Valentine’s Day approaches, and I’ve heard the dismissive excuses a few times already: But isn’t that just a “hallmark” holiday? Hallmark makes Christmas cards, too, but I rarely hear folks bitchin’ about that as if a marketable product should put us off of our fun celebrations.
Or how about this one: I don’t “do” Valentine’s day because love should be celebrated everyday. I agree, but then again, death happens every day, too, yet I make a point of honoring death as a concept on Samhain.
The Wheel of the Year system gives sacred space for all parts of the cycle in due time, and seeks balance between them. I think that after Imbolc tides shift just past 15 degrees Aquarius and begin to wane onward towards Ostara, it is a GREAT time to celebrate romance and love of all flavors.
In the mythic poetry I enjoy at the Imbolc time of year, we welcome back the Goddess, renewed again as the young maiden, rising from the slumber of the previous turning like the slender shoots of crocus flower, peeking through the snows. The God is welcomed back as the Lad, a wild young buck, or the tiny buds on the limbs. I envision them both like teenagers, full of innocence and daring, with the plucky stealing of kisses, and the hot flush of their cheeks; they are the thrill of promise.
I feel this connection to Their power whenever I do something romantic, or my sweetheart does something romantic for me. That being said, romance is only one expression of love to enjoy. “Singles Awareness Day” jabs are another way folks rain on my parade. PISH, I say! Oh ye of little imagination! If you waste a good Valentine’s day whining about what you don’t have, rather than celebrating all that is possible, well…that’s not very effective Witchcraft.
Here is what I’ve learned about Divine Love so far:
The only heart prepared to receive love is the heart already opened from the giving of love.
Making the effort to openly give and receive love of all kinds, will set your vibes a’hummin’. If you want to be a “heart-throb,” you have to start with your own heart, Law of Attraction, and all that. May I suggest that rather than being a Grinch and grumping about this time of year, that you let your heart grow a few sizes and get into the spirit of the season with your friends and family?
A few years ago I pledged my service to Aphrodite, Goddess of love and beauty, and occasionally I catch a whiff of this “oh-witchier-than-thou” attitude (mostly on reddit comments) as if she is some sort of light-weight Goddess. As her priestess, I gotta say that if we witches are gonna spend the summer raising our glasses to mother goddesses in all her fertile, pendulous magnificence, and all autumn appealing to the guidance of crone goddesses and all her dark, creepy mystical-ness, then we owe the maiden goddesses their self-indulgent, sweet, juicy due come springtime. What better day to work these tides than Valentine’s Day, when every where you turn is heart-clad, chocolate-coated, lovey-dovey glory?
Now, I realize that Valentine’s Day has very little “ancient pagan” heritage, and that the St. Valentine’s mythos is a gruesome execution story within the Christian heritage, that is mostly “malarkey,” to quote Jason at Raise the Horns. I care much less about the backstory from lands and peoples far, far away, or even the stories of the gods from long, long ago, but as a modern priestess of Aphrodite as she is NOW, I can tell you that she still has a living, current and unfolding story, and that there are energetic tides that I can feel and tap right here, right now, where I live. THIS is HER time.
Ever heard of an egregore? This is the occult concept that describes the well of power amassed behind a symbol or idea, that is fed by groups of people over time. Thanks to greeting card companies, chocolate makers and florists everywhere, this American culture provides you a very handy egregore…so tap that cask and get drunk on the ecstasy of Divine love AT LEAST once a year. If you can find a dance partner **wink wink** to help in this…er…tapping…more power to ya!
“…you shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.” “Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” ~Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente
At it’s heart, Modern Witchcraft remains a fertility religion. <see what I did there? heart…> Yes, we affirm the necessity and sacredness of sex, and not just for procreation, and not just among heterosexuals. We are encouraged to ENJOY it. Sensuality and union are a Divine expression of that ecstasy of Spirit within the flesh. Please, go forth and get some, but for all the Gods’ sake’s, be good at it (and responsible, harming none.)
For those of you rolling your eyes at the campy-sweet pink hearts and cupids plastered all over the local mega-store; I get that. I don’t think it matters much to my Lady Aphrodite how goth-ly blood red you like your wine, how dark you like your chocolate, or how kinky you like…ahem…to dance, there are many flavors of sensuality to be explored. Plus, if darkness is your pleasure, I have this working theory about the Wheel of the Year that distills the “antidote” for one sabbat from the “poison” of the sabbat on the opposite side of the wheel. Every light casts a shadow; shadows do not exist without the light.
Imbolc ~ Lammas Balance
Imbolc and Lammas hang in this balance on opposite sides of the Wheel of the Year. I think it is just as important to honor the squishy, innocent “naive pledge everything for love” side of the polarity during the Imbolc season. Just as it was important to honor the stark, heartbreaking, “maturely sacrifice everything for love” polarity at Lammas. From this tension the genre of Gothic romance was born. No matter how you celebrate, or not, I don’t recommend mocking or discounting the Love Goddesses, because they can kick some booty, too. Sometimes they love us with a kiss, other times a spanking. mmmhmmm <winks>
Love Spell to Attract your Ideal Paramour
As a special Valentine’s Day treat for you, my lovelies, I offer this “Ideal Paramour” Love spell of my own creation, and for kicks, I’ll include my own charm that I once used to spectacular effect. I’ve led many love-spell workshops over the years, and these can be loads of fun to do in a group, so crack open a bottle of vino, and git yer witch on with your friends! Better it be when the moon is full…
This working is most effectively done when the moon is waxing toward full, and on a Friday, the day of Venus.
