Tales woven of stars and moonlight speak directly to the heart, sparking our senses with the promise of gentle air awakening the evening symphonies. But they also sprinkle a little cosmic dust upon the vision we hold of ourselves. When we are touched by the unequaled beauty of poetry—in all its forms—it is human nature to place ourselves into the work itself. One only has to read the opening lines of Lord Byron’s most famous verse to immediately feel the rush of desire: “She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies / And all the best of dark and bright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes.” That desire awakened, chéris, is to be the muse, that enchanted creature who inhabits the magic of the night sky. And it is easier than you think.
The very essence of Romanticism is that of a relationship with the natural world, of feelings, of passions, and of freedom. Sounds a bit like witchcraft, no? If, as Wordsworth said, the poet will find an “atmosphere of sensation in which to move his wings,” certainly the witch will find the same.
Crafting and conjuring your own beauty potions is pure freedom and indeed a ritual unto itself, complete with offerings to a most unique muse—you. It takes time, yes, and timing, but the connection you acquire to plants and flowers in the process and to nature herself makes it entirely worth any effort you have expended. And the power of these potions! Because, you see, your magic is infused in their very essence also, the vibration is raised, and you have the unique pleasure of anointing yourself with the fruits of this joyous union. It has always been my experience that when you conjure your own potions, not only does your confidence get a lift but that sparkle extends to others around you. They can’t help but notice your glow—perhaps you will share a drop of your secrets with them?
Speaking of beauty secrets, one of my most treasured is the inclusion of a simple but ancient beautifier that is entirely uncommon in its use here. The sweet, soulful, somewhat hedonistic grape takes center stage in this season’s potions (lovingly named for the works of Shelley), whether extracted into a concentrated nectar, a luxe oil, or a magically infused wine. Grapes are lunar-ruled water fruits that hold the magic of both fertility and prosperity, making them fabulous consorts when it comes to creative endeavors. What’s more, they have beauty benefits to spare: Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, they promote new cellular growth, reduce fine lines, increase elasticity, restore collagen, impart sheen, and provide UV protection. Here, the Triple Goddess of Beauty comes in three forms: grape-seed extract (ruby red and concentrated), grape-seed oil (highly nutritive and easily absorbed), and wine (restorative and preventative). We think of wine as being purely Bacchanalian, but in ancient Mesopotamia twelve vases of wine were offered to the goddess Ishtar every single day. Interestingly, red wine is actually considered the solar counterpart to lunar white wine and carries with it the vitality and life force of the sun. So here, you have that all-important cosmic balance that conspires to bestow upon you bewitching beauty.
This enchanted ritual is best begun at the new moon, allowing a full growing cycle to infuse the wine with flower magic.
THE FAIRY AND THE SPIRIT
Conjures, typically, 750 milliliters or 25 ounces 1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup rose petals
½ cup jasmine flowers
¼ cup chrysanthemum flowers
¼ cup passionflowers
Seeds of one vanilla bean (optional)
This, mes amis, is such an easy concoction and so pretty to behold that you will find yourself simply enjoying its presence. You can use fresh or dried flowers, it is up to you. Dried petals will be easier to find, of course, in the cold months and can often have a bolder, more complex flavor. Fresh petals should ideally be chopped to allow the release of the flavor more easily into the wine, but I know—they are too pretty to chop! Maybe leave a few in there whole, just for the loveliness of it.
Begin by uncorking the wine and allowing it to breathe for 30 minutes. Then, pour it into a clean bottle or large jar, but do keep the original wine bottle and cork. One by one, add the flowers, feeling each essence and becoming one with its magic. Seal the new bottle or jar tightly, and keep it out to be admired—somewhere cool, avoiding direct sunlight. You will want to give it a good swirl daily to ensure that everything mingles well. At the midpoint between the new and full moon, taste it. You can adjust the floral notes if you like and add the vanilla bean should you desire it. I do like the depth (and the magic) it brings, but see what you think. On the night before the full moon, strain the blend through a tea strainer or cheesecloth, then pour the wine back into the bottle or decanter for serving.
