Magical Missives: A Ceremony for Healing

Alchemy and Magic

M

iracles,

When I asked my Sacred Artists community earlier this week what magic they were really yearning for right now the answer was clear: healing.

Healing of course takes many different forms. There is healing of the body and then there is healing of the heart. There is healing that occurs internally, healing that is external, and healing that is both.

In fact, sometimes when we start thinking about healing we become confused about what the term even means. One answer lies in the sister words that are linguistically related to the word “heal”; when we look at the words root we realize that to “heal” is to become whole and holy once more. Another way to look at healing is this: to heal is to be strong enough to remain tender.

Much magic is devoted to healing. In fact, magic and medicine are sister arts that grew up together, each study informing the other.

Faerie and so-called witch doctors, cunning men and women, root workers, shamans, and sorcerers all were called upon to assist in healing on all levels and many had prodigious skill.

On the flip side, not that long ago, doctors, midwives, and those with medical gifts were regarded as suspicious, eerie, and uncanny for their abilities to mend bones and soothe troubled minds. Once upon a time, not so very far from our time here and now, the serious practice of medicine – especially when taken up by women – was seen as just another form of heresy.

And in a way this makes sense, for healing, when done correctly IS radical. When we heal for real, we heal deeply, the medicine goes all the way down to the root.

So for those of you who are in need of healing of any kind; who are looking for the ways to continue to be strong AND soft in what can feel like an ever-hardening world, here is a ceremony just for you. It is a specific form of a spiritual bath. For more on spiritual bathing and spiritual cleansing, please see this very comprehensive article.

What you will need:

A quiet place where you can bathe undisturbed – it may be a shower, bathtub, or natural body of water.

Answers to the following questions:
What am I ready to wash away?
What am I ready to restore?

Kosher salt/Sea salt
Rose Water or Orange Flower Water (I recommend culinary grade waters used in cooking and drink mixes, usually you can find them at a good, higher-end grocery store. Rosewater is used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Persian, and some African cuisines so you might also be able to find it in the “ethnic” or “exotic” food aisles).
Water to drink
Honey or the sweetener of your choice
Clean clothes to put on after you bathe
Any other ritual items you might desire, like candles, incense, or a talisman

Ceremony:
Make the potion: On the day that you decide to take your healing bath or the day before, prepare a bottle of water to drink after the bathing ceremony is completed by adding a splash of rosewater or orange flower water and some honey/sweetener of your choice. This is a potion that you will drink AFTER you take your spiritual bath.

Make sure that your clean clothes are accessible to you after you bathe.
Cultivate Calmness

Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the earth beneath your feet, as you do so, breathe in the deep, green, energy of the earth and breathe out in gratitude – thank you.

Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the celestial skies above your head, as you do so, breathe in the high, bright, energy of the stars and breathe out in gratitude – thank you.

Take a third moment to become aware of and connected to your physical body and all that it does for you and breathe our in gratitude – thank you.

Cupping the salt in your hand, breathe over it and then state out loud what you are ready to wash away.

Bathe yourself and use the salt to scrub your body gently in long strokes starting at the neck and shoulders and then going all the way down your body (do not scrub back and forth, rather continue the stroked starting near the top of your body and then moving them down towards your feet.

Take a moment to really address your feet, starting at the ankle and then with the salt scrubbing down to the toes.Once you have finished bathing, say out loud the things you have washed away like this:

“Thank you water for removing my sadness, may it be carried forward by your depths and transformed into something that is of good use.“
Follow this style for every thing you wish to wash away.
Once you have finished, come out of your water and allow yourself to air dry naturally.
Put on your clean clothes.
Then, taking your bottle of potion, breathe over it and say out loud what you are ready to restore.
Drink it down and once you have done so affirm, it is done.

Final act:
Healing is, in most cases, a gradual experience and one that often occurs in phases. Be patient and also track your progress. Spiritual bathing is an act that can be repeated several times a month or every single time you take a bath.

For those who are interested in internal healing and cleansing, there is no better first step than to drink more water. Simple and effective as much good magic usually is.

The above image is one of many gorgeous artworks created by Brian Froud. Learn more about his work with faeries here and here.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Sacred Arts approach to self-harm

Learning and Community

T

his post came from a question asked by a member of our community who has (very, very) patiently waited for me to respond.

