June Full Rose Moon Ritual – Fighting Fear with Love

I led this ritual for my Pagan group in June of 2018. It was a very powerful ritual, and it requires that you be completely open and vulnerable. When I first signed up to do this Full Moon, I thought I would be leading a fun and sexy ritual, but Aphrodite had other ideas. The experiences I shared were mine, but feel free to substitute your own if you would like to use this in a group setting. This also works as a solitary ritual. You will need a rose quartz stone for every participant, and decorations for the altar. I used three dozen roses (in white, red, and pink) and printed artwork of Aphrodite for my altar. (In case you are curious, this is the ritual I referenced in My Journey to Aphrodite – Part Two.) This year (2019), the June Full Moon is on Monday, June 17th.

Call the Quarters

North

We call to the North, to the element of Earth, to be with us this evening. Please help us to enjoy the earthly pleasures of our physical bodies, help us to remain grounded and reasonable when we are in conflict with our loved ones, and help us to remain strong when our loved ones need our support. Element of Earth, hail and welcome!

East

We call to the East, to the element of Air, to be with us this evening. Please help us to improve our communication in our love relationships, help us to inspire and be inspired by those we love, and help us to enjoy the meeting of the minds as we enjoy a meeting of the hearts. Element of Air, hail and welcome!

South

We call to the South, to the element of Fire, to be with us this evening. Please help us to kindle and maintain passion in our romantic relationships, help us to tend to the flame of desire even when we feel like it’s almost going out, and help us to let our hearts lead the way. Element of Fire, hail and welcome!

West

We call to the West, to the element of Water, to be with us this evening. Please help us to heal from past and present wounds from old or current relationships, please help us to be the balm to our lovers’ ills, and please help us to accurately express the truest emotions in our hearts. Element of Water, hail and welcome!

Invocation of Aphrodite

I invoke the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, passion, desire, and sexual rapture. Oh patroness of the spark of passion and creation, please inspire us to pursue that which we desire, to create new art and inventions, and to strive for our dreams. May your fierce and protective love surround our circle. Hail and welcome!

Cast the Circle

(Cast a circle in a way that feels powerful for you. You will want a very safe sacred space for this ritual.)

Fighting Fear with Love

The June Full Moon is known by many names. In Europe, it is known as the Rose Moon, as the roses are in full bloom during this time. It is also known as the Strawberry Moon, the Flower Moon, the Honey Moon, and even (particularly pertinent for last week’s weather) the Hot Moon. During these long summer days around the solstice, the sweetness of life is full to bursting. The senses delight in nature, as we delight in our friendships and romantic relationships during this more social summer season.

While winter is typically considered the traditional season for reflection, we must not ignore what summer has to teach us. We must gaze just as bravely into the light in the summer, as we gaze bravely into the darkness of winter. When we look towards the light, to explore just how brilliantly we can shine and just how much we can love, we must also confront our barriers to love and our fear of shining brightly.

As you know, I am a devotee (and now a priestess) of Aphrodite, and I have invoked her here this evening. Aphrodite is generally known as a goddess of light, love, and beauty, and while it is true she is all of these things, she is also so much more. Aphrodite is a lover and a fighter. She is fierce, and while she can be gentle, she is not always. For the call to love, and love fiercely, unreservedly, whole-heartedly, and unconditionally, is by no means an easy task. To love in this manner requires bravery, commitment, and a dissolution of fear.

Love and fear cannot truly coexist. One cannot hold both love and fear in one’s heart simultaneously. And no fears are as strong, or as all-consuming, as our fears around love. This means that even in our deepest relationships, we may be making decisions from a place of fear instead of a place of love. I know I certainly have – many, many times over. It is only through confronting these fears that we may truly know the bliss of love.

When I say love, I mean all kinds of relational love: self-love, romantic love, the love of friendship, and the love of family. I want you to take a moment, be brave with me, and to think of your fears around love in each of these areas.

How are you afraid to love yourself? Do you ever fear that you are unlovable? Do you ever tell yourself “I’ll love myself when…”? “I’ll love myself when I lose that weight” “I’ll love myself when someone else loves me” “I’ll love myself when I get a new job, or get married, or have a kid, or get a new car” For years, I told myself that I would love myself and be loveable once I had a boyfriend, once I got married, or once I conquered my OCD. What are you afraid would happen if you were to radically love yourself? What would you do with all that extra time that you used to spend worrying? I can tell each of you, right now, every single one of you, that you are loveable, and that you are loved.

What about romantic love? I’ll come right out and say it – I am afraid of dying alone. Both in the sense of I might not find a life partner, and even if I do, that I will be the one left behind after they die. I’m afraid that my personal experience of love will not live up to the (probably unrealistic) expectations that I have of romance. I say these things, not to make you paranoid or to inspire fear, but to help bring that fear out of the darkness and into the light. By naming it, we take away some of its power, and we may begin to heal it.

I encourage you to take some time to yourself this cycle of the moon, to really explore your fears and barriers to love. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone – a friend, a loved one, or a trained professional – though to do this you must already overcome the fear of being open and vulnerable.

