There’s a lovely Italian tradition relating to the Madonna of the Baths (patroness of the region’s numerous hot mineral springs). This annual blessing and cleansing at the Feast of the Ascension is under her aegis. The Feast of the Ascension is on May 26th this year.
So if you can get your hands on clean, unsprayed, food-grade roses and mint, this is a nice little cleansing and blessing rite you could do with those.
If you can’t get your hands on fresh, organic roses and mint, I have made a blend of dried mint leaves and rose petals available in the shop as Ascension Day Bath Herbs.
The Bath Rite
On the day before Ascension Day, gather rose petals and mint leaves before dark and put them in a bowl or basin of water. Ideally, this would be spring water, but since most of us don’t really have fresh springs anywhere near us anymore, use whatever makes sense to you and is sanitary here. Traditionally, you would invoke the blessings of the Madonna of the Baths, praying and asking her to bless the roses and mint as you added them so the water will bless and sanctify the body.
Leave the basin outside under the sky all night, and in the morning, wash with the water for spiritual cleansing and blessing.
Additional Uses and Considerations
It is nice in a full bath as well, and it can be used in home washing/cleansing, but I will tell you from personal experience that it does *not* keep well AT ALL. If you bring it inside and refrigerate it, you could very well still get mold pretty quickly, so unless you want to preserve it with a sufficient ratio of ethanol or some other real preservative, you should divide it into portions and freeze it if you want some for later. (And frankly, the scent is extremely delicate and light – ethanol would probably completely obliterate it.)
Mint in hoodoo is well known as an uncrossing, purifying, and protective herb that deals with troublesome people and troublesome spirits. But I’ve found that mint is especially good for troublesome thoughts as well — stuff like anxiety loops, negative internal dialogue, invasive thoughts. It can kind of short circuit that stuff.
And rose, although commonly thought of as a love herb, is also an herb of blessing. It’s strongly associated with Mary, and beyond that, has deep associations with many figures of the Divine Feminine in religions and cultures throughout history, across the globe. In some folk traditions, it’s used to clear up negativity and crossed conditions around your love life, and it finds its way into blends for psychic vision, protection, friendship, and general luck, as well. (Though if I wanted to use this for protection or home cleansing, I’d probably add a handful of basil, personally. And if you did that, you’d actually have a pretty good Peaceful Home blend, too, come to think of it…)
It’s especially useful for matters related to *self* love – self esteem, self confidence, and self-forgiveness. As such, it pairs with mint to give you a blend that can help remove negative thoughts and negative influences in the realm of love, absolutely including self-love, self-esteem, internal dialogue, all that kind of thing. And then of course the Madonna of the Baths is associated with healing.
Read more about the bath herbs, or order some now, at Seraphin Station.
Learn more about the Madonna of the Baths via Storie di Napoli.
Hear a traditional folk song for the Madonna of the Baths (and read a traditional prayer, as well, if you can read Neapolitan) via Italian Folk Magic.