It took me so long because I wanted to write my response as a post here on Canto for the general public; as this topic warrants more public understanding and discussion.

In 2016 4% of adults self-harm, 15% of teenagers self-harm, and up to 35% of college students self-harm.

In 2016 4% of adults self-harm, 15% of teenagers self-harm, and up to 35% of college students self-harm. Click to Tweet

This is one form of compulsive behavior that affects so many of us and those we love in different ways.

Now some would say that this is a mental health issue and as such should be left to mental health professionals. Obviously there is truth to that, but I have found that the Sacred Arts speak to our mental health concerns, just as they speak to everything else.

So while seeking treatment and good counsel in this are is absolutely the first step, there are techniques and tools within the sacred arts that we can work with to support people who self-harm and are ready and willing to receive help.

Here are some of the best sacred arts based tools and techniques to address this:

1.) Spiritual Cleansing and ritual bathing – cleansing one’s home and body in an intentional manner has long been believed to have protective qualities as well as the ability to remove negative influences and hardship. Any kind of mental or physical disequilibrium falls into the “negative influence and hardship” category.

One of my favorite ritual bath recipes to employ when you are seeking to stop any kind of damaging compulsive or addictive behavior is made with:

  • one part kosher salt
  • one part olive oil
  • a pinch of dried grapefruit rind
  • three pinches of lemongrass
  • three cardamom seeds
  • a pinch of black pepper.

2.) Working with a lodestone to draw and attract not only greater clarity but the external supports (people and systems) require for the breaking of addictive or compulsory behavior.

3.) Creating a salt jar, which I think of as a ceremonial “reset” button, as well as very protective and cleansing.

4.) Creating a prayer bundle, mojo bag, or medicine bag for the one who is suffering. In this case you want to think about the individual you are making the bag for. If possible, it is a good idea to have them help you in fashioning the bag.

You will want to use your own good judgment and take into account what herbs, roots, and talismans would be appropriate given the specific person and situation, but some of my favorites to include in any work where there needs to be more clarity and a cessation of harmful, compulsory behavior are:

  • small rose quartz and/or clear quartz crystal
  • small piece of black tourmaline (it can even be a black tourmaline bead)
  • soil or dirt from a place where the individual felt healthy and happy
  • a few small kernels of dried corn
  • Archangel root (commonly known as angelica)
  • High John the Conqueror Root
  • Solomon Seal Root
  • a bit of dried grapefruit rind
  • a bit of Juniper or Cedar
  • a sprinkle of pink dried pink rose petals

5.) Prayer and blessing are obviously recommended. Here is one that I wrote for my clients who have self-harmed or who have loved ones who have self-harmed. This was originally written for people to say over themselves but you if you have a loved one caught in this cycle you may bless them with it.

Blessed ones in whom I live and love, move and have my being. Thank you for this day. Thank you for the earth beneath my feet and for the sky above my head. Thank you for the breath running through my body and the blood running through my veins. I ask that you give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that knows the right path to follow with wisdom and discernment.

I ask too that you keep me whole, in vital health, and fixed on the fact that I am holy, beloved, and needed in this world in so many ways that are both seen and unseen, known, and unknown to me at this time. Support me in my attempts to stand in sovereignty, just as I am, untouched by the criticisms and harrowing howls, clean and safe here and now.

Bring me back to the place of loving and caring for myself in all good ways as I remember and make room for the sensations of deep pleasure and sincere being that go hand in hand with the health, wholeness, and holiness that are, were, and ever will be my own. So it is, amen.

If you need resources and more information about self-harming, I highly recommend Cornell’s categorized resource list.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Three Ways to Release the Old and Call in the New

Divination and Dreams

D

ear Miracles,

Winds blow across the land here where I live and the trees in our front yard are finally bare of branch. I can see various charms that I have hung up in their branches throughout 2015 – a scrap of ribbon here, a pine cone covered in birdseed and prayer there, a dried pomegranate left as an offering on Halloween, an old and twisted root tied up with yarn.

Over the next few days I will gather these little offerings given to the trees and taken out into the world by the winds. I will add them to a pile of petition papers and candle wax and a few other ceremonial items and then, as is our tradition, I will burn them in a sacred fire.

