Winter accords us no greater luxury than the simple-yet-opulent pleasure of a hot bath. Turn your tub time into a sacred ritual with natural elements like herbs, fresh milk, honey, and, of course, lots of candles!
We begin, of course, with candles. Lots and lots and lots of candles. The Sabbats are more of seasons than holidays to me, and right now, we hover between Yule & Imbolc, so it feels like the “Season of Imbolc” in our house. The deepest part of winter sets in soon, so lighting candles to warm the home, both literally and spiritually, hits a gooey mark in my heart.
Fresh milk also symbolizes Imbloc to me, when livestock begins to produce it heavily in preparation for the spring calves. If your area affords you access to farm fresh milk, by all means, get some!
I never need an excuse to take a drive in the country and visit our local farms for fresh dairy.
Added to the bath, milk soothes winter chapped skin and gives the bathwater that creamy opacity.
If your cabinet still bursts with dried herbs from the growing season (or the grocery store), great!
But personally, for ritual baths, I prefer to take matters into my own hands and forage herbs from the natural landscape. Herbs found this way smell fresher, and best of all, they cost nothing!
In the summer, herbs quite literally spring up between in the cracks in the sidewalk.
But in the winter months preceding Imbolc, fresh garden herbs prove tough to come by in most parts of the world.
However, nature rewards the persistent herbalist if she wills herself to venture into the woods against the sharp prick of cold.
(I find a heavy wool wrap and a thermos of coffee really stirs the will in this regard!)
Evergreens like pine & rosemary stay hardy in most zones in the US through the winter season. In my case, I found some sage in the garden still going strong, even under a dusting of snow.
(For more on this herb, check out 10 Magickal Uses for Sage).
The earthy pine smell of it made the steam from the bathwater fragrant and opened my lungs in a soothing way.
Take advantage of the cold weather to add honey and use a homemade sugar scrub—it’s the only time of year they don’t attract ants!