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Author Topic: Fasting  (Read 3274 times)
omoyemaya
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« Topic Start: March 11, 2011, 01:48:49 pm »

It's the first Friday of Lent and both my mother and I continue to do the fish fasting and other abstainings during this period. In fact, I'm currently enjoying a nice and spicy shrimp roti. The thing is, that there is virtually no religious reason for us to do so. It has become a traditional and spiritual process for us now to exhibit the spirit's control over the body and to purify ourselves.

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?
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« Reply #1: March 11, 2011, 02:42:59 pm »


I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

I was raised Torah-observant Christian, so we fasted for Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") - sundown to sundown abstention from all food and drink (as well as TV, secular books, etc.) I was a teenager when I chose to begin fasting for it, but I never got the point of it. I did it because it was what God wanted, and then I felt like I was missing the point.

Fastforwarding, with Paganism I really embraced the feasting aspect, but haven't gotten on board with fasting. However, it's only as a Pagan that fasting began to make any sense to me at all, and I might bring it into my spiritual practice. I've not been moved to do so yet, but I'm really interested in hearing perspectives!
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« Reply #2: March 11, 2011, 03:38:50 pm »

I was raised Torah-observant Christian, so we fasted for Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") - sundown to sundown abstention from all food and drink (as well as TV, secular books, etc.) I was a teenager when I chose to begin fasting for it, but I never got the point of it. I did it because it was what God wanted, and then I felt like I was missing the point.

Fastforwarding, with Paganism I really embraced the feasting aspect, but haven't gotten on board with fasting. However, it's only as a Pagan that fasting began to make any sense to me at all, and I might bring it into my spiritual practice. I've not been moved to do so yet, but I'm really interested in hearing perspectives!
Once I leave my current job and start my new career I am planning a massive fasting process in line with my Santeria tradition. The process will last two years. It will have certain food taboos, I can only dress in white clothing during that period, I must cover my hair and let it grow during that period, I must not look in mirrors and avoid vanity as much as possible, I must not use any foul language (including just speaking in overtly negative manners) and remove myself from situations were it is flagrant, I should be silent most of the times unless I am engaged, and probably the most astringent off all the taboos... no touching of any kind with any other person. This includes wearing white gloves during most public situations and of course no sexual contact... not even hugging.

To be honest, I am looking forward to it with great anticipation. I went through this process for a shorter length of time once before, and the coming out on the other side was one of the most spiritually profound moments of my life.

I'll also be honest and say that i do not recommend this process for anyone. This is something that I personally feel the need to go through and even many Santeros don't fulfill the devotional degree I am planning.
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Setnusutekh
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« Reply #3: March 11, 2011, 04:53:04 pm »

It's the first Friday of Lent and both my mother and I continue to do the fish fasting and other abstainings during this period. In fact, I'm currently enjoying a nice and spicy shrimp roti. The thing is, that there is virtually no religious reason for us to do so. It has become a traditional and spiritual process for us now to exhibit the spirit's control over the body and to purify ourselves.

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

Mmmmmm roti   Grin I haven't had one in a while!

I actually am fasting for Lent as well! It's more of a personal decision as well as tradition, though, I like the idea of challenging myself. I suppose this challenging also brings me closer to my patron, as he generally pushes me to be more disciplined. Spiritually, for Set, I try abstaining from things which distract me from the task at hand, however, now that you mention it I might dedicate this year's fasting to him.

As for what I get out of it, I tend to feel more accomplished I guess. As well as an energetic feeling that's well worth it Smiley
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« Reply #4: March 11, 2011, 05:03:32 pm »

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

I still fast for Ramadan. Apart from the social pressure I do feel more 'pure', physically if not spiritually. I think fasting's one of the most valuable methods of focusing spiritual attention and I hope to do it more regularly after I finish my degree.
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Collinsky
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« Reply #5: March 11, 2011, 05:27:05 pm »

I'll also be honest and say that i do not recommend this process for anyone. This is something that I personally feel the need to go through and even many Santeros don't fulfill the devotional degree I am planning.

Fasting like that for two years seems very intense. I agree, I personally would have trouble with the touching prohibition -- definitely the toughest aspect. When do you think you'll be starting this? I hope you'll share!
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« Reply #6: March 11, 2011, 06:20:13 pm »

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

My attempts to eat as seasonally and locally as possible are spiritually inspired.  Environmental awareness is part of my belief system, and food trucked in from elsewhere has a big impact on the environment.

