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What Is a Spiritual Bath?

Hindu Brahmins take spiritual baths as part of certain rituals.
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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 18 April 2014
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Many cultures and religions have the concept of a spiritual bath. The basic idea is usually related to the symbolism of renewal of the spirit along with the cleansing of the body. Sometimes spiritual baths can have a very specific purpose, and in some cultures, they can be used as a kind of spell-casting or prayer. The methods and rituals related to spiritual baths vary significantly from one tradition to another.

The idea behind these beliefs is often related to the way water can remove the buildup of bad spiritual energy that accumulates over time. Some people believe that encounters with negative people and harsh experiences leave behind a spiritual trace that may linger and cause bad feelings or depression. By performing the spiritual bath correctly, these people believe that they can remove this "sludge" and renew their spirit. There is also a belief that a spiritual bath may cleanse a person of sin or wash away the residue of evil deeds, allowing a person to start over.

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In some religions, such as Wicca, a spiritual bath can have very specific purposes based on the way the bath is performed. There are spiritual baths designed to bring a person romance or ward off bad luck. Some spiritual baths are believed to help rid a person of a hex or bring wealth into someone's life. In many cases, these baths have specific rituals and prayers that must be performed. Sometimes there are special herbs that must be sprinkled into the water along with oils and other ingredients. It’s also fairly common for special crystals to be used in a spiritual bath.

For certain traditions, it is very important to use special water. There is also a belief that washing in a certain way can change the effects of the bath. For example, washing in an upward motion can draw in positive things, and washing downwards can ward off negativity. Some people believe that special chants or prayers may be repeated continually during the bath. The timing may be very crucial, as well, and sometimes baths must be performed before dawn or just after the sun sets.

Historically, many cultures have had rituals based on the cleansing power of water. Christians have baptism, and Jewish people have a ritual called the mikvah. Hindu Brahmins are required to cleanse their bodies before walking into certain sacred buildings, and many Native American cultures also have rituals directly related to the spiritual use of water.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 3

@ysmina-- I'm not sure if this fits into the category of a spiritual bath but in Islam also, there is a requirement of washing before prayers (not a full bath) and also a requirement of a full bath or shower in certain circumstances.

For example, after sexual contact, a bath is due to become pure again. One cannot pray before having this bath and it is seen undesirable to walk around without being clean. The same goes for women when they finish their monthly period. It needs to be followed by a bath to be able to resume prayers.

While we wash or take bath, we can also say prayers for spiritual purification in addition to bodily purification. I, for example, always pray for God to "purify my soul as I am purifying my body."

bear78
Post 2

@ysmina-- I remember when I was baptized, I was really emotional and literally shook in the water. At first it was like a tingling sensation and then shaking, I know I wasn't cold or anything, I just felt full of emotion and close to crying.

Baptism isn't the same as ritual bathing in Hindu practice. Baptism is about salvation and being worthy of heaven. So, in a way, it is like purification, but more like being forgiven.

I don't know if my experience during baptism means anything. I am a spiritual person, so I think my experience reflects my belief. My brothers and sisters didn't shake or feel emotional during their baptism. So I don't think that there is any magic in the ritual or the water. It has to do with belief and spiritual awareness. If there is a very strong belief, then the bath is impactful. But that's just my opinion.

ysmina
Post 1

I've watched many Hindi films and have seen spiritual bathing in many of these movies. From what I understand these spiritual baths are often natural lakes and rivers in which temples are built nearby. Devotees of a particular deity visit these temples, pray and do spiritual bathing to glorify the deity as well as wish for purification and blessings.

It's also part of Surya Namaskar- which means "salutation to the sun." This prayer and spiritual bath takes place as the sun rises. Devotees pray to Surya- the Sun God- and immerse themselves in water while facing the sun.

I think these religious and spiritual traditions are very interesting. I do believe that spiritual purification is connected to bodily purification in our spiritual psychic. And bathing seems like the best time to bring forth both. I also believe that the particles and electrons in water have a neutralizing effect on our body. It might really be taking away negative energies.

Has anyone taken a spiritual bath before? Did you feel the kind of purification I described?

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