Spiritual Baths: Instructions & Theory

under construction; last update 3/26/2021

Different workers in different regions may have some different traditions, and specifics can vary depending on the type of work sometimes. But this is a sampling of various sets of instructions for spiritual baths in the hoodoo tradition, all legitimate though differing sometimes in minor ways, and this can help give you a broader understanding of the principles and symbolism in play here.

And here are the general bath instructions I’ve written up for folks who ask for instructions. It briefly covers lots of things, which makes it two pages long and thus perhaps not ideal as a set of printed “instructions” per se, but if you want general hardcopy instructions for my spiritual baths, here they are in downloadable PDF form.

And here they are in plain old blog post form:

Seraphin Station Bath & Floorwash Instructions

These are the basics. There are variations but I can’t possibly cover them all on a sheet of paper. There’s more info at the blog if you’re looking for something more specific.

Spiritual baths are typically prepared and taken before dawn and some of the water discarded outdoors as the sun rises, so leave enough time in your morning schedule to do all of that if you want to do it the traditional way. Do not expect traditional results if you opt out of traditional methods.

These are ritual baths, not soap and water baths, so do not rinse or wash the bath off. Good old hot water will get you plenty clean in most cases, but if you need a soap bath too, take it first and then clean the tub out before taking your spiritual bath. Or take it the night before.

Bath crystals can be added directly to the tub as the water is running, and your bath is ready when they have dissolved. Use a small cloth bag if you want to keep herbs from sticking to the side of your tub. Use one packet for a full bathtub bath or half a packet for a basin bath, saving the other half for floorwash water or your laundry rinse cycle. If you have a larger size container of my bath crystals, measure out two scant (not heaping) tablespoons for a full bath or one scant tablespoon for a basin bath.

For herb baths, steep them like you would strong tea. I steep for at least 7 minutes. You can either add the brew to a warm bath or else you can brew about a gallon of bath water and bathe standing up, from a large basin or pail.

Candles are not required, but I recommend them, at least a simple (small) dressed light to help you delineate this as a spiritual rite rather than a chore done on autopilot. Or you could set one light on each side of the tub or bath area so you step between them when you’re entering and exiting. If you use them, let the candles burn out that day (so don’t use large ones).

Baths don’t have to last a long time to have an effect. Traditionally, a “long soak while meditating” was not really a thing. You’ll sometimes see recommendations to stay in for 3, 7 , 9, or 13 minutes, often depending on the type of bath. Some baths have specific time recommendations, like 13 Herb Bath for 13 minutes. Others do not. Sometimes specific prayers are suggested, sometimes not. I do recommend you pray or say some kind of mantra to keep yourself clear and focused during the rite. Psalms are a popular choice.

I strongly recommend immersing your entire body during a tub bath if/when you can. You can submerge your whole head right at the end, or you can just use a cup or bowl to pour the water over your head while you’re sitting. If your health, mobility, climate, and personal grooming schedule permit, including the head can really make a difference, especially for baths involving uncrossing, spiritual cleansing, or any type of cooling or clarity work.

The general principle for stand-up basin baths is to wash from the head or neck down to the feet for uncrossing, banishing, diminishing something, and reversing, and from the feet up to the head for attracting, blessing, healing, and drawing.

Save about a cup of water from your bath or wash water. When you get out of your bath, air dry (do not towel off, but you can wrap a towel around your hair if you got it wet and it’s dripping). Once dry, dress in clean clothes to dispose of your bathwater. You can go to a crossroads and throw the water into it. Some workers will instruct you to throw toward the east if you’re calling something to you, or to the west if you’re trying to get rid of something, while others specify to throw under your arm or over your shoulder. This kind of thing varies with the worker and sometimes the bath. But what usually doesn’t vary are instructions to speak or pray your intent, at least mentally, and to go home without looking back.

Alternately, you might dispose of the water in your front yard if you’re trying to draw something into your life, or in the backyard if you’re trying to keep hold of something you already have. Or you might use the “fixed” bath water remnants in additional work, like sprinkling your leftover love bath water around your target’s house. Advice can and will vary with the worker and the bath and sometimes the region, but disposal or deployment of some sort is always part of the work, so don’t just ignore this part and pull the plug at the end. And when in doubt, going to the crossroads is pretty much never wrong.

For crossroads, don’t get hung up thinking about busy four-lane intersections. A crossroads is anywhere where paths cross. They don’t even have to be paved. And don’t protest that you’re drawing too much attention in a busy neighborhood throwing your water there with all the joggers. Carry your bath water in a travel coffee mug if you want, not a big enamel basin with huge letters on it saying “I just took a hoodoo spiritual bath and this is the water. Please stare at me!” Is a quiet crossroads more conducive to your staying focused? Probably. But if all you have is a busy crossroads, it’s better to use them than to not complete the rite by skipping the disposal part. You can also dispose of bathwater at the base of an old, sturdy tree if you need a neutral disposal place, don’t want to dispose of it in your yard, don’t have a yard, and/or can’t get to a crossroads.

