The Ordains: Part 6 – Cleanliness is Close to Goddessness
This is the sixth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
“Keep clean your body, your clothes, and your house.”
Despite the title, I don’t believe any Deity cares if you wear the same pair of pants twice in one week. No God or Goddess will smite you for neglecting to clean your home for a while or skipping a shower. Unless your level of filth is harmful to you or others, I doubt Spirit is worried about it at all.
That said, I see the wisdom in this line.
For me, keeping my home clean is imperative to feeling balanced. It allows me to think clearly and be more efficient with my work. More importantly, having a clean home is helpful in my lifelong quest for mental and emotional clarity. Without it, my mental health suffers.
I realize that cleaning isn’t a priority for some people, which is their right. But it’s become a key part of my schedule. Each weekend, I give my place a thorough cleaning, give myself a little basic spa care, and do a brief cleansing ritual. Last week, I missed that ritual. Last week, I also forgot to post the previous entry and ended up way off my schedule.
I’m not saying skipping my big weekly clean always leads to a totally disrupted system, but life seems to run a lot smoother when it’s done. That regular maintenance keeps me going. It’s a reset from all the different experiences and energies I may have come into contact with over the week.
Even if somewhere off in the future, I get so busy that I need to hire someone, I’ll still relish the ritual of cleaning. It gives me time to think, time to imagine and plan, time to relax. Many nights, I’ve gotten into a cleaning frenzy at three a.m. after a particularly stressful day. It helps me cope.
Of course, as I mentioned, making the bed every day and keeping a neat home isn’t top priority for everyone. When I was younger, I thought that was madness. How could anyone live comfortably in clutter?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been forced to view a different perspective. That is, I’ve lived with people who weren’t family a lot over the last twelve years. Across high school, university, and five years of living in New York, the number might surprise you.
I’ve had nearly 30 roommates.
You learn a lot from living with people. One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has their own level of acceptable cleanliness, and it’s not my right to judge. This wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, and it’s still something I struggle with.
As it stands, I’d rather hang out in my home than in the home of someone whose home is full of clutter—or worse, actually dirty. I mean, dust-caked surfaces, sticky floors, a weird smell that you can’t quite place.
Because I don’t want to have negative feelings towards my friends (and I acknowledge that too much mess holds negative connotations for me), it’s easier to bring my friends into my space or a neutral public place than to put our relationship at risk by exposing myself to a triggering environment.
If we look the at it another way, I don’t personally know anyone whose mental health is put at risk by being in a clean environment. The same goes for having a shower and wearing clean clothes.
Sure, we could look at this as a shallow message. We might associate being told these things with societal demands.
True, it’s a good idea to try not to offend people with our bodily aromas. Personally, I’d rather smell a little human sweat over a strong perfume. But if you aren’t making people gag and are hygienically healthy, I don’t think society should have much say concerning your personal body practices.
This tenet reminds me that the Ordains aren’t about telling us what we need to do in order to please the Divine. They’re about living an ethical and healthy life. That’s why they’re such an important factor in the Maiden’s Circle practice. I believe all people should have the freedom to pursue a healthy life—whatever “healthy” means to them.
Everyone deserves to have these basic comforts. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. There are many people with no home to clean. No access to a shower or laundry. This breaks my heart. It isn’t right, as I believe we do have the resources to remedy this problem.
Someday, Maiden’s Circle will provide aid to those in need in many ways. I’m considering starting a charity to offer aid to people who are homeless. Would you be interested in participating in an endeavor to create care packages for New York’s homeless?
The idea would involve bags of essentials including blankets, non-perishable food, feminine hygiene products, and more to help someone navigate life without a home. Homelessness can happen to anyone, so I want to do my part.
If you’re interested, email me here and I’ll let you know how you can help!
From my heart to yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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