Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vodou Christmas: fire and baths for the New Year

We use the iconography of St Nicholas for Lwa Gran Soliel or the sacred heart, translated as big or grand sun. This spirit is very elevated, full of light and blessings. In Sanse there are spiritualists under Gran Soliel who assist to elevate the dead, as well as bring light, harmony and clarity to our lives. God or Papa Bonnye is more associated with the unknowable, and north pole star or destiny.

Saint Nicholas is the imagery for the chief of the 7 chief Sanses, as we hold him as the 8th. His iconography was partly used as a creation of Santa Claus or Jolly Saint Nick, along with Norse ideas of elves, reindeer, aminita mushrooms and Odin. At the winter solstice, the sun goes underground three days as the darkest, then begins to come back to earth. The sun brings new life, survival and warmth after the cold wet winter.

The face of God is unknowable and most use no iconography for Bondye, but some use St Nicholas as he lives at the north star at the top of the pole, and use the sacred heart Jesus as Gran Soliel. As it is the central organ in the body, which circulates warmth and the life blood.

This date was selected as Jesus's birth for reasons of conversions of the Europeans. As part of the Catholicism which entered Vodou, the symbolism is of the divine force, life, power and creational heat coming close to earth, mankind and physicality.

The Petro are saluted at this time, and the Simbi's feast date is January 6th with the three kings or magi. The are magicians, and fiery snake Lwa with Congo origins. Fires are lit, fireworks and gunpowder.
Leaf rubbing is also common, and the work of gads or protection. Basil is a very important plant. The Christmas Baths bring heat and to cleanse away the old year for a fresh start. The New Years mixture puts the spicy in with the sweet, the cool and hot for balance with the 2 baths. A very magic time of year.

Depending on your lineage, the three magi are viewed as Legba or Kalfou, Simbi Makaya and Baron Samedi.
Fireworks, the lighting of gunpowder, fire bathing and bonfires are traditional.
A bath are done to cleanse ourselves, the old, the home and ritual tools for the new year.

You might want to refer to my post on bitter and sweet baths to understand the concepts behind making the baths, such as number of ingredients you should put in the following should add up to or an odd number.

Cleansing Bath Bain Noel

We open the temple, give offerings and dance the leaves.

In Haiti they sacrifice an animal and add this to the bath after pounding it is set on fire, but we can add a blood substitute, I am not at liberty to share but in Lucumi they use red palm oil or epo when permitted by the shells for ebo. This is added along with the florida water at the end when the bath is set on fire, therefore you will need to use a cauldron or white metal enalmare basin.

Light a candle to God along with a clear glass of water each time.
Then mash and mix the leaves in warm water, putting prayer, songs and intention in.

Present the mixture to the  directions: EWSN in order each time.

Begin by taking a good cleansing shower or bath to clean the body.
Perform the bath neck down then dress in clean clothes, avoid sex or touching another person for 24 hours. It is preferable to sleep on white sheets alone, and wear a white head wrap to seperate your energy from others for the week. This is the time after until January when we clean and cover our altars with a white sheet, then we feed and perform an illuminayson to welcome them back. So this first bath is also protective during this time our misterios are less active.

Choose an odd number of ingredients below and add it to the warm water. Do the bath for 3 or 7 days.


A white enamel bowl or a clean cauldron or fireproof bowl, can pace on cement, bricks or a cement slab

  • 3 bunches of flat leaf parsley, recommend organic if possible… no pesticides
  • 7 limes or lemons
  • white rum, or coffee
  •  7 coins or adding up to an odd number (does not count as an ingredient, throw into river or donate after)
  • 1 bottle Florida Water

  • Version#2
One or two handfuls of fresh basil leaves
Seven key limes and citrons, cut in halves 
A handful of white mustard seed or yellow mustard seed. 
A pinch of rock salt or sea salt
white rum
1 bottle Florida water

A bluing square, ball or liquid laundry bluing
4 lemons, 3 limes
1 bottle of Florida Water
1 bottle of Holy Water
3 liters of warm water
A large handful of fresh parsley
A small handful of rue (fresh preferred or dried)


One teaspoon each, of 3 minerals - ex. crossroads dirt after paying 3 cents, salt, household ammonia, laundry bluing, gunpowder or saltpeter 
A handful of 3 fresh bitter plants such as parsley, bay, rue, sage, rosemary, and can use basil
One cup or bottle florida water, can also add rum and other alcohol based perfume, or coffee

Add the Florida water and set this on fire until it burns off. Fire hand passes can be done.
You can set a white novena in it to charge after you are done working the bath.

