I was first introduced to the concept of Sacred Bathing when I discovered a beautiful book written by Shonagh Home – Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine.
She describes her book and the transmissions within as a love letter to women, I couldn’t agree more – and highly recommend you read it!
Shonagh explains that our bodies are so marvellous, our cells so intricate, each their own universe, that we really are individual cosmic temples that need love and nurturing to help bring our beautiful feminine energy forward.
A short exert from her book,
“Conditioning through life has dulled the awareness of the brilliance your bodies contain. Disregard for the body has broken the feminine heart. Perceived flaws, misgivings, and self-hatred pervade the feminine consciousness, and illness finds a home in your shattered bodies. The key to your happiness on earth is revealed when you discover the magic your body carries.
“You are walking goddesses. Adorn yourselves. Take the time necessary to love your body. Feed the beauty that lives in you through the portal of ritual.
“Begin by engaging the water elemental. Draw a bath and infuse it with oils, with scent, with salt from the sea. Bring in the fire elemental with candles. Lie in this bath and let the water draw out all your sorrows, all your hatred, all your fear. Feel the loving embrace of water holding your body, enveloping every inch in its healing fluid.
“Water makes no distinctions when it surrounds your body. No part of you is deemed unworthy of its caress. Meditate on this. The water takes in all of you. Every sacred inch of your flesh it caresses…”
I feel like this is a particularly rewarding ritual for those of you who are in amongst a very masculine energy at work. By this I mean, working in an environment where you can’t often show your softer side; you have deadlines and pressure, deals to make and presentations to ace – not to say that we women can’t or shouldn’t do those these – I’m just acknowledging that the energy is very yang, masculine, expansive, fiery, aggressive, fast – in contrast to the soft, slow, calm, contracted energy of the feminine. Having a regular sacred bathing practice, as Shonagh suggests, is one beautiful way to bring back the goddess.
How to make your bathroom into a Sacred Bathing Temple
Traditionally, the Mayan people would take a sacred bath as a form of spiritual healing. They would create a sense of ceremony, and bring in incense, prayer and plants to clear the body’s “ch’ulel” – or life force energy. In this way, they could wash away negativity, fears, trauma, anger, stress and other disharmonious emotions.
You can try the same things for yourself, as well as using fire (candles), oils, salts and crystals.
Healing herbs and flowers
There is such a wide variety of herbs and flowers you can use in your sacred bath, it all depends on the type of energy you are after or looking to clear. It is really important if you are collecting these plants fresh, to give thanks to them before you harvest, and invite the plant spirit to join you!
The easiest (and most therapeutic) way to prepare herbs for your bath, is to create a simple infusion, by steeping them in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, straining then adding to the bathwater.
For peaceful sleep; chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, lime blossom, hops.
For stress relief; ylang ylang, lavender, lemon balm.
For love; rose, lavender, rosemary, gardenia.
You can add Epsom Salts to your bath to soothe the nervous system. Epsom Salts, or magnesium sulfate, is a mineral needed by the body to nourish the adrenals and relax. They are fabulous for soothing tired and achy muscles too.
I adore my crystals – I can’t imagine a long soak without them! Select a few to arrange near the bath tub with your candles.
To cleanse negativity; use black stones like onyx, obsidian, tourmaline, hematite
To ease pain; lapis (the gorgeous cobalt blue stone flecked with gold) has long been used to heal migraines, bloodstone and malachite are great general pain healers
To sleep peacefully; a black stone to chase away bad dreams, rose quartz, amethyst and sugalite
To relieve stress, worry, fear, and anxiety; again, use black stones such as onyx or obsidian, and also lapis, rose quartz or citrine.
Add a few drops of pure essential oils to your bath:
For peaceful sleep; lavender, Sweet Majoram, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Valerian and Ylang Ylang
For stress relief; Aniseed, Roman Chamomile, Fennel, Sweet Majoram, Thyme
For muscular pain; Black Pepper, Juniper, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Thyme
Traditionally, the Mayans burnt a sacred copal incense and allowed the smoke to wash over your body before the bath. I like to burn a brand called Nag Champa, it smells divine. The fire element is very cleansing.
Use prayer, affirmations or mantras to help you settle into that space of healing. You can whisper them, chant them, say them in your head, or even listen to some guided meditations or mantras.
An affirmation for peace; I am at peace within myself
An affirmation for stress relief; I am relaxed and release all anxious thoughts now
An affirmation for pain relief; I am healed and whole
An affirmation for love; My heart is always open and I radiate love
Now, go forth and bathe!