So, you’re probably thinking, “Thanks a lot! Now I have all of these fears. That’s totally not why I came to circle tonight. I thought you were going to be talking about something fun and racy, like sex. Now that I have all of these fears, what the fuck do I do with them?”

I ask of you, to fight the fear with love. At every opportunity, choose love over fear. I suggest picking one fear, or a set of related fears, to start. In this process, you must be kind to yourself. Do not judge yourself for having this fear. Fear is natural, and in some cases, healthy, but it is our biggest barrier to growth. Accept that you have this fear, and from this place of acceptance, you can begin to change it. You must surrender to your fear – not in the sense that you will let it conquer you, but in the sense that you will let it flow through you. There’s a pithy little saying “What we resist, persists” and there is some truth in that. The minute we start to judge ourselves for having fears, we close off our hearts. The heart must be open in order to change our relationship to fear.

Of course, we don’t have to go at this alone. We can call on divine help, both in the ethereal sense and in the form of friends, loved ones, and our spiritual community. When I began my relationship with Aphrodite, I was in a very fearful place, about pretty much everything in my life. My partner of five years had moved out and wanted distance in our relationship, I had discovered that my life plan of getting my PhD was not going to happen, and my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was so bad that it took me almost half an hour just to leave my own house.

In my years of working with her, Aphrodite has not just helped me in my romantic love life. She has helped me to accept and love myself, in spite of and even because of my mental disorder. Working with her has empowered me to tackle so many of my fears, to fully embrace my sexuality, to nurture my friendships, to draw clear boundaries with my family, and to open myself fully to love.

My first way of connecting to Aphrodite was through roses, which is why I wanted to honor her on this night of the Rose Full Moon. Rosewater and rose essential oil soon became staples in my home and on my altar. The fragrance was lovely, and it helped to put me in the right headspace and, more importantly, the right heartspace. My next way of connecting with Aphrodite was through rose quartz, which adorns the altar tonight. I began with rose quartz hearts – a pair of them placed together under my pillow, and in various places around my house – and then branched out to rose quartz of all shapes and sizes.

Rose quartz is fantastic for all types of love, particularly self-love and romantic love. It’s good for opening your heart chakra, for nurturing self-acceptance, for drawing in love, and for healing emotional pain. For me, I found that rose quartz was able to give me the infusion of loving energy I needed to positively reframe my troubles and to confront my more prominent fears. Simply holding it in my hand or placing it on my heart as I meditated filled me with love and joy.

Aphrodite, O Glorious Goddess, please shower us with the blessings of love!

Charge the Rose Quartz

Hold your rose quartz in your hands, close your eyes, and focus on what you need more love for in your life right now. Imagine a small, glowing pink light radiating from the center of the stone, gradually getting bigger and bigger, until it encompasses your whole hand. See the points of light from all the other stones within the circle, and know that you are surrounded by a supportive network of love. Take this stone with you. You can keep it in your pocket, tuck it under your pillow, or put it wherever you need it most. Remember that you are always surrounded by love.

Aphrodite, O Far-Shining One, thank you for your blessings of love!

So mote it be.

Cakes and Ale

Blessed be the hands that grew the grain, that harvested the fruit, and that baked the bread. Blessed be all hands, seen and unseen, that brought us this nourishment tonight. Blessed be.

Release the Circle

(Release the circle in a way that feels powerful for you.)

Gratitude to Aphrodite

Thank you, Aphrodite, for being with us tonight. Thank you for your blessings of love and passion. We honor you. Blessed be.

Release the Quarters

West

Thank you West, and the element of water, for your healing energies this evening. Hail and farewell!

South

Thank you South, and the element of fire, for your passionate energies this evening. Hail and farewell!

East

Thank you East, and the element of air, for your inspirational energies this evening. Hail and farewell!

North

Thank you North, and the element of earth, for your grounding energies this evening. Hail and farewell!

Connecting with Aphrodite – First Steps

There are so many joyful and wonderful ways to connect with the Radiant Goddess of Love! I’m going to share a few that helped me to connect with Her in the beginnings of my journey. Many of these are material in nature – physical things that helped me to get into the right headspace to work with Her. Others are more reading and research based. These are not in a particular order – try out different ones and see which works best for you!

1. Knowing Her Stories (Mythology, History, and the Lore)

When I first knew I wanted to work with Aphrodite, I read up on Her stories. There weren’t many modern stories about working with her at all (which is part of my inspiration to create this blog). I read some of the old mythology. Some of it resonated – and some of it didn’t.

As I started to develop a deeper connection with Aphrodite, I discovered more and more dissonance with some of the older tales I read, particularly with her portrayal as being jealous or petty. One thing I love about being Pagan is that we have no official “scripture,” no one holy text. Most of my concerns about people who take the Christian Bible too literally are based in the fact that it was written by people. Imperfect, fallible humans. I had to keep that in mind as I was reading the myths, which had been thousands of years in misinterpretation and mistranslation. Maybe even the original accounts weren’t accurate!

