Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spiritual Baths

"Energy can be moved between two objects in the form of heat" explains an encyclopedia entry on the topic of Thermo-dynamics. Thus we introduce today's entry, on the topic of magical baths.

The Santeria tradition of magic often uses a bath as the first go-to working for a spiritual problem, and it is a known and often-used tactic in hoodoo and rootwork, particularly – though not always – for spiritual cleansing and purification purposes. This is sensible, given the usual function of a bath! But they can be worked for drawing purposes as well, as we shall explain.

Heat is energy and life. One of the first things that happens when a person dies is their body grows cold; their life-energy is gone from the body. By a certain logic, then, one can imagine that if a person is lacking a certain energy in their life (be that energy love, success, money or whatever have you) a way to apply it might well be a nice warm bath, the heat from which is transferred and absorbed by the practitioner. The aromatherapy aspect – evident in many hoodoo works – also falls into play with this technique, as the warmth helps to vaporize and enhance the scents of any fragrant herbs or oils that are used.

An 1845 work on Hydropathy states medicinal baths are "a natural influence intensified by art." So much the better for a spellcaster. Many spiritual supply shops sell baths of various types, and some practitioners merely resort to adding a bit of their favorite dressing oils or powders to their bath water. Additionally, those with a good herbal knowledge often just boil an appropriate plant into some water, which is usually strained into the bathtub; or else a cloth baggie full of herbs is mashed through the bathwater to add whatever powers it shall. Sometimes a person remains in the bath for a set amount of time – I've actually noticed no difference myself to come of which amount – and it is generally considered important to wet or pour water on the head. Those with brittle hair often complain of this step, yet it's such a consistent instruction in hoodoo baths that it seems to be essential. To the brittle-haired: – invest in a better conditioner!

Myself, I was not initially too fond of baths for spiritual purposes. The ever-helpful Lucky Mojo site was whence I first learned of them, and the instructions there tend to indicate that one should bathe at dawn, pouring the water over one's head a set number of times accompanied by a psalm or statement of intent, at which point one must collect a basin of the water and carry it to a crossroads where it is to be thrown towards the rising sun, while stating the desired intent. I used to do this, and usually found no effect whatsoever from these baths. I gave up on spiritual bathing as a waste of resources. Then, sometime later, I was reading reviews on the Indio products website for a Dragon's Blood Bath, which the users generally loved. I went ahead and bought some, and tried it. One thing that I noticed was that none of the Indio users made mention of the elaborate ritual described by yronwode, and so I decided to try it without all the extra steps. This was my turning point – I imagine my trouble had been the complexity of the ritual timing and disposal was a distraction to my magic. Once I did away with them, I found baths to work so much better – such that now, like a Santero, they're often my first inclination for personal works.

Here is a nice all-purpose bath, adapted from Anna Riva's book, Golden Secrets of Mystic Oils. All you need is a bottle of Special Oil #20.

To a tub of bathwater, add 9 drops of Special Oil #20. Take your bath while concentrating on your desires, and be sure to wet your head. On leaving your bath, draw an X on the sole of each foot with Special Oil #20, then on the palm of each hand, then finally anoint the back of your head. Each time you mark yourself with the oil, speak aloud your goal. This can bring about a great improvement in a long-standing condition, in a short amount of time.

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