Take the solid material of the bath and a bottle of fresh Florida water. Place the material in a glass bowl and then pour the Florida Water over it.  Let it soak for a day, then strain off the liquid and rebottle in glass. You now have a weaker yet still potent version of the bath, floor wash or a spray you can use again. Keep in fridge if not using soon. Take the material (the solids) and wrap them tightly into a ball/packet and place it on your altar where it will continue to pulse it's power for the year.  Either that or leave them in the bath to scrub yourself, and dispose of the remnants.
When you do the bath do your prayer and light another white candle after a normal shower.

Bens chance New Years bath for prosperity and good luck
Baths are also made for luck, infused with the magic power of this time of year, and can be used for the new year, or for a specific purpose in mind. Usually done Dec 24-26th and January 6th-8th the Feast of the Epiphany for the  three kings or magi for the majestic bath. Some also work with the Erzulie's on this day, due to their association with luck, money, and the ability to break all black magic. They can be save for a short time when needed or done after the cleansing Christmas bath. Choose an odd number, or 5 or 7 ingredients below, plus the water, and do for 3, 5 or 7 days. I will be making a basil milk spice perfume variation.


A white or white enamel bowl with warm water
warming spices: Cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg are good choices
fresh Basil
sweet perfume/cologne such as pompeya, 4711 or florida water, or rose or orange water
sugar or sweetener (like half a teaspoon or so, just a little bit)


To a clean basin of warm water, add:
1 bottle of Pompeya Lotion perfume
1 bottle of Reve d'Or perfume 
1 bottle of 4711 perfume
1 bottle of Florida Water cologne
1 handful of star anise
1 handful of fresh basil
1 cup of rum (Rhum Barbancourt, from Haiti, is the best, but any good rum will work.)
(This one is expensive, and better suited to a larger temple group)


Put half a basin of cool water aside. Simmer in a pot on a stove some water and into it add some cinnamon sticks, 2 or 3 star anise pods, a spoonful of honey, and about a cup or two of your choice of milk. Non dairy plant based milk or goat milk also works. Simmer until the scent begins to release stirring now and then. 

Let cool slightly then add to the other basin of water. Take a handful or two of white flower petals, add a teaspoon of sugar if desired and a couple splashes of sweet perfume (like pompeya, 4711, rev dor, florida water) or rose and/or orange water. (I buy mine at a local arabic market). Then add the basil.

Other ingredients you can use or substitute: mint, coconut or goats milk, vanilla, orange juice or juiced oranges or sweet fruits, floral essential oils like jasmine, gardenia, orange.

Beer, gingerale or champagne add when cool about to do the bath so the bubbles are still present, said to add good airy spiritual fluids to elevate your spirits, as well as your energy.
Beer and champagne are favored my many cool and female spirits, and are also great for prosperity.
The remanents of this bath can be used as a floor wash, and wash the front stoop.


Sancista 7 crossroads

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Care of the dying and newly passed over

While they are passing
Encompasses many things and dependent on their ability to participate such as counselling, cleansing baths, counselling for the family, organizing a will, palliative care team planning, and completion of a bucket list. Speak to them when you visit and hold their hand because hearing is one of the last sense to be lost. No one knows the last date we will be in our physical body in this incarnation. The prayer for the sick, and the medium who heals can be of benefit from Allan Kardec's book of selected prayers.
If you are knowledgable with psalms certain ones can be said or use Acts 19:11-12 in the bible for healing. Even if their death is imminent it can improve symptoms or help spiritual healing.
It gives peace and consolation to the person who is dying, and to process their suffering to be of benefit as they think on their life.
It can also help to pray for the wisdom and compassion of the health care team, to get the care and attention the patient needs.

A water glass is often placed at the bedside of the sick and dying to purify, and have a portal for the spirit to go through when they pass.

Some of the prayer can be found in the references and links below.

