Have you ever smelled something that takes you right back to your childhood? For many Latinxs, one scent that may create nostalgia is Agua de Florida or Florida Water. What you may not know is that there are countless ways to use this spiritual cologne in everyday life for cleansing negative and stagnant energy from your home, yourself, another, or an object. It can also help in fighting against mal de ojo (evil eye).
What Is Agua de Florida, aka Florida Water?
Agua de Florida is a unisex cologne that was first introduced in America in 1808 by New York City perfumer Robert I. Murray and is formulated with citrus essences, clove, lavender, and other herbal and floral extracts. By the 1880s and 1890s, the company Murray & Lanman was advertising the cologne as "The Richest and Most Popular of All Perfumes." Today, the Murray & Lanman brand of Florida Water is arguably the most widely used, and the company states it is still made with the original formula.
What Is Florida Water Used For?
The cologne has been used in Indigenous spiritual practices for centuries and was reportedly given its name, Agua de Florida, following Juan Ponce de León's 1513 expedition to the land he named Florida. The first appointed governor of Puerto Rico marveled at how many flowers were on the land where the Taíno people told him he could find "la fuente de juventud" or the fountain of youth. He never found what he was looking for because on his second Florida expedition in 1521, he was fatally wounded by an arrow in his thigh by local Natives, who attacked the party of settlers to protect their land. Still today, on the Agua de Florida bottles made by Murray & Lanman, you can see the fountain of eternal youth.
Where Can You Buy Agua de Florida (Florida Water)?
Agua de Florida can be found in botanicas, spiritual shops, or metaphysical stores. You can also find them in stores like Walmart and Walgreens and even on Amazon.com. You don't have to be a shaman or any sort of spiritual practitioner to use Agua de Florida. Simply purchase a bottle and put it to use to see and feel the results of its potent energy-shifting capabilities. There are even Florida Water recipes if you're interested in how to make your own.
For those interested in the many Florida Water uses that exist out there, here are 11 ways you can use Agua de Florida in your everyday life.
Today, more than ever, it seems, everyone carries hand sanitizer to cleanse germs. But what about cleansing our hands of negative energy? After shaking someone's hand (if you still do that sort of thing), you can simply rub a drop of Agua de Florida in the palms of your hands to cleanse yourself of that person's energy. This works especially well if you pick up on some bad juju from the person you touched.
As you pack to travel via plane, train, bus, or any form of public transportation, consider moistening a few handkerchiefs or small cloths with Agua de Florida. Store them in separate small plastic sealable bags to keep them fresh and moist. You can use them to wipe your hands after boarding a plane or to wipe down your seat, tray table, and anything else around you that you know many hands have touched. If someone nearby is coughing or sneezing or just doesn't have a pleasant odor, you can even gently hold the handkerchief over your nose and inhale the sweet scent of the Agua de Florida. In the age of COVID-19, this little tip may help you feel energetically safer to travel.
Cleansing Yourself or Another
Rub a drop or two of Agua de Florida in the palms of your hands, and start by breathing it in and then passing your hands over your face and head, your chest, your back, and down your legs to your feet. You can also do this for someone else. It's a great idea to do this before stepping out of the house each day and/or after you return home.
Spiritual Gatherings and Healing Sessions
If you're leading spiritual gatherings, you may want to have a bowl of Agua de Florida at the entrance so as guests enter, they can cleanse their hands. It's also a good idea to spray your space with Agua de Florida before and after each gathering. This includes virtual work as energy is not constrained by distance and time. So just as you and your space can absorb negative energy from someone physically there, the same is true for someone on a screen. If you're a tarot reader, Reiki practitioner, massage therapist, or something similar, try spraying your space before and after each session to help combat negative energy and cut the energetic chord created between the practitioner and client during the session.