As they burn they will be joined by many of your own prayers and petitions — for all who are participating in 2015’s Banish and Burn ritual have sent in their own words and wishes of what needs to be released, let go of, and banished.

To banish something is not merely to get rid of it. To banish something is actually to honor it for the role(s) it has played in our lives and to release it, to let it go, so that it might be transformed by earth, air, fire, and water into something that is good and of use for others. This banishing, releasing and letting go is the first in a three step process that I work with every year as we move from the old year into the new.

 

The process itself echoes a process we see in ritual and ceremony throughout time beyond time:

First one must cleanse, release, let go, and rid themselves of what is no longer needed. Unhelpful and/or diminishing attitudes, beliefs, ideas, stalled out creative endeavors, relationships that keep trudging on in the same tired cycle, our inability to see as clearly as we might, to love as deeply as we can, to cultivate right relationship in all times and all places to the best of our abilities — these are some of the things we might let go.

Next, we set our homes in order. Many people take this literally – the New Year arrives and we clean out our homes, our cars, our closets, and our wallets. Floors, windowsills, and walls are washed so that our living spaces are not only physically clean, but spiritually cleansed too.

Another way we set our internal homes in order is through plotting out our year, making the first mark on the virgin page of that new planner or calendar, and getting our astrological dates lined up so that we have a good sense of what is happening and when it might happen.

Finally, we call in blessings along with the New Year. Our New Year’s resolutions are actually remnants of very ancient practices involving our ability to ask for what is most needed, desired, hoped and wished for and promising in turn to do our part to be blessed and a blessing in turn.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

4 Ways to Honor the New Moon

Ceremony and Ritual

D

ear Miracles~

For those of us who are magically minded the lunar phases offer wonderful opportunities to observe our scaro-magical work throughout a month. Because a full lunation is about a month long, we can use points along the way to “check in” with our work, our practices, and also to make ritual and ceremony. Traditionally there are at least two such points that sacred artists throughout time and around the world have been aware of: the New Moon and the Full Moon. Today we are going to focus on the New Moon.

The New Moon is the time in a lunar cycle when the moon is conjunct the sun. This moon is not in the night sky at all – it is up in the sky during daylight hours and it sets with the sun at night. That’s why the first view of the waxing crescent is so low in the evening sky – the moon has been chasing the sun. Daylight moontime. Like most all sky objects during the day it gets washed out by the sun and the blue. Also of note, there is no fixed ‘dark side of the moon’ – whatever side is away from the sun is dark. It changes as the moon orbits earth. What is fixed is the far side of moon.

New Moon nights are the best nights for stargazing.

Here are four guidelines to help you attune, bless, and be blessed in turn by the beautiful New Moon:

  • Remember that the New Moon is New. This is the best time to begin new projects, seed new ideas, create new ceremonies, rituals, or simply begin another round of self-care and creative exploration.
  • In many parts of the world New Moon is associated with youth, inexperience, and innocence. This makes it an especially good time to create any ceremonies honoring what and who is young in your life.
  • Menstruating women have the ability to sync their cycles up with the phases of the moon. A woman whose cycle is not naturally following a lunation may sleep under moonlight for a month or two and find that all of a sudden she is in sync. Synchroncity with the moon means that menstruating women are at the peak of their fertility during the Full Moon and experience the onset of their blood time right before or on the New Moon. Therefore, all rituals of self-care, nurturing, and honoring what needs to be shed for now are quite appropriate. Peri or post menopausal women and men still have strong connections to the lunar phases as our bodies are over 70% water and the moon rules the tides.
  • As the New Moon begins a new lunar month, it is a great time to do routine scaro-magical rites such as house cleansing and blessing, renewing protective talismans, and performing a monthly divination.

 

 

What is your favorite moon phase?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Something Wicked this Way Comes: 13 Points About the Evil Eye

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles: The “evil eye” or mal ojo as we call it here in San Antonio, is a pan-cultural idea that encompasses a host of beliefs regarding negativity, bad luck, and misfortune. Quite a few scholarly articles have been written on the evil eye but here is the low down information you absolutely need to know.

