SHRINE LIBRARY CAVELET #3
(The Lessons of Aphrodite, Continued from Library Cavelet #2)
An early attempt brought me a ten-year relationship with a wonderful woman. We were happy and passionate for the first year or so, but got bogged down in differences and distances after that. Still, you could say that this spell was a success in its way, and though we lost the passion, we are still sisters today.
I learned that there are aspects of this type of relationship that are not unconditional. We love our parents and our children and ourselves unconditionally- that is, regardless of qualities and behaviours. We love our lovers this way too, which means that we love them even when things don't work out. But to share ongoingly on such intimate one-on-one levels requires a degree of compatibility if both partners are to be happy.
I realized I needed to modify my spells and get more specific about the type of person I wanted to attract. My earliest spells were vague and generalized, mainly comprising requests for love, without going into details. Now I make lists before I begin, including qualities, values, and attitudes of my potential partner. I use the elements of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Spirit as reference points, and sometimes build spells into their pentagram. I also make lists of all the things about myself that I wish my lover to love and enjoy, things I want to know about them, and things I want them to know about me.
My next spell worked powerfully, and Aphrodite sent me an incredible wild sister to be my love. But alas, she was mentally ill, and at times behaved cruelly towards me. She was locked into a raging anger, due to abuse she had suffered in childhood. She was threatened by my talents and abilities, and soon sought the arms of another.
More than any other, this relationship taught me about Aphrodite's dark side. She is Maiden and Mother, and She is the Dark Goddess too... the Faery Queen... Kali... the Crone. This means that anything hidden in the past of either partner will be brought into view by intense and intimate feelings. Especially things that are unresolved. Often this is true if one is in denial or simply unaware of all that is lurking down there.
This doesn't mean that I am secretly crazy, envious, or competitive. I realized that this relationship was a mirror of my own childhood wounds from years with my mother who was also mentally ill, brilliant, raging, and beautiful. I had never processed these things, and was completely unaware of them until Aphrodite brought them to the surface.
Nowadays, when so many of us have experienced abuse and neglect as children, Aphrodite will demand that we confront and heal these wounds if we wish to experience true and lasting love. Magic works at deep unconscious levels, just as do our passions and loving feelings. So, when you cast a spell for love, you are bound to stir up the deeps of yourself, your partner, and the natural forces we are part of.
We have a curious tendency to be drawn to lovers who will reflect our own hidden side. For instance, if we have creative talent that we have repressed, we might fall in love with a gifted artist. Or, if we are repressing old anger, we might fall in love with someone who is openly angry, or stuck in anger.
Not that anger in itself is a bad thing, but it needs to be processed safely and transformed into positive action. Lovers can deal with these things if they choose to, but it takes commitment, mutual consent, and a lot of love. In fact, no lasting relationship can survive without some kind of process for dealing with conflict.
Magic can be shaped to deal with these complexities, and everyone is looking for that perfect spell that will bring lasting ecstatic union "with harm to none." It takes honesty, experience, and perseverance to find and develop that spell.
I suffered greatly in this relationship, for I loved this woman from the depths of my being. When it ended, I looked for solace and guidance in myth, song and tarot. I found healing and revelation in the old Scots ballad of Tam Lin. In this story, Tam Lin, a young man, is kidnapped by the Faery Queen. He appears in spirit form to his lover Burd Janet, and gives her the information she will need to bring him back to her arms. "On Hallowe'en, at midnight," he explains, "I and the Faery Court will come riding. You must pull me from my horse and hold onto me no matter what happens. The Faery Queen will change me into many frightening forms, but if you keep holding on, all will be well."
I racked my brains for a long time over this story, trying to understand why the Faery Queen was so cruel to Tam Lin and Burd Janet. And then I realized that it was a test of true love, as well as a powerful teaching about the inevitabilty of the emergence of our dark sides. Only after this realization could I write my song, Tama Lina, a modern female version:
lover looks on me with hate filled eyes
In the story, Burd Janet wins out, and the lovers are happily reunited. In life, my own story did not end so happily. But in my song I sing my vision of a joyful outcome:
...What moon is this shining softly through?
me, love me
Songs are the most powerful spells, and so I have found some of the magic I was seeking.
