This year it is my commitment to honour the 12 Olympian Deities, one each month, by exploring their mythologies, setting a special month-long altar space, and inviting their guidance through ritual. I am a Hekatean Witch, not Hellenic, so this is ‘light touch’ contact to help me understand and explore the Greek mythological context of Hekate.
During January, I honoured Hephaestus, God of the forge, also portrayed as the only Olympian God to be ‘ugly’, as well as physically disabled. As a disabled Witch I chose to explore this aspect, as well as examining my beliefs about the things I consider to be ‘ugly’ both within myself and externally. I also learned a bit of pyrography to create some fire based art in honour of Hepheastus.
During my time with Aphrodite, my goal was to examine how I relate to love of myself and others. Aphrodite was said to be the wife of Hepheastus, and I am reminded that beauty bears and inextricable relationship to ugliness, as light bears and inextricable relationship to dark. One cannot exist without the other, and both are somewhat relative and subjective.
I am someone who is very happy in my own company. Perhaps a bit too much so. This wasn’t always the case. As a child I was a solitary soul- I could spend days or hours in my own head, in my room or wandering the local streets, riversides and disused railways of the town I grew up in. I loved to read and to draw, my inner world was rich, well populated and I never really felt as comfortable around friends as I did alone. Somewhere along the way, I lost this self sufficiency and fell to the other extreme. If I was not working, I was socialising, if not socialising, I was filling every moment of time with a desperate kind of distraction. Alcohol, social media, endless text conversations. I know now I was running from myself, and it worked for some years, albeit at the ultimate cost of my mental and physical health.
It took a lot of work, pain and missteps to regain my inner world and the pleasure of my own company. But now I have, I know it is important I seek balance. Now I am happy being alone, I tend towards preferring it, and social connections (in small doses) energise me, bring useful new viewpoints to my thinking, and balance my introvert/extrovert duality. Furthermore, as I continue to work on financial independence around my chronic illness through my creative business, social connections are important for skill sharing, networking and spotting opportunities. I also find that now I am a sober witch, my socialising takes a lot more energy, I cannot rely on the help of alcohol to boost my mood and confidence. It has to come from me, and at times this is hard work, especially as drinking was one way I used to manage the pain and fatigue I experience on a daily basis.
For these reasons, a lot of my work with Aphrodite has been around building my social self confidence so I can attend more new things, and meet more new people. By fortunate coincidence (if there is such thing when calling on the aid of the gods) I spotted a perfect valentines event I could attend with my partner. Termed an ‘anti-valentines’ event, The Foragers Inn we holding an event for singles in which the head forager would show us some medieval herbal magic in the form of wild plant aphrodisiac potion making. The event was also open to non singles and as myself and my partner are fairly open in terms of monogamy we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate valentines and meet new people. The event was a massive success, I learned about medieval parsnip related fertility practices, the folklore of mugwort and bridewort, and got to take away a little vial of herbal love potion (which I immediately drank). I cannot report on the effectiveness of the many herbal ‘aphrodisiacs’ we tried, as exhausted from all the socialising myself and my partner instantly fell asleep when we got home, but I did meet some cool and interesting people possibly have found a new favourite place to eat (their menu is based on wild and foraged food and it is pretty amazing). It also helped me with furthering my self-education on local and wild plants and herbs, which is something Hekate is nudging me ever towards. She is after all the teacher of witches and herbal magic, which was considered to be so so powerful that it was taboo among the gods, is her medium.
However, I am sure that my adventures in Pharmakeia are not what you are here for. The full moon is in its fullest illumination tonight, the last full moon of winter, on the month of valentines. If you so choose, it would be a perfect time for some passion magic.
So here I offer a template for a passion, love or friendship drawing rite calling on Aphrodite, Persephone and Hekate. Please feel free to alter it to suit your needs. You may chose to eliminate the red candle and changing the wording if working for friendship but I like to thing good friendships are often built on shared passions or passionate caring for each other. I wouldn’t eliminate the pink candle if working for lust because self love and mutual high regard are important even in hook ups.
- An altar space set up to promote love or passion- think reds, pinks, seashells, rose quartz, flowers, rose petals, pretty ribbons and beads.
- A white, red and pink candle
- Some incense- amber, rose, ylang ylang, or any love drawing, floral or lunar incense
- Some salt
- some water with a lot of salt in it (or sea brine if you can get it)
- Some candle anointing oil, again, rose, ylang ylang, love blends etc all work
- Optional: Silver and gold birthday candles arranged into a heart shape.
I would advise dressing in a way that makes you feel attractive if doing this for love or lust, or in a way that you would to go to a party or social gathering if for friendship. Naked would also be a good choice if you value honesty in relationships or friendships and seek to be accepted ‘as you are’.
To open say:
‘By Hekate my Red Queen
By Persephone who loves the dark and light
By Aphrodite of the wave’
Continue this chant while lighting the red candle and dripping it over the white, then the pink candle and dripping it over the white until you are happy with the effect.
‘By the yellow moon above which drips gold and silver’ (light the gold and silver candles if using them)
‘Over the earth‘ (sprinkle salt over the white candle)
‘By the breeze of the spring‘ (light the incense and run the candle through the smoke)
‘By the flowing, fertile waters‘ (sprinkle the candle with brine/salt water)
At this point, anoint the candle with your oil, and charge it however you usually would chanting:
‘My passion a dancing flame,
My ecstasy the restless tides,
My smile the promise of the caressing breeze
My body the fertile earth’
You may wish to alter this chant to suit your intention. This is also a good time to get specific for example ‘I attract friends who are right for me and expand my horizons’ or ‘I draw attract healthy relationships’ or ‘I find fun dates easily’.
‘By the fires of passion’ (light the candle)
You can now do whatever you do to raise energy and release. If this spell is aimed towards physical relationships and you do solo sex magic, this would work here! Useful visualisations are the full moon dripping gold and silver over you, the waves around your feet, red or pink light around you, visions of yourself at your most beautiful etc.
When ready, close by saying:
‘By Hekate, my Red Queen,
By Persephone, dark and bright maiden
By Aphrodite, beauteous Goddess born of foam,
Hail and Farewell’
If you try it out, let me know how it goes!
Next month, the wheel turns to March and I turn my attention to Ares, the lover of Aphrodite but a very different kind of deity. I hope to use this connection to support my beginning lessons in Tai Chi, which is a self defense art at its heart, and to set energies in motion for some potential personal battles I have on the horizon.