Baths and Washes

After divination of the situation, almost always the first thing that is prescribed for hoodoo work is a spirtual bath or floor wash.

Spiritual Cleansing

The idea of physical washing as a stand-in to spiritual cleansing is millenia old. Not only is the process symbolic, but the use of specific herb teas, salts and liquids adds the inherent power of those spiritual items for the needed condition. As with most hoodoo practices, there is a ritual method of disposing of the used liquid.

Baths

A spiritual bath is not about scrubbing yourself clean with soap and water, but a rinsing away (or pouring onto) the physical body the infused liquid that relates to the condition. This liquid is to remain on the skin and air dry, not to be washed away. Some even claim that you should avoid touching others after such a bath to maintain the power of the ritual.

Bath Process

The process has only a few components, but it also has a few practical rules to it. The bath must be performed before sunrise, before speaking to anyone and after air drying the client must dress in fresh clothes and dispose of a small portion of reserved bath water at a crossroads. Each bath packet contains detailed instructions on how to proceed with that specific bath or condition. Some scented salts simply dissolve in the bathwater like commercial beauty bath salts, other baths that have herbal components might require a tea being prepared with hot water poured over a large muslin "teabag" of the herbs and allowed to steep before being added to the bathwater. The bath itself often requires the water be poured over the client several times with a recitation of the petition or an appropriate Psalm or scripture.

Disposing of the work at a Crossroads

After the bath and dressing in fresh clothes, the client will go to a crossroads (an intersection of two roads or a road and a railroad or similar situation), preferably walking, but it is possible to drive part of the way there. The reserved bathwater is tossed over the left should toward the rising sun. The client is to walk or return home and not look back.

Filling the Void

I advise my clients, particularly after a cleansing bath, to fill the void left by getting rid of the negative energy with something positive. Even with drawing baths, you need to finish the ritual by putting some type of protection on yourself to "seal" the deal. For most this is a condition oil, but may also be in the form of a talisman or protective seal or jewelry.

Floor Washes

Some conditions are not personal but are most effective treated in the home itself. The tradition here is to give the floors of a house (and sometimes walls, furniture and windowsills) a good washing. While these washes most often contain cleaning products, like the bath, it is not spring cleaning scrub down, it is a spiritual wash to rid the house of negative energy or to draw in or attract the desired energy.

Method of Washing

Washing is always done from the back of the house to the front and from the top or upper floor to the bottom. Leftover water is usually disposed of at the front of the house (as opposed to a crossroads). Use a new or reserved string mop (not the one used for regular cleaning) to mop the house. For carpeted areas, the water may be sprinkled through the room or a broom with dampened bristles may be swept across the carpet just as the mop would be used. If the weather is nice, you might want to open up the windows and other doors as well. Follow the cleansing with some protection work either in the form of asperging or incense, focusing on the points of entry (doors and windowsills).