Bathing in Haiti has more to do with cleansing the soul than just washing off the daily dust and grime of life. Baths are considered powerful magic, capable of changing your thoughts, your energy signature, your very being. During my training, it was taught to me that as a Manbo I would be required to know the many bathes of Vodou - the leaves and herbs that go into them, the waters and scents that mix them, and their many uses. It's a life time of study, but fortunately, as trained aromatherapist, I had a slight leg up on the job!
We use only the freshest material available for our bathes - we grow most of our own herbs, and work with certified organic growers for the rest. Our spices are purchased fresh, our resins are hand ground. We make every effort to ensure you get the freshest bathes available. That way, the vital energies of the plants is there, ready to go to work on your limbic system and help facilitate the change you are looking for.
Non-initiates frequently request baths from Houngans, Manbos, medsen fey ("leaf doctor"), based on the particular need of the person. There are baths for luck, love and money. There are purification baths to cleanse the soul and prepare for special work. Purification baths are taken by Houngans and Manbos before conducting important ceremonies.
The word for bath in Haitian Kreyol is "ben", from the French "bain". I learned how to do many bathes while in Haiti, and added them to the long list of ones I already knew. There is a bath for luck that is good for someone heading down to the Casinos. It's called a "ben chans". Translated, it means luck bath. There are "ben fey" or leaf baths for all kinds of ailments and complaints; "ben lezanj", literally angel bath for a special blessing on newborns; "ben pou renmen", our most popular one, a bath for love; "ben ame", bitter bath, to repel evil entities; and many, many others.
Depending on what the bath was for, you may be required to leave the materials on your person for a period of time - typically anywhere from an hour to one day up to three days, depending on the severity of the problem and how it was addressed. By materials, we mean the leaves and spices, perfumes and waters of the bath itself. This is not always a bad thing - but it can be an odiferous experience!
If you wish to take the bath alone, prepackaged baths are listed below for you to use in the privacy of your home. Each 8 oz. package comes with explicit directions on how to prepare it, prayers to the Lwa who is the pwen (point) of the bath and directions for setting up the bath ritually. A Fey Lave here at Sosyete de Marche is also available as well. For a more concise mixture for problems that might not fit into the categories below, please contact Manbo Vye Zo and and talk about what your are looking for with her