Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ammonia - A Spiritual Cleansing Agent for Magick

Ammonia is a strong cleansing agent in hoodoo magick, both physically and spiritually. We have posted before of an old home remedy ammonia bath that was recommended as a nerve tonic. "Household ammonia" or "ammonium hydroxide" is a solution of NH3 in water. Household ammonia ranges in concentration from 5 to 10 weight percent ammonia.

The Romans called the ammonium chloride deposits they collected from near the Temple of Amun (Greek Ἄμμων Ammon) in ancient Libya 'sal ammoniacus' (salt of Amun) because of proximity to the nearby temple. Salts of ammonia have been known from very early times; thus the term Hammoniacus sal appears in the writings of Pliny, although it is not known whether the term is identical with the more modern sal-ammoniac (ammonium chloride). In the form of sal-ammoniac (nushadir) ammonia was important to the Muslim alchemists as early as the 8th century, first mentioned by the arab chemist Jābir ibn Hayyān, and to the European alchemists since the 13th century, being mentioned by Albertus Magnus. In the 15th century, Basilius Valentinus showed that ammonia could be obtained by the action of alkalis on sal-ammoniac. At a later period, when sal-ammoniac was obtained by distilling the hooves and horns of oxen and neutralizing the resulting carbonate with hydrochloric acid, the name "spirit of hartshorn" was applied to ammonia. 

Ammonia is said to be the "big guns" of spiritual cleansing, and I have found it very helpful on occasions when other products weren't getting the job done -- a simple ammonia, salt and soap wash can be better than even high end Uncrossing type formula washes for spiritually cleansing your home. Small amounts may be added to baths and to laundry to further utilize its powerful effect. Lemon scented ammonia is especially loved by magical practitioners, as the fragrance adds an extra boost of uncrossing power (lemons are a standard jinx remover) while also helping to somewhat neutralize the rather unpleasant odor of the ammonia itself.

There are some who say that too much ammonia will strip away both good and bad luck as one, and so advise caution when applying it. Personally I think this is just a way of interpreting the negative effects that inadequately diluted ammonia can produce on the skin, on household objects, etc. Ammonia is a chemical, afterall, and it will produce chemical reactions! Old time hoodoo spells also sometimes use it to draw good luck, which would contradict this claim.

If nothing else is breaking that block, removing that jinx or driving off that negativity in your life, try a bit of ammonia in your hoodoo spiritual work!


Some of those who research the old-time bath habits may be familiar with adding ammonia to the bath for spiritual cleansing purposes. Here is an interesting recipe for "refreshing" bath, not from any hoodoo manual but from a 1908 book of household hints:

"A refreshing bath to be taken when one is fatigued or for overstrung nerves is made by simply mixing an ounce of ammonia in the water; but this bath should not be frequently used as ammonia, for all its tonic and refreshing powers, is not conducive to the beauty of the skin. Immediately after a bath let the body be sharply rubbed with a soft towel and then powdered all over with a little plain rice or starch powder. A ball of medicated wool, costing about six cents, can be used in place of the large and expensive powder puff."

Hoodoo folks know of course to use a good spiritual powder as the after-bath dust.

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