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Feeling overwhelmed? Needing to reset yourself beyond what happens with a deep breath? Maybe you should slow down and take a bath. More specifically, a flower bath.
Cultures around the world have relied for centuries upon a ritual flower bath as an especially potent cleansing and nourishing tradition. Known as a flower bath, the practice once constituted a part of spiritual and health practices throughout the ancient world, including India, Egypt, Bali, Malaysia, and Peru.
Tradition holds that bathing in the frequency or energy of blooms quite literally supports the blossoming and flourishing of life. It was believed that you receive the healing energies of the plants, which can help you cleanse unwanted energies, find a sense of calm and grounding, and realign with what’s most important to you so you can more easily let go of the rest.
You can practice flower baths at any time, although the intention aligns with the introspective and intention-setting nature of the new Moon. Of course, the plants you choose to work with (more on that below) will shape the intention of your flower bath.
Flower bath benefits
Beginning a flower bath ritual can be a wildly transformative and healing practice in response to navigating the chaotic and disconnected world. Flower baths are believed to:
Remove negative energies
Rid the body of toxins
Ward off harmful diseases
Ease the nervous system and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychosis
Wash away harmful spirits
Reconnect you to nature and your natural rhythm
Receive healing properties and energies
How to prepare a flower bath ritual
There are varying approaches to flower baths, from the mystical blue lotus preferred by Cleopatra to the array of ideas trending on TikTok. The following ritual is based on banjos florales as they’re practiced in the Shipibo culture, an indigenous tribe of Peru known for its unique reverence for plant medicine. The Shipibo shamans included plants in their healing rituals and believed them to be capable of dispelling unwanted or heavy energies and releasing blockages, negative thoughts and feelings, and engaging transformation through the unique medicinal energies of each plant.
The bath itself is actually closer to what you might consider a dousing as you don’t actually soak in the plant-inflused water. However, since you don’t rinse off for several hours, you are believed to be bathed in the energy of the plants.
1. Select the flowers
Selecting flowers for your bath is an intuitive process. Tune into which flowers are calling you, whether fresh blooms that you find in nature near you or dried flowers. They work to equal effect.
Before plucking any blossoms or plants, it is very important to ask and receive permission. I find it empowering to also thank the plant for its wisdom and gifts. Be mindful to not over-harvest in a particular area.
Also, note that certain plants might be poisonous or irritating. If you’re unsure about your local flora and fauna, flowers are a safe place to start.
Try to not include more than three different kinds of plants in your bath. Some common flowers that I love working with and find to be universally beneficial include:
Heart medicine. Call on her when you need nurturing, calm, femininity, creativity, beautification, self-love, or healthy boundaries.
Optimism. This powerhouse does so much I can hardly list it all! Call on dandelions when you seek a cooled temper, positivity, detoxification, resilience, abundance, or transformation.
Spiritual awakening and awareness. Another multidimensional workhorse, lavender is your go-to flower for raising your vibration, enhancing spiritual awareness, soothing anxiety and stress, purifying yourself, and increasing grace.
Summer is a particularly aligned time to embrace the practice of flower baths because of the obvious abundance of blooms. Also, the warm temperatures afford you an additional connection to nature if you take your bath outside.
2. Prepare yourself
There are a few things to consider before getting started. In the Shipibo culture, flower bath rituals are taken in the morning or day time. You’ll need to air dry afterward and abstain from showering or bathing again for a minimum of four to five hours after your flower bath, so plan accordingly.
You want to let the flowers take center stage with zero competing distractions or barriers to absorption. Refrain from using or applying any soap, synthetic fragrances, lotions, or body products that could overwhelm the senses.
Ideally, you also want to abstain from anything that is energetically disruptive or that might compete with the plants, including alcohol or meat, for three days before and after your flower bath ritual.
I recommend taking a shower immediately prior to your bath sans soap, lotion, deodorant, fragrance, or anything else that could create a barrier to the plant essence penetrating your skin.
3. Prepare the bath water
Here’s what you’ll need:
5- or 10-gallon bucket filled with room-temperature water
1-3 different fresh or dried plants (start with several fresh blossoms or, If you use dried flowers, a medium handful)
Positive and loving intentions. What are you clearing or releasing in this moment? What are you hoping to receive?
- Hold the flowers in your hands and place your intentions on them, blowing three times into the flowers. Then steep the flowers in the bucket of water and let them soak in the sun for a minimum of 1 hour. I find it nice to soak them for 3-5 hours if possible.
- The space between soaking and bathing is an ideal time for meditation, journaling, or a walk in nature. It might feel good to get into a somatic space with some yoga, conscious dance, or any other way to hold the space of mindfulness. Do not allow yourself any digital distractions.3. When you’re ready, you can add some hot water to the bucket since the contents might have cooled. Be careful not to add too much or it will ‘’cook’’ the plants, which is not what you want. You can pray into the water, infuse it with love, or otherwise connect it to your intention.
- Stand in the tub and have a smaller jar or cup that you can scoop or pour the flower water over yourself with. Start by pouring the flower water over your head and breathing deeply. Envision any negative or stagnant thoughts being cleansed out of your mind. Repeat as needed.
- Next, pour the water down your throat and let it spill over your chest, unblocking your voice, releasing harmful chatter, and opening your heart. Repeat as necessary.
- Pour water down your back and spine to cleanse any unwanted energies that have ‘’clung’’ to you and to help realign your energetic pathway (shushumna nadi). Invite in the support of the flowers, asking them to help lift your vibration.
- Work your way down your abdomen, legs, arms, and hands, feeling into these spaces and being aware how a sense of calm and peace washes over you. Feel into each energetic center in your body and what is being realigned.
4. After your flower bath
When you’re finished, let yourself air dry without toweling off. If doing this practice outside in nature, avoid direct sunlight while you’re drying. Allow yourself this space to merge with the power of the plants as they soak into your skin. Hold space for yourself and know that your wholeness is being held.
When your skin is dry, get dressed as normal, avoiding lotions, deodorants, and anything of that nature. Traditionally, you would not shower until the next day to receive as much connection to the essence of the plants as possible, but if absolutely necessary, you can shower or bathe after 5 hours.
Any remaining flower water can be lovingly poured back onto the Earth if you’re outside, or if done in a tub, lovingly released back to the collective. The flowers can be scooped out and placed outside or composted to let the cycle of life complete without resistance.
Once you experience the power of a flower bath, perhaps you will see this as being a transformative part of your regular self-care rituals.