Sometimes I look at the herbal formulations I have used or created in the past, and note how so many of them are multipurpose. Without a specific header or description, the formulation could be for a herbal tea, a spell, for using in a charm or even as a loose incense. For me, that is part of the magic of herbalism and spellcraft! Mama Earth provides for us in so many ways, and any particular herb or plant can be food, medicine and/or magick!
Today I’m preparing a love charm for Valentine’s Day, inspired by the power of Aphrodite, goddess of love, lust, and sensuality. I first saw this particular charm in Shekhinah Mountainwater’s classic book Ariadne’s Thread: a Workbook of Goddess Magic, changing it up from year to year. Typically I look back to some of my favourite herbal formulations (and their correspondences) to decide what to use in the current year’s charm… and often make a “love tea” to go along with it!
This year, I’m debating on whether to go with a classic red cloth or use a swatch of hot pink for the charm! Our new kitten Mouse seems to have an opinion on that!
Mountainwater gives very simple instructions for the love charm (per p. 328 of her book):
- fill a five-inch circle of red fabric with fresh herbs
- add a handwritten love request on parchment, folded into a triangle
- she suggests “Aphrodite of the sea, send my true love unto me” but you can also craft your own request
- tie with a scarlet thread, long enough to wear as a necklace or pendant
- bless the charm over incense or your favourite saining (Scottish Gaelic for “smudging”) herbs
- hold the charm aloft, calling on Aphrodite to empower your love request and hold your vision within the charm
- complete by holding the charm to your heart, to infuse it with your vision
She suggests fresh herbs such as such as lavender, mint, thyme, and rose petals for the charm, but there are many “love herbs” from which you can choose (both fresh and dried) such as:
- Basil, Ocimum basilicum, and/or Holy Basil (aka Tulsi), Ocimum sp., for love
- Cinnamon, Cinnamomum burmanni, for sparking love, bringing the heat of sexuality and passion
- Damiana, Turnera diffusa, for love, lust, and sensuality
- Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, for male sexuality and potency and Red Ginseng Panax ginseng, for female sexuality and libido
- Ginger, Zingiber officinale, for a spicy spark of heat, passion… and adventure
- Hawthorn berries, Crataegus monogyna, for heart
- Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis or Hibiscus sabdariffa, to attract love and lust
- Juniper berries, Juniperus communis, for male sexual potency
- Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, for love and attracting a partner
- Lemon peel, Citron x limon, to evoke longing and love
- Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza glabra, for love and lust, and to attract a lover
- Peppermint, Mentha piperita, to boost love
- Red Clover, Trifolium pratense, full of phytoestrogens for improving female libido
- Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, for love and lust
- Spearmint, Mentha spicata, for love and for enhancing your spell
- Vanilla, Vanilla planifolia; the flowers are said to be an aphrodisiac (perfect for the charm). You can add a drop or two of vanilla essence to a herbal tea or to baked goods, or add some chopped vanilla bean to your charm.
And let’s not forget the traditional aphrodisiac combination of strawberry and chocolate! Perhaps add a few cacao nibs to your charm or tea, or dip fresh strawberries in melted chocolate as a treat to have with your love tea.
If using these herbs for the love charm, choose three or more herbs based on what you want to attract in the charm, or simply letting your intuition guide you. The practical side of me also suggests choosing from what you may have on hand!
If making a tea, you can use the same formula as the charm, or once again let both your intuition and your taste buds guide you.
A basic love tea recipe
Start with equal parts (a teaspoon or tablespoon is a good amount when creating a new formulation) of rose petals, damiana, hibiscus and a pinch of fresh or dried mint such as peppermint or spearmint.
Add a few dried berries (juniper, rose hips, or hawthorn).
Throw all ingredients into a jar, tighten the lid, and then give a good shake to blend. Add anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of your blend to a cup or tea strainer.
Top with boiled water, and infuse for roughly five minutes.
TIP: I typically use a tea strainer of some sort to hold the tea blend (so much easier to drain) before I pour over the water, and top with a saucer while infusing to prevent those spicy aromatics from escaping.
If you like the blend you’ve created, note the amounts in your Book of Shadows or herbal journal. And do experiment with the taste… perhaps a little more mint or hibiscus, a few more (or less) berries.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Caution: Do remember that herbs can have a powerful effect on your system, and some may interfere with prescription medications or impact pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy) that you might have. Be sure to research any herb or plant before consuming, to ensure there are no contra-indications for your health.