5.7
September 23, 2014

The Art of the Bath Ritual.

Monique Markus/Flickr

There I was, breathing, meditating, trying to find the space between thoughts that brings the beginning of wisdom.

Or so I had read. 

Suddenly I hear, “Do you know what that sound is, highness? Those are the shrieking eels!”  Aw, snap!  So much for the space between thoughts and the beginning of wisdom.

The perfect bath isn’t about getting clean, exactly. It’s a ritual, a ceremony, even, for cleansing our souls and mental palettes.   

Warm water is a primal, comforting element. It allows us to remove ourselves from regular life and observe or ignore it for a moment. If we allow it, the water will draw any negativity out of our bodies. 

Rituals ground us, bind us to our lives and help us find meaning. A bath ritual can be a very mindful way to end our day or begin a week. For the spontaneous, rituals need not be observed at the same time of day or week. They can be as simple as the way we breathe in the first cup of coffee or eat a Reese peanut butter cup. 

Like a secret handshake with ourselves, personal rituals show us what is important in our lives.

The Recipe

A measure of Epsom or Mineral salts ~1/2 cup

Essential oils

3 candles (at least)

Warm-Hot water (obviously)

5 rose quartz crystals or perhaps Fluorite

Before you run the bath place several drops of essential oils onto the salt and allow it to sit for a few minutes so that the oil binds to the salt. It disperses more effectively this way. Add it to the bath while the water is still running to quickly melt the salt and disperse the oil. Breathe it in. Place the crystals in a “u” or “v” shape at the end of the tub where your feet will be. Light the candles and place them where they will not join you in the tub. I like mine to be at different levels for that artistic touch.

The Ritual

Your ritual can be dynamic and responsive to your needs. Mine often includes smudging while the tub fills.  

Kneel when you first get into the tub, letting your heart be grateful for the warm water, for the moment apart and for the wonderful scent of the essential oil.

Lie back and let the scent take you where it will. 

I usually find myself floating in a beautiful meadow. The plants are a golden green with the palest pink blossom. A breeze brings a hint of the pine trees on the far side of the meadow and the snow above them. The sun is warm in my meadow and while I float roots grow into the earth draining negativity. They do not restrict my movement, but right now, why would I want to move?

I stay there until I feel relaxed. Then I open my eyes and either enjoy the candle light or read a book or just sit and meditate some more.

Then before beginning any sort of ablutions I take the crystals out of the tub and allow my heart to feel grateful for them.

The Oils

There are many essential oils and combinations that are lovely in the Perfect Bath:

Lavender, of course. Good for relaxation both mental and physical.  

Lavender, Marjoram, Patchouli, Mandarin Geranium and Chamomile are also very relaxing as a blend.

Clary Sage is good for grounding, but I don’t particularly like the scent.

Frankincense, Sandalwood & Neroli—either as single oils or combination are deeply luxurious and centering.

Jasmine and/or Ylang Ylang—floral and sensuous, singly or together.

Spruce, Rosewood, Frankincense & Blue Tansy—my personal favorite and great for grounding and balancing.  

Bergamot, Patchouli, Blood Orange, Ylang-ylang and Grapefruit for stress relief. (These can be purchased as a blend from New Directions Aromatics, also listed as Stress Relief #1 Essential Synergy Blend.)

And there is always Sweet Orange. It is “brightening,” which means that you shouldn’t use it at 11 p.m. unless you need to stay up all night.

Et, voila!  No more Vinzini!

Comment with your favorite bathing ritual and oils!  

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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Monique Markus/Flickr

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Ruth Randall