As golden sunlight exhales to earth, her creatures are given life, embraced as they grow to full radiance, allowing a force of will to emerge. A power of creation, driven by virility, further sows the seeds of manifestation. As daylight illuminates all that we desire, the vigor necessary and the courage required are treasured gifts given freely, pulsing with warmth and brilliance in a sensual dance of celestial vitality that only solar power can bring. Beauty is bright, gleaming, filled with light. It is an unstoppable incandescence, and one that inspires endless rapture.
But there is another side: of cloaked mysteries, secrets kept, and silent yearnings unleashed. This is where dark beauty resides, among the misty moors and old cobblestones, within the richly scented earth of ancient dark forests, ringing the silence of catacombs, and claiming the innermost sanctum of musty libraries of ages bygone. It is in the lantern stare, veiled and hushed, of the sorceress serving tea as night-blooming vines shimmer in the moonlight. What she knows she isn’t telling.
It is beauty with a bitter swallow, a bite that caresses, a stroke that rakes with the pierce of a talon. There is glamorous danger around every silken curve, and those all too eager for taking that risk are never in short supply. For light cannot exist without darkness, and our shadow selves demand regard. Winter invites this beauty so freely, allowing us passage to the underworld adorned in richly hued swaths of exquisite fabric, anointed in scented poetry, a deceptively frail bouquet of seasonal treasures in our delicate arms. I’ve conjured a few wickedly gorgeous potions for you, mes beautés sombres, to capture what the moonlight wishes to reveal. Each carries the gifts of potent beauty magic, starring pomegranate and rose.
With fire and Mercury at the helm, pomegranates are great bringers of money, while their abundance of juicy seeds denotes their creative and fertility magic. They symbolize the blood of life and therefore have a special place in youthful beauty potions, both internal and topical. Indeed, they help strengthen the proteins that form collagen and elastin and are full of fatty acids that lock moisture in and keep debris out. Rich in vitamin C, they help to stimulate collagen and can lighten age spots.
Long revered as a sacred flower of Freya and Aphrodite, rose is highly active yet soothing. It targets fine lines and wrinkles with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and has a unique ability to soften, smooth, and feed the skin. Her beauty and scent have inspired poets, artists, and lovers for centuries.
As these potions are conjured, do invite the spirits of the written word, long gone, to join you in a clandestine shadow waltz through A scene from Dracula, 1992 the depths of nightfall.
I love these potions as full moon conjurings for the sheer intensity of this phase, but you may concoct them at any time during the waxing cycle to bring their magic toward you. As always, hold an image of your intention strongly in your mind, feel it in your bones, and be prepared to make a sacrifice in some way. Then, as you bathe in the sensuality of enjoying the potions, see and feel your vision coming closer and closer still, absorbing into you as powerful, mysterious, mesmerizing beauty.
For that undeniable flicker of longing when dangerous desire quickens your blood, I have called in an icon of dark beauty: the fierce karmic attraction between Mina and her vampire suitor in Bram Stoker’s legendary Dracula. There is an immense pull of hunger, the fear of taking the plunge, and the stirring of intensity deep inside when a certain awareness tugs at your hem, whispering that what you yearn for most may, in fact, be your downfall, your undoing … your death. And the deeper voice whispers, “But what if it isn’t?” Death creates rebirth. What if, in your world, this is precisely what will liberate? What if the risk is worth everything sacrificed? I’ll drink to that.
Conjures 2 servings
½ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
¼ cup rose water
½ teaspoon bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon
Pinch of ground cardamom
½ cup good quality dry red wine (optional)
In a cocktail shaker or other large vessel (such as a blender cup) pour the pomegranate juice, rose water, and wine. Stir clockwise. Add the lemon, vanilla, and cardamom, and give it another stir. Pour into cocktail glasses, adorn with pomegranate seeds and rose petals, and serve.
One of my signature ingredients will always be this gorgeous, lusty, Venusian vine. Heavenly scented, vanilla is rich in copper to promote collagen and elastin production and has noted aphrodisiac powers.
It is our luscious lunar light, bursting with high vibrations of vitamin C, antioxidants, and cleansing prowess entwined with love and happiness magic.
Consuming cardamom helps with weight loss and maintenance, quells anxiety, fights disease, treats skin allergies, and improves complexion with antioxidant superpowers. It is a gift of Venus, infused with the magic of love, lust, beauty, and protection.
Rich in beautifying antioxidants, solar-ruled red wine is known as an offering to both the gods and goddesses—and its deep ruby tones bring fire magic to any celebration.
Whatever to do when love is separated by circumstance, though never touched by time? The soul-crossed lovers of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights inspired this next offering, to call you back to the love you once knew, be it for another, or for yourself. Wicked in its playfulness, it returns you to a time when you were partners in crime, inspiring an embrace of wild love—before it is too far gone to retrieve. The softness of the water and the deep intuition that can only be shared in a true connection are recalled. Should you ever feel like Catherine and Heathcliff, torn from your heart’s desire, when all that was once sweet has been overtaken by that which is bitter, the chasm of the heart perhaps too wide to even try to cross, embrace the magic of earth and sea—and the beauty it restores. And should you find yourself in need, summon the strength to release the spirits of lost hearts that live in the trees.