Act of prayer:
A white candle, a clear water glass is needed for this.
Cleansing and purifying the material and spiritual aspect to ease transition, assists to call their spirits to help them transition, and orient them, awaiting them on the other side of the door of mortality to decrease their confusion. Pray that the good ancestors will greet them when it is time. Purifying them will lessen the shock of transition and gain light spiritually by lighting them white candles. Lighting white candles also dedicated to their spirit guides and higher spirits will empower their spirits to be better able to assist them as well. It protects them from outside influences, and to help further elevate them for spiritual progress and healing spiritually. This will assist them also to have a better reincarnation when it is time. We have lived many lives and our soul is eternal. This will also help their ti bon ange, ghost self or personality to be maintained for ancestral veneration at a later date.

Speak from the heart or paraphrase: I light this candle and offer this water to (name) and thier spirit guides, good ancestors and higher spirits, cleansing and purifying the material and spiritual aspects to ease transition. Upon passing orient them, awaiting them on the other side of the door of mortality to decrease their confusion. Good ancestors greet them when it is time. May this light spiritually empower you to be better able to assist. Protect them from outside influences, and help further elevate them for spiritual progress and healing spiritually. Our soul is eternal, and I will continue to assist (name) on your journey, with love. May it be so.

After death
Mass for the dead is usually done in church funerary rites and funeral home services in western culture first. They usually will hang out around their body at the hospital, home or grave site around 9 days after they have passed. You can still speak to them here. Flowers are traditionally given to the dead and not to the Orisha, and will also help them spiritually. White is the best color. Otherwise just a white candle and water, holy water should be given at this time in a clean space, and on a white cloth if desired.

After burial or cremation you can preform an elevation, hopefully they have released emotional attachment to their body they have shed and start transitioning to spiritual realms if they have not already and depending on the type of life they lead and manner of death.

 9 night novena candle elevation
Fire, though divided, suffers no loss. It may pass from candle to candle and grow in number, while remaining one from the source.
This is done at least nine nights after they have passed and have had the funeral, done for 9 nights.
For 9 nights take a white novena candle which has been cleansed and dedicated to God, the persons spiritual court and ancestors to help the person along with the clean water glass each day. The water can be held up to the sun and visualise it taking on light. 

NEVER blow this candle out, it can be placed in a fireproof dish or on a baking sheet. Anoint the candle with a cleansing, olive oil, or protection oil from the bottom up. Lift this candle up and just state this general dedication, you may write their name if desired on it. You are going to need several because they will only last 2-3 days. Each night move up from the lowest to gradually the highest part of your house on a clean surface during your prayer session. You can perform the sign of the cross and imbue this with light to provide a spiritual crossroad or doorway for them, and begin to pray. You can state as I lift up this candle, I also elevate this spirit.

This is not crossing a spirit over, however this can be the end result. You should be clean and maintain pure thoughts, and any words that are heartfelt. Concentrate on the light, and giving light emanating from a higher source, and through yourself. You should be taking spiritual baths to assist this process, and keep your energy clean and together. Dress in white or light colors no brown or black. Describe the water you have given for purification and to quench their thirst, describe the candle to help them see, orient them and give them warmth and energy.

Crossing a spirit over can be dangerous if they are earthbound or angry who can turn into a standoff or battle, and began to take you over or attach to you and influence your life, so its better if you have support of a spiritualist. This is why their manner of death must be taken into consideration if they were extremely mentally ill or died of violence or suicide. What I am describing is a very simplified process. However most normal dead people are extremely grateful and accepting of the help, no matter what their religion was in life. and may not have other options. You should get a feeling of grace, triumph or exhaltation, clean energy and peace.

Prayer for the newly "fallen" who have died, or passed over

Prayers for those who have just left the Earth are not for the exclusive purpose of showing our sympathy. They also have the effect of helping to release them from their Earthly ties, and in this manner shorten the period of perturbation which always follows the separation, so allowing a more peaceful awakening on the other side. Nevertheless, in this case, as in all other circumstances, the efficacy depends on the sincerity of the thought and not on the quantity of words offered with more or less solemnity in which very frequently the heart does not participate.

Prayers which truly come from the heart encounter a resonance in the Spirit to whom they are directed, whose ideas are still in a state of confusion, as if they were friendly voices come to awaken them from sleep (See The Gospel According To Spiritism, chapter 27, item 10).


