In my book, Four Seasons of Mojo: an Herbal Guide to Natural Living, I reflect on various qualities of summer, including love and sensuality. Like budding leaves, the heat of summer seems to bring out previously dormant passions. This article expands on some of the ideas presented on "Love, Sensuality and Beauty," in Chapter 13. Cultivating love magickally using nature is our focus here. Summer is your chance to get your groove on. My intention is to show you how to incorporate herbs, sound, movement and natural substances in a special evening of summer lovin'. This is a continuation of my mission to get the body back into mind, body and spirit holistic healing work.
It is good to get prepared for lovemaking. There is one part of the preparation that can come a week or so in advance: waxing. I love the feeling of hot wax on my face and body. It is sensuous, calming and will show your intended that you've spent time preparing for their attention.
Waxing typically begins with a brow wax. Why? Because an open, interesting eye lid is one of our best flirting tools. If you are making a love connection locking eyes is essential, so why not make them look good? A gently arched waxed brow looks natural and creates openness around the eyes perfect for engaging sustained looks. You know—the gaze that indicates mutual interest? From there, it is up to you and your esthetician where the waxing will end—perhaps all the way down to your toes. The pain is brief but the pleasure of being smooth and touchable lasts for weeks.
Beeswax is a naturally hard wax made by bees and when warmed it smells heavenly. In the hair removal process called waxing, hot beeswax is applied to the skin with a piece of flat wood (a tong) and allowed to set briefly. Then loose fabric like muslin is applied, which sticks to the wax and hairs. The fabric is pulled firmly, removing the wax and hairs. A good practitioner will then apply a soothing gel containing chamomile, lavender or aloe vera.
Cleanliness is most appreciated. It shows consideration of your lover and that you care for yourself. There is also something wonderful about the natural scent of the body so care should be taken not to completely wash out your distinctive aroma—after all, it is one of your greatest aphrodisiacs.
A working definition of an aphrodisiac is something that arouses, increases, or intensifies sexual desire. A clean, healthy, vibrant body has always had a way of capturing the attention of a potential lover. Hair in particular, including a healthy crown of alluringly scented tresses draws attention. Hair care products can accentuate this ability of natural hair, serving as aphrodisiacs when the herbal substances used contain specific stimulating qualities. Washing the skin and hair with aromatic botanicals forms a powerful, synergetic, alluring feature.
Vinegar removes odors, conditions the hair and softens the skin—even the rough skin of the soles of the feet. I recommend adding a cup or two of simple, inexpensive white vinegar to the bath water for softening and deep cleansing of the skin. This is a very effective way of cleansing the body after menstruation, returning it to its natural state without forceful internal cleansing. Internal vaginal cleansing called a douche with commercially packaged preparations can upset the delicate environment of the vagina, leading to a counterproductive yeast infection. A vinegar bath works just fine for most folks, and if you prefer a scented bath add essential oils.
Essential Oils for Healthy Hair
Essential oils are the precious, condensed essences of plants. Aromatic essential oils are regaining the popularity they enjoyed with our ancestors. They are well respected for their ability to address a variety of issues such as dull, dry, and thinning hair, as well as itchy, irritated skin—these are aromatherapeutic benefits. The scent of essential oils provides a therapy of their own, sometimes referred to as aromacology because they affect our psychological make up and mood. Since essential oils are highly concentrated only a few drops in the bath are necessary to achieve great results. In addition, I suggest applying a light dab of the essential oils listed below to the nape of the neck, scalp or temples to serve as aphrodisiacs. Lotus is one of my favorite oils:
- Lotus (Melumbo nucifera) is considered a representative of the divinely feminine and as the embodiment of Tehuti in Egypt tradition. The scent is moist and watery, suggestive of the fecundity of the Great Earth Mother. Lotus oil comes from blue, white and pink flowers—each has a distinctive scent: blue or white is great for an introduction to lotus. Pink lotus flowers represent Lakshmi Devi, goddess of prosperity to the Hindi. Dab lotus oil onto pulse points, the chakras or add a few drops to the bath. It is sensual, distinctively scented oil available at specialty shops mostly online.
More common love oils include:
- Sandalwood—unisex, earthy, bright yet sultry
- Patchouli—unisex, musky, brings out animal instinct
- Ylang/Ylang—high energy, very sweet, uplifting
- Neroli—balances mood, joyful, attractive, easy-going and uninhabited
- Geranium—a balanced floral with a suggestion of earth and fruit; hints at individuality
Three-five drops of these essentials oils (choose one-three) can be added to a full bath, with the vinegar to mask it and add aromatherapy or aromacology benefits. As a hair treatment essential can be added to a quarter sized dollop of pure aloe vera gel, serving as an alluring styling gel perfect for a romantic up-do, chignon, French braids or twists. It also works well for tightening the roots of freshly washed [dread] locks. As a finishing touch you might also securely pin a fragrant gardenia, opened rose, or lily in your hair behind your ear before going out.
Hydrosols are the essences of fragrant plants extracted and preserved in distilled water. Many herbalist who formulate products with a lengthy desired shelf-life use distilled water rather than spring or tap water because it is inert and doesn't contain potentially harmful bacteria. Hydrosols can be used as sexy mists applied to the face and body. They also make the lightest, natural hair spray/moisturizer available.