The first thing to recognize about mal ojo in our current time is that we can carry it with us, in us, and not even know it. Anytime we are seeing incorrectly — with envy or pride or lust or selfishness we could rightly be said to be suffering from the evil eye –our eyes are literally being taken over by an evil force, call it energy, call it spirit, or simply bad will.

In traditional spiritual work the best cure for one who has the evil eye put on them is a limpias — a spiritual bath, and that is the best way to cure oneself of incorrect seeing too — it is a time of cleansing and reconciliation to the self and your true purpose, it can be a time of recommitting to the work you have to do in the world. May it be so. With that said, here are other facets of this idea which may be of use.

1.) The evil eye is everywhere. In every culture that is. The belief that people can intentionally or unintentionally wish you ill or harm is found throughout the world and throughout time. Usually people focus on the beliefs surrounding the evil eye found in Judaism, the Mediterranean countries, and Middle Eastern countries like Turkey or Iran, but plenty of beliefs about the evil eye can be found in Western European, Central and South American, and African countries too.

2.) Most often the evil eye is believed to be given to someone unintentionally. There are plenty of cases of people feeling that someone has deliberately decided to try to ruin their life through negative thoughts, malevolent prayers, or outright destructive workings. More frequent, however, is the belief that someone called down the evil eye through their own jealousy and was not really trying to harm the object of their attentions.

3.) Symptoms of the evil eye vary from time to time and place to place–but many of them include a general idea of “drying out.”  Water is generally associated with life and life giving forces. When we are too dry we are not as generative, fertile, prosperous, or healthy.

4.) Children and older people are traditionally believed to be the most vulnerable to the evil eye as are women who have just given birth.

5.) Salt is a world wide curative for the evil eye and is also seen as protective against it. So are the colors blue (featured in many of the apotropaic charms we find for the evil eye today) and red–which is favored as a cure and protective color against the evil eye in parts of Africa, Italy, and the UK.

6.) Sugar is second only to salt in its curative abilities as the evil eye is believed to make someone’s life bitter as well as dry. Sugar brings moisture and sweetness to the situation.

7.) Along with sugar and salt, Spiritual Cleansing, is seen as another essential step in both warding off and combating conditions resulting from the evil eye.

8.) The evil eye does not necessarily only come from other people. Many traditions believe that it can be cast on a person by spirits who are displeased or offended for whatever reason.

9.) Rue is the herb most popularly called on to address and combat cases of the evil eye–perhaps because of it’s tiny eye-shaped leaves.

10.) Blessed water/Holy Water can be used to wash someone down who is believed to be afflicted with the evil eye. Start at the head and work down to the feet then dispose of the water at a four way crossroads.

11.) Gold jewelry is a potent ward against the evil eye in many countries.

12.) Conditions brought about by the evil eye can be chronic/repetitive or acute and isolated events.

13.) In Western Europe one old and favored trick to use, is to immediately turn your clothes inside out and walk backwards or in a widdershins (counter clockwise) circle.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Many Branches–Going Bright with Candlesmoke Chapel

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

I’m so delighted to introduce you all to two more of my favorite Sacred Artists. Joseph and Sara Magnuson are friends, colleagues, and collaborators who make beautiful and truly magical spiritual products. From sublime ritual oils to sweet sugar jars and of course their stellar candle services — these two run one of the most authentic spiritual supply businesses I have come across in years!

In their own words: Candlesmoke Chapel is a husband and wife collaboration dedicated to crafting high quality magical and spiritual goods. We’ve been crafting our own supplies for years and are proud to offer our products and services to others. Our work and studies include traditional witchcraft, hoodoo, genealogy, folklore, and herb lore. We are always working to better our own lives and are committed to helping others achieve their desires through the use of magical and spiritual practices.

Find them on the World Wide Web:

www.candlesmokechapel.com
www.etsy.com/shop/candlesmoke

1.) Candlesmoke Chapel fills many different roles, but one of the things that you two do beautifully is creating homemade spiritual supplies–how did you get started in this work?

Both of us have been interested in and studied various paths and traditions our whole lives. After many years of learning and practicing, we found ourselves drawn to the principles behind conjure and rootwork. This became a jumping off point for us, so while we don’t practice conjure and rootwork exclusively, we find that the tangible aspects of working with candles, roots, herbs, oils, incense, and washes speaks to us. We believe that having these items to physically work with help to focus one’s intent and purpose.

