Haitian Vodou maintains several traditions from an older Catholic standpoint than our majority modern culture; the tradition that’s most germane to today’s post concerns the Feast of Three Kings, otherwise known as the Epiphany.
In old Catholic tradition, the Epiphany is the commemoration of the day the Wise Men from the East arrived to gift the infant Jesus with their presents of Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh; this date is the reason we give Christmas gifts… it’s just drifted over time to something we do *on* Christmas instead of a celebration of Twelfth Night.
Vodouisants work the Christmas Baths for breaking up the last years’ accumulated negativity, but our tradition abhors a vacuum; where there was once negativity, there’s now an energetic hole where the negative used to be…. so we complete the circuit by performing blessings that fill the space where the negativity once sat. For New Years, this becomes a special Good Luck bath priests make for their community, tapping into the Gifts of the Magi to bless the New Year with love, prosperity, happiness, and luck.
While initiated clergy make a recipe that is wonderfully complex and fragrant, redolent of perfumes and exotic spices and mixed with sweet fruits and flowers, non-initiates can also make their own in the following method. This one is a bit simpler in process when compared to the cleansing bath from a few weeks ago, but no less effective. For this particular recipe, you’ll want the following:
- Pleasant and warming spices: Cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, cloves, allspice, etc
- Fresh Basil
- A little bit of your favourite perfume/cologne, or a small bottle of a sweet scented perfume or rose water
- A touch of sugar (like half a teaspoon or so, just a little bit)
- A tiny bit of milk, like a splash equalling a couple teaspoons or so
- Brightly colored and fragrant flowers (roses are pretty much all most of us in the States can get that fit the bill this time of year, but roses are great for this. Select bright and pleasant colors)
Begin by taking a good cleansing shower or bath to clean the body.
Light a white candle and announce to your spirits that you’re making a good luck bath for the coming year. Say your opening prayers to center and bless your space, and ask the Three Kings to bring their gifts to you.
Simmer the spices in a saucepan full of water; we’ll want the liquid to be able to cool in a fair amount of time so don’t set it all the way to boil, just a light simmer to pull the goodness out of the spices. When they’re good and fragrant, turn off the burner and let them cool for a bit.
Pour the liquid into your bath basin and add any water you may need to increase the liquid level in the bowl/basin. Add the sugar, the milk, and the perfume, and then the basil.
Rub the basil, the way we did in the previous bath with the parsley, until the leaves have all been worked and the perfume pervades the bath liquid. While you’re working the leaves, talk to the bath about what you want it to bring you in the coming year; happiness, blessings of good health and prosperity, everything. Talk to it, nurture it, and call those blessings into being while you work the liquid.
Take your blossoms and strip the petals; add them into the water, and crunch them with your hands, focusing on transferring their wonderful energy into your brew that your coming year may bloom like they do.
To take the bath, carry the bath basin to your shower and bring the candle; as long as the candle is lit, Spirit is present and working with you. This bath is swept UP the body, from the feet up (and you can get this one on your head; the previous, being a strong cleanser, was inappropriate for the head, but this one is gentle and light; getting it in the hair or on the face is fine.) Splash in it; revel in it (it’s quite a heady experience and smells *divine*) When you’re done bathing, allow the bath to air dry (DO NOT WIPE IT OFF) and change into comfortable clean and white bedclothes.
Epiphany, January 6th, is the day the Wise Men arrived to present their gifts to the infant Jesus… what better day to present ourselves with a years worth of Good Luck and blessings!
If you’re going to be in and about New Orleans tomorrow, Saturday the 5th, we’re going to have a gorgeous Three Kings Altar at the shop, with a centerpiece of the Good Luck Bath in the clergy’s formula…. we’d love to have you stop in to partake of some serious New Year’s Blessings! (Bring a small offering for the table; a $5 is *perfect*… we’ll guide you in how to administer the Bath and lock in the blessings for 2019)