The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. What better time to devote more effort into the self care and relaxation of bathing - more specifically ritual baths.
So what are ritual baths, exactly? Ritual baths have been around for thousands of years, beginning as sacred religious ceremonies or initiations. Today, a ritual bath can look much simpler, more personalized, and a great way for setting intentions or releasing stagnant energy.
In our search for the perfect ritual bath for the season, we discovered there’s no right or wrong way to create one. Whether aligned with lunar cycles, the Wheel of the Year, or simply the pressing needs of your heart, these baths can clear your mind of what’s holding you back, as well as help you focus on mindfulness and gratitude. We recommend starting with a clean and quiet bathroom space, with no electronics or other distractions present. Ritual bath queen Deborah Hanekamp recommends having an opening and closing ceremony as part of your bath. In the introduction to her book Ritual Baths, Hanekamp explains, “A ritual bath can have a beautiful and elaborate opening and closing. You can sprinkle fresh and dried flowers on the surface of the water, surround yourself with lit candles, immerse yourself in the beauty of the earth’s love by placing crystals all around you and in your water. Closing it involves some cleanup, but even this is part of the ceremony and should not be rushed.”
If you’re new to ritual baths, we suggest this simple rose oil, hibiscus, and coconut milk recipe. In aromatherapy, rose is a balancing scent which induces a calming and even uplifting state. The essential oils used in our own Rose Oil are moisture rich for the skin. Coconut milk is high in vitamin C, copper, and healthy fat. And we love the color, tart taste, and scent of the hibiscus petals, which are high in antioxidants and revered in herbalism. This gentle bath is great for dry, colder weather and for combating seasonal sadness on an energetic level.
Rose Oil and Coconut Milk bath
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup Rose oil
- 2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus petals
Combine coconut milk and hibiscus in a blender. Blend on high until hibiscus flowers are fully broken down and milk is pink. Add rose oil and blend until emulsified (10-20 seconds). Pour into the bath. *This blend may turn the bath water a deep blue or purple. The pigment group of anthocyanin produces blue, purple, red, and pink colors in hibiscus. However, this group is highly sensitive to environmental changes and may change hue in the water.
As you relax in your bath, focus on a specific intention; perhaps a specific emotion you wish to invoke or ways to bring more pleasure into your life. Even deeper intentions such as releasing negative energy or mentally preparing yourself for the upcoming holidays are great options to direct your focus during a ritual bath.
Other soothing options to add to your bath experience are rose petals scattered atop the bath water. You can also add epsom salt, burn incense, add a drop of Rose Glycerite on your tongue, drink a calming tea, or even spray your favorite Smoke scent onto a washcloth and run under the faucet. There are numerous ways to make a bath your own personalized ritual. We hope you make this one your own.
For more on the history of ritual baths, check out this helpful article by Abigail Bassett.
Looking for a bevy of bath recipes? We love Deborah Hanekamp’s book Ritual Baths.