How To Take A Ritual Bath
Of the many actions I prescribe in treating various spiritual conditions, the spiritual bath is one of the most powerful.
On more than one occasion, I’ve prescribed a bath, only to have the person demonstrate some sort of resistance to the idea. Only after it becomes clear that I’m barking up the wrong bathtub, I’ll change direction.
After they try a number of other suggestions, to no real positive end, eventually they relent and take the bath. Then, they understand the power of the ritual bath!
When Fire is the answer, only Fire will suffice and when Water is the answer, only Water will do!
Upon the Face of the Waters
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 my ongoing Golden Dawn work.
I enjoy the baths quite a bit and find them very 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. It was always for the purpose of spiritual cleansing, in preparation for ritual, nothing else.
Actually, the ritual bathing in Ceremonial Magick, such as the Golden Dawn, is multifunctional, as well. Yet, at the time, I only had the one book (Modern Magick) to go on.
The author’s purpose there is not to treat the subject of ritual bathing as a whole. Rather, he’s addressing one, simple bath, in preparation for Ceremony in the Temple.
Do That Hoodoo That You Do, So Well
It‘s because of my Hoodoo practice that I now see the endless variety of purposes for spiritual baths.
Hoodoo is a conglomeration of magickal practices that comes together in the American South-East.
It’s birth parents are like some magickal orgy, in which many traditions spawn a single child.
Voodoo and Santeria syncretize with Catholicism, allowing the slaves to practice under the masters’ noses. This first, quintessential Hoodoo trick, during that dark period of time, sets the standard for things to come.
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.
I will soon release a book about Hoodoo and a number of Hoodoo bath recipes will have their place in it.
Every culture has some form of ritual bathing in its history, from the aboriginal shamans, to the Native American Medicine men.
There are many simple, three herb ingredient bath mixes and 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 several others I could recommend but they are harder to find.
Tie the Knot
Once you settle on what to use in your bath, you 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. Often, you’ll take a series of baths, as in one each day for seven days. In this case, you don’t need to scrub out the tub, 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 act of scrubbing is meditative, in and of itself.
Let’s Get Cookin’
The herb mixture goes into the bag. You might throw the bag straight into the tub and leave it at that.
However, I recommend you steep it, first. Just 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 ten minutes. While the tea is steeping, run your bath water.
In The Mood
Set the mood in the bathroom by lighting a candle or several of them. Burn some stick incense too, if that idea appeals.
If you use music, use sacred music or instrumental music and the volume should be very low.
Salt of the Earth
Take three handfuls of Epsom Salt or even better, Blessed Sea Salt and throw this into the tub. Do so, one handful at a time, with powerful intention.
I advise you to use a consecration prayer, such as “Creature of Water, I purify thee!”. Or something like “I exorcise thee, o thou Creature of Water!”.
Say it with each throw of the Salt. Make the sign of the equal-arm cross over the water.
Furthermore, announce forcefully that you are removing all evil and malady from the water.
Names of Power
For those who are familiar, I also charge the water with the Sign of the Enterer and a Divine Name. The name I use is EHEIEH, which is the Name that pertains to the West and Elemental Water.
Pronounce it “ay-hay-yay” and vibrate the Name, like the chants of the Tibetan Monks.
This is an excellent thing to really charge up your bath but for those who feel a bit awkward about it, you can skip this step. I really suggest you try it, though; it’s potent.
Light your candles and incense, get the water to a cozy temperature and charge it with the Salt. Charge it with the Names of Power and any prayers you want.
Now, add the herb mix you’re steeping. Pour the whole thing in… except the pot, of course!
There is no soap used in a spiritual bath; a regular bath or shower should precede any spiritual work.
Take Me To the River
Slip into your bath and for the first five or ten minutes, do nothing but enjoy the nice, warm bath.
When you’re ready, start to address the issue of why you are taking this particular ritual bath.
If you’re uncomfortable with biblical prayer, then compose your own or use one from your tradition. There are many beautiful prayers, such as Wiccan poetry and the Orphic Hymns that will suit nicely. You’ll find a wide selection of the Orphic Hymns in the Ritual Bath Cards section.
To be clear, you don’t have to have to be Christian or Jewish for those prayers to work. They appeal to the benevolent, merciful side of God and so they will work for everyone. However, do what feels most right for you.
Washed In The Blood of Sacrifice
Whether you are Christian, Jew, Pagan, Muslim or what have you, the ritual bath represents two, definite ideas.
1) Baptism – immersion in the deep Spirit of the God or Goddess whom you follow
2) Redemption, through washing in the blood of sacrifice
This is true, whether that’s the blood of a chicken, in a Haitian Voodoo ritual, or the Blood of Christ or the Passover lamb.
It’s the same, basic idea, regardless of the tradition. Someone or something dies for you, that you may move forward, unhindered by sin or curses or whatever the problems are.
Rub A Dub In The Tub
To attract things into your life, 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.
Use audible prayer the entire time for best effect, that means pray out loud!
Either have a prayer you commit to memory or compose a heartfelt prayer, spontaneously.
See the selection of Bath Prayer Cards you take right into the bath with you. They’re water-proof and very cool-looking! Special thanks to my friend, spiritual brother and author Aaron Leitch for the idea!
