Cleansing, linguistically speaking, has various connotations of cleaning and purifying and generally making something not dirty. Typically it is used in a more esoteric manner but it is occasionally used in a more ‘have a shower’ kind of way. It is also a term that basically every Pagan, Heathen and spiritualist uses in one form or another, sometimes more broadly than others and sometimes more specifically than others. Usually the term is used to mean to make something good again, to get rid of the negative energy, remove all the currently existing energy to make room for new, fresher energy. Though such things are hard to group together, cleansing is one of those things that is a bit of a hallmark of Pagans and Heathens despite its use (linguistically and practically) by other groups.
What exactly cleansing is, within the Pagan and Heathen scope, usually depends upon the person doing the cleansing. A medium might cleanse a house of the negative energy left behind by the previous owners who were in an unhappy relationship, while a wiccan might cleanse themselves of all negative energy prior to the working of a ritual and a tarot reader or rune reader is often heard commenting that they cleanse their particular tool between each reading to ensure that the runes or cards are only being guided/affected by the energy of the person the reading is being done for. There are lots of approaches to cleansing and equally as many reasons why it should or should not be done. A person once commented (verbally) about the cleansing of a house and said that they didn’t think that it was always a good idea to cleanse a house of all the energies the previous occupants left behind, even the negative ones, because the house itself has a spirit and by taking all that energy away you are making the house less.
Much like a lot of these, to use a phrase, typically Pagan techniques cleansing is one that I haven’t ever really considered beyond the intellectual exercise. I dipped my toes in it so to speak back when I was trying to meditate each evening, attempting to let go of something particularly negative that was weighing on my mind at the time. One day I might come back to cleansing and find that it is a technique that I want or even need to add to my toolbox, however for the time being it is only something to think about. Nevertheless, as something to think about it does present a number of interesting facets.
The very idea of cleansing is based on the concept that there are definite rules about what is and isn’t positive and negative, energetically speaking (I guess?), which is tied into an individual or group’s thoughts regarding morality. Morality is something that I gone into on a semi-regular basis and at times gone into some depth about how I don’t really think that it is all as cut and dried as people typically seem to think it is, dark is evil is negative while light is good is positive kind of thing. So, when DuvessSimone left a comment yesterday saying that I might want to cleanse my incoming runes, because the lady who made them has been having a terrible run of actually quite serious bad luck, I was left with two minds on the advice/suggestion. On the one hand, bad luck is certainly something that I don’t necessarily WANT more of, but on the other hand if I did cleanse the runes would I be dispelling a part of their inherent quality as a magical item – given that I would be trying to dispel what I perceived to be bad luck transferred to them by their artificer.
I haven’t ever, at least not that I remember, heard or read about a person that uses magical items and tools etc say that one of their tools, items, etc is entirely inanimate. In one way or another there has always been some mention of its personality or individual energy, which makes me wonder: would I be essentially lobotomising or otherwise altering the very nature of my runes if I were to try and cleanse them, regardless of whether I should or not (which might well be another post)?