Back in the days when I co-owned an herb shop at a renaissance faire, a great many of our sales would be used as components of amulets, talismans, potions, charms, and spells. More often than not, they were used to draw love to the one purchasing the herbs. The only other purpose that even came close was the drawing of money or success.
As little children, we learn to pull the petals from daisies to learn if “he loves me, he loves me not.” Twisting an apple stem while reciting the alphabet tells the first letter of the future spouse’s name. On and on—so many ways to learn of that one true love. And let’s not forget that this is a leap year. According to tradition, women proposing to their chosen mates are not considered to be unduly forward during this window of time. In Scotland, tradition held that a red flannel petticoat was to be worn visibly beneath the dress during the proposal, lest the intended felt inclined to reject the proposal… without the petticoat, rejection was permissible.
Many wish to learn of their lover, draw someone back to them, or feel more secure in the relationship they already have. In a sense, all potions, charms, and spells are a means of visualization—helping a person to focus on that which they truly desire. Personally, I find that the best way to find true love is to give up completely, decide it would be a pain in the…uh…neck, and avoid it at all costs. It will then, undoubtedly, sneak up and take me by surprise.
Talismans are often made to bring love. An easy way to remember the talisman/amulet quandary is that talisman starts with a “t” as does “toward.” Amulet starts with an “a”, as does “away”—thus amulets keep things away. A very simple love talisman is made by stringing rosehips into a necklace and wearing it about the neck. A more precise talisman might go something like this: start with a square of cloth—red for love. After considering what characteristics would be desired, find herbs (and other objects) that will represent and correspond to those traits. Someone down to earth? Add a pinch of patchouli. Spicy lover? Cayenne pepper. You get the idea. Traditionally, it would seem that rose petals are an absolute must-have.
Love Potions, Charms, and Such
Now let’s make a few romantic items to add to the mood once you’ve found that special someone. These can also be made ahead in anticipation, and if all else fails, there are always those danged bridal showers.
Nectar of Venus Cordial
The flowers give it a beautiful deep pink color and can be served with ginger ale and lime slices.
Nectar of Venus Cordial
The following ingredients should be placed in a ½ gallon jar with a tight fitting lid that allows for shaking. Be sure to label and date the jar. Put out of sunlight while it sits for 1-6 weeks. Shake occasionally. All herbs and flowers are dry.
1 cup Grand Marnier
4 cup simple syrup made from 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon either rose water or orange blossom water
- After sitting for 1-6 weeks, this mixture is ready to decant. Strain through fine cheesecloth or muslin into a pitcher large enough to also hold the additional 5 cups of Grand Marnier and simple syrup.
- Add syrup ingredients to the vodka mixture and blend well. Allow this to rest for a couple of weeks so that the flavors can become well acquainted.
- Pour into beautiful bottles, cork, label, and enjoy.
Aphrodite’s Bathing Herbs
Bathing herbs can be used in several ways. Unfortunately, allowing them free rein in the tub is not one of those ways—word to the wise. The easiest, most effective way is to use a large pitcher filled with very hot water and put about ½ cup of the blend into a square of cloth, tied loosely. Allow the “tub tea” 5-10 minutes to steep (longer if desired), and then pour into the bath as it is drawn. Some people tie a muslin bag filled with herbs to the faucet to catch the water as it comes out. Others still just throw the bag right into the tub. All of these methods are fine.
Aphrodite's Bathing Herbs
Use approximately ½ cup per bath. This recipe makes quite a large batch and can easily be halved. It’s such a nice blend that you will want to make up the whole thing.
Satyr’s Massage Oil
Very few things are as romantic as taking time out to give your lover a nice relaxing massage. Not all of us are trained in the art of massage, but in this instance it truly is the thought that counts. A back rub that is delivered with love and care very rarely goes wrong. A fragrant oil makes it all the more pleasant, but remember to keep the fragrance light. Too much can be overpowering if you are covering large areas, and if using essential oils (of course!), it can get to be too much. Ten to fifteen drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (2-2.5% dilution) is about the proper strength.
Satyr's Massage Oil
2 ounces sweet almond oil (almost any vegetable oil will do, but the almond is special to the goddess of love).
10 drops jasmine absolute (Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum)
5 drops patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin)
3 drops cardamom essential oil (Elettaria cardamomum)
2 drops petitgrain essential oil (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
- Blend ingredients and allow to rest for a few days so that the scents mingle.
- Put into a bottle that is pretty – but usable. A top that allows only a few drops to come out at a time is very helpful.
- Remember to always pour the oil into your hand to warm it, rather than dropping it right onto the skin you are about to massage.
These ideas should get you started. Have a wonderful time!
Tina Sams is the editor of The Essential Herbal magazine. The Essential Herbal magazine is a 32-page bi-monthly magazine that shares educational information, herbal food recipes, remedies, herbal activities, wildcrafting, and more. It’s written by professional and hobbyist herbalists alike for anyone interested in using and learning about herbs. You can get this magazine in print or as a PDF download if you wish, and you can download a free issue to try out before you buy.
And don’t forget that all Herbal Academy students receive 10% off of TEH Magazine subscriptions!