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Everything You Need To Know About Florida Water

Florida Water is the spiritual girl's version of Beyonce carrying hot sauce in her bag.

Wellness

All things woo-woo (a term I'm choosing to use endearingly) have become far more trendy this past year or two. I mean, Astrology has always been popular as I've mentioned before but we're seeing people get more into all things spiritual, whether they're aware of its roots or not -- from wrapped crystals to smudging of sacred spaces (i.e. your home). I've never been one to gate-keep trends and have always found it weird that we get so protective over trends that, in my opinion, are on the healthier side of the way pop culture ebbs and flows to encompass new things.


However, as someone who is fascinated by the world of altars, Astrology, and much more, I have come to understand the need to be a bit protective of it. It's that saying "with great power comes great responsibility," and I think with spirituality trending the way it is it's important to understand that. Tapping into the power of your ancestors, reading tarot, purchasing sage and many more potentially interesting practices related to the occult, they require care and due diligence, in addition to intention. I don't know much, so this isn't my soapbox to hop up on but I do know enough to know if you want to maintain an altar, crystals, or good energy in your home -- the foundation is cleansing. Another method of cleansing energies from your home is through the use of Florida Water, which you can use alone or double up with incense or a smudge stick (not necessarily sage).

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Florida Water is the spiritual girl's version of Beyonce carrying hot sauce in her bag. In fact, Solange was once spotted with the staple in her bag. So there's that. But what is Florida Water?

I don't know nor do I ask questions (well, I do, otherwise we wouldn't be here. But you feel me), so I chatted with Atlanta-based, Intuitive Healer and owner of Cryptic Mystic, Tierra Johnson to get the 411 on Florida Water -- the latest and most necessary tool to keep in your little bag of tricks.

What Is Florida Water?

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Though the aesthetic and usage is similar, Florida Water and Holy Water are not one in the same. Johnson understands it to be distinguishable by the purpose and the demographic behind it in that "Holy water is used in religious practices, while Florida Water is used mainly in spiritual practice."

Believe it or not, Florida Water wasn't always toted around to clear the bad juju and off-putting energies. Johnson gives us the quick and dirty origin of the holy-water adjacent product. When the product was "first introduced in 1808 by Lanman & Kemp, it was originally used as an astringent, foot soak, and after-shave. It is said to have gotten its name because of its tropical-looking packaging and citrus scent."

It was somewhere in between its societal debut and present-day, "people began to recognize its metaphysical properties, and it became used as a spiritual cologne in ceremonies and sacred rituals."

What Is Florida Water Used For & How To Use It

Because Florida Water is a liquid, it may be unclear how you would use it or how much! The Cryptic Mystic owner says, "Think of Florida Water as liquid Sage, or Palo Santo in liquid form. It has very similar cleansing and clearing effects as popular smudge sticks, without the smoke." She continued:

"Florida Water is a multipurpose spiritual cologne that can be added to your mop water to clean the floors in your home; you can add a few drops to your bath water to cleanse your aura; it can be added to a load of laundry; and [you can] even use [it] on the go."

And she adds that it can be used as often as you feel the need or simply desire to use it. However, as far as the measurement goes for each use, please understand that "a little Florida water goes a long way." What you decide to do is totally up to you, but you've been warned! Start with a droplet or two and build up from there.

As I've mentioned before, the scent of the water has been love at first sniff since day one for me and so I'm definitely more on the side of someone who douses my apartment in it. Or, my fave, is putting it in a pot with sticks of cinnamon and citrus slices to create a more amplified diffuser effect. As an intuitive healer, Johnson notes her favorite way to use Florida Water is "for intention-setting before I do any spiritual work."

She further expounded by saying she sprays Florida Water into the air as a means to cleanse her space. She also places a few drops onto her hands before doing divination work like pulling Oracle cards, for example. Nevertheless, the healer emphasizes Florida Water as a necessary staple for any person looking to tap more into their spirituality and spiritual practice:

"Florida Water is a staple that I feel like every spiritual person should have on them, in their purse, in their car, etc. It's especially useful when traveling and staying at a hotel or Airbnb, where smoke is generally not allowed. So, when you can't burn your Sage or Palo Santo, pour some Florida water into a portable spray bottle and dilute it with distilled or spring water."

Can You Make Your Own Florida Water?

Being the DIY Queen that I am, I had to ask for those of us who dare to whip up a batch of homemade Florida Water on our own. In the past, I might've thought that was perhaps doing the most, but in the age of 2021, where we've adopted pandemic hobbies to keep us afloat, I've already tried my hand at making Rose Water, and can't say for certain that I wouldn't entertain the idea of making my own Florida Water -- a fragrance I've come to crave in my home.

Nevertheless, it's totally doable! Though Johnson doesn't make her own and most others do not, professional or otherwise, she recommends taking to YouTube if you feel strongly about whipping up homemade Florida Water. But cautions us "to use your own discernment when following someone else's instructions."

In terms of following someone's DIY Florida Water tutorial, what works for someone else might not work for you. Be mindful of how you respond to certain essential oils and ingredients. Additionally, much like anything else in spiritual practice: "Your intention and purpose for making your own version of Florida Water is very important."

Is There A Florida Water Alternative Used In Spiritual Practices?

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Though Florida Water has been the most popularized product, Johnson offers the following alternatives for Florida Water:

  • 1800 (not the tequila)
  • Tobacco Water
  • Sandalwood Water
  • Rose Water
  • Kananga Water
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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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