Thursday, March 16, 2017

Living Waters Bath

Mikveh: The Holy and Healing Bath of Living Waters

Judaism, one of the traditions close to my heart, has a long and rich history of ritual bathing.  The mikveh (מקווה) is a traditional Jewish bath.  The word refers both the ritual and also to the bathing pool itself.  The word literally means “collection”, because the key feature of mikveh is that it is a bath in “living water”, that is, water collected from natural sources, such as rain or springs.  In Judaism, mikveh is used to ensure the bather is in a state of ritual purity. Many women choose to immerse in the mikveh every month after they finish menstruating.  It is also used before certain rituals, including conversion, at New Years, and many other times.  People immerse to help speed healing, and objects can be immersed to cleanse them; cookware, for example, is koshered in this manner.  The mikveh is a gateway to the liminal; like the waters of the womb, it washes us as we move from one life to another, as we transform ourselves.

Of all the magical baths I make, I think this one is the most powerful.  It is excellent preparation for almost any kind of magical work, and is also good as a stand alone ritual.  It can be used for healing, purification, or as a regular feature of your magical life.  Alone among the baths in this book, this one is in liquid form BEFORE being added to the bath.  Few of us have the ability to bathe in living waters year-round, although, if your climate and location permit, I cannot recommend strongly enough bathing in a river or other natural body of water.  The goal of this bath is to allow you to recreate that experience whenever you like.  This bath recipe serves to magically heighten the natural properties of the living water you’ve collected, and to preserve it for future use.  Because of the high salt content, it will keep indefinitely, so long as it is kept in sealed containers.

  • 1 gallon living water (rain water, river water, melted snow, etc.  I like to use a variety)
  • 2 cups dead sea salt (or another kind of salt from a location sacred to you)
  • A small handful of frankincense tears, ground very fine
  • 1 cup (fresh) rose petals (you can also use a few tablespoons of rosewater)
  • Three different kinds of holy water.  Some kinds, such as water from the Jordan, Ganges, or the spring a Lourdes are easily available to purchase online.  Choose whatever feels right to you, and add as many as you like.  If you add more than half a gallon of holy waters, add more salt.
  • Sterilized glass bottles or jars with tight fitting lids

Begin by enlivening the water:  “Be thou blessed, spirit of water, water of the river, water of the rains, be thou blessed, and come alive!  The spirit of all water runs through you, awake and alive, potent and powerful! Living water, awaken to yourself and live!” [change the words depending what sorts of living waters you use]

Next, enliven the salt:  “Be thou blessed, spirit of salt, salt of the oceans, salt of three mountains, salt of the three treasures of life. Awaken to yourself and live!

Enliven the rose: “Be thou blessed, oh spirit of rose, ever blooming, font of beauty, source of virtue, sign of life and love, awaken to yourself and live!”

Enliven the frankincense: “Be thou blessed, oh spirit of frankincense, sunlight made solid, tears of the holy tree, sign of light and life, awaken to yourself and live!”

For your particular holy waters, awaken each one, reminding it where it is from, and that it carries with it the all the powers of that place.

Use Living Water as an additive to “awaken” tap water, for use as an offering to water spirits, to enliven a bath as a mikveh, or for any other magickal uses you feel are appropriate.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Holy Moly!

I mentioned last week that I was much enamored of Circe, the Witch Queen of Aeaea, and the more I learn and work with her, the more in love I fall.  Today, I want to talk in detail about her first meeting with Odysseus.  Homer tells us the story from Odysseus's point of view, but imagine it from hers.  For eons, she has been alone, with her waiting women, waiting for a man long foretold, one who could withstand her.  But, century after century, he never came.  Others came, boats and boats of them; rough, animalistic men, weak-willed and limp-dicked men who could neither challenge nor satisfy her.  Swine.

But one day, swore the Great God Hermes, a man would come to her from Troy, and finally be her equal.  When Odysseus, bolstered by the herb moly, does not crumple in the face of her magic, she rejoices, saying Who art thou among men, and from whence? Where is thy city, and where thy parents? Amazement holds me that thou hast drunk this charm and wast in no wise bewitched. For no man else soever hath withstood this charm, when once he has drunk it, and it has passed the barrier of his teeth. Nay, but the mind in thy breast is one not to be beguiled.  Surely thou art Odysseus, the man of ready device, who Argeiphontes(1) of the golden wand ever said to me would come hither on his way home from Troy with his swift, black ship. Nay, come, put up thy sword in its sheath, and let us two then go up into my bed, that couched together in love we may put trust in each other."  (Argeiphontes, which means "Argus Slayer", is a cult title of Hermes)

The two fall thoroughly in love, and Odysseus tarries on Aeaea for a year before his men convince his to set forth again.  And so she sends him once more to sea, well supplied and advised, but not before she teaches him how to seek the wisdom he needs in the underworld.

If you would like to work with Circe too, might I recommend this amazing incense from Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire?

PS: If you like my writing, I've recently started a Patreon campaign where you can help support it! ANY amount of support (starting at just $3 per month) comes with access to brand new mythopoetics you can't read anywhere else.