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Spiritual Hygiene essentials by Anika Cazenave

When we think of hygiene, we usually think of cleansing our physical spaces and

maintaining good physical health. However, our spiritual hygiene is key to leading a

balanced life that brings us joy and meaning. There are many facets to maintaining

good spiritual hygiene including spiritual cleansing, maintaining communication with

our spirit team, spiritual protection and defense, and shadow work and healing.

Spiritual cleansing is probably the most discussed facet of spiritual hygiene. We

know that cleansing and purifying our space and our bodies helps us to rid ourselves of

adverse energies. Smoke cleansing techniques using resins like camphor and amber

help clear out undesirable energies and bring in energies that are advantageous to our

lives. Many people are familiar with smoke cleansing with botanical ingredients like

White Sage and Palo Santo, however, the popularity of these plants has caused them to

be endangered and decreasingly available to the indigenous populations who use them

for their religious ceremonies. To be culturally sensitive, I recommend the use of

juniper, lavender, European sage, cedar, rosemary, and a variety of resins including

benzoin, frankincense, myrrh, and styrax.

Spiritual Cleansing also involves the cleansing of the body. Taking regular

spiritual baths helps remove the spiritual “gunk” we accumulate through the course of

our daily interactions. A simple spiritual bath is sea salt in warm water. Salt is

cleansing and no worries if you do not have sea salt. Regular iodized salt like you have

in your kitchen will do in a pinch (pun intended). A more involved spiritual bath like a

white bath is definitely a good choice. For the white bath traditionally used in Latin

American Espiritismo, you need water, Holy Water (like from a church or your Boveda if

you have one), cascarilla, Florida water, Kolonia 1800 (the last three are available at

your local botanica or any number of online botanicas), white flower petals, coconut

water or milk or goat’s milk. These ingredients should be mixed in a basin and poured

over you from the neck down after your regular shower or bath. The water should be a

little bit chilly for optimal cleansing effects. You should air dry if possible. It is

refreshing in the summer and bracing in the winter. Yes, you can moisturize! Coconut

oil or cocoa butter is a good choice for maintaining the vibration. For a quick and dirty

(again, pun intended) cleanse with a great white bath inspired soap, try this product

from Dirty Unicorn. Disclosure: my godbrother makes it.

Another important aspect of spiritual hygiene is maintaining communication

with your spirit team. Who is your spirit team? Your spirit team consists of your

ancestors, spirit guides, higher self, and whatever deities you work with. Why is this

important? Because your spirit team can give you advance notice of anything coming

down the pike that might not be beneficial to you. The whole point of working with

them is because they can see things in ways that we cannot so making sure we connect

with them helps keep us protected from things we may not perceive. There are many

ways of communicating with your spirit team and the best ones are the ones that work

for you. That being said sitting at any altars you have in meditation and prayer seems to

be a very common way of creating that connection. Listening to the small insistent voice

inside is also a good means of communicating. Connecting with nature in environments

you feel drawn to also helps a lot.

Spiritual Protection and Defense are easily misunderstood. A lot of people have an

understandable reluctance to harm others magically or otherwise. This is a good thing.

However, it is ALSO a good thing to prevent harm to ourselves or our loved ones. This is

where spiritual protection and defense come into play. One of the easiest and least

offensive ways of protecting yourself is invoking your ancestors and the rest of your

spirit team. Having those entities around you blocking undesirable energy is the

simplest way of maintaining spiritual protections. Another good, non-offensive means

of protecting yourself is the freezer jar. Write the offending person’s name three times

on a piece of brown paper like a paper bag. If you do not know their name you can

just write “whoever is sending me negativity.” Then turn the paper counterclockwise

one 90-degree turn. Write your name over the top until you fully cover their name. Fold

the paper three times, each time folding away from you and turning one 90-degree turn.

Place the paper in a jar of water and put it in the back of your freezer. This prevents

them from doing harm to you but does not actually harm them.

The final aspect of spiritual hygiene I want to discuss is shadow work and

healing. This is one of the most important because a lot of what we consider “negative”

or “harmful” are lessons we need to learn to evolve AWAY from toxic thought and

behavior patterns. Often our difficult life circumstances are showing us the ways in

which WE need to grow and heal. When we heal and integrate these shadow aspects, we

can stop attracting situations in our lives that reflect them to us. Effective shadow

work will include journaling and rituals for banishing. On the full moon, we can write a

list of those traits we discovered no longer serve our highest good. Burn a white glass-encased candle dressed with rosemary oil and place the list underneath. PRACTICE

FIRE SAFETY. Do not leave candles burning unattended or if you choose to keep them

burning, place the candle inside a hurricane jar half full of water. Hurricane jars can be

purchased at a variety of craft stores. When the candle burns out take the list, tear it

into small pieces, and flush down the toilet. Alternately you can use a blue glass-encased

candle dressed with lavender oil for healing.

Those are a few of the ways of maintaining good spiritual hygiene. If you are just

beginning your spiritual practice, I recommend that you pick one or two to focus on to

start and integrate the others gradually over time. Remember that consistent practice is

key to consistent results.

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