Recently I have been focusing my practical work around methods based in the Merkavah and Hekhalot materials. Some of this has been new rituals with a Merkavah flavor, some of it has been based on practices described in magical texts from that tradition.
An element of the tradition is that it has a very heavy focus on ritual purity with a view that mankind by his nature is "friggin gross" in the eyes of the angels. Lots of traditions of spirit work have rules about how to prepare but the sages of the Merkavah had a serious fixation thereon. Stories of angels being offended by the natural putrescence that they view l'eau des homme to be abound. My favorite example is one in which the angel shows up, he insults on of the great sages of the period, who has done more than a month of fasting and praying to prepare. He then tells the sage to undergo another forty days of ritual cleansing...not to prepare him to call the angel he wants...but to prepare him to receive instructions on how to purify himself so he can call the angel.
These angels take this shit seriously.
For most rituals I find a little naked time (read as stripping off the mundane), splashing on some holy water, saying some prayers, and tossing on my clerical robe to be sufficient.
Sometimes if it's more major I'll throw in a reverse confession. Or I'll mimic the confession burning from the Abramelin or use some materia I've put together based on that.
But, with the Merkavah angels, some of them are pretty specifically fixated on sin. More so than the others.
I did some work with the angels of the second heaven recently. The outcome was important to me. So I wanted to make sure to do it right.
Unfortunately in the text I was using, the angels of the second heaven are described mostly on the basis of condemning impurity. Sometimes...I like to have fun...and can be...a little...impure, but only a little, and only sometimes (read as most of the time).
I tried working with them with a regular ritual and they were not too responsive.
So I needed a new plan. A plan to get pure fast. Clearly there is not an instant spiritual detox at the record store. Calling my fellow clergy for absolution would be confusing and awkward. Who else did I know who could facilitate my expiation?
I happened to be doing some work with Raphael earlier that evening and realized he could straighten me out.
As I'm sure you're aware Raphael is the archangel of the Sun. So let's look at how that plays into this.
1. The Sun provides direction and spiritual gravitas. The idea of impurity in a ritual sense or of sin is that of losing direction and wandering towards less beneficial ends. Invoking the Sun reflects the assertion of direction on your being.
2. The Sun is splendor and beauty, so Raphael makes you seem all shiny and clean.
3. Raphael provides healing. Healing spiritually relates to balancing imbalances, removing impurities, and making the incomplete complete. All of this fits with correcting the impacts of missing your mark.
4. The sun is the planetary force most similar to the Philosophers Stone, which has the power to correct and elevate. Kabbalistically Tifaret is the bridge which transmits the light into the material world and aspiration into the spiritual world.
5. And most importantly the Sun is the part of you that makes you awesome. The Sun within your being is the you that is YOU. It is the part of you for whom the concept of sin or impurity can't exist. It is the road to the Throne, which the Merkavah is all about, it's the light that leads you home back to the knowledge that you weren't impure, you were divine the whole time.
So, Raphael is the perfect aid to call upon for your spiritual purity needs. He rules over your reset button. So when you feel like the sludge is weighing you down and clogging your valves hit reset, when you're worried that you're not fit for the work you're doing (even though you are) hit reset, when you need a little elevation, or balance, or direction, hit reset. The Sun is your magical reset button, and it's always at your disposal.