I would say the majority of the witchcraft I do at this point in my life either has to do with healing or cleansing. Washing away the old, negative spiritual dust and making space to allow positive changes to come in, in the form of thoughts, feelings, and energies. Cleansing activities have an effect on me that is both uplifting and calming at the same time. I've been neglecting my practice lately, and it's taken too much of a toll. With spring having arrived, my spirits are lifting and I'm beginning to make more time for myself (and others) on a spiritual level. Beginning to make a lot of the things I use at home is going to help reawaken and strengthen my new resolve.
Florida Water is one of my favorite holy substances. It's not holy for everyone -- some just wear it as a cologne. As Catherine Yronwode explains, it "is a 19th century formula for a commercially-prepared toilet water...that blends an array of floral essential oils in a water-alcohol base. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth said to have been located in Florida."
|Commercial Florida Water. Original photograph found here.|
It is one of my favorite smells. It reminds me of later summer and early fall, and represents a lot of great memories for me. One of the best rituals I've ever participated in was a Voodoo healing ritual, and as we walked down a path in the woods to the ritual area, we anointed ourselves with Florida Water along the way. It is used for self-anointment, anointing altars, and many different types of spiritual cleansing. It is also a great addition to offerings left for ancestors or land spirits.
I've seen different recipes for it before, but I really wanted something simple, with ingredients that I can easily access. I decided on using Stephanie Rose Bird's recipe, found in her book Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones. I read this book a few months ago, and I'm completely in love with it. Hoodoo and conjure practices are something I've been getting a lot of exposure to over the last year and a half, and they've influenced me deeply already. This book has been a great resource for my individual study of American folk magic.
The ingredients are very simple: distilled water, 100 proof vodka, and lavender, clove bud, and bergamot oil. A friend from lab generously gave me some of her oils. I substituted just clove oil in place of the clove bud. It's an easier oil to find, and ordering online for less common oils can get really expensive quickly.
After I had all of my ingredients, I really needed to find some bottles in which to store the Water -- and that means a trip to peddler's and antique malls. I never give up chances to go shopping there! And I had some amazing luck today, I really couldn't believe it! I found a tall, green bottle that I'm using to store the bulk amount of the Water, and a small, dark blue glass bottle with a spray pump. When I was finished, I couldn't resist setting them up with my "Voo-Boo" doll that I bought from a friend at last year's Nashville Pagan Pride Day:
Oh, and the prices of those bottles? The spray bottle was $2.25, the tall green one, $1.99! So perfect and pretty. So now, I'm going to let my new homemade Florida Water settle for a few days before I transfer some into the spray bottle. The smell is a little strong for my liking, so I think I will be diluting it a little further with more distilled water before using it. I'm excited to research further all the different ways Florida Water can be used in a spiritual setting. Stephanie Rose Bird says, "No Hoodoo home is complete without Florida Water." I agree entirely. Today has been a blessed day.