White Baths for Hoodoos
Welcome to December, our final month in this wildly unforgettable year of 2020. With all that has been going on around us (and within us), it’s safe to say that many of us are in continuous need of some cooling, calming, cleansing & clarity. (I, for one, have been).
As we have been collectively navigating the difficulties of living through a pandemic, facing isolation & extreme “social distancing,” dealing with the many, many injustices our people have been facing this year (and for hundreds of years under colonization), and moving through all of the other hardships of these times— I have found many of our traditional spiritual practices to be a true safe haven and an effective remedy, as I press on through these struggles.
One practice that I have been engaging in, is the taking of White Baths. I was led to share some pics and vids of my White Bath preparation last week and since then have been asked by so many people, what it is, what it’s for, and how it’s done. Well.. what better time to share what I’ve learned about this highly beneficial ritual that has helped improve the quality of my and so many others lives?
So.. What Are White Baths?
White Baths are a type of spiritual wash that are meant to cool, cleanse, refresh, and restore the head— the mind, the crown, the “ori.” They are found most heavily in Yoruba & Fon traditions. They have been more recently adopted by many Hoodoo devotees, and other ATR devotees, for their efficiency and effectiveness.
In Hoodoo, as in many ATRs, when we speak of our heads (ex: “anointing thy head with oil”), we are speaking of both the physical head and the spiritual head.
The Physical Head
In a physical sense, the head contains the brain and the brain is responsible for so many of our most vital bodily functions. The brain controls our nervous systems, it helps us to regulate our emotions and moods, it controls how we process information, it commands our movements, our digestive systems, our senses and so much more.
The Spiritual Head
In a spiritual sense, the head is the seat of our intuition. It is our first spiritual guide. It is the basis from which our characters are embodied. It is the decider of our fate, as it directly influences our thoughts, decisions, actions, and the consequences thereof. It is through our own heads that we connect to our ancestors, to our divinities, to our creator, and even to each other.
For these reasons, it is vital that we continually feed, cleanse, honor and protect our heads! There are many ways to do this. Washing our hair with intention, anointing our heads with holy oils and waters, being choosy about our hairstylists, covering our heads when we enter certain spaces, and praying over our heads are just a few ways to do so! Likewise, White Baths have proven to be an incredibly effective treatment.
What is in a White Bath?
A typical White Bath includes (but is not limited to):
- Cool water
- Milk (usually coconut or goat, cow is also used)
- Holy Water
- White Flowers
- 1-3 Drops of Fragrance, Perfume, Cologne or Essential Oil (preferably those that are cooling)
- Some practitioners add a drop of Conjure/Holy/Blessing Oil
- Some practitioners add Cascarilla
How are White Baths Taken?
White Baths are over-the-head spiritual baths. You do not have to submerge yourself in this bath or in bath water at all. You can simply pour the bath over your head after your regular bathing routine.
My Personal White Bath Ritual
I, being the water baby that I am, do engage in a submerged spiritual bath first, and complete my ritual with the White Bath poured over my head. I will detail how I go about my ritual to provide a first-hand reference point. I encourage you to go about yours as you are led to.
- I pray as I add the ingredients to my bowl— specifying the intention of each ingredient.
- I place both hands in the bowl and call down my ancestors and guiding spirits to bless the bath and to help me carry out my intentions.
- I sit the bowl at my altar, with a glass of fresh cool water, & light a white candle. I leave it there as I prepare my bathing space.
- I gather all my whites (white candles, white flowers, white-ish crystals and stones, white sea shells etc), my incense, and my speaker for calming music.
- I then take cleansing herbs such as hyssop and rosemary, and tie them in cheesecloth to be placed (and infused) into my bath water. Most times, I will boil my herbs and roots in water over the stove and pour in the bath, cloth ball included. (I let them cool for this bath)
- Before I get in, I grab my white bath bowl from my altar and set it beside the tub. (Lukewarm-Cool Water.)
- My submerged bath time includes praying, meditating, deep breathing, realigning my energy centers with a crystal wand— #spiritualreset.
- Once I’m done with my submerged bath, I take my blessed white bath and, standing, pour it over my head as I speak coolness, refreshment, clarity, peace, insight, foresight, divine guidance, etc over my head and over my life.
- After that, I don’t wash or rinse off again... I pat dry with a white towel and wrap my head in white & wear white or light clothes.
- Finally I rest.
- I do this for 3 days, 7 days, or 9 days consecutively. (Divination can help determine how many days is good for you).
Again, it’s important when doing any spiritual work, that you do as you are led and guided to. Your ritual is between you and your folks, so trust your inner-guidance (your head) and your guiding spirits to direct you. Take what resonates. Leave what doesn’t. Add to, what is needed.
I hope this is useful to those of you who have asked me or are wondering what a White Bath is, why it is important and how to take one. It’s a practice that has proven to be very effective for me and so many others and I pray that those of you who engage, experience the full range of healing that it can bring.
More About White Baths
(Homework for the Hoodoos)
For more info on the uses, origins, process and effectiveness of this ritual, as well as others, I highly suggest checking out the following two articles:
- “Spiritual Bath Recipes for the People” by Nina Angela Mercer
- “White Baths: Fighting Anxiety, Depression and PTSD with African Traditional Medicine,” written by Myesha of Cognac & Conjure.
Thanks for reading 🤍I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment!
Shop Hoodoo & Good Juju