Spiritual Bathing: Healing Rituals and Traditions from Around the World

By Rosita Arvigo and Nadine Epstein (Celestial Arts, $24.95)

Just as thumbing through a cookbook will almost certainly make you hungry, leafing through this beautifully illustrated book will create a sudden urge to submerge yourself in a hot, soothing bath. Yield to the power of suggestion! Cleansing, both spiritual and physical, has deep roots in human history, from the Jewish mikvah to Druidic water rites, Asian communal baths and Mayan steam baths. This book covers a wide sampling of bathing rituals, providing historical and cultural explanations along with recipes  for performing similar rituals today. Interspersed are essays about the authors’ personal experiences with baths and bathing among different cultures. The authors write intelligently and sensitively about all cultures, but their hearts seem most deeply connected to the ancient rites of Central America, where Arviga, a traditional healer and herbalist, lives and works.‚ ‚ ‚ 

Leslie Gilbert Elman


January/February 2004

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