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Practical Devotion III: Perfumes and Waters

The last thing I will reveal regarding my practice of altar keeping is the very versatile, culturally important and wonderful Florida Water.


Historically, the Agua de Florida is a very interesting ingredient. Used in Latin American traditional medicine, curanderismo, folklore cults and afrolatino religions, this is a perfume that comercially has been distributed from the 1800's New York but has a deep history in tradicional BIPOC spiritual practices starting with enslaved people using it as an offering for their traditional cults as well as hoodo and vodoun and seeping through all the folklore and magical practices, from America to the Caribbean and beyond into what we know today.


The formula comercially sold has not changed since it was first made, the bases is citrus peels, orange blossoms, cinnamon, citronella, cloves and different other spices and flowers, Florida Water is believed to be incredibly effective in drawing good fortune, blessings and clearing any negative energy or break curses.



It is used in floor washes to attract prosperity and purification, in baths for the same purpose, it can be used as a perfume to help you in your daily rituals, as an altar wash, in offerings and it's specially appreciated by Ancestal Spirits and Goddesses (a more rose forward florida water can be offered to Aphrodite or Erzulie for example, while a saffron and lavender infused would be beloved to our Hekate).


Since I come where I come from (Caribbean Venezuela) , the Latin folklore and practices heavily influences and informs my own work so this is an important perfume to have at hand and to make ourselves in order to honour the Goddess in the best way possible. I use my Florida water to clean the altar space, the sanctuary floors as much as the altar itself and the instruments, perfume the altar cloth, sprinkle my working station, as offering in Hekate's altar as much as to perfume and bless her Icon after washing it. - Even sprinkle on myself before rituals or added to the lustral water to wash my hands. Another nice trick is perfuming yourself with it before any situation you need a bit of a luck kick, like a job interview, performance review, meeting with clients or a first date!-


As with any recipe different proportions of ingredients will have different effects and will be more appropiate to certain things more than others, but this is where practice and experiences come to play. Starting from a basic recipe, you can adjust it according to your needs and how you feel the Goddess is better attended.


You will need:


  • A couple tall mason jars with a lid

  • Scissors

  • High degree alcohol, 96% (some recipes call for vodka but it will not work the same)

  • Water (mineral works great, tap is fine, make sure there is not much chlorine in it)

  • Your Botanicals. For me, I used this time: fresh Rose, dried lavender, fresh rosemary, fresh sage, fresh rue, fresh mint all from my balcony, fresh basil (two types, purple and green), fresh lemongrass, dried orange blossoms and jasmine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice, sarrapia (tonka bean) dried lime peels, orange peels, mandarin peels and grapefruit peels.

  • Your working altar, incense and candle.


A more basic, powerful and all working recipe can be : Citrus peels, cinnamon, clove, allspice, lemongrass, orange blossoms, mint, basil and rue.


Another more serving to Hekate could be: Citrus peels, more lavender, saffron, mint, tonka bean, jasmine, all spice and clove. So you see you can adapt this wonderful ingredient to serve your purpose and taste.


Preparation:


Take all your instruments and botanicals to your altar.

Light the sacred fire and evoke Hekate as you'd normally do in your practice. To me, this is chanting the Orphic Hymn and offering incense and a small libation

.

Ask her to assist you in your working and bless your intruments and hands.


Turn to your botanicals and light a candle for them. Call upon the spirits of the plants and thank them for assisting you in this practice, ask them for their guidance and blessings and pour a small libation of water, milk or honey for them as well.


Cut your plants in small pieces and fill the jars. I'd reccomend starting with the harder ones (woods like the cinnamon, sarrapia, cloves and allspice) so they sit in the bottom of the mason jar and working up to the more delicate ones, finishing with roses.


Once the plants are all done and packed in the jar, fill them with 80% alcohol and 20% water, making sure all the plant material is covered. Shake the jars to even the alcohol and water in them and to assure there is no air pockets in between the plants. Next step is only time.


Let sit in a dry cool place to macerate for a month shaking daily or twice a day to encourage the proper release of oils in the tincture. You will notice you will have a dark, beautifully scented and energetically powerful new perfume after this time.


At this point you can filter it, bottle your new Florida Water and start using it



Hope this inspires you to try new workings and if you use my recipe, please let me know how it worked out!



Gio










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Edio
Edio
Mar 23
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Lovely work and thanks for sharing; it's the best way to protect the Mysteries. I'll occasionally use a little bourbon as the solvent for a special batch - seems pleasing.

Tonka bean is a new one for me- not seen much here ; can you say a bit more about how it shifts the formula toward H. ?


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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you. I would love to make this version soon. :)

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Amazing! I'll try to do some next week ❤️

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Arie
Arie
Jan 31
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love it! I'm assuming we can substitute with essential oils if we don't have the herbs?

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Gio Diaz
Gio Diaz
Feb 02
Replying to

You can! but it is always better to work with the plant, specially if you are luck and have grown it yourself

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

That's been a great series! I myself do not use Florida Water but "Kölnisch Wasser" (Eau de Cologne or Cologne Water) which is very similiar to Florida Water and it is also used in the same way in german folk practice (and in other european countries for example france and turkey). It was officially invented in the early 1700s in Köln (Cologne) Germany, by an Italian perfume maker. I haven't made my own waters/perfumes yet, but it's something I want to try. Thanks for sharing your beautiful recipes.

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What a good idea! I have looked into an alternative to Florida water, because we are on a completely different continent here, but I have never had a thought of Kolnisch Wasser! Thanks for the tip!

Diana van den Branden

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