It would be a lot easier if I lived in your neighborhood.  Wink

Brina
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omoyemaya
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« Reply #7: March 11, 2011, 09:41:56 pm »

Fasting like that for two years seems very intense. I agree, I personally would have trouble with the touching prohibition -- definitely the toughest aspect. When do you think you'll be starting this? I hope you'll share!
Hopefully soon, but this is really contingent on me leaving my job I have now. I really can't see myself doing this while suffering from the spiritual and mental atrophy of my current employment... if you can even call it that.
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« Reply #8: March 11, 2011, 11:32:55 pm »

It's the first Friday of Lent and both my mother and I continue to do the fish fasting and other abstainings during this period. In fact, I'm currently enjoying a nice and spicy shrimp roti. The thing is, that there is virtually no religious reason for us to do so. It has become a traditional and spiritual process for us now to exhibit the spirit's control over the body and to purify ourselves.

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

There are times when I am called to fast or abstain to either purify my body, sacrifice my food, connect more with spiritual aspects, and to do special energy work.

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« Reply #9: March 12, 2011, 07:55:33 am »

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

Fasting in the standard sense of abstaining from eating is...  One of those things that does make sense to me, I get it, but I don't think I should do it.  I fortunately don't have any medical condition that prevents it per se, but I do get some really intense mood swings if I don't eat on a regular schedule throughout the day, or if I don't eat enough.  It's not really conducive to the sort of purification that fasting is normally meant to be a part of.

What I have done is short periods of time (a few days) in which I abstained from all junk food.  Normally I eat relatively healthily, but still also have a fair amount of "treats"; cutting out those does serve to focus and purify as well.  (I always go back and forth on whether that should include caffeine, because I suspect that dealing with withdrawal would also not be all that conducive to a pure state of mind--but then again, the withdrawal is a symptom of The purification happening, yes?)
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« Reply #10: March 16, 2011, 08:04:42 am »

Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

I'm curious if anyone fasts to feel more connected to people of the world... Like joining, I guess, with all those who don't have food (those in Japan affected by the quake and tsunami, people in Africa, etc). As a way to be "one" with our brothers and sisters, fellow humans... I would love to donate money if I had any, but since I don't, could fasting be a way to donate energy?  Huh Not sure if I explained myself well here...  Undecided
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« Reply #11: March 16, 2011, 08:27:51 am »

(I always go back and forth on whether that should include caffeine, because I suspect that dealing with withdrawal would also not be all that conducive to a pure state of mind--but then again, the withdrawal is a symptom of The purification happening, yes?)

Do you think withdrawal is necessary before you're purified? Or is it a case of, whether or not withdrawal happens, cutting caffeine and junk is enough to be purified?
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« Reply #12: March 16, 2011, 10:09:50 am »

I'm curious if anyone fasts to feel more connected to people of the world... Like joining, I guess, with all those who don't have food (those in Japan affected by the quake and tsunami, people in Africa, etc). As a way to be "one" with our brothers and sisters, fellow humans... I would love to donate money if I had any, but since I don't, could fasting be a way to donate energy?  Huh Not sure if I explained myself well here...  Undecided

Back in the 80's, when OxFam first started, people would fast for a meal or two and then donate the amount of money they would have spent on food to OxFam. It probably worked better for institions like Oxford or boarding schools than for individuals. We were encouraged to sign up to miss lunch and the food service would prep that much less food and pass the money saved to charity.

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« Reply #13: March 16, 2011, 10:49:32 am »

It's the first Friday of Lent and both my mother and I continue to do the fish fasting and other abstainings during this period. In fact, I'm currently enjoying a nice and spicy shrimp roti. The thing is, that there is virtually no religious reason for us to do so. It has become a traditional and spiritual process for us now to exhibit the spirit's control over the body and to purify ourselves.

I was wondering does/has anyone else do/done any similar spiritual fasting and/or abstaining? Why? What do you think/know you end up getting out of it once you do it?

When I was in college I studied Judaism with a view toward conversion. During that time I fasted on Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av. Having been raised in an evangelical Protestant denomination that didn't practice fasting at all, this was a new experience for me. Participating in a collective fast on Yom Kippur was part of my attempt to grow into membership in the Jewish community.

However, I ultimately decided not to complete the conversion process. My rabbi always said that in converting you were joining not just a religion, but a people. I never really developed that full sense of belonging and identity. So, interestingly enough, fasting with the community and participating in other observances had the spiritual benefit of showing me that I was called to something else.
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« Reply #14: March 16, 2011, 06:54:55 pm »

Do you think withdrawal is necessary before you're purified? Or is it a case of, whether or not withdrawal happens, cutting caffeine and junk is enough to be purified?

My intent was to address only my own (potential) experience, and I know that I would have withdrawal if I cut caffeine out entirely for any significant length of time (based on past attempts at quitting).  I don't think that having withdrawal makes for a superior purification, if that's what you're asking--it's just something that would be part of that particular approach for me if I were to attempt such a thing.
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