In working with these types of items, we’ve been in and out of every botanica and occult shop we’ve come across. Even though there seem to be lots of options out there, we weren’t always satisfied with the quality and the general feeling behind most of the products we found. So we decided to make spiritual supplies for our own personal work and quickly found that they were powerful and effective. We started giving items to friends as gifts and doing work for people we knew for free. The feedback we received was awesome and we’ve just kept growing!

2.) You also offer readings through Candlesmoke Chapel–what is your favorite subject to read on and what question would you like to never be asked again?

We’re going to answer this question separately because we each do different types of readings…

Joseph – I read with the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and my favorite kind of readings are open-ended general questions. I love it when the client just says, “tell me what you see.” This gives me the opportunity to really open up to the cards and the client’s energy and look at any and all possibilities. I really enjoy all the readings I do, but if I had to pick I’d say the most difficult readings are the third or fourth go-around on the same issue; when the client doesn’t like the answer they got the first couple of times and they keep wanting another reading to see if something different will present itself. These are difficult because I know they’re unhappy with their situation, but I won’t just tell them what they want to hear.

Sara – I read with the Animal Medicine Cards and my favorite kind of readings are about how people can move forward with something in their life. I love questions about feeling stuck in some way and guiding the client to the animal spirits and energies that they can learn from and call upon to bring themselves up to the place they want to be. I love helping people see the connections between other living creatures and themselves and watching that “aha” moment when the client sees how it all comes together. Like Joseph, I enjoy all the readings I do but, due to the nature of the cards I use, the most difficult question I get is “tell me what my spirit animal is.” People are usually asking this question without a real understanding of what that means and they’re typically not interested in doing the inner work necessary to discover this themselves. It can be challenging to explain to someone who doesn’t want to look within themselves that no one can tell you what your spirit animal(s) is/are.

3.) Talk to us about bottle spells–how do they work and what you do guys love about them?

We love bottle spells and especially sugar jars! The idea behind any type of bottle or container spell is to create a magical battery. You’re creating a small space that is super-concentrated with ingredients suited to your purpose. Immersed in that super-concentrated space is a paper with your desire written on it, your handwriting on the paper adding more power to the purpose of the container. Add some personal concerns, like a strand of hair, and this can be some powerful stuff! We create the jar for your purpose, you add your written paper and personal concerns and we provide you with instructions on how to work the Sweetening Jar on your own.

There are tons of different types of bottle spells and we focus on Sweetening Jars, specifically sugar jars. They can be made with many different kinds of sweeteners, but our preference is for sugar because it tends to manifest movement in a situation more quickly than something like honey. There’s also a physicality involved with shaking a sugar jar – seeing the magical ingredients tossing about; hearing the sound it makes and getting into a rhythm like a musical instrument. Our Sweetening Jars currently focus on romantic love situations, but we’ve done custom jars to help create a peaceful home and to help draw more clients to a business. There are lots of situations that can use a little sugar!

4.) You are a married couple doing awesome work together-are there any particular challenges or benefits that you find in working together on all your different projects?

One of the biggest benefits for us is that we’re passionate about the same thing. We’ve seen lots of situations where one person can’t be very open about what they’re doing or even has to hide it because their significant other doesn’t get it or isn’t into it. Yes, we’re a married couple, but we’re also best friends – and who doesn’t love hanging out with their best friend! There are also two sets of eyes on everything we make. It’s invaluable to have someone else that you trust to smell, touch and test a new creation; it’s the in-house quality control department. Luckily, we have a very honest relationship so the quality control department takes no BS! We openly and honestly give each other our feedback without the worry of hurting any feelings. The best benefit is getting to collaborate; we love putting our minds together to develop new products and services. Even though we’re walking this path together, we each have different sets of knowledge and our own ways of looking at things. If one of us doesn’t know something or can’t figure something out, the other one can almost always find the solution. The only real challenge for us is arguing over who gets to use the big work table and who has to clean up!