Cleansing the Home
For a deep energy cleanse at home, add Agua de Florida to your mop water or the water you're going to use to clean your windows, walls, and anything else in your home. Open your front door, and splash the water mixed with Agua de Florida outside your front walkway to keep negativity from entering your home. If your front door doesn't open to the outside, you can still wipe down the entrance for the same purpose. Also, consider placing a glass bowl of cool water on the top of your refrigerator with a bottle or two of Agua de Florida next to it. Don't add the Agua de Florida to the bowl of water, because you want it to remain clear. This bowl of water is believed to soak up negative energy that enters your home. By simply placing the Agua de Florida bottle near it, its cleansing properties are activated. Change the water once a week.
Whether you meditate, practice yoga, or partake in some other spiritual practice, use Agua de Florida to enhance the experience. Rub a drop in your hands, and cup your hands over your nose. Take a deep inhale, and pass your hands over the front of your face all the way to the back of your head. Repeat as many times as you'd like before settling in for meditation or hitting the yoga mat. Try spritzing a little on your mat before your practice.
If you keep any altars at home, it's a good idea to have a bottle of Agua de Florida on them as an offering to your ancestors, spirit guides, and saints. You can also use the water to cleanse your altars by gently wiping down the surface and everything you have on your altar with Agua de Florida. Your spirit team will thank you for it!
Do you have crystals placed strategically throughout your home? Well, over time, they pick up energy. So it's a good idea to cleanse them from time to time. You can do so by adding your crystals to a bowl of water (make sure the crystals you want to cleanse work well in water) and adding a few splashes of Agua de Florida. Leave it overnight or for a few nights before drying the crystals and placing them back to where your heart desires.
Agua de Florida is a go-to ingredient in any spiritual baño. Add several drops to your bath water with herbs like rue, rosemary, and basil, or maybe opt for rose petals. Soak for 20 to 40 minutes, and release any stagnant energy you've been carrying around with you.
If you would rather not or cannot burn sage, sweetgrass, or palo santo, you can spray Agua de Florida around a space, making sure to get the corners of the walls where energy is said to remain for a longer period of time. The energy will feel clear and fresh without even having to light a match.
By keeping a glass of water with a few drops of Agua de Florida by your bedside, it may assist in the clarity of dreams and spirit messages you receive while you're asleep. It can also combat nightmares and help with insomnia. Change the water every week, and keep an eye out for any bubbles that may appear in the water, which is an indicator that it's absorbing something while you sleep, helping you to rest better and wake up less groggy.
Agua de Florida Recipe
If you don't have a bottle of Agua de Florida handy or would like to make your own, you can! Most of the ingredients are things you likely already have at home. You can tailor the recipe to your specific needs and preferences, but here are the basic ingredients you'll need.
- Glass mason jar
- 40-proof alcohol (I prefer to use vodka)
- Distilled water
- Fresh peels from an orange, lemon, and grapefruit (Note: If you prefer dried peels, you can prepare them beforehand. It takes about two days.)
- Fresh peppermint, rosemary, cloves, and cinnamon sticks
- Fresh lavender (or the essential oil if you don't have the fresh herbs)
- Add a handful of each of the fresh herbs to the mason jar.
- If using lavender essential oil instead of the fresh herb, add several drops.
- Add a handful of each fresh or dried fruit peel. If you're peeling the fresh fruit, make sure not to peel deep enough to get the white layer of the fruit underneath. You only need the peel. Mix it up by adding half fresh and half dried.
- Add several cloves and 3-4 cinnamon sticks.
- Fill half the jar with distilled water. It's not recommended to use tap water. Distilled or alkaline water is preferred.
- Top it off with alcohol. (Please do not use rubbing alcohol from the drugstore. This should be alcohol that you can drink.)
- Mix it well, ensuring all the ingredients are covered with water/alcohol.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 40 days for full potency. Some prefer storing for half the time, which is fine, but it won't be as potent.
- During the 40 days, shake the jar to mix up the ingredients once or twice a day for maximum results.
- Place a sticker on the jar with the date you made it to keep track.
- When ready, strain the ingredients using a cheesecloth. The color will be an amber tone.
- Add several drops of glycerin to preserve your DIY Agua de Florida.
- Give it a good stir, and it's ready to use!
— Originally published Nov. 30, 2021