Almighty God, may Your mercy be shown to the soul of X . . . whom You have just called back from Earth. We beg and implore that the trials suffered here may be counted in their favor and that our prayers may soften and shorten the penalties still to be suffered in the Spirit form!

Good Spirits who came to fetch this soul, and most especially their Guardian Angel, help them to free themself from matter. Give them light and a consciousness of themself so that they may quickly leave the state of perturbation, inherent in the passing from the body back to the spiritual life. Inspire in their Spirit a repentance for all errors and faults committed and a desire to obtain permission to remedy them, so as to quicken their advancement in the direction of the life of those who are eternally blessed.

And you, … ., who have just entered into the World of the Spirits, we wish to say that despite this fact, you are still with us; you hear and see us, since you have merely left the perishable physical body, which will quickly be reduced to dust.

You have left the gross envelope which is subject to vicissitudes and death, now retaining only your etheric body which is imperishable and inaccessible to material suffering. If you no longer live through a physical body, you live instead through your Spirit, and the spiritual life is free from those miseries which afflict humanity.

You no longer have over your eyes the veil which hides the splendors of the future existence from us. Now you may contemplate new marvels, while we remain bathed in darkness.

You may travel through space and visit the worlds in all liberty, while we still painfully drag ourselves about here on Earth, prisoner in our material bodies, which are like heavy armor.

The infinite horizons stretch themselves before you, and on seeing their grandeur you will understand the vanity of terrestrial desires, of worldly aspirations and the futility of the so-called joys to which Man delivers himself.

For Man, death is nothing more than a separation from matter, lasting but a few instants. From this place of exile in which we continue to live according to the Will of God, and with the duties we still have to fulfill in this world, we will continue to follow you in thought till the moment when it is permitted for us to join you once again, just as now you are reunited with those who preceded you.

We cannot go to where you are, but you may come here. So come then to those who love you and whom you love; help them in the trials of life; watch over those who are dear to you; protect them as much as you are able; lessen the bitterness of absence by suggesting to them the thought that now you are happier and that one day, for certain, you will again be reunited in a better world.

In the place you are now, you must extinguish all earthly resentments. You must hold yourself inaccessible to them now, for the sake of your future happiness! Therefore forgive all those who may have incurred debts towards you, just as those against whom mistakes were committed now forgive you.

There are other prayers which can be recited such as the prayer for the suffering spirits

God of clemency and mercy, may Your goodness extend to all the Spirits we have recommended to You in our prayers, especially the Spirit of X .

Good Spirits, whose only occupation is to do good, intercede together with me for their relief’. Make a ray of hope shine before their eyes and enlighten them as to the imperfections which maintain them distant from the homes of the blessed. Open their hearts to repentance and the desire to cleanse themselves, so they may accelerate their advancement Make them understand it is by their own efforts that they may shorten the duration of their trials.

May God, in all His goodness, give them the necessary strength to persevere with their good resolutions! May these words, infused with benevolence, soften their trials, so showing them that there are on Earth those who sympathize and wish them happiness.

A different version
For Suffering Souls Asking For Prayers
Kind and merciful God, may you extend your abundant mercy to include those who seek help from us.
Oh good and merciful spirits charged by God to instruct us, pray with us for the souls of those who would benefit from our positive thoughts. Make us vessels of Divine providence; enable us to share with the spirits of those who need light whatever light may have been granted us by that Great Spirit, the Creator of All. Amen

You can find these prayers in Allan Kardec's book of selected prayers, or the version by Candita Gual. 
No spiritist should be without a copy. It is of utmost utility.
There is within prayer for those facing imminent death.
I also suggest the books helping yourself with selected prayers by original publications.

After these 9 days then you need to let these spirits rest and have no further attempt at contact nor offerings for one full year. The spirits have their own journey, healing centers to go to and work and spirit lives to do. We do not want to keep them around here because it would be damaging to them and our grief process, until they are ready to visit which could take from 1 to 5 years or more for you to receive messages, and for them to be able to. They may even choose to reincarnate quickly if it is needed or their decision. However the person they were will remain as a spirit.

