Water Heals Part II: Ritual Bathing
At the heart of virtually every culture in different eras and parts of the world is the belief that water is holy and/or purifying.
The Jews, for one, practice rituals with water daily and ceremoniously. The rituals of Taharah, Hebrew for purification, are said to draw people closer to god. They practice simple daily habits such as Netilat Yadayim, which is the washing of the hands with a cup, and more formalized rituals like the Mikvah, a total immersion in a natural collection of water or a body of “living water” (such as a spring or the ocean). It’s from these ancient Semitic traditions that evolved customs like the Muslim’s use of Wuduand the Hammanand the Christian’s Holy Water.
Across the ocean, the ancient civilization of the Maya dwelled in Central America for thousands of years and venerated of water. They are famous for their aqueducts and engineered the first pressurized water system in the New World. But their use of water isn’t solely functional. Both adults and children regularly immerse in water infused with sacred plants and prayers explicitly designed to treat the spirit and heal the body. They believe that spiritual illnesses (e.g., depression, envy) manifest themselves physically in symptoms like stomach ache, insomnia, and anxiety. Mayan healers treat these spiritual diseases with bathing in tandem with prayer, and plants. They choose from hundreds of different flowers, leaves, herbs, roots, barks to prepare healing baths that are tailor-made for each symptom. In addition, Mayans also use Temazcalrituals, a sauna-like sweat lodge, to cleanse the body of unwanted toxins and impurities.
In short, from Russians to Native Americans, Incas, Buddhists, Hindus, Chinese, Africans, and more, every culture uses water ritualistically. Its universality begs the questions, how can we, educated, modern women and men, turn bathing into a ritual? That is our mission: to make the endless benefits of spiritual bathing accessible and useful for the contemporary man and woman.
All you need is water and some intention. Here’s one meditation to try tonightso you can reign in the benefits of the eclipse:
Solar Eclipse Bath Meditation
A white candle
A Transform Bath Bomb
Pen and Paper
Fill a tub with warm water and drop your bath bomb. Submerge and breathe. As you bathe, visualize any blocks and fears. Let them go in every exhale with the affirmation, “I am ready to move on.”
After the bath, sit on the ground or a pillow in gentle meditation for at least five minutes.
Pour sea salt into a cup of water and lightly sprinkling yourself with it. This act symbolizes a clear and clean transition into your new stage. If you live near the ocean, you may use sea water for this step.
Light the white candle and meditate again for at least five more minutes. Focus on letting go of everything that no longer serves you. Visualize these things as burning.
Take your last final deep breath of this meditation and exhale into a new version of you. As your hair and body dry, reflect using pen and paper what this new stage can and will bring.