Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A is for Aphrodisiacs

I'm going to do the Pagan Alphabet thingy because it'll get me back in the swing and also because what's happening in magic and witchery right now is that some stuff is settling in after some fast growth. I'm not quite sure what all I'm allowed to talk about, so I'm keeping my mouth shut.

I don't put much stock in the wonder working, lust inciting powers of oysters or sushi unless they're being served on a naked human platter. I do believe that adding textural and sensory varieties that please the tongue and the senses can heighten a romantic evening and draw the mind to other pleasures. Kitchen witchery can be very fun to play with, and I've had good success with enchanting dinner to get what I want afterwards. A certain orange and spice cake comes to mind... If you're interested in pursuing those routes and ramping them up magically, might I suggest Miller's excellent book, The Magical and Ritual Use of Aphrodisiacs.

Ritual is one of the key elements of seductive workings, particularly when what you're doing is part of keeping a long-term relationship steamy. There's huge power, psychological, psychic, and magic, in orchestrating events, actions, and sensory cues. It builds pathways you can tap into, both in the brain and in energy flow. I think rituals of desire and seduction are where it's at. Humans are easy to train and condition if it's done thoughtfully and consistently. We do it all the time in friendships, romantic relationships, partnerships, families. There are rewards for doing what people want you to do and consequences for stuff like not doing your chores. We form strong associations around sensory input, particularly when the result is an extreme (pleasure, suffering, anger, joy).

If you devise a ritual wherein you bathe with specific products or put on a certain perfume, meditate and get your intentions and energy all lined up and thrumming around you, then do the initiation on seducing your partner, you've built a powerful chain. Maybe it's a piece of clothing or jewelry. With action or scent or sensory ritual, you're conditioning yourself toward a certain head space and conditioning your partner toward associating a specific scent with feeling desired and sexy, then you reward the both of you with pleasure. It should go without saying that one would enchant or even ritually make from scratch the specific scent or products used in this.

Associating a sensory cue with behavior works really well. It's how working and service dogs are trained to separate work time from normal dog life. A different collar or harness or dog clothes conditions the animals to have a unique set of behaviors, tasks, and commands that go with wearing the thing. We do it with work: professional attire and grooming puts people in a different mindset and they behave differently.

I like that there are psychological reasons that back up and reinforce the magic in this method. From experiments with candles and other quick and dirty methods, I find that they don't go as planned because everyone's head isn't in the game when the thing is launched. If I'm horny and snuggly and my partner is frustrated and stressed out, the lust spell candle isn't going to give one or both of us what we're after, even if it does lead to an encounter. Conditioning plus magic allows you to set the pace and do a slow burn thing if you want. You can pounce your partner or you can do it as part of date night prep for one of those nights where you can hardly wait to get home.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Experiments

We've been busy here with the last flurry of camping and weekend-long outdoor events that happen before it's too hot for us to do them without being absolutely miserable at best and sick with heat exhaustion at worst. It's over 95°F here already, which means I'm harvesting the herbs better suited to cooler climes, like lemon balm, cilantro/coriander, and something that I think is last year's miserably failed rue coming back victoriously. Mint and the Mexican variety of oregano just throw a middle finger up each and power on through the heat and horrid soil.

It may be far too hot to be trying this, but I'm doing a maceration experiment. A friend gave me deer antlers that have been collecting dust (and being gnawed by squirrels) in his garage. They were cleaned badly and still have bits of skin and fur attached to the skull caps. It's too stuck to pull off, so I'm going to see if I can't soften it up enough to take the tissues off before I peroxide them. It's the first time I've tried to remove remaining old tissue from anything, so I'm hoping I don't ruin them. I guess worst case, I can turn them into buttons for Medieval reenactment clothing.

Unexpected gifts and treasures, like this batch of antlers, are something that delights me for weeks and often months after the thing is in my possession. Just a few weeks ago, my guy and I were out shopping for Mother's Day gifts, and he happened upon some very nice stag's head stirrup cups that had been marked down hugely. I've been wanting stag's head altar stuff for ages, and what I find is always really expensive - even when it's on clearance at the discount store. Ice buckets and footed presentation bowls with great handles made of the horned heads cast in pewter would be lovely, but I'm not paying $160 for them at this point in my life. So when I've been secretly longing for stag things, most specifically for a stag stirrup cup, it makes me feel well-loved by the spirits and gods.

If you're not familiar with them, stirrup cups are small cups, often decorated with animal's heads, that were used to serve departing guests a small drink of sherry or port right before they were off - as in when they were already with their feet in the stirrups. It's a Scottish thing that turned into a fox hunting thing, and is now largely a posh royalty thing. Rather fitting since I work with Cernnunos. We'll see how he likes it since he's the one I make mead for. Proper he should have his own special vessel for it. I really wish I had bought more, so that there was a set. Oh well. Here's a pair similar to mine (only sterling and antique and MUCH nicer) that just went for auction at Christie's for almost $3700. Click the link if you haven't recently lusted after the historical wonders available to the highest bidder - like historical manuscripts. And furniture. And private islands.