This is the second post in a series on Cleansing & Purification. This series aims to elucidate the concept of ritual purity and ritual pollution (aka miasma) specifically within the context of witchcraft. The first post in this series What is Ritual Pollution? discussed the various causes of miasma, as well as those activities common within witchcraft that naturally cause miasma. This, the second post in this series, focuses on identifying ritual pollution in yourself so that you can take active steps to correct it before your practice is impacted.
In the previous post, we discussed the various causes of ritual pollution and how they can negatively impact your witchcraft. It’s important to remember that ritual pollution, also known as miasma, is a natural occurrence and a natural consequence of very normal things we experience each day. It’s also an unavoidable consequence to some of the work we do as witches. Many times, miasma remedies itself on its own. But sometimes we must take extra steps -via purification- to clear that ritual pollution so that we can perform certain magickal tasks without interference.
Ritual pollution is not inherently bad. Ritual purity is not inherently good. They are just different ways of describing different ways of temporarily being. Each of us will be encounter ritual pollution. Each of us will personally be miasmic. Each of us will be ritually pure without having deliberately taken steps to be so. These things can happen multiple times throughout a single day as they are simply a consequence of being creatures that simultaneously exist as both flesh and spirit.
However, miasma can interfere with your witchcraft practice, making it difficult to perform healing work, to communicate with your Gods and familiar spirits, to perform divination, and to note the subtlety about you. It largely affects your awareness, impacting your ability to see the signs of coming complications or to even receive messages (especially warnings) from your Gods and spirits.
To help you to better stay at the top of your game, the following list is offered. This is not an exhaustive list of the signs and symptoms of miasma, but it should give you a better idea of how it may manifest within yourself.
If you see any of these signs of miasma in yourself it’s okay. This is not a reason to panic or to become upset. As mentioned in the previous article, miasmic states often clear on their own, however, if you are an active witch and need to get stuff done, realizing that you are miasmic only means that you have some extra work to attend to before you can focus on your primary work. No big deal. There’s always work to be done for the witch.
Recognizing Miasma in Yourself
Please note that many of these signs and symptoms are also those of various mental illnesses and physical ailments. This stresses the importance of viewing any signs or symptoms you’re experiencing within context. Look at your entire life and recent experiences to ensure you are getting to the root of the problem and not jumping to conclusions. Have you been physically unwell? Does work have you overrun lately? Is your depression cycling and making life more complicated for you? Have you been working a lot of heavy magick? Are there new spirits that have appeared in your life demanding late night chats?
Discernment is an essential skill to cultivate as a witch. Take care not to dismiss practical, physical world explanations for anything you may be experiencing. Remember, the spiritual world and physical world are tightly interwoven. You are spirit and flesh for a reason. To be functional and present in one world, you must be functional and present in the other. Do not overlook simple explanations before seeking a spiritual means to remedy the situation. In other words, if it’s just as likely (if not more) that your signs of miasma could also be that you’re sick or that your medication is causing adverse reactions or some other such mundane level concern please take your ass to the doctor before you reach for that smudge stick.
In the next edition of this series, we’ll look at the Difference between Cleansing and Purification so you can ensure you use the right method for your needs.
Want to Deepen Your Witchcraft Practice?
You can choose a topic for me to write about each month and support my writing, too! For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can also get early access to articles, free copies of all my books, and free subscription to the Be a Local Witch email course.
Throwing the Bones
Whether you're struggling with something spiritually or in everyday life, bone divination can highlight areas where focus is needed and identify alternative ways forward.