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The ritual bath is important to signal your subconscious mind to get to work. The bath helps you let go of negativity and distracting thoughts and focus your mind. The purpose of a ritual bath is to cleanse Yourself, from the inside and out, of negative energies and prepare your Physical, Mental and Spiritual Self for Circle. Many opt to lightly fast, or only eat fruits and vegetables prior to the right, that is your choice. If possible abstaine from drugs, alcohol and tabacco the day of the rite as well. A ritual bath is a rite in and of itself. The rite is ideally done just prior to Circle, but this is not always the case. It gives you the opportunity to reflect on your self and your intentions.
You should take a ritual bath before you do any formal ritual, especialy magick, to make sure you don't have any negative energy stuck on you. Use the ritual bath to reflect, meditate, get grounded and connect with deity. The actual Rite itself may vary from Witch to Witch, find something that works for you, the key details are that you be physically clean and in a healthy state of mind.
To prepare for the bath
Select the Herbs, (it is best to have your herbs in a satche for easier clean-up, or pre-packaged organic herbal teas), oils (CAUTION - Be careful with pure essential oils - they can burn your skin if not diluted properly. Use only a few drops of oil, because you want only a subtle essence of scent.) And salts (Preferably natural sea salts or if colored of the same color as the candle you use.)
The bath water should warm, relaxing enough to allow you to enter into a meditative state (and disolve a handful of salt). It can be infused essential oil, herbs, colors and with salts, harmonious mixtures in tune with the work to be done in Circle. To prepare your ritual bath, put essensial oil and/or herbs in the water. Along with 1/3 cup of salts (too much will crystalize and make you itch).
Lite your favorite incense (Sandalwood, Patchouli, Rose, Nag Champa, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla), three candles (only if you have space to burn them safely, any color or white works), music (or silence if you don't have a safe surface for a radio.)
Settle into the water, and just recline, allowing the perfumes, warmth and music to radiate through you, and relax. Clear your mind and simply enjoy the water for a minute or two.
Ground and Center.
Count backwards from twenty until you can focus on cleansing your body, your mind is a reflection of your body and should be focussed on the sanctity of the moment. Visualize the anxiety, pressure, and turbulance from your daily life, slowly being replaced by a warm golden glow, as your inner radiance is drawn towards the candles, the bitter poluted angry air is replaced by sweet perfumes.
Indulge in a personal meditation.
When you feel ready, get up slowly. As you are stepping out of the water, let go of any negativity. Imagine it has stayed in the water and that you are letting it flow down the drain away from you. This way when you emerge from the tub, you will be cleansed physically and mentally. Put on your clean robe or clothes, and you are ready for ritual.