Set your Altar
Buy for yourself a lovely rose. Set it in a vase on your altar or working space. Allow the aroma to fill you. Offer this as a gift to Aphrodite/Venus, and ask her presence. Rose incense can also be a nice touch for this working. Emeralds, carnelians, garnets, and rose quartz are my favorite stones to amplify the work. If you have them, add them. Decorate your altar in as romantic or sexy a way as suits your imagination.
Candles and Oils and Herbs, Oh my!
Prepare two pink taper or chime candles. If you can get your hands on figure candles by gender, all the better; one to represent you, and another to represent your ideal lover. Inscribe your name and a heart symbols on your candle. Inscribe the other candle with hearts and sigils of Venus.
DO NOT USE A NAME! I don’t care how much you think you want someone specific, that is a violation of their free-will, and for all you know their last lover is now buried in their basement. Crazy people + Command Magick = Obsession. No bueno. Let Divine Guidance recommend the lover that is for your highest good.
Anoint the candles in oil starting at the head, or wick, and pulling the oil down toward you to the base. Use a blend of olive or sweet almond oil and a drop or two of essential oils that correspond to Venus, Mars, and/or the Sun, love and sexual potency, then coat the candle in a dusting of dry herbs. There are so many to choose from, and I’m a firm believer of using what you have on hand: Rose, jasmine, or lavender flowers, or vanilla, patchouli or orris root, but my favorite is cinnamon powder. It really spices things up!
Really massage all the oils and herbs into inscriptions on the candles and remember that magick, like sex, is better when you get a little dirty. 😉
Bind the two candles together with red ribbon or thread. Red is for the passion that will spark as attraction between you.
Write a Love Letter
Now, find some beautiful valentine’s stationary and in your own handwriting, on one side of the paper, write yourself a love letter:
How do I love thee, let me count the ways…
Write this from the point of view of the lover of your dreams. Name all the things they will love about you, what aspects of who you are they will admire and find sexy, and how much they appreciate you on all levels. Basically, I want you to tell yourself exactly how and why you are so amazing. Don’t be humble or shy; you should know why you are awesome, now spell it out.
The ideal lover who is correct for me at this time, for my highest good, harming none.
On the other side of the paper, write a valentine to your ideal lover:
Dear Lover of my dreams,
The things I admire about you most are….
Name everything you are looking for as if they are already found and in love with you in return.
Why do you love them?
What qualities do they possess?
In what ways are they supportive of your needs?
What sort of character do they have?
What interests, ideals and aspirations do you share?
I need you to dig deep, and find the passion and affection that you are ready to share with this person, and pour all that longing through the pen, flowing out with the ink like your own heart’s blood.
Your ideal lover, Me.
Charge the Candles
Now, stand in front of a mirror. I keep an heirloom silver hand-mirror in my altar tools, which is very romantic, but any mirror will do. Empower the candles, imagining yourself like a tree, find your roots that flow down into the earth and draw up the powers of Earth, Water and Goddess by breathing them up, until they flow through you, to the crown of your head. Find your branches that flow outward into the Air, Fire of the Sun, and God, and breath them down, until they flow through you to your roots. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, seeing the energy cycle up and down through the trunk of your tree, goddess and god, anima and animus, yin and yang, always swirling like a vortex at your own heart. Now, Will that love of The Two Who Move As One, that is focused in your heart, to turn to the color pink, flowing down your arms, through your hands.
Hold the bound candles, infuse them with this love. Look at yourself in the mirror and read your love letter to yourself out loud, at least three times, but as many times as it takes for you to truly believe. Now, read the other love letter to your lover’s candle, until both are filled with the emotion of your petition. Visualize you both happy, satisfied and wrapped in embrace.
Now, burning bound candles can be tricky, so I like to keep a fire-safe dish with a few inches of sand on my altar. I set the bound candles firmly in the sand. I then can add more of the herbs onto the sand, and add any stones or fetishes I’d like to use, along with a copper penny, as copper is a metal of Venus and is very “attractive.” I set this dish on top of my love letter, and with a final, “As I will, it is so. SO MOTE IT BE!” …I light them both.
Pampering and Preparing
As they burn, hold the space in silent contemplation. You might listen to your favorite love songs, drink a glass of wine, eat some delicious chocolate, meditate, pray, journal about the working. Perhaps you paint your toenails, wax, dye, or preen something, or do yoga or push-ups; Do whatever it is you do when you are pampering yourself before a hot date. You need to get ready, dontcha know. Love is on the way and you should probably stretch! Believe it, and release the working to the Universe, keeping silent until the result is manifested.
Get out there!
Now get out there and make yourself available to possibility!
As promised, here is my spell charm that worked FAST! Like, speedy-delivery-in-less-than-two-days, fast, and brought me the rock star of my dreams, to boot. Results may vary, as they say, but just like it says in the Wiccan Rede, “To bind ye spell every time, let ye spell be spake in rhyme.”
Ideal Paramour Charm by Heron Michelle
HAIL Aphrodite, of sensuous pleasure,
who restores my heart in full measure.
I give myself in reverent mirth,
hands, hips, and lips in holy rebirth.
Each little death, sweet sacrifice,
I am your willing acolyte.
As worship, let there be romance,
deep longing met in sacred dance,
to sing in divine duet once more,
I call forth the ideal paramour.
In perfect trust, in perfect love,
No harm to cause, to all involved,
I call the highest good for me,
As I do will, SO MOTE IT BE.
Happy Valentine’s Day!