I suppose it makes sense that if things are going great in some areas of your life, something somewhere has to suck.
School is intense and challenging but I like that way. Career-wise things are awesome. I’ve been confirmed to teach at two conferences next year and more will follow. I have a student waiting list, all of whom are content with waiting until my self-imposed sabbatical is done. I really couldn’t be happier with the way all of that is going.
As far as my personal life goes, this last week has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. It was a week when people just seemed to want to pick arguments with me which has included, but hasn’t been limited to, people swearing at me in text messages and trying to start arguments via Facebook messages. I think I miss the good ‘ole days when I could ignore someone by just not picking up the phone. I am starting to benefit from the wisdom of my years, I guess. I have learned not to engage. Listening to someone’s very long diatribe on your many failures as a human being, in order to try to defend yourself afterward, is pointless. Maybe I just grew out of my ego. Walking away or hitting the delete button without a response, was not something I was very good at in my impetuous youth.
Regardless of how well you handle negativity, it still lingers and kind of just messes with the way your daily life proceeds. I haven’t found uplifting flowery scents to be particularly helpful the way other people do, so I decided to go a different route.
Salt has been used in cleansing rituals since ancient times. Sprinkling with sea-water or coagulated sea-water (theorized to mean sea salt) was used in Greek purification rituals as far back the Chaldean Oracles. (Tanaseanu-Döbler, 2013, p. 30) The priests of Apollo were said to use cold sea water as means of purifying themselves before “performing the works of fire.” (Tanaseanu-Döbler, 2013, p. 242) These practices seemed to spread throughout Europe with the pervasiveness of all things Greek. Celtic mythology is full of references to the use of salt for protective purposes. The aes sídhe (fairies) are said to be particularly repelled by salt. In Healing Threads, Mary Beith relays a story of a ceremony, thought to prevent abduction by the aes sídhe, which included three tablespoons of salt being added to the tub in which a newborn infant was bathed. (Beith, 2004, p. 99) On the eve of Samhain when the veil between this world and the Otherworld thins in such a way that the spirits of the dead are able to freely roam the night to cavort with the aes sídhe, humans who were brave enough to wander out often carried salt or iron with them for protection. (Monaghan, 2004, p. 406)
Aside from the using salt in baths for esoteric purposes, baths were a large part of Irish hospitality. You would have been considered a poor host for not offering a guest the opportunity to clean themselves. In medieval literature the following advice is given to young pages:
“”If your lord wishes to bathe and wash his body clean, hang sheets round the roof, every one full of flowers and sweet green herbs, and have five or six sponges to sit or lean upon, and see that you have one big sponge to sit upon, and a sheet over so that he may bathe there for a while, and have a sponge also for his feet, if there be any to spare, and always be careful that the door is shut. Have a basin full of hot fresh herbs and wash his body with a soft sponge, rinse him with fair warm rose-water, and throw it over him…” (How the Wise Man Taught his Son, 2000, p. 34)
According to Āyurvedic practitioner Dr. Chetali Samant, saindhava salt is “believed to be dominant in Sattva guna which promotes positive attitude and purity of mind.” (Chetali, 2013) She goes on to recommend salt scrubs as being healthful for many skin problems. So regardless of which tradition of herbalism you ascribe to, preparations made from salt have a history of beneficial use. Since I’ve been running into this type of information in my research lately, I decided to put together a few self-care concoctions which utilize salt.
Cleansing Salt Scrub
You can using your favorite purifying or protective herbs for this blend. My particular blend is a stimulating blend that works well as a shower scrub. You could easily substitute more relaxing herbs, but I like this as something that you can enjoy during part of a busy morning routine. To begin: put ½ cup dried herb in your mortar and pestle and grind it finely. I used juniper for the jar in the picture above. I then stirred the ground juniper into two cups sea salt. Through a process of trial-and-error, I deduced that you can add up to ¼ cup of infused oil without worrying about dissolving the salt. I used 2 tablespoons each of sage, mugwort and St. John’s wort oils. To use this I simply scoop out a handful and use it like any commercially prepared body scrub.
Epsom Salt Bath Salts
To make these I decided to use a mix of salts which included: 2 cups Epsom salt, 1 cup coarse Celtic sea salt and a bit saindhava salt. After mixing them together I added some lavender and clary sage essential oils. To use these bath salts I add ½ cup of the blend when I begin running the tub.
Herbal Bath Infusion
I decided that for the sake of the plumbing I would use a bath tea bag to prepare my herbal bath, although I easily could have tied these herbs up to in some cheesecloth. The bag contains a couple of tablespoons of sea salt as well as some of my favorite herbs for bathing: goldenrod, sage and white willow bark. To use this I place the tea bag in a pan of water and bring it to a boil. I remove the pan from the heat and cover it, letting it steep for three hours before I use the sponge to bath my body with the blend.
I plan to use these as part of my self-care routine one at times like this week, when I am feeling bombarded by negative energy. As you can see, I even got myself a big sponge.