Ritual Baths - Part 2

Some time ago, I made an introductory post on ritual baths, and time has come to expand on that, I think. With the winter out and long evenings in, we need the warmth and safety they bring, as well as the mental and spiritual benefits. What are these, you ask?

Why should I take a “ritual bath”?
Like I said in the introduction, bathing is an intimate process that connects us to our bodies and allows us to care for them. Ritual baths are, therefore, a great way to influence the way we feel about ourselves or about the way we look, they can boost healing practices or just make us happier. And warmer. There are many spiritual causes for taking one as well, such as cleaning ourselves up before (or after) doing something important, like participating in holiday celebrations or performing other spiritually necessary tasks.
So, you might want to take a ritual bath – perform a bathing ritual – if you:
  • need calming or relaxation
  • need healing, including mental healing
  • want to feel better about your looks (prettier, sexier)
  • want to “ground” yourself – remind yourself of the physical reality you live in, reconnect with your physical self.
These are, of course, only the most common reasons people do this.
Since I’ve outlined the very basic, tangible elements in the introduction, I’ll focus on the intangible now. So, start by making sure you have the time and the privacy for it. You don’t want people to bang on the bathroom door and yell at you to get a move on. Make sure to limit possible distractions, too – you can’t really relax when you’re tensing to check if the phone rang yet every five minutes.
Remember to prepare whatever you might need beforehand, especially the towels. Nothing is worse than dashing around the place, dripping water and shivering, because the towels are out of reach. Same goes for hairpins, cosmetics, your glasses, clean clothes to slip into afterwards, and anything else.
Don’t hesitate to go all out and indulge. The whole point of bathing rituals is to make you feel good in your own skin (literally), so whatever you feel you’d like to do in order to make that experience complete, go for it. Chopin and chocolates in the bathtub? Go for it. Singing? Go for it. Audiobooks are great, too – I once had an hour long bubble bath listening to “Pride and Prejudice” audiobook. Doesn’t get any more relaxing – or feminine – than that.
A warning about alcohol and hot baths is in order at this point. While a glass of wine in the tub won’t kill you, it’s important to exercise great care and caution when drinking in the bath. Alcohol does many of the same things to your body that a hot bath does, such as dilating blood vessels or relaxing muscles. This may lead to health risks as the two effects augment one another. Not to mention that you can just slip and hit your head or drop down and drown if you get drunk in the bath. Be careful and responsible. You owe that to yourself, too.
What if I don’t have an actual bathtub?
No worries! Showers are a great tool for these kind of practices as well. Some people prefer the idea of water rinsing them off and going away, rather than stewing in it. And the ever-creative modern herbalists have come up with ideas for taking herbal showers, too. So get your towel, fix a date, and do this for yourself. You’ll like it.

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