The Mandaean ritual of Mašbuta or baptism is described. This is a process of immersion in running water (which is the form that the Lightworld takes on earth), and is not an initiatory baptism, but rather repeated immersions that mark preparations and rehearsals for entry into the Lightworld – an entry that only happens properly at the death of the body. After an outline of the proceedings at a Mašbuta, specific interpretations and interpretative problems associated with it are addressed. It is argued that the Mašbuta is best understood within the greater horizon of Mandaean cosmology, as one of the means of constantly recreating the laufa (the connection between earth and the Lightworld).
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