dead human person, and not purified, will have profaned the Lord’s Abode and will be exterminated by Israel. Since the purification water has not been sprinkled on him, he is in a state of garbage, he still has the garbage on him.
Numbers 19:20 But he who becomes unclean will not purify himself, he will be eliminated from the community because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord and the water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean.
Preventive spiritual purification
Another form is the preventive one – to which the crusaders underwent – of the one who knows that in order to pursue an aim of glory, he must still operate a relative evil.
There is also the consecrative purification, addressed to the one who is included in the priestly hierarchy by the body of the faithful.
The last example is the priestly purification, which is proper to the priest who must prepare to perform a rite.
Obviously, there are then purification rituals strictly connected to the succession of the seasons, as they coincide with religious recurrences, or lunations, equinoxes, and solstices. There is the need to realign oneself to the astral change, or to prepare for other rituals of which purification is a previous and necessary act.
If it is therefore intuitively clear that purification can be seen as the liberation of what is extraneous to the nature of what is purified. Making it therefore different from what it is in nature, one should not think that grasping the question in such a simple way would lead to underestimating its essentiality.
Spiritual Purification does not tend, and cannot tend to make good and righteous, but rather to make pure and clear, what is not pure and clear. To make the concept even clearer is like digging in the sand in search of what is hidden there. Only when this is completed will we know what was hidden by the sand, and what we would have found may not even please.