Spiritual baths are a ritual for cleansing us down to our souls and it has been a part of conjure and folk magic for centuries. Many who are finding their way back to ancestral traditions may be already familiar with the practice.
It has been a joy to see so many of us reclaiming traditions and practices that were once forbidden and then lost to us. There is a sense of excitement when I sit with spirit to reflect. A sense of remembering. We are facing and breaking generational curses,
We are speaking truth to light.
We are creating pathways towards healing.
Despite a horrific and often predatory healthcare landscape that limits access to mental wellness, we are finding ways to maintain connection. We are facing and fighting our demons.
I have been on my own path towards healing and wholeness.
Anxiety from past traumas and untreated postpartum depression took me to some incredibly dark places. I struggle with finding the right care for myself.
Mental and spiritual health go in tandem for me and spiritual care is part of my long term mental wellness program. Therapy is hard, sometimes upsetting work, growing takes churning and churning hurts sometimes. My spiritual practice is the aftercare and comfort from the hard work of healing.
There are several rituals I use specific to reducing my anxiety and stress. The number one is bath time. Water cleansing is ancient. Water is life - Bimini - it is a sacred gateway to renewal.
Indigenous peoples all over Africa, the Caribbean and Americas have been practicing ritual baths since the dawn of our history.
On days I am feeling particularly weighed down by the realities of our times, I do what I can to maintain control, I move towards comfort. The spiritual bath I take is chosen based on the intentions I have for the bath. For example, am I seeking to break up negative energy, calm my spirit, put some pep in my step? Whichever it is I choose a bath to that end.
Lately, I have been focused on healing and tenderness. A white bath is perfect for this. You want to be clean before your bath - hear me out!
There are several ways you can take a spiritual bath
Add your ingredients to a basin of cool clean water, speak your affirmations over the mixture and pour it over your head, neck, and shoulders.
Fill a tub with cool clean water, add all of your ingredients to the bath and soak in the tub for several minutes while you speak your affirmations.
In both of these cases you want your body to be clean before you soak in the mixture.
The Spiritual bath isn't for cleansing your skin, hair, and nails, it is for cleansing your spirit so jump in the shower and clean up before performing your spiritual bath,
For a white bath you will need:
white flower petals of your choice
citrus blossom or Florida water (for use after the bath)
The most important element are the intentions you have as you mix and take your bath. My intentions vary from bath to bath.
If I am easing myself out of a panic attack, for example, my intentions are about being safe and sound and calling my ancestors close for comfort. When I am feeling unseen, they are about having faith in myself.
Shaping my intentions and speaking affirmations felt silly at first. It took some time to push past this, My ancestors continue to remind me that I deserve time in this universe to find peace from the storms that swirl, sometimes relentless.
As the water washes over me, I imagine my fears and worries washing away. I continue to speak my affirmations/intentions out loud until it doesn't feel awkward anymore.
After a bath I feel lighter. I feel special, I feel loved.
I've made spiritual baths, also known as limpiandos, a regular part of my self care routine it gives me dedicated time for me with me. It makes me feel divine and centered. To be honest, no one on this planet will be able to love me better than I can love me, though I don't mind folks trying, no one can know me the way I know myself.
I am inside myself, experiencing myself as myself and it can only ever be this way in this life and baths help me remember that. It is that simple. They put me in the moment, in my own skin, where I am, mostly, in control. In these moments, I am more than a teeny tiny, seemingly insignificant, part of some large and uncaring universe. In these moments I am most feeling myself and also connected to "it" all.
I slide back from the brink of despair and find footing again. Ready to rest and recuperate.
Spiritual baths are not a singular treatment for anxiety, PTSD, and depression, it would be irresponsible for anyone to suggest such a thing. Baths can be a way to comfort and sooth a heavy soul, connect to ancestral traditions, and find a moment's peace.
It is compatible with mental health therapies and it feels really good!