Spiritual bathing is an ancient and restorative practice that promotes health and wellbeing by combining the healing power of water with various herbs and minerals to shift spiritual energy in your favor. It is found in many cultures all over the world. In the African-derived traditions such as Santería and Hoodoo, spiritual baths are often prescribed for specific purposes such as drawing love and money, facilitating healing, cultivating wisdom, removing negative conditions, uncrossing and reversing spiritual attacks, providing protection, increasing personal influence and domination and creating success. Sometimes used bathwater is saved and utilized in future works. Often, a portion of the bath water is used in a floor wash following the personal bath and the leftover water is thrown in the direction of the east at dawn or at a crossroads.
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The cosmic element of water has been used across cultures and over time for purifying, cleansing, baptizing, scrying, and a variety of magickal purposes. It is an important tool for Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and other African-derived traditions as well as indigenous spiritual and religious traditions. Water is considered one of the three most important healing elements among native peoples.
In both African and Native American traditions, the addition of special flowers, herbs, sticks, and other natural ingredients transforms ordinary water into spiritually charged floor washes, colognes, perfumes, and spiritual waters. With the addition of prayer, ordinary water becomes blessed and holy. Rootworkers, Hoodoos, and conjurers of all varieties have long looked to the healing and supernatural qualities of spiritual baths to improve quality of life, restore balance, and to influence self, others, conditions and the environment.
There are many ways to perform cleansings besides baths. Smoke from special herbs and plants, cigar smoke, alcohol, and fire are but a few cleansing methods. Many times multiple types of cleansings are employed, depending on the type and severity of the condition.
Spiritual baths are very prevalent in New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo. It is not uncommon for a worker to make up a gallon jug of a specially prepared wash with instructions for a client to take home with them.
It is important to make regular spiritual cleansing a part of your life so as to achieve and maintain a natural state of balance and positivity. Particularly if you are a practitioner working with other people, you have to be spiritually fit in order to perform cleansings effectively. If you are not sound spiritually, you run the risk of passing off some of your negative energy onto your client.
Spiritual baths and cleansings can be extremely powerful and cathartic. Sometimes people are surprised by the effect that it produces and the results it achieves. I have had clients on numerous occasions cry and feel a profound sense of sadness afterwards and as a result thought it didn’t work because they felt bad. In reality they were actually having feelings they had suppressed for a long time! This is a good sign and it is important to recognize it when it happens. It is indicative of release, and often uncovers an emotional component to the root of the problem. Feelings are transitory; they always change, so even if it feels “bad” you or your client will likely feel much better after the fact.
Note that you should always seek supportive mental health therapy if you experience emotions that are too difficult to manage on your own and that are interfering with your life. You should always recommend therapy to your clients if you have any doubt at all about their emotional state. If you are working with clients as a professional, you will encounter people that you will not be able to “fix”. In reality, you can’t fix anyone except yourself. But, work roots for your community long enough and you will come face to face with people with delusions and inexplicable persistent health conditions. You must refer these people to the appropriate medical professional. In fact, if you are a professional practitioner or plan to become one, you should make a list of the various social services available in your area so you can make an appropriate referral. Making note of mental health services, health services, domestic violence shelters and things of that nature are important resources to have on hand. It’s much better to be able to tell your client that you recommend an evaluation from a professional and hand them a number to get started than to just say “go get some help somewhere.” When people are in crisis, the simplest of things become seemingly insurmountable so anything you can do to help them connect to the correct adjunctive treatment in a timely fashion is essential. In the meantime, cleansings may help alleviate symptoms and provide spiritual relief.
For more information, check out the class Spiritual Baths and Cleansings offered by Crossroads University.