Purification by Water

1 Introduction

Although the most important act of purification is simply to wash your hands with “hand-washing water” (khernips, which can be just ordinary water), there are many other forms of cleansing by water. Firstly, there are the obvious methods of cleaning the body, with a shower, a bath, a washcloth and so on. Secondly, there are more symbolic methods of purifying, by sprinkling or asperging persons or places with water. Thirdly, filth left

sea water, salt water, cinquefoil wash, what else?

The herb cinquefoil (off-site link), for instance, was “cut to be used for purifications (katharmoi), sacred works (hierourgiai) and cleansings (hagneiai),” according to the pharmacologist Dioscorides Pedanius (4.42.3). We get some sense of how the plant would have been used in purificatory rites, and for what purpose, from a passage in the Poem On Herbs. In this poem, we also learn that this plant belongs to Hermes.

+Salt water (Proclus). Salted water?

2 Translation

In warm water, applied as a wash with the hands, cinquefoil works against terrifying apparitions, the evil eye and hostile daemons as an excellent remedy.

Therefore, pick the herb when the mortal-illuminating Moon is waxing, and the Sun is about to raise its red light over the earth.