Beauty Witch Secret: This is fabulous without the wine, naturallement, but it also works deliciously with gin or vodka, if you prefer. Gin will give it an herbal flavor with fire-powered protection, sexual potency, and a healthy choice of spirits, as it is (relatively) low-calorie and low-sugar, contains beautifying vitamin C and antioxidants, reduces inflammation, and helps digestion. Vodka, on the other hand, gives no added flavor, but offers antiseptic and disinfectant prowess and can boost blood circulation.
LOVERS ON THE MOORS
Conjures one treatment
½ cup rose water
1 tablespoon pomegranate extract
8 drops myrrh essential oil
6 drops oak moss essential oil
3 drops bitter almond essential oil
Rose petals and pomegranate seeds (optional)
In a glass decanter or pitcher, combine the base of rose water with the pomegranate extract, swirling clockwise to mingle the ingredients. Then, one at a time, add in the essential oils, and give it a stir to blend completely. Pour into a warm bath, and sprinkle the petals and seeds as you wish (whole rose buds and flowers are a gorgeous addition, too.) Immerse yourself in the fragrance, and stay awhile: luxuriate in the beautifying waters as you allow their magic to feed your cells and your spirit. This bath is made for lovers, but can also be a potent spell for yourself.
Revered in Egypt for its magic, the female consort of frankincense is surely lovely, lunar myrrh. It has a similar high spiritual vibration to that of its solar partner, also bringing potent healing and protective energy. Within its beguiling scent, it brings forth anti-aging properties, and makes a formidable beauty ingredient.
Blessed with earthy forest magic, oak moss soothes and softens the skin by retaining the moisture balance. It holds the gifts of protection and strength.
High amounts of vitamin A make bitter almond an excellent beauty oil, in addition to its signature scent. It is highly cleansing and naturally exfoliating, and fades hyperpigmentation as it brings forth prosperity.
Beauty Witch Secret: Add a generous pour of the pomegranate juice you picked up for your beauty cocktail to the bath. It will turn the water a rapturous shade—some color magic is in play here, and it’s also an eye pleaser—and your soak becomes that much sexier.
And one can never write about iconic gothic literature or the potential perils of keeping up a youthful appearance without a nod to surely the most magnetic creature of the genre—our darling, doomed Dorian Gray, born of the genius that belonged to Oscar Wilde. In this cautionary tale ahead of its time, Dorian’s natural charm became quite unnatural when he chose to relinquish his soul to preserve his youth and beauty. Poor, gorgeous boy! If only he had known about potions, he would never have needed to resort to such extremes. (If you haven’t read the novel, I won’t spoil anything, but I do insist you get a paperback copy immediately.) Here’s what is especially interesting: Not only does Dorian not age one bit physically; he also has his virility enhanced to beyond Lothario levels. His sexual appetites go into overdrive as a hunger never quite satiated, with a virility that never wanes. This is what, ultimately, we are after, yes? The fountain of youth is a lust for life, mes amis, in its purest form. So in honor of our ill-fated (yet eternally eye-pleasing) friend, I offer you a topical potion for a glowing, youthful face that belies time. And all you have to do is concoct, apply, and enjoy it. No pact with anyone other than the Beauty Witch is necessary.
HUILE DE JEUNESSE
Facial Exfoliant and Masque
Conjures 1 or 2 treatments
¼ cup besan (garbanzo flour)
1 teaspoon sandalwood powder
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
3 drops myrrh essential oil
In a gorgeous bowl, combine the besan and sandalwood. Add the rose water and pomegranate juice, and blend to a paste. Add more liquid as needed, then drop in the myrrh. Stir clockwise to mingle. Apply to clean skin, including neck and décolleté, massaging in circular motions to lift away dead skin cells. Add a bit more masque if you like, then allow it to rest and work its magic while you rest also. Breathe in the intoxicating scent and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. After about 10 minutes—though you can leave it longer—gently remove with a warm, damp cloth. Give it a good rinse of water, then pat dry. See? Enviably gorgeous! Now apply your favorite mists and serums, and you’re off to charm the crowds.
Joining rose, pomegranate, and myrrh are two more beautifying stars:
This ancient Ayurvedic skin beautifier is one of my all-time faves for its gentle yet effective exfoliation powers, and the stellar nutrition it delivers to your skin. I love to use it thrice weekly, even just on its own, to lift away old cells and leave skin glowy, hydrated, and firm.
Long prized in Ayurvedic traditions, sandalwood is a dear friend to your skin: It fights visible signs of aging, keeps skin clear, and lightens hyperpigmentation. White sandalwood is ruled by the moon and has strong properties of healing, protection, and banishing. It exudes the delicious musky scent we associate with the beloved bark; however, red sandalwood is not aromatic. Red sandalwood is Venus-ruled and used in love magic. All sandalwood is considered sacred and endangered.
Beauty Witch Secret: Want a high-vibration ritual that cannot fail? Apply your masque, soak in your bath, and sip your cocktail. Now that’s gothic glamour.