I once watched a Q’ero shaman from Peru spit (he did it artfully- creating a fine non-splittly mist!) a bitter-tasting liquid into the air as a blessing and an offering to the spirits. The experience made me extremely curious. I joked with a friend after that first encounter with Agua de Florida about how much I loved it and called it “shaman sauce”.
Agua de Florida (Spanish translation: “Water of the Flowers”) is a concoction of grain alcohol blended with scents of orange flower blossom, clove, cinnamon, rose and bergamot. The origins of this sacred cologne are cloaked in mystery, but it likely began as a homebrew that Murray and Lanman Co. adapted and introduced commercially in 1808.
Years after being blessed by this strange potion, I left my medical practice, and with the support of my helping spirits, began to practice shamanic healing and offer the beauty of this spiritual healing work to others. I often used Agua De Florida when I opened a sacred circle, lovingly applying a bit of the liquid into the open hands of each participant- a practice I had learned from my teachers.
Years later, I met the spirit of Agua De Florida in an intimate way. In shamanic practice, everything that IS has a spirit. I was in Peru on a plant medicine retreat. One of my intentions was to be of service. The night before our ceremonies began, one of my fellow travelers got very ill and her roommates came to me after midnight to see if I could help. As I sat up in my tent and listened, I had a single intuitive thought: “Bring the Agua de Florida to her”. As a physician, lots of things were running through my head because we were a good two hours from any medical facilities. I grabbed my trusty bottle and we headed towards my friend and I began to call upon my helping spirits.
As I entered the bathroom where she’d already been suffering for hours violently purging, I embraced my friend and she began to sob. I asked if it would be ok to put some Agua De Florida on her and she said yes. I filled my palm with a good puddle and spread it between my hands and began to stroke her naked back lightly with it. As the alcohol evaporated and cooled her skin, the beautiful aroma filled the air. In time, I sensed the energy in the room shift. It was as if a wee gust of peace had blown in. After a little while, with help, my friend was able to get back into bed and rest and next day she felt much better. She recovered fully in time for the first ceremony. I was grateful for the help of Agua de Florida.
In that first San Pedro (Huachuma) ceremony that we did with our shaman in Peru, I was surprised and blessed to encounter directly the spirit of Agua De Florida. She appeared to me as a group of animated, feminine bottles of the liquid. They had long eyelashes and sweet mothering qualities and showed me how much they like to help us by opening our hearts. I realized, more deeply, all the ways that this medicine had been helping me all along.
I like to think that we are ALL “a little bit shaman” and can serve our family, our partners, our beloved animals and our community with our healing presence. Maybe you would like to get a little magical, loving and compassionate assistance with your work from Agua de Florida?
Perhaps you’d like to encounter her divine spirit directly too? I highly recommend a shamanic journey to her. You can learn how to do that here. Blessings and enjoy!!
Remember: YOU are the medicine! The way you feel most inspired to work with this beautiful essence will be the most powerful! The spirit of Agua De Florida (you can purchase here) can be a beautiful partner to help you bring ease, peace and well being to the people, animals and spaces you touch!
P.S. Maybe you feel inspired to create your own beautiful Agua de Florida? Here’s are some beautiful recipes to use.