5.) If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

Trust yourself. Completely block out what anyone else thinks and do what you feel called to do. Keep doing what you feel passionate about and practicing what you believe in because it will shine through in everything you do. Not only have we learned this lesson in our own work, but we also run into these issues with our clients. This advice is not just for someone following a path in life, but also for those who are working to change a situation. It’s not just about big-picture, life-choice questions and even applies to the little things. After you get a reading or use a product, trust yourself. Block out all the extraneous stuff and do what you feel called to do. Practice what you believe in and the right path will appear.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

So Fresh and So Clean – The Art of Sacred Bathing and Spiritual Cleansing

Purification and Cleansing

D

ear Miracles,

We can all feel the difference between a messy room and a clean room. Clutter, refuse, and objects that are not in their proper places create confusion, imbalance, and waste our time.  This is true for our physical lives as well as for our emotional and spiritual lives.  In our relationships, for example, we can see how continually bringing up issues from the past that need to be released and buried can damage the present.

Think of a clean kitchen. Maybe the kitchen is sparkling and spotless or maybe it is a little dingy around the corners but more or less clean.  Now imagine someone walking through that kitchen with mud on their feet, leaving their muddy footprints all over that clean kitchen floor. If this were really your kitchen what would you do?  Would you leave the muddy footprints where they are, ignoring them and hoping that they would go away?  Or would you get out the mop and go to work on them?

Most of us would not leave muddy footprints in our kitchens, but I am constantly surprised at how many folks refuse to clean up the muddy foot prints that have trekked all over their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. The problem of course is that one cannot take a bottle of pine-sol to the soul, so what can we do?

As it turns out, quite a bit. Folk healing and magical traditions world over have remedies that address the state of spiritual muddiness we all encounter from time to time. Below are some of the time honored traditions I have been taught and can personally vouch for.

 

Sacred Bathing

There is a saying in my family when one of us gets really sick. We say “I am so sick my hair hurts!” Have you ever been that ill, where your hair literally hurts? Thankfully I am not sick in that way very often these days but when I am I immediately know what to do.

I wake up early in the morning before anyone else is up, I fill my bathtub with hot, hot, water and I pour in a handful of blessed salt, Angelica Root, Peppermint, Cinquefoil, Rosemary, a chunk of Bloodroot, a pinch of Lavender, and a sprinkle of Life Everlasting. Yes, I’m taking a bath to ease my body, to get the sweat up so that my lymphatic system goes into action, but I am also taking sacred bath — a bath of healing, restoration, and blessing.

Often in my work I advise someone to take a “sacred bath” — it is an easy and inexpensive ritual act that may be done at home whenever the need arises. Many of my clients know the basics of sacred bathing, quite a few of them have sacred bathing traditions in their own families. Even so we are well served in revisting the art of the sacred bath.

First we must ask ourselves, what is a sacred bath? I use the term sacred bath to denote a bath taken for ritual or ceremonial purposes as opposed to a bath taken only for physical cleaning. Sacred bathing is a tradition found throughout the world. The use of water in combination with the just right botanicals and minerals, blessings, and focused intention has been with us since ancient times. Special waters  herbs  roots, oils, and other preparations are often involved in sacred bathing. Blessing ways, petitions, affirmations or mantras may also be part of you sacred bath. Though sacred baths are taken for a variety of reasons, they usually have something to do with cleansing and purification of the body, mind, and spirit. To that end, let us consider the one element that every sacred bath has in common.

 

It all begins with water ~

Water is one of the four classical elements honored in the Western Sacred Arts, the element of Water is also acknowledged and represented in many Asian and African traditions as well. Universally water is seen as an ideal element to work with in rituals concerned with healing, restoration, and cleansing. It is also commonly included in ceremonies designed to deepen an individual’s relationship to their intuition and inner knowing.

Tales of sacred springs, holy lakes, and blessed bodies of waters populate both myth and fairy tales while even today in largely Catholic areas holy water is gathered and used in the daily blessing of family, home, and land.

Often the realm of the dead and the realm of the living are separated by, among other things, a river or body of water. This has found modern translation in the teaching that whenever one is visiting a graveyard or trafficking with  spirits of the dead,  a good way to cleanse away any negative or malicious energy is to cross running water either in a vehicle or by foot as the belief is that the departed will not be able to move past that natural boundary line. We also find the notion of water’s protective qualities emphasized in the belief that setting a glass of clean water on a bedside table may protect whoever slumbers from unwelcome nightmares.

