In the modern world, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to relax and enjoy a bath. Many times, we rush in and out of the shower, trying to streamline the process to perfect efficiency so we can spend as little time bathing as possible.
As for me, I love a good bath. I could spend hours in the water, if it didn't turn cold before that! The whole process enchants me. I love to shop for bath salts, soaps, and oils; to combine scents and sensations to create the perfect soak.
Taking a ritual bath is the perfect way to prepare yourself to make magic, both physically and mentally. It gives you the chance to stop and sit with yourself to clear your head, and it also allows you to take time to care for yourself physically. When I was younger, I wanted to be an Egyptologist, and I'll never forget reading that Herodotus reported the Egyptian priests bathed in cold water twice a day and twice a night.
A Ritual Bath for Yule
Yule is a long, cold night... the longest of the year! As such, it's a great time to take a nice warm bath. A ritual bath incorporates aspects of all four elements, to symbolize their union in our spiritual practice. Salt and herbs represent the earth, incense and music represent the air, candles represent fire, and the bath itself is the element of water.
If you don't have a tub, don't worry! You can get the same benefits from a mindful shower, using the same techniques. Try sprinkling essential oils on your shower floor, or hanging herbs from the shower head!
To make the most of this time of year, gather some or all of the following:
- your Apothecary Naturals Terpene Soap from the Yule Sabbat Box, made with peppermint, spearmint, and eucalyptus essential oils
- additional essential oils and incense (such as pine, rosemary, juniper, citrus, cinnamon)
- Epsom salt or sea salt
- tealights (I prefer red and white)
I like to wash my hair before I get in the tub, so that I can let a conditioner sit in my hair while I bathe. It can also set the mood to play some relaxing music, and turn down the lights. You want to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Fill the tub with warm water that isn't hot to the touch. As the water runs, light your candles and incense, then add your mix-ins to the water. I love to use sea salt with essential oils of juniper and grapefruit, blended with a little charcoal. Mix the water with your dominant hand, envisioning your intent infusing into it.
Enter the tub, and let yourself relax. I have a bamboo bath shelf that I love to use while I soak, so that I can enjoy a drink, set out a few crystals, and of course, bring a little cannabis and an ashtray into the bath with me!
Wash yourself from head to toe with your terpene soap. Hemp terpenes are restorative and are said to improve the condition of your skin. For more information on the science behind terpenes, read Vanessa's article that explains more! The scent of peppermint is deeply cleansing; as you breathe it in, envision yourself becoming purified for the ritual ahead. Breathe deeply, letting the scent fill your lungs and your body.
When you have had your fill, exit the bath and let it drain away. Take the time to carefully attend to yourself afterwards. Dry yourself, apply lotions or oils, even put on makeup that suits your intent. Bright gold eyes and ruby lips may make you feel ready to welcome back the sun, even if you're practicing by yourself! When I do solitary magic at home, I often like to take the opportunity to work "skyclad" after a ritual bath. Who better to show off all that freshly bathed and polished skin to?