Among the many actions I prescribe in the course of treating various spiritual conditions, is the spiritual bath.
I first started doing ritual baths while working through the book Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig. Later, I did more (similar) baths as stipulated by my studies in Ceremonial Magick.
I enjoyed these baths quite a bit and found them useful. After a while however, the practice became a bit stale for me. There was nothing wrong at all, only that the formula was always the same and the purpose was spiritual cleansing (in preparation for ritual) and spiritual cleansing alone.
It wasn’t until I came to Hoodoo practice that I realized you can take spiritual baths for an endless variety of reasons. Hoodoo is a conglomeration of magickal practices that came together in the southern USA. It was born out of Voodoo and Santeria and mixed with Catholicism to make it more acceptable socially to the powers that stood in the way at that period of history. Hoodoo has a rich, colorful history that we won’t attempt to cover here. It is a magickal practice, not a religion, and it’s rife with spells galore, enough to keep anybody busy for a lifetime.
There are spells for anything you can imagine. Hoodoo workers fall along a very wide spectrum of ethical standards. The spells range from the most pure and honorable purposes down to the vilest curses. Many practitioners (such as myself) stay far from the dark work and some specialize in it. Many run the gamut, doing all of it. The details of all this are better left to another day’s discussion. Right now, we are only going to talk about baths and of those, only the sort designed to help, heal, attract good things and strengthen.
The most common bath that I call upon is Uncrossing. Some of the other bath mixes that I make are POWER! and Protection.
There are many simple, 3 herb ingredient bath mixes. The combinations are virtually endless. How do you determine these recipes? Well, either see me and I will prescribe something for you, or refer to any of the plethora of reputable spell books available. I give a good number of recipes in Lesson 1 of my magick course:
The Nascent Magician
Get yourself a good book on herbs and put together your own recipes. Have a look at the ones I carry in the shop and recommend most often:
The Encyclopedia Of Natural Magic by John Michael Greer
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
These are among the top standard reference books that magicians look to for the selection and use of herbs. Each of these will give you a comprehensive take on what an herb can be used for and will help you select a few herbs for your personal bath mix.
Both of these books label any herbs that are poisonous and Greer’s book in particular explains if an herb is safe to bathe in or not. The Cunningham book has its own particular advantage, in that it covers a much wider range of herbal entries. So, each book is important as a cross-reference. There are many others I could recommend but they are harder to find.
Once you have settled upon what to use in your bath, You will mix up the ingredients. You will need a cotton bag to put them into for the tub. Make sure to scrub your tub out. Get it nice and clean. Don’t skip this part. If you are taking a series of baths, as in 1 each day for a week, then you don’t need to do this every day. But definitely do it the first day and then again about halfway through the week. Of course, you can do it daily if you so desire.
The herb mixture is placed into the bag. You can then throw the bag straight into the tub, if you want. It’s recommended however that you put a pot of water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, take it off the heat and turn off the burner. Put the cotton bag of herbs into the pot and let it steep like tea for about 10 minutes.
While the tea is steeping, you can run your bath water.
Set the mood in the bathroom by lighting a candle or several of them. You can burn some stick incense too, if that idea appeals. If you use music, it should be sacred music or instrumental music and the volume should be very low.
Take 3 handfuls of Epsom Salt or even better, Blessed Sea Salt and throw this into the tub, 1 handful at a time. Do this with intention. I would advise saying something like “Creature of Water, I purify thee!” or “I exorcise thee, o thou Creature of Water!” as you do this. You can say it once or with each throw. I personally say it with each throw. I then make the sign of the equal-armed cross over the water and announce that I am removing all evil and malady from the water.
For those of you who are familiar, I also charge the water with the Sign of the Enterer and a Divine Name. The name I choose to use is EHEIEH, the Divine Name pertaining to the West and Elemental Water. You would pronounce that as “ay-hay-yay” and it’s usually vibrated, like a Tibetan Monk chant. This is a great thing to really charge up your bath but for those who feel a bit awkward about it, you can skip this step.
Once your candles and incense are going (if you are going to use them) and your water is the perfect, cozy temperature and you have charged the water and cast the salt into it, you can now add the herb mix that has been steeping. Pour the whole thing in… except the pot, of course!
Slip into your bath and for the first 5-10 minutes, you need do nothing but chill out and enjoy the nice, warm bath. When you are ready, you can start to address the issue of why you are taking this particular ritual bath. The standard fare is to recite an appropriate Psalm from the Bible, such as Psalm 37 and/or 51 for uncrossing work. If you are uncomfortable with biblical prayer, then compose your own.
To attract things into your life, it is said that it’s best to start at your feet and work your way up to your head. For example, if you were taking a wealth-drawing bath of Sassafras, Agrimony and Yellow Dock Root, you would wash foot to head, to attract. There is no soap used in a spiritual bath; a regular bath or shower should precede any spiritual work.
If you were doing a bath to rid yourself of nightmares, let’s say Hops, Rosemary and Coltsfoot, you would wash head to toe, downward, to cast out the bad dreams.
Audible prayer is utilized the entire time for best effect. You can have a prayer memorized or compose a prayer spontaneously. See our selection of Bath Prayer Cards (special thanks to my friend, spiritual brother and author Aaron Leitch for the idea!) that you can take right into the bath with you. They’re water-proof, since they’re laminated.
When you feel you are finished, pull the plug and remain in the tub while the water runs out. Visualize any negative energy going down the drain.
Step out of the bath and allow yourself to air dry, so you are not wiping off all the stuff you just put on. If you are cold, you can turn up the heat. You might choose to put on a set of clean, fresh clothes, clothes that you will be wearing for the next 24 hours. That way, the clothes might soak up the infused water from your body, but the clothes are right next to your skin. What you don’t want is to wipe it all into a towel and then throw that towel in the hamper. That does little good for you.
That’s basically all there is to taking a ritual bath. You might also choose to observe timing. For example, a love-drawing bath would be best performed on a Friday, the day that Venus rules.
Unless you know how to calculate planetary hours (something I teach in the Nascent Magician course), then you would ideally take your bath at dawn, to be in the hour ruled by the planet of that day. But beginners need not worry about any of that. It’s always better to take a bath and not worry about the timing than it is to not take a bath because you stressed out about the timing.
Some say you should throw your bath water (at least a cupful) toward the rising Sun, as an offering to the Sun. I personally don’t get why old Sol would want your used bath water, so I skip that step, myself and have never had a problem. I’ve never taken a ritual bath and later thought “Wow, that did no good. Maybe I should have thrown some water toward the rising Sun”. But you do what you want to and share your results with me.
Numbers are important in magick. So with the number of ingredients, or the number of total baths you take for a specific purpose, keep the numbers PRIME (with the exception of the number 9, which is special). Also, stay away from 5 (unless you are specifically dealing with Mars or “cutting” things out of your life), stay away from the number 11 and anything over 13. There are exceptions to this rule, such as the numbers of the Planets, as ascribed to the Qabalistic Sephiroth but that is more advanced. This should be more than enough to get you started.
Get yourself a Conjure Work Bath Mix today and try it out! Then, get some herbs and compose your own 😉