Here are some of the love-magic principles I learned from this experience:
Ask for true love- many lovers are false.
Be sure to include the phrase "with harm to none" in the wording of your spell, and place strong protection.
Before you give yourself completely, get to know your potential lover. If you can't be friends, you can't really be lovers.
Call on other Goddesses besides Aphrodite to help balance out Her intensity. Call on Diana orArtemis for independence and to prevent losing yourself in that flood of feelings. Call on Athene to help keep the relationship honest, compassionate, understanding, and open to process if needed. Call on Demeter, Earth Mother, to give strong roots, nurturance, commitment, good boundaries, and partnership. Call on Hecate to help deal with the dark side, provide magic and ritual, as well as times of separation. Such time-outs are important for keeping the excitement of re-connection. Call on Iris to keep communication clear and effective.
* * * * * * * * *
My next two attempts had similar results, and both of these lovers were trapped in unresolved anger. These relationships ended quickly, as I moved through the final stages of the lessons I was learning. They helped me to find anger I had been holding for years, and let it go. Anger at the prejudices of a society that does not support a Goddess woman of spirit, magic and passion. That punishes us through our children by ostracizing them for being "different." Anger at my mother and succeeding loved-ones who were manipulative and deceitful. Because of my deep sensitivity, I fled from these problems and became paralyzed. "The deer-on-the-highway-in-the-headlights-at-night-syndrome" I call it. I unconsciously buried my angry feelings in my body, where they remained until Aphrodite brought them out.
The first of these two relationships lasted a mere two weeks. The flop-over-and-spit part of my spell was loud and clear. My lover simply dumped me after this very short time, unable to relate to my tender soul. A big mistake I made in this spell was sharing its contents too early. I had composed a chant that drew my lover very quickly to my door. When the chant worked so well, I got excited, and immediately started sharing it with sisters who were working on their own love magic. Duh! I gave the magic away and disempowered the spell. So, my friends, remember, when casting any kind of spell, the classic ingredients of the Witch's Star: Seeing, Knowing, Willing, Daring- and Silence.
The main things I learned from these two spells were to develop courtship rituals and make friends before opening up so deeply. Double duh! Our society is so instant-oriented these days... instant coffee... instant results on the internet... instant relationships. We have forgotten the ritual arts of courtship, and how to slow down and take the time for these.
We can approach intense intimacy in three essential stages: the outermost or most distant, the middle range, and the closest or most intimate range. In the outermost we can spend time with a potential lover in group situations; interact with them along with friends, companions, family... see who they are in this context. In the second phase we can spend some quality one-on-one time getting to know each other as friends, doing things together, sharing things that we both enjoy. In the final stages we can make love and go all the way. My intuition tells me that these stages actually correspond to energy fields in our auras. When we dive straight into the innermost layer, we skip a lot of steps and bypass important parts of ourselves that need to be recognized, honored and loved.
As you can see, my journey with Aphrodite has borne much fruit. I have learned so much, and found much joy. You can take the benefits now, and so I become the classic "wounded healer." Perhaps you will have more success than I. Hopefully you will be more protected than I was. I hope you will learn more, for there is always more than one priestess can know. And so, though I am still seeking the love of my dreams, my spells will not have been such a flop after all.
NOTE: Because many writings on love spells warn us never to coerce anyone into love, I have not mentioned it in this writing. But I'm adding this note just in case. It is unethical to perform magic that interferes with free will, except in certain cases where Bindings and Banishings (with harm to none) are warranted. (See the Crone Cycle in my book, Ariadne's Thread, for more information on this.) Besides, who wants that kind of love anyway? It is bound to flop over and spit. Ask for love to come, but don't aim your spell at a particular person. Or, if there is someone you feel drawn to, you can send a suggestion. That way they still have choice.