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

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