We all know the importance of physical health and hygiene, and mental health and wellness has been a trending term for at least two decades now; however, what do we really mean when we say spiritual hygiene? In layman’s terms, spiritual hygiene references the acts one carries out to insure that the energy surrounding their physical person and in the environments they frequent regularly is positive and comprised of beneficial energy to support the person’s day to day life.
An important thing to note: one does not need to be initiated into any spiritual system to practice spiritual hygiene. It is recommended - whether you are new to this or not - that you have someone who is experienced in this area who can advise you as needed. Personally, I recommend that said person be a practitioner of a tradition (again no need to be initiated) where spiritual hygiene is the norm. The advice of established practitioners will assist you in gaining a breadth of knowledge that you can use as a foundation upon which to build your own spiritual hygiene practice.
Here are some tips that I employ in my own practice and are, generally speaking, framed within a Afro-Diasporic context. Again, these are not mandatory; rather, I include them to give you an idea of what is possible. If you are unsure, ask someone who is knowledgeable and that you trust.
Meditation and/or prayer. You should be regularly engaged (ideally daily) in a meditation practice or incantatory prayer that allows you to tune out of the mundane world and into an interior space that is restorative. Whether you are praying/incanting or meditating, this time should be used to clear the mind of thoughts and ideas that do not serve and to refocus on additive and generative thoughts that you can incorporate into action.
If you opt to meditate, start first by quieting and clearing your mind. Do this for as long as necessary to achieve the desired effect. After that, you can start to focus on a specific intention and open yourself to receiving messages in response to that intention. Once you complete the meditation, write down anything that comes to you and use it, as you see fit, to guide your actions and inform subsequent meditations.
If you opt to pray or do incantation, it is helpful to prepare your prayer beforehand and commit it to memory. Choose a time that works best for you - I find morning after waking or evening just before sleep work best for me - and repeat this prayer daily. If you pray at an altar this can be done at your altar. This can also be done in nature, which personally, I find very effective.
Divination. If you are a proficient medium and/or you practice a divinatory system, set aside time weekly to check in with your ancestors using your clair senses or your divination system. This can be done at a consecrated ancestor shrine (in accordance with the rules of the tradition to which that shrine pertains), or at an altar for your spiritual guides, such as the Boveda used in the various Espiritismo traditions.
Please note: While anyone can speak to their ancestors, orisa (Lukumi and Yoruba traditions), lwa (Haitian Vodou), and mpungo (Las Reglas Bantu) only speak through consecrated shrines constructed by initiated priests. In divination, these entities speak through ritually consecrated implements or through possession by an initiated priest. These entities do not speak through altars that have not been ritually consecrated.
Using plants. Herbalism is an increasingly widespread practice, which when coupled with research and prayers offer a powerful option to assist in one’s spiritual hygiene regimen. Many plants across the world have healing properties and should be used according to the desired effect. Speaking generally, plants with bitter properties are great for energetic cleansing. Plants with sweet properties are great for restorative work, upping ones vitality, and bring specific kinds of energies into a space. I can not stress enough how important it is to research and speak to a knowledgeable person.
There are innumerable spiritual practitioners who sell ritually consecrated products (soaps, oils, liquid baths, incenses, floor washes, etc.) designed to achieve a certain energetic purpose. Use your intuition or ask your ancestors and/or spiritual guides to lead you to the right practitioner. If you follow this web site or my social media, you are already aware that I work in this area. I now sell spiritual soap! If interested, click here and follow the instructions to make your purchase.
Join me here on September 19 for an art-focused discussion where I will delve into studio visits and take a deep dive into curatoriality. As I mentioned previously, August 31 was my last day on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter and/or IG, and/or subscribe to my mailing list on the contact page. Until next time!
Negarra A. Kudumu
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