These Boots Are Made For Bathin’…
When you finish your prayers, your ritual dunking and your washing, pull the plug. Remain in the tub while the water runs out, as you visualize any negative energy going down the drain.
Step out of the bath and allow yourself to air dry. You don’t want to wipe off all the magickal goodness you just put on. If you get cold easily, just turn up the heat in advance.
Put on a set of clean, fresh clothes, clothes that you will be wearing for the next twenty four hours. The clothes will soak up the infused water from your body but they’re right next to your skin.
What you don’t want, is to wipe it all onto a towel and then throw that towel in the hamper. That does little good for you.
If you have anything all white in your wardrobe, that’s ideal, especially for cleansing baths.
If you’re working with a particular Spirit or Deity, then wear their specific colors. The colors are important for the work at hand and the systems of color vary.
As an example, in witchcraft traditions, such as Wicca, green is the color for money. But if you’re working with La Santisima Muerte, it’s gold.
Fly Me To The Moon
The colors for the Planets are:
- Saturn – black
- Jupiter – blue
- Mars – red
- Sol – yellow or gold
- Venus – green
- Mercury – orange or rainbow
- Luna – purple
That’s basically all there is to taking a ritual bath.
Eight Days A Week
The only other thing I would add is, it’s an excellent idea to observe magickal timing. For example, a love-drawing bath is best to take on a Friday, the day that Venus rules. The days are:
- Monday – Luna (emotions, nurturing, healing, the unconscious, feminine issues)
- Tuesday – Mars (war, competition, sex, lust, attacking, surgery, conquering)
- Wednesday – Mercury (communication, travel, magick, writing, diplomacy, messages, teaching, speaking, study)
- Thursday – Jupiter (study, religion, higher education, expansion, wealth, royalty, favors, abundance, knowledge, use of one’s gifts)
- Friday – Venus (love, attraction, relationships, romance, the arts, luxury, pampering, self-image, money, children)
- Saturday – Saturn (old age, time, boundaries, limitations, duty, binding, rules, structures)
- Sunday – Sol (health, wealth, royalty, music, poetry, reputation, divination, prophecy, uncrossing rulership)
Unless you know how to calculate planetary hours (see The Nascent Magician), take your bath at dawn.
The Planet always rules the first hour of daylight on its own day. Beginners need not worry about any of that.
It’s always better to take a bath and not worry about the timing. That’s better than not taking the bath because of stress about the timing.
Here Comes the Sun… doo’dn doo doo
Some say you should throw a cupful of your bath water 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. I have never had a problem with skipping that bit.
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.
25 or 6 to 4
Numbers are of supreme importance in magickal practice. So it is, with the number of ingredients. So it is, with the number of total baths you take. Keep the numbers you work with PRIME. One exception is the number 9, which is special. It pertains to the Planet Luna, the Moon.
Side note, yes, the Sun and Moon are Planets, astrologically speaking. They are not planets in the astronomical sense, however. The ancient Greek word for planet means “wanderer” and (from our perspective) the Sun and Moon wander around us.
Stay away from 5 (unless you are specifically dealing with Mars) The number five is for “cutting” things out of your life and anything martial in nature. Use 5 for the following:
- Cut & Clear rituals
- when going into some type of battle, literal or metaphorical; look for “A Prayer of War” in the Ritual Bath Cards section
- when seeking lust or sex
- prior to surgery (as long as your doctor approves bathing)
The most common reason for using the number 5 is a Cut & Clear ritual.
Number of the Beast
Rather than 666, I’m actually referring here to the number eleven. Especially stay away from 11 in your magick.
With the possible exception of its being lucky in the game of craps, it’s an averse number, relating specifically to the Qlippoth, the demons or shells of the Qabalah.
These were the first attempt at creation, the housings not being strong enough to receive the influx of Divine LVX (Light), they shattered. These incomplete spirits are listless, angry, perverse and hungry entities. Seeking to destroy.
Also, avoid using any number over 13. Why is 13 alright to use? Because it’s relating to the twelve disciples, plus the Christ, therefore it is a number of perfection.
There are exceptions to this rule of prime numbers, such as when you’re working with Planets. These are a separate system of numbers, those which we ascribe to the Qabalistic Sephiroth. That follows as:
- 1 – Kether (unity, the Divine)
- 2 – the (entire) zodiac
- 3 – Saturn (or Earth)
- 4 – Jupiter
- 5 – Mars
- 6 – Sol
- 7 – Venus
- 8 – Mercury
- 9 – Luna
- 10 – Earth (the Elements)
- 11 – the Qlippoth
- 12 – the zodiac
That’s more advanced and the simple rule of prime is more than enough to get you started. You’ll notice some crossover in various ideas, such as the number systems and the planetary attributions. This is as normal as it is with anything in life. Eggs are good for both breakfast and dinner.
There are numerous ways you might juice up your bath experience. Many like to add whole flowers or herbs to the water and use lots of candles and so on.
However, it need not be a complicated affair, especially if it’s a serious occasion, like an uncrossing bath. But if it’s a Venus, love-drawing bath, bring it on! She loves all the decadent fuss!
Get yourself a Conjure Work Bath Mix today and try it out!
Then, get some herbs and compose your own 😉