(a spiritual bath being prepared under the patronage and with the help of the Voodoo spirit Papa Agwe, this bath is to cleanse away bad luck and bring prosperity in its place)
Id like to talk a little bit about cleansing, firstly some problems with cleansing, secondly some common cleansing agents and thirdly some cleansing techniques. To go into specific cleansing rituals and formulas would be far beyond the scope of a generic blog post like this, but hopefully this will give you a simple overview to help you think about ways to make your cleansing rituals more specific and thereby more effective.
Spiritual cleansing is a great practice and can be practiced regularly, however I feel sometimes people use cleansing rituals ineffectively, often cleansing over-zealously or using certain methods inappropriate for the situation.
I see a couple of problems arising time and again with cleansings.
Ritual without purpose is pointless, if you are performing cleansing for the sake of it without a truly specific intent you risk wasting your time.
But a more troublesome problem is that over zealous or inappropriate cleansing may lead to spiritual stripping:
I know of many people who are obsessed, the slightest bump in the night or cold shiver and they fill their house with sulphur fumes and scrub every surface with blessed salt and water...they then wonder why they are living in a spiritually sterile environment.
It is worthwhile having a think about any work you are doing currently and how the cleansing might effect it.
For example, whats the point in go to the trouble of taking an Adam and Eve love bath if the next day you are going to bathe in salt and blueing?
Its something to think about, ask yourself before every cleansing "why exactly do I need to perform a spiritual cleansing?"
Some people think any type of cleansing ritual can sort out any type of problem, this isn't necessarily true, although it is fair to say many cleansing rituals have quite broad targets, still, an inappropriately prescribed cleansing ritual has the potential to leave your problems unsolved.
E.g Say you've crossed yourself up because you've been up to no good and laying tricks on people, that's OK, a little uncrossing incense in the house and a white chinese bath will fix that right? Possibly, but could it be your guilty status that is crossing you up? what you probably need is a repentance type cleansing, such as the psalm 51 holy hyssop ritual.
Inappropriate cleansing may also inadvertently cause more harm than good.
An example might be that there is a spirit in your house disturbing you and yours. That's OK, St Michael slays demons, we can scrub the house with a St Michael floor wash.
No. The spirit disturbing you could well be an ally, say an ancestor carrying a warning, or a helpful spirit trying to get your attention because they have something to offer you in exchange for service, to accuse said spirit of being a demon and making it unwelcome is probably not a good idea.
So, another good question to ask yourself before performing any cleansing rite might be "what exactly am I cleansing away and why have I chosen this particular method?"
SPECIFIC AGENTS FOR SPECIFIC PROBLEMS
Here are some issues that might call for personal and home cleansing, beneath is a lists of herbs, substances and products that might be good for dealing with them, not all are specific cleansing agents by themselves, one or two are simply added as part of cleansing rituals to replace the bad cleared out with a good influence.
This list is far from exhaustive and is just a brief overview off the top of my head to give you a quick idea of some common things employed in cleansing rituals for specific problems.
DEMONS AND EVIL SPIRITS
Holy Water, Basil, Garlic, Run devil run, St Michael's Go Away Evil products, Blessed Salt.
GENERAL BAD LUCK
John the Conqueror, Louisiana Van-van, White Chinese Wash, White Sage, Florida Water, Blueing*, Hoyt's Cologne, Helping Hand products.
Hyssop, Holy Water.
HEXES AND CURSES
Rue, Uncrossing products, Wahoo Bark, Sulphur, Blueing, St Ciprian products, Lye, Rosemary, Basil, Blessed Salt.
PLACES AND PEOPLE THAT ARE PRONE TO "HEAT"
Almond, Coconut Milk, Water of Notre Dame
DEPRESSING, HEAVY OR DARK ATMOSPHERES
Blueing, Florida Water, Grains of Paradise, Sulphur, Vesta Powder.
*note about blueing: NEVER use bluestone (copper sulphate) sold in some botanicas or online stores as a blueing agent, it is toxic, not safe to bathe in and not safe to put on the floor if you have pets, use laundry blue balls instead, if you cant get blue balls then mix blue food colouring with a small amount of bio washing powder and some salt and you will have something workable.
SOME SIMPLE METHODS OF CLEANSING:
BATHS, SPRAYS AND FLOOR SCRUBS
Ritual baths can be taken to wash away negative influences, depending on the type of bath, different rites are practiced. Some bathing mixtures need to be poured over your head a prescribed number of times, some are to never be poured over the head, some need special candles to be burnt during the bathing, certain prayers and psalms are needed to be said with certain baths, ad infinitum.
In regards to baths aimed at cleansing, a general rule seems to be wash downwards to clean off negativity, lighting a white candle and reciting psalm 23 is a good generic practice during any ritual so this too can be employed, afterwards gather some of the bath water up and throw it in the crossroads towards the West to throw the evil washed off you out of your life
For a good general all purpose cleansing bath I recommend white chinese wash or St Michael go away evil bath.
If you're unsure about how to bathe in a certain mixture then stick to buying commercial baths from suppliers, such as Indio, and follow the instructions on the bottle.
The mixtures used for baths can usually also be used as floor scrubs, add it to a mop bucket of water and pray psalm 23 as you scrub your floors down, put some in a spray bottle for wiping down windows and surfaces.
Take two black taper candles and dress them in uncrossing oil. Light them and hold them in the shape of an X, go about your house gathering up all the bad vibes in your house as though catching cobwebs, when your done uncross the candles and leave them to burn out.
Alternatively take a black 7 day candle and dress it in uncrossing oil, leave it to burn out in the centre of your home, the black wax represents evil and the flame good, visualise that good will conquer the evil in your home and melt it away.
INCENSES AND COMBUSTIBLE POWDERS
Swing a censer about your house or stand over it, there are plenty of uncrossing and purifying incenses on the market.
For a really intense cleansing sulphur may be used in a censer, but please use with caution, sulphur fumes are highly toxic.
Vesta powder is a great way to burn away evil, mix a little saltpeter with icing sugar, make a little pile of it on a plate and light the top, stand back and enjoy the fireworks!
White sage smudge sticks are good for cleansing too, terribly new age, but what the hell, if it works, it works.
BLACK HENS FEATHERS
A black hens wing can be pinned out and dried, this can be swept over a person or object to cleanse it of negativity, I personally use a whisk made out of a bundle of black hens feather sprinkled with van-van attached to a dried chickens foot much to the same effect. Black hens feathers are a ritual object associated with reversing and cleansing away black magic.
A trick taken from Italian Benedicaria I sometimes employ to cleanse a person is to take an egg, wash it in holy water whilst praying the Ave Maria, the egg is then rubbed all over a persons body, drawing up the negative influences (this is especially useful against the evil eye), the egg is then smashed down the toilet and flushed away.
Great for cleaning out a room, a person or large object. A small amount of rum is taken in the mouth and sprayed out of the mouth in a fine mist (this takes some practice) over the subject to be cleansed, a handle full of either basil or rosemary is then passed over the person or object front to back.
For cleaning out a house of bad vibes after trouble and strife take a coconut and kick it all about the house like a football, until it breaks, throw the shards out the backdoor and piss on them, especially good after a heated relationship break up.
MAKE A NOISE
Making a racket to scare off evil spirits is an ancient practice found in many cultures and traditions, i used to use a large gourde rattle covered in cowrie shells as it was so noisy, give something similar a good shake all about the house during cleansing rituals to make evil spirits know they are unwelcome.
So there you have it, hope this helps you in keeping you and your home clean.