With the level of emphasis placed on water it should come as no surprise that the kind of water we use in a sacred bath is quite important. In myth and folklore we often find very specific rites given that involve bathing is specific bodies of water at specific times of day and even during specific times of the year. To this day in many countries pilgrimages are made by people of all faiths to bodies of water that are believed to be particularly blessed.

For our purposes I will assume that sacred bathing is a rite my readers desire to perform at home, where there is not necessarily a sacred body of water near by. I will also note that for some of us who, like myself, live in water-poor parts of the world any body of water is sacred! No matter where you are bathing, it is always advised to procure water from a natural source usually a spring or underground natural aquifer.  If your water comes from a man-made reservoir or desalination plant for instance, you may want to represent water from a natural source by taking a cup or bowlful of spring, river, or lake water and adding it to your bath. If you choose to do this please note that some water does contain bacteria and other impurities that can be dangerous. Many rivers, streams, and springs have information about their bacteria levels available on the web, but if you cannot make sure that the water you have is safe then boiling it for at least ten minutes is a good way to quickly purify it for use.

Those are the outer, external considerations around the most essential element. But as you prepare your sacred bath, I encourage you to consider your inner relationship to the element of Water as well. What does water mean to you? What do you think and feel and envision when you hear the word “water”? How much water do you drink every day? How many ways do you use water on a daily basis? How many aspects of your life are directly supported by the presence of water? You are going to water for sacred purposes so take a few moments to reflect on your relationship to it, practically and spiritually, will do nothing but deepen your entire experience.

 

Name your purpose ~

After you have decided on the right source of water for your sacred bath you will want to take some time to think about why you are creating a bathing ceremony to begin with. What are the muddy footprints you are seeking to clean up after? When, where, and how did they appear in your life? Are you dealing with the debris that follows in the wake of lack of self-care? Are you seeking to heal a broken heart or bandage wounded pride? Is your desire to celebrate sensual beauty and pleasure? You can get clear on your intention by asking these two questions:
1.) What outer change am I looking for?
2.) What inner changes are required to support that outer change?

 

Then add Botanicals and Blessings ~

Your purpose or intention is what will guide your choices in botanical, mineral, and blessing elements to add to your sacred bath blend. While there are many herbal books and encyclopedias that will list out various plants and their spiritual associations and uses, I have been taught that the individual bathing should have their own relationship with whatever ingredients they choose to work with. If you grow plants yourself always look at your own garden for inspiration. If you responsibly wildcraft then take a walk in the woods and consider what botanicals might be willing to lend you their medicine. Of course you can always look at the books but starting in your own kitchen gives you a much more direct relationship with the entire process.

The same is true of the blessings, petitions, prayers, affirmations, mantras, or words of power that you intend to use. Your stated goal, the external change you are hoping to achieve, will go a long way in helping you determine the best way to make your prayer and bless yourself. If in doubt, you can always go with a general blessing like this Blessing of the Body.

This is also the part of the process where you consider what kind of bathing preparation you wish to create. Are you creating a mineral rich restorative bath soak? Are you going to create a delightfully fizzy bath bomb or a specialty bath melt? If you only have a shower and think that you cannot have a sacred bathing experience because you do not have a bath tub then I have news for you: a bundle of fresh herbs tied directly to your shower nozzle is fragrant and pure magic. For great ideas on the art of bathing and the many preparations that are possible I strong recommend the magazine Willow and Sage. Keep in mind that after taking your sacred bath you might want to anoint yourself with an oil, lotion, or dust yourself with powder – all of the same principles apply to making or choosing these formulas.

 

The Bath itself ~

As I always say, look first to your own traditions and the practices you have made your own — because water is such a universally recognized element and sacred bathing is a sacred art found world over, many of you will already have ways and means of sacred bathing that work beautifully for you. However, if you do not have a framework within which to work, then allow me to share some of my own approaches.

In my family sacred baths are usually taken at dawn because the sun is considered one of the most important celestial bodies to observe. At dawn the sun begins to rise and is viewed as both young and strong. Whenever we wish to draw something to us — be it cleansing, renewed health, love, wealth, or specific opportunities, we take our sacred bath at dawn to attune ourselves to that nascent solar potency. In rarer cases a sacred bath may be taken at dusk when the sun is setting. The purpose behind that choice is concerned with banishing something or someone from our lives — such as illness, cross words between friends, etc.

