On a day-to-day basis, most of us bathe to physically clean our bodies. But did you know that our spirit bodies need cleansing too? Spiritual baños (ritual baths) are essential to a balanced life. After all, we are all spirit bodies living a physical human experience. If you consider this, then not including spiritual baños in your routines sounds a bit absurd.
What Is a Spiritual Baño (Ritual Bath)?
Many ancient practices from cultures around the world placed spiritual baños at the forefront of healing rituals. The baño rituals were intended to cleanse and revitalize the mind, body, and spirit by using a combination of water, herbs, flowers, and sacred smoke from sage, copal, palo santo, almost any herb of your choice, or incense.
The Mayans, who recognized that causes of illness can be both physical and spiritual in nature, believed spiritual baños could remove disease and emotional blocks. For Mesoamerican shamans, utilizing water in spiritual practice whether bathing in it, being cleansed by it, or entering a body of water, served as a gateway to other worlds and fostered pivotal life transitions. Still today, spiritual baños are widely used in various spiritual practices. In the Latin American shamanic healing practice known as curanderismo, ritual baths are the most prevalent rites of passage.
When Is a Good Time to Do a Baño?
If you haven't already been gifting yourself with a spiritual baño at least once a month or to coincide with the new or full moons, it is highly recommended that you give it a try. It can help to uplift you whether you are feeling lethargic, stressed, under the weather, disconnected, or to heal a broken heart. A good spiritual baño right before bed could also ignite out of this world dreams. Put it to use and invite the magic into your life.
How Do You Prepare For a Spiritual Baño?
When preparing your spiritual baño it's important to remember that the ritual begins well before you step foot in the water. Be mindful and present with every step in the process, starting from when you select the herbs and flowers you want to use (whether picking fresh from a garden or buying from a farmer's market or grocery store). Communicate with the spirit essence of the herbs and flowers and thank them for being an important part of your healing journey. These mindful steps reinforce the idea that we are truly connected to the Universe and that we have been gifted these sacred tools to aid us on our life path.
How Do You Set Up the Ambiance For a Spiritual Baño?
Cleanse the space you are going to use for your spiritual baño before and after your ritual. The space has a spirit as well. Cleansing it is our way of thanking the space for providing us with a place to heal ourselves. Use sage, palo santo, incense, copal, or your go-to for smudging tool, and allow the smoke to waft around the room, clearing it of any negative, stagnant energy to create a beautifully open and receptive healing space. Don't forget to also waft the smoke around your body, too. Whether you're using a shower or bathtub, physically clean it before starting your spiritual baño. (Tip: Add a little Agua de Florida to your shower or bathtub cleaning water for an extra spiritual kick.)
How Do You Do a Spiritual Baño?
There are a few ways to go about using herbs in a spiritual baño. You can add bundles of herbs directly to your bathwater. Another option is adding the herbs to a pot of simmering water and allowing it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes to make a baño tea that you can add to your bath water or pour over your body in the shower, after it has cooled, of course.
Add a cup of Epsom salt and your herbs or herbal tea to warm bathwater. For a less messy clean-up, place your herbs and flower petals in a mesh tea ball. Otherwise, add them directly to the water. Pray over the water, set intentions, and show gratitude. Add rose petals, Agua de Florida, and essential oils intuitively. Soak for 20-30 minutes and meditate as you do, envisioning all the things you are manifesting in your life and all the things you are grateful for. Afterward, as the water is draining, give thanks for what has been removed and cleared from your spiritual body. Some traditions recommend rinsing off in a cold shower after the baño to further cleanse away any residual unwanted energies. Physically there are several benefits from hot-and-cold-water hydrotherapy. Another option is to allow your body to air dry instead of using a towel. It is believed that the towel could remove some of the goodness you just absorbed from your baño, and we don't want anything getting in the way of our healing.