Fasting is a spiritual practice that many religious groups participate in. In fact, I would venture to say that it is nearly universal. Muslims have Ramadan, Jews have Passover, Catholics have Lent, etc. All of these rituals are ways to bring the adherent closer to the Divine.
As a Pagan, we celebrate and embrace our connection to the Earth. We acknowledge that we have a spiritual body, but that our physical bodies are an interface for many of those lessons that we need to learn each time around. My dear friend Sera loves to quote; “We are spirits having a human experience.”
Fasting is one way that we can temporarily lessen our attachment to the physical connection and become more connected with Spirit. In my practice, before a ritual I will often fast. I find that if I am in good health, fasting does quiet most of my bodily processes so that I can open my chakras and use my energies for that connection, be it invoking, journeying or other such.
I have spent most of this post concentrating on the spiritual aspects of fasting, but it is important to also look at the physical reasons for this practice. In one’s everyday life the exposure to toxins is intense. Even if you eat organically, bicycle everywhere, and take other measures, there is still the pollution that exists all around you in the atmosphere. Those toxins build up in our bodies and makes us ill. I use fasting as a means of combating these toxins.
There are so many cleanses that are possible. Not all of these require that one abstain from eating. One can do a fast that consists of only juices or raw foods, but all of these fasts are a means of clearing out the “gunk” that is keeping your body from functioning at its best. I see fasting as a way of “setting the ‘reset’ button on the body.
As a veteran of various fasts such as the Master Cleanse, I cannot stress enough about how important it is to take care of yourself. In releasing these toxins you can experience a myriad of symptoms from lightheadedness to nausea, among others. It is important not to overexert oneself or take on too many activities.
Also, when you break the fast, you should do so slowly. Try just juice for a day, slowly implementing solids in each successive day. You can also use this time to test your sensitivity to common “problem” foods such as wheat and dairy.
Disclaimer: There are countless professionals more qualified than I that one can look to for more information on fasting. These are just my observations and information I have gathered along the way. I am not a doctor, and one should always consult a physician before undergoing a fast. … There, I covered my ass.