From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, October 5, 2015:
When the master of the art shall wish to perform his operations, having previously arranged all things which it is necessary to observe and practice; from the first day of the experiment, it is absolutely necessary to ordain and to prescribe care and observation, to abstain from all things unlawful, and from every kind of impiety, impurity, wickedness, or immodesty, as well of body as of soul; as, for example, eating and drinking superabundantly, and all sorts of vain words, buffooneries, slanders, calumnies, and other useless discourse; but instead to do good deeds, speak honestly, keep a strict decency in all things, never lose sight of modesty in walking, in conversation, in eating and drinking, and in all things; the which should be principally done and observed for nine days, before the commencement of the operation.
[Key of Solomon the King, Book II, Chapter 4: “Concerning the Fasting and Care and Things to be Observed”]
The above quote from the Key of Solomon is a fairly typical example of the grimoires‘ instructions concerning ritual purity. Given the Judeo-Christian nature of the texts, it is not surprising to see typical Christian rhetoric about “impiety, impurity, wickedness, or immodesty” and the general concept of “sin.” Taking these texts at face value, it would seem the angels and spirits simply won’t bother to respond if you are a “sinful” and “unclean” person:
Accustom yourself as much as possible to purity of body and cleanliness of raiment, seeing that this is very necessary; for the spirits, both good and evil alike, love purity.
[The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Book II, Chapter 20]
Most grimoires insist on this kind of spiritual cleanliness for, at the very least, the duration of the magical operation. Today, we are thankfully maturing past childish ideas such as “sin.” We no longer believe that a Big Voyeur in the Sky watches us all day waiting for us to break one of his silly little rules so he can torture us for eternity. We certainly don’t accept any Deities who would consider something like sex a “bad thing” (especially after creating it in the first place!). Therefore, it isn’t surprising to see many modern students attempting to work with the Old Magick, while just ignoring the fasting, seclusion, abstinence, and other aspects of ritual purification.
However, Christians and Jews did not invent ritual purity…