Spiritual waters, or eaux in French perfumery, are solutions of fragrant essential oils combined with distilled water and some degree of perfumer’s alcohol or grain alcohol, with or without the addition of other fragrant substances. Often they are charged with odorous principles of flowers (i.e. Eau de Rose). They originated in the South of France or Italy, and were transported to New Orleans with the earliest perfumers. By far, the most popular of spiritual waters in the various magickal traditions is Florida water. Florida water is the American answer to Eau de Cologne, or Cologne Water. Originally valued as a unisex cologne, Florida water was preferable to other, stronger smelling perfumes. It was used in copious amounts in barbershops as aftershave and cologne. Florida water shares the same citrus base as Cologne water, but has the addition of sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes, including lavender and clove. According to the current trademark holders, Lanman & Kemp Barclay, Florida Water was introduced by the New York City perfumer (and founder of the original company) Robert Murray in 1808. The company states that their product, now sold under the Murray & Lanman brand, still uses the original 1808 formula, and that the current label is also a slightly modified version of the 1808 original.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Murray & Lanman Florida Water was advertised as “The Richest of all Perfumes” and “The Most Popular Perfume in the World." Although now obscure to most of the general American population, Florida Water remained popular among South American and Caribbean cultures. It was incorporated into magical and ritual traditions, including hoodoo.
Florida Water is popular among South American shamen, where it is believed the plant spirits of the Amazon love sweet-smelling perfumes. Thus, one way to achieve protection from malevolent spirits is to wear sweet scents and perfumes such as Florida water as a guard against evil. Shamen will often supercharge their Florida water by adding chopped camphor, tobacco, camalonga seeds and other botanicals and drink it to achieve perfumed breathe that allows them to blow upon inflictions and remove them.
In Hoodoo, Florida Water is used in spiritual cleansings and home protection. It can be worn on the body, used as an ingredient in magical works or by itself as a cologne, put in the bath water and misted in the environment to purify it. In fact, there are so many ways Florida Water can be used it is no wonder it remains a favorite spiritual water among practitioners.
30 Ways to Use Florida Water
Here are thirty ways Florida water can be used to make your life more enjoyable.
- Enhance cleansings: Add to spiritual baths to enhance spiritual cleansings.
- Protection cologne: Wear as a cologne for a protective shield that leaves a delicate scent.
- Repel negativity: Mist in the environment to repel negative energy and negative spirits.
- Attract good spirits: Mist in the environment to attract good spirits.
- Add to floor washes: Add to floor washes for its cleansing and blessing properties.
- Use as an offering: Place a bottle on your altar as an offering to the Spirits.
- Wash lodestones: Use to wash a pair of lodestones in preparation for use.
- Ancestral offering: Add a few drops to a bowl of water and place on your ancestral altar as an offering to your ancestors.
- Prevent nightmares: Launder bed sheets with 1 cup of Florida Water to remove negative energy and attract benevolent spirits and protection.
- As an astringent: Use as an astringent and skin lotion to tone the skin, leaving it with a feeling of freshness.
- Rubdown for the infirm: As a rubdown for the sick, Florida Water has a beneficial, stimulating effect similar to alcohol rubs but much more pleasant due to its aromatherapeutic qualities.
- Relief from insect bites: Applied to insect bites it provides some relief.
- Anti-anxiety relief: For high anxiety it can be applied to the forehead and used as a rubdown, providing some relief for nervous tension.
- Cleanse and bless candles: Use to cleanse and bless candles prior to use (be sure the candles are completely dry before lighting). *CAUTION: Florida Water is highly flammable. Use extreme caution when working with it.
- Cleanse ritual tools: Use to wipe down altars and altar items to keep free from negative energy.
- Spirit communication: Pour a little in a cast iron pot or cauldron and light it to aid in spirit communication through fire.
- Energize money works: Pour a little in a cast iron pot or cauldron and light it, then place your hands over the flames warming them before engaging in money drawing activities like working and gambling.
- Holy water: Pray the 23rd Psalm over it and use in place of Holy Water.
- Spirit receptivity: Periodically spray a little on your altar to keep it receptive to the spirits.
- Dream work: Place some in a crystal bowl with spring water next to your bed for prophetic dreams.
- Attraction spray: Combine basil and patchouli essential oils, Florida water and a lodestone to a spray bottle for a wonderful attraction spray.
- Foot bath: Use in foot washings by adding to a tub of water, washing the feet with the Florida water enhanced foot bath, then anointing the feet with rose oil while praying the 23rd Psalm.
- Hair rinse: Add to rinse water after shampooing to clear the head of heavy thoughts.
- Face spritz: Keep in a spray bottle in the refrigerator for a rejuvenating face spritz during the hot days of summer.
- Doll Baby Baptism: Use to baptize doll babies by sprinkling on the doll’s head.
- Laundry rinse: Add a quarter cup to your laundry rinse water to both cleanse and bless your clothes.
- Scrying jar: Pour 1/2 Florida Water into a jar half filled with river water and use for divination.
- Pendulum rinse: Use to rinse pendulums after readings to clear and prepare them for subsequent readings.
- Bless animal companions: Anoint your furry friend’s foreheads with just a dab to bless them.
- St. Francis blessing: Take it a step further by rinsing a St. Francis medal with Florida Water and add the medal to your pet’s collar or hang from an aquarium or bird cage for protection and good health.