After one year, you can pay the Catholic church to preform a mass for the dead if you wish for a very nominal fee. This was traditionally done and sung because they believe most people go to a holding place or purgatory. This is a great charity we can do for a loved one. The church does this for those who are Catholics mostly, but also can be performed by those who know how in Espiritismo and Sanse, or by well versed spiritualists.

You can hold another elevation or have a Espiritismo misa seance as well or instead where you may receive messages and status update, then you can add them to boveda or ancestor altar if their status is good. A Palero or Santo can read them to see their disposition. 
The boveda or a white table can be placed in elevation for them using the water glass formation in a pyramid or the point of the ^ formation facing away like so on the table.
Otherwise experienced spiritualists mediums can guide you to further help them out.
There are other rites such as if they were a priest in the ATR's the casse canari: breaking of spiritual pot to seperate gros bon ange and met tet Lwa from the soul for rest. As well as taking care of their spiritual tools, other pots, and robes of office or spiritual clothing.
They can also call up the family member or priest into a govi clay pot for veneration.
A Haitian Vodou seance is done by some Mambos in a white tent on a streamlet or by the river and give trance messages to the person who enters.

Hopefully this will help alot of people out, and reassure them of life after death.
If you have any questions or need to clarify, just ask.
An end is just another beginning or chapter on your souls journey, 
light and progress,
Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas

Magical concept: sweet & bitter, herbs and spiritual baths

You might want to read my basic blogpost of notes on spiritual baths first

Sweet or Dulce is attracting of the good things that are desired in life and generally blessing.

Bitter, Amarga or Amine is cleansing and removes the negative energy that can block new good things in our life such as a job, romance or healing, and thus a bitter bath, is usually done for a consecutive number of days usually 3 or 7, followed by the drawing in or sweet for the same number of odd days.

Also in cleansing baths is sour ingredients such as vinegar or acids such as coffee and limes or lemons. Bitter herbs are usually naturally high in sulfur and ammonia.

What is bitter is often called strong, "forte" or hot but not always. For example cinnamon is hot and sweet, perfect for love and money work. The heat adds force and quickness. What is sweet also can be cleansing by exceptions, but in general condition or drawing baths are not for cleansing. As you can see almost all flowers are sweet, so perfumes like Florida water while mildly cleansing or more accurately refreshing and used for the alcohol content, is also an attractant to spirits (2 handed) such as with the dead and ylang ylang or Kanaga water, as the sensitive part of the plant, so you must be clear with your intent on using it. Florida water and other alcohol based waters can be added to the bitter as an exception. I am talking about not mixing bitter and sweet leaf in general.

A bitter bath is no rival to cleansing. Usually 7 bitter leafs are used, the number of the forest and celestial, but for more important preparations sometimes 21 are used.
With sweet herbs an odd number like 3, 7 or 5 as the number of the sweet waters of the river. You could just as easily mash up sweet fruits and use this. My apprentice for a time would do dry candy cleanses, wrapped candy passed over the body and then thrown in the trash. We are working with our spirits either emissarios or misterios associated with those areas along with the power in the plant, and our own energy.

An odd number of ingredients and often of sacred significance is used. Ocean water and salt are considered bitter. There is a whole philosophy on bitter water such as of the transatlantic slave trade, diasporic removal from the african homeland and tears. The ocean is a life source as well as a watery grave. It still can be used for finance work, as in trade and ships coming in, and associations with spirits such as Agwe and the riches of the sea. Some consider material such as bluing or minerals of salt, sulphur, and dirt inert and neither bitter nor sweet in themself.

Because bitter is hot and removing, we for the most part do these baths neck down only to not heat up the head, and create hot tempered imbalances, nor embitter the area and disposition for spirits that are beneficial to us, more importantly if you have been crowned with your spirit guides and higher spirits, but also the claimed ancestors. Likewise I personally will avoid salt unless there is a big problem, because our good dead do not like it, as it leaches their energy to the earth until they are of enough elevation or progress spiritually.

There are many technical concepts when it comes to bath preparation. For example in general we do not mix sweet with bitter, flower or fruit with leaf. Root and leaf is generally ok.
There are exceptions to these rules but are general guidelines. Each plant has a sentient spirit that lives in it that can be prayed to and honored. Remember to give an offering and wild harvest responsibly the plants you take. We almost always use fresh herbs for the vibrancy and potency of energy, but the bath can have white rum or alcohol, bay rum, added to preserve a larger amount for a short time kept in the fridge or for hand passes like Florida water.

