Another factor is what was understood at the time about hygiene. Sickness and close association with dead bodies fall under this heading. Insofar as miasma relates to the possibility of spreading disease, of course our ancestors wouldn’t want it up in the middle of shared ritual. Now – did they also believe that there was a certain amount of ill luck attached to the sick and bereaved that they likewise didn’t want spreading? Maybe so.
Do we believe that? In most cases, I would say no. Do we believe that the Gods themselves are too pure to willingly touch the sick and bereaved? I certainly don’t. In fact, I think those circumstances are some of the most likely times for us to reach out for Them in private. I also believe that Gods most connected to purity are so pure that rather than being contaminated by any pollution we humans can create, They “contaminate” pollution itself with their purity. This power has been ascribed not only to Jesus, Mary, and a number of saints, but also to Tara, Kwan Yin, Oshun, and Ezili Freda, and that’s off the top of my head. For that matter, if the Gods cannot clear away impurity then who can do it better than the Gods?
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