For floorwash, clean from top to bottom and back to front when trying to get rid of something, and it’s traditional to scrub all the way out the door to include the front stoop, steps, patio, whatever you have. To draw good things, start with the front steps and move towards the back. If you have carpets, you might only need half the packet: you’ll wash the baseboards and sills thoroughly and just run a very slightly dampened sponge mop very lightly over the carpets, or mist them lightly using a spray bottle. Disposal is the same as for a personal bath, though back in the old days, disposal for anything but the most serious uncrossing or hexing work often involved simply flinging the floorwash water remnants out into the yard towards the rising sun. (For really heavy duty situations, though, I would at least go to the edge of my property and fling the water from there so it’s not seeping into *my* dirt.)

For laundry, dissolve half a packet into a cup or so of water and add the liquid to your laundry at the rinse cycle to “dress” your clothing (or somebody else’s).

You can also use bath crystals in situations where liquid deployment of the formula is desired but oils are impractical, too messy, or too expensive. Don’t coat all of your doorknobs or windowsills with oil – dissolve bath crystals and use the water for that kind of thing. Moistening an envelope flap with oil could leave suspicious and unattractive oily marks; use water with crystals dissolved in it (or even your used bathwater, if appropriate to the work and the target).

More info and resources available at seraphinstation.com – click the Education tab to go to the blog’s topic index at BigLuckyHoodoo.com.

Karma Zain

v. 032021

Frequently Asked Questions

What about spiritual soaps?

Lots of folks like to use fixed hoodoo soaps and washes as part of their regular bathing or showering, and that’s excellent as touchup work or maintenance in between regular spiritual baths, or when you have something going on and can’t take a real spiritual bath right away. Definitely give a gift of spiritual soap to someone you know will not take a full spiritual bath. It’s better than nothing. Definitely wash your hands with Van Van or protection soap when you feel the need. But don’t expect that your using a bar of soap as part of a regular everyday shower is going to have the same effect as an actual conscious spiritual bathing rite, because it won’t.

Can I just add the crystals in to my laundry without dissolving them?

Some folks do this. I personally don’t, especially if I’m not washing that load of clothing in hot water, but as long as they dissolve, it shouldn’t make a difference either way.

Can I use birthday candles since I won’t have time to wait a few hours for them to burn out before I go to work?

I don’t see why not, except that they might actually burn *too* fast depending on how long your bath is. If that’s the case, you can usually find boxes of small, attractive candles in multiple colors advertised as menorah candles or Hanukkah candles, often in grocery stores and certainly online, that will burn a little longer than your average birthday cake candle. Get the cheap ones, about 3″ high or less, nothing fancy.

Can I just take the spiritual bath before I go to bed so I’m not in a rush in the morning?

You can do whatever you please. But you’re shortchanging yourself. For a spiritual rite that seems so incredibly simple on the surface, there’s a hell of a lot of symbolism, meaning, and power in a basic traditional spiritual bath rite, and there’s a reason for the time of day. Folks accustomed to doing fancy “spells” where things have to be done just so and certain words have to be said, preferably in iambic pentameter with end rhyme and on a full moon, don’t always appreciate the rhyme and reason (or the power) behind such seemingly simple work as this. I’ve had folks get frustrated with me when they ask how to do a certain kind of work and I tell them to dress a candle and light it. They want “instructions” or a “spell,” not realizing that lighting a fixed, dressed candle with intent is a damn spell. Give the traditions a chance before you go trying to change ’em up. They just might surprise you. And don’t make shit harder than it has to be 🙂

But it’s so early and [fill in the protest].

Do you want to do traditional hoodoo rootwork? If you don’t really care whether what you’re doing is part of what is acknowledged as traditional best practices, then that’s fine. You do you. But you came to a rootworker for supplies and/or guidance. Expect advice that’s specific to traditional hoodoo rootwork. If you want to be given permission to do whatever is easiest or change things up, you can get that all over the place. I won’t stop you! But you won’t get that from me 🙂

My rootworker said to do X, Y, and Z and it’s different from what you said here.

If you’ve retained the services of a reputable, experienced, traditional hoodoo rootworker and they are coaching you or doing work for you and this spiritual bath is part of that, do what your rootworker said. They have their reasons for instructing you as they did. Sometimes it’s just little differences in how they were taught in a given time and place and generation, or it’s possible this bath is one small part of some larger working and there’s a very specific reason why they told you to do a certain thing. I’m not here trying to tell anybody there’s One True Way to do a spiritual bath, because there is NOT One True Way – as the above “instructions” hopefully make clear. Go with the recommendation of the person who knows your case and your situation and specifics over the recommendation of someone who doesn’t and is writing for a broad general audience.