Alot of people do use dried bay, rue and hyssop though.

There is the disposal of the bitter leaf material away from the house with a payment say of 3 coins to the crossroad, each place having a significance to spirit, energy and number associated. The sweet bath remains usually are kept around the house, such as a floor wash. The bitter wash can also be used to clean the house and spiritual tools.

Certain leaves which are more tropical, in spanish are named to their function such as quita maledicion is bitter to stop evil, same as espante muerte: chasing the dead. leaves and sticks/palo with the name rompe means break negativity, lies and spells on you. We are taught not to put espante muerte on the head nor abre camino due to opening up of this area in which spirits have been placed.

We do not boil the fresh leafs but we mash it with our hands and sing and use prayer into the warm water and speak our intention. We may leave it next to certain shrines or altars with a novena candle inside.

The most important herbs in Sanse are probably
Tobacco: messanger Lwa and Taino cemi spirit
Major plant spirits hold leaves such as Loases Gran Bwa, the biggest tree of the forest and Ogu Osain.

Whereas some cultivated herbs would also fall under the agricultural Lwa Azaka, yet both also relate to the land and certain natural areas.
Rompe Saraguay (spell breaker and removes negative dead), bitter along with garden sage and rue
Basil can be cleansing but also blessing and very important, it is also a major exception and can be mixed with bitter such as rue and sage.
Ceiba tree, the silk cotton Mapou: our holy magic and world tree, bitter and blessing
Abre Camino to open paths, bitter
Copal as sacred to the Taino people and the dead, 
as well as Anamu bitter congo weed root a very useful medicine for many ailments such as arthritis and cancer. Anamu is taboo in some Ocha houses due to being poisonous to children of Obatala and toxic to children of Yemaya. It is one of the ingredients in our Taino Indio drink we infuse in alcohol.

Spirit-Blossom Ceiba Tree by Lisa Dunbar Solas

Below is a simple list that most people can find around that do not live in the tropics, which is much more extensive if you need to prepare certain objects and during initiations. Otherwise, there is not as much need to order from tropical botanicas, and you can use what is in your area following certain principles. There are certain plants that have to be used in those cases. Always follow your tradition and godparents guidelines. What is used in Palo is different than Lucumi. One list I saw had abre camino, avocado leaf, rosemary, altamisa and sage listed as sweet, I consider those all bitter personally. Another had mint as bitter and I consider that sweet. Of course there is alot to study about plants, medicinal use, safety and for magical use beyond these concepts.


Bee balm or Bergamot
Lemon balm or verbena
Lettuce and watercress (but not dark leafy bitter greens)
marigold, carnation, lily, lavender, chamomile, violet, rose, orange, jasmine perfumes etc attract 
mangos, oranges, apples, bananas, melon, tropical fruits: pineapple, papaya, guava


Honey, molasses, cane sugar etc
Goat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, dairy milk, rice milk or water


plantain (not the vegetable, the ground leaf next to drainage areas or grass in wetter northern climates)
white sauco elderflower/berry leaf
black tea leaf
dandelion leaf
epasote or epazote mexican cooking herb
sage: usually fresh garden or cooking sage
artemisa: wormwood, mugwort, motherwort etc
white morning glory leaf, datura leaves, but also purple bell flower leafs: morado
Laurel bay
corn leaf husk
spanish broom
horseradish leaf (not traditional but found it works)
vencedor: lilac tree leaf wins battles, triumphs
most tree leaf
thistles: milk thistle, blessed thistle
garlic bulb root, onion, tumeric root
limes, lemons, bitter melon gourd, coffee

I am going to write more on a major magic concept of hot and cool
But as I have been writing on spiritual baths of late, 
my next entry will be for the 2 Christmas and New Years Baths of Bain Noel and good luck Bon chance. This will be so those that want to make them can for Dec 24-26 or January 6th or 8th

I have a bunch of blog entries planned, such as for elevation after death, because I have alot of requests plus, it is that time of year for those to or who have travelled to the otherside of the veil. Contact me if you would like me to cover a topic you have not seen so far.

-Sancista 7 crossroads XXXXXXX