Lunar phases may also be taken into consideration following the common motif of working to draw good things to you during the period from the New Moon to the Full Moon and working to remove things from your life during the period from the Full Moon to the New.

Once you have decided on the right time for your ritual I recommend that you gather whatever you will need. Clean towels, clean clothes, and in many traditions clean shoes or socks are all highly recommended. If you are going to bed after your sacred bath then clean sheets and a lovely scent in your bedroom might be added to your list. If you are going to recite specific words during your sacred bath then have a copy of those words at the ready. Candles, essential oils or incense, music, and whatever other ceremonial items you may wish to have present can all play a role in your bathing experience. You might even want to have a special drink or delightful treat on hand as you bathe – it is traditional to end ceremonies with some kind of feast after all! You will also want a small cup or bowl, the purpose of which will be explained below.

The Details are in the Disposal ~

As I have been taught, the final part of the sacred bath is the most important. Once you have finished bathing you may wish to anoint yourself with an oil or lotion and/or dust yourself with powder. Traditions like African American Conjure place a great emphasis on allowing yourself to air dry. Other traditions such as Currendera encourage wrapping up in a special towel or blanket. Choose what makes sense and feels in best alignment with your stated purpose. The next step is the most critical: before draining the tub or stepping out of the shower you will want to collect some of the water with which you have bathed. This water now carries your imprint, your essence, and as such it has become a magical material. Like all such materials it must be disposed of with respect and purpose. So if your desire is to draw blessing and abundance then pour out the water at the base of a large and healthy tree facing east. If your desire to remove affliction pour the water out at a four way crossroads while facing west — and when you turn to go home go in a different direction than the one you came, and never, step back over the place where you have poured out the water.

Although the steps to sacred bathing may sound time consuming and exhausting at first, this really is one of the most simple and straightforward ritual acts you can perform. It is also a kind thing to do for yourself and your precious body – be careful, you may soon find that every bath you take becomes a sacred bath!

 

Spiritually Cleansing a space or vehicle~

A sacred bath is one approach (and my favorite) to spiritual cleansing, but it is important to keep in mind that the places and spaces we physically occupy can also accrue their own energetic funk and need to be cleaned up from time to time. When it comes to cleaning any physical space there are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind.

Clean from top to bottom (this is just practical sense, you dust before you vacuum) and back to front.  This applies whether you are cleaning a room, cubicle, entire house, or vehicle.  My favorite spiritual cleansing agent is one that my mother and I make every year — we call it Momma Hen’s Fabulous ‘n’ Famous floor wash. I also like Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena scented products which are made from essential oils, are biodegradable, and phosphate free. Lemon Verbena is one of many herbs used to spiritually clean, unlock doors, open the way, and attract good luck.  As always consider what botanicals are your natural allies in this endeavor.

Whether cleaning a single room, home, or vehicle start in the back and move to the front. When cleaning multiple rooms after the first room has been dusted, mopped, and vacuumed you can say a blessing over the space, light a bit of incense, and/or light a small candle.

If you have co-workers who are negative and difficult for you to be around, stuck in a job that is not rocking your world, or dealing with aggressive supervisors then magically cleaning your work space, office, or cubicle is a good idea. Follow the same basic guidelines for cleaning a house. Obviously, skip lighting the candle or incense, reciting the blessing is just fine. If vacuuming is not feasible then lightly dust your area with finely ground botanicals you associate with abundance and good fortune.

Vehicles are another area that can benefit from spiritual cleanings.  Again, the principle is the same: cleanse from top to bottom and back to front.  Make sure that you clean the inside and outside of the vehicle, including the tires.

In closing I would simply say that it is not merely coincidental and that in myth, in folklore, and in many spiritual traditions that art of sacred bathing and spiritual cleaning are strong emphasized. During these acts more than perhaps any other we are able to fully see ourselves – our broken places, our beauty, and our blessings. From that clear vision we are able to call in all that is whole-making, healing, and holy – what greater magic is there?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.