It was at this point in my journey that I realized I had to let go of my scientific research background, and trust in my personal experiences. I couldn’t research my way closer to the Goddess (though being familiar with Her lore is essential and occasionally helpful). I started to trust in my Unverified Personal Gnosis (or UPG), which is a bit of a buzzword in pagan spheres these days. It’s just a fancy term for personal experience that isn’t recorded in the lore, or present in modern texts. Some of my UPG was confirmed by some of the people who sought me out for help connecting with Aphrodite, but it’s still a long way away from being Verified Personal Gnosis.

In short, knowing the Lore helped me to have informed conversations with others, and gave me a reference point for my personal experiences.

2. Rosewater

Ah, rosewater! This is now one of my favorite all-purpose tools. Roses are said to have the highest vibrational frequency of any living thing (or at least that’s what I hear in the paganosphere), which means that they vibrate at the frequency of love! Thus, roses are useful for a wide variety of magickal applications. Roses are also sacred to Aphrodite.

I started using rosewater as a space and energy cleanser. I didn’t really like the smell of burning sage, and using palo santo made my cat sneeze. So I started spraying rosewater in my apartment. It smelled lovely, and the feeling it gave the space was wonderful. I would say a prayer to the plants or to Aphrodite as I misted my home. I would sometimes use it to cast a circle. I would mist the bedroom before my boyfriend came to visit. The smell became synonymous with good vibes and love, and before long, with Aphrodite.

Rosewater is one of the first things I recommend to anyone wishing to develop a deeper relationship with the Goddess of Love. Scent is a powerful sense, and is a great tool to use to get into a higher state of consciousness.

3. Rose Essential Oil

All of the things about the properties of roses and the magick of scent is true for rose essential oil as well. Rose essential oil is rarely sold in pure form, and is generally mixed with a carrier oil (I like jojoba oil, personally). This means that you don’t have to worry about diluting it if you want to use it on your skin. Watch out for fragrance oils! These are not essential oils, and often don’t contain any of the plant they supposedly smell like.

There are two main types of rose essential oil: Rose Absolute and Rose Otto. I prefer Rose Otto (though it is the more expensive of the two), because the distillation process is gentler and uses fewer chemicals than the distillation of Rose Absolute. I like for anything I put in or on my body to be as natural as possible, which made Rose Otto the natural choice.

Every night before I go to bed, I anoint my heart chakra with rose essential oil and I say a prayer to Aphrodite. The scent wafts up from my chest and puts me in a loving state of mind before I drift off to sleep. I use it in my daily dedications. You can also anoint candles with rose essential oil.

4. Rose Quartz

There is so much rose quartz around my apartment! It’s good for all sorts of things, including romance, self-love, emotional healing, and heart chakra work. It has a lovely energy to it, and is beautiful and calming to look at. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and colors range from a deep pink to almost clear.

My “gateway” into the world of rose quartz was a common Feng Shui practice of putting two rose quartz hearts together in the Romance bagua of my apartment (which is said to aid in healthy romantic relationships). I later learned that each room has its own Romance bagua, and I began collecting pairs of rose quartz hearts. You can also use them in spells and other magickal workings.

From there, I branched out to tumbled polished stones. I have a couple of somewhat flat palmstones that I really like. I’ll put one on my heart chakra if I’m laying down for a meditation, or hold it in my hand. Now I’m collecting all varieties of rose quartz, including a candleholder and some larger pieces.

5. Jasmine Incense

Roses had already thoroughly permeated my life when I reached the stage of wanting a particular incense for Aphrodite. Adding rose incense on top of the rosewater and rose essential oil seemed a bit much, so I sought out another fragrance. I intended to use the incense as an offering for Aphrodite, which meant it needed to be something I could easily procure (and of course, it needed to be all natural!) I found a jasmine incense at my local Whole Foods, and instantly fell in love. It didn’t quite smell like the flowers (is there anything that really can?), but the scent was lovely nonetheless.

I used it for several months, and then another fragrance by the same brand (Triloka) popped up – Aphrodisia! How perfect! It was jasmine with a hint of vanilla, and it smelled delicious! This quickly became my go-to for incense for the Radiant Goddess. Orange blossom and, yes, rose incenses also work well.

6. Researching all about Romance

My research into all things romance-related began more as a consequence of wanting to fix my relationship with my boyfriend after he moved out than from a devotion to Aphrodite (see my earlier post about My Journey to Aphrodite – Part One), but it ended up being a labor of love and devotion anyway. My research into relationships not only helped me to repair my own relationship, but it also enabled me to help others. Before long, my friends were coming to me for advice about romance and sex, and because of my research, I had lots of resources to draw on and books to reference. This reputation soon widened beyond my close friend circle into our larger spiritual community.

Please see the Resources section of my website for some good starting points for your Romance research journey. Coming from a science background, I prefer research and evidence-based practices, like the work of John Gottman and Sue Johnson. Sue Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” was the first relationship