The High Priestess of Beauty is surely the rose. This gift of Venus targets fine lines and wrinkles with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and has a unique ability to soften, smooth, and feed skin. Rosehips contain a natural form of retinol, building new tissue and supporting firmness, along with vitamin C, which repairs and stimulates new collagen.
A brilliant oil for reducing fine lines and strengthening skin’s elasticity, jasmine also helps fade scars and hyperpigmentation. Her devilishly sexy scent is also a potent aphrodisiac.
The fiery, solar chrysanthemum is one the witch’s favorite protection flowers. We love it for skin too; it keeps both wrinkles and acne at bay, brightens, calms redness and irritation, and hydrates.
Soft, feminine passionflower is ruled by water and brings the magic of peace. It protects the skin while adding high levels of antioxidants alongside vitamins A and C. It has the ability to hydrate without clogging pores and is a delight for all skin types.
Another Venusian delight, vanilla is heavy on the love and sexual magic. Its heady aroma and flavor intoxicates, and its aphrodisiac powers are legendary. Vanilla is also rich in copper, which helps promote collagen and elastin production. It soothes, protects from environmental stresses, and carries an enchanted scent.
For a decidedly decadent beauty ritual, why not borrow a bit of the wine to create a potent facial masque? Oui! We will mix it here with a few more star-dusted incarnations of the gorgeous grape and add a power boost: white clay, which, unlike French green or Moroccan red clays, will actually deliver your masque ingredients into the skin as opposed to extracting toxins. To concoct, simply mix together in a small bowl these gifts of nature:
1 tablespoon white clay
1 teaspoon pure grape extract
1 teaspoon grape-seed oil
Carefully stir in the wine, one teaspoonful at a time, until you have a smooth paste that spreads easily along the skin. Apply a thick layer to a clean face, neck, and décolletage. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes while you kick up your feet, sip your magic wine, and feel your desires manifesting. Take this time to ask for cosmic assistance in making your wishes real, seeing and feeling them as if they are already there. Because, really, they are! You simply have to support, feed, and grow them. And you will.
Now, when you gently remove the masque with a warm, damp towel (followed by a thorough rinse), you will pat your gleaming face dry, spritz some rose water, and apply a powerhouse potion that raises the vibration and the wattage even higher. Try this one.
QUEEN OF SPELLS
Beauty Ritual Oil
Yields approximately 2 oz.
1 ounce grape-seed oil
2 droppers pure grape extract 1 dropper rosehip oil
6 drops jasmine essential oil
Pour the grape-seed oil into a 2-ounce bottle. Add the grape extract, really focusing on the powers of the fruit. Drop in the rosehip oil next, then the jasmine, feeling each one. Cap the bottle tightly, and swirl it 13 times in clockwise motion. You can use it right away or make it at the new moon, allowing the potion to gather strength as la lune grows.
This potion is incredible for the skin! The richness of the grapes really firm and plump, diminishing the look of fine lines in the moment but with a profound cumulative effect when used regularly. I love this in winter, when your face always feels so robbed of moisture and vitality. When used at night, during the natural renewal cycle, you wake up to a smooth, velvety complexion—looking well rested, as if through a soft-focus lens. When you apply it in the morning, your skin will seriously glow throughout the day—no highlighter needed! The combination of rose and grape is an active one. You may find your complexion a bit pink after you anoint it, but it will calm down after a few minutes. One thing to know, mes amours: The grape extract does have a stickiness to it, much like the fruit itself. This potion will feel a little gummy, similar to vitamin E, and will take a little while to absorb into the skin. If you don’t have the time to allow it to seep into your skin in the morning (but really, I hope you do, because it’s worth it), then certainly use it at night when you have the luxury of hours.
Beauty Witch Secret:
If you do not wish to consume alcohol, a sensual alternative can be found in organic, pure grape juice. Either version makes for a vitamin- and antioxidant-rich beauty potion, to be consumed or applied topically. Even a little swipe on a reusable makeup pad will help clear pores, banish breakouts, and restore a youthful appearance to skin.