Hydrosols work like a charm with Afros, puffs, and other curly dos, especially when the emphasis is on enhancing natural curl, not controlling it. They can be used successfully on oily hair or dry hair and are generally safe for children's hair. For the looser curl, wavy, or thinner hair hydrosols are highly recommended because they will not weigh down the hair. Each has specific qualities and I have stated them out using perfumery/aromatherapy language. Using your imagination and carefully identifying your needs and preferences will enable you to chose the right scent for your skin or hair. Here are some commonly used hydrosols:
- Rose (formerly called rosewater): astringent, energizing, calming, classic and romantic
- Neroli (also called orange flower water): energetic, cheerful, hydrating, exotic and confident
- Lavender: balancing, unisex, uplifting, quiet, earthy yet slightly minty—a little old-fashioned.
In my book, Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones, I discussed the ways Hoodoos use powders to perform jobs (spells and other magick work). Old-fashioned as it may seem powder is also a wonderful natural cosmetic that adds to your distinctive scent. It can be applied to the body, feet, soles of the shoes and of course your top mattress before you make up the bed. Here is a recipe for a dusting powder from Four Seasons of Mojo.
Rose Garden Dusting Powder
Mix dry ingredients in nonreactive bowl. Drop in attar and essentials oils, stirring with each addition. Pour into dusting powder box. Apply with powder duster. If this type of packaging is unavailable pour through a funnel into shaker topped powder bottle. Add a few grains of rice to stop ingredients from clumping. Shake on body, bed, inside shoes or drawers to use.
- 1 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup dried ground pink rose petals
- 1/4 cup ground dried lemon peel
- 6 drops attar of roses
- 4 drops geranium
- 4 drops lime
- 2 drops lemongrass
Edible Massage Oil
Touch is one of our most sensuous gifts to give others or ourselves. Massaging warmed oils is a relaxing pastime from our ancient past, still providing pleasure today. To be on the safe side I suggest unscented botanical oil that is lightweight, hydrating, and one which quickly penetrates the skin. While no scent is added these still have their own subtle aroma. Here are some of my favorite choices:
- Almond Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Peach Kernel Oil
Oil, such as grapeseed oil, can also be used as a personal lubricant in place of the heavier commercial products such as KY Jelly ™, which seems to smother the skin.
Incense, fragrant burning herbs, is another gift from our past that serves well in the present, especially when you are trying to create a loving atmosphere. In Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones, I give recipes for complex blends of botanicals to produce handmade incense for various purposes. Of all the botanical components, sandalwood is my favorite for lovemaking.
The mellow scent of sandalwood eases inhibitions, builds self-confidence, induces a calm sedate mood, can assist in achieving a meditative state. Sandalwood is considered an aphrodisiac. Wonderful applied to the body as a massage diluted with sweet almond oil, teaspoon to 8 ounces of oil; it can also be applied to pulse points or chakras before going out or at bedtime.
Little portable fires definitely set the mood for lovemaking. Opt for naturally scented, lead-free wicked candles. Just remember, some folks have allergies, and a little goes a long way in terms of setting the mood. For the very sensitive and those with pets with fragile respiratory systems (such as birds), either skip the incense and candles or try a single beeswax candle in a well-ventilated space.
The potent ability of music to set the tone for your evening cannot be underestimated. Music can be tranquilizing, relaxing, or stimulating depending on what you choose. Here is a multicultural stew of tunes from various parts of the globe sure to help set a magickal love mood:
- Lauryn Hill, (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill) is sultry, strong and silky. D'Angelo (Brown Sugar), Al Green (Love Songs Collection) or Marvin Gaye (Let's Get it On) are tempting R & B soul singers whose reputation for stimulating relationships speaks for itself.
- Gypsy Kings Roots is an extra long CD; soul stirring, featuring an earthy lead singer with a Spanish folk/Flamenco air.
- Sussan Deyhim is evocative Middle Eastern singer, singing from her heritage, influenced by ancient Sufi love poems. Try her Madman of God with tracks such as Gereley (Nocturnal Dialogue), Candle and the Moth and Mesmerized Mirror. It seems as though many simulate climaxes at various stages
- Putamayo's various collections, including Congo to Cuba, with its pulsating rhythms, sweet-voiced and mostly Spanish-speaking balladeers, and Music from the Chocolate Lands. A multicultural collection of soothing tropical sounds that transport one to warm sandy beaches, palm trees and endless sunsets—get your coconut oil ready
- Feist, a contemporary folk group whose lead singer has the voice of the goddess. Their CD Let it Die although the title doesn't show it, is quite hot.
Try one of these CDs to get things started or your favorite list of tunes. Music has a way of melting inhibitions, allowing loving feelings to flow.
The various acts of lovemaking are rhythmic. Once the mood has been set with scent, firelight and sultry sounds, find inventive ways of adding movement early on in the evening. If you know a sensual dance like belly dancing, now would be the time to let your talent shine—it will be well appreciated. Slow dancing using one of the popular ballroom styles or your own movements, as a pair is another mutually gratifying activity.
Natural cloth like silk or one great to touch like satin, incorporates yet another layer of sensuality. Tactile fabric can be stimulating, accentuating cuddling, foreplay, and afterplay. Try silk, satin, or organic pre-softened cotton, using either one as lingerie, pajamas, sheets, and pillowcases or an exotic veil (a long rectangular piece of cloth that adds a layer of mystery and aura of the lightness of game playing). A veil incorporated into your improvised dance definitely adds a sexy vibe. Anyone can take the lead here—the only real limitation is in the imagination. Some people, inspired by sexy music, will strip at an excruciatingly slow pace, also called a strip tease. Take your time with this playful activity as it is definitely a great icebreaker and it builds delicious anticipation.
Movement is the culmination of the preparation, plans and meditation on your evening of love. With the lights off, aromatic botanicals wafting this way and that, room lit only by candles, soulful tunes permeating the room, nude or partially clad—it's time to get your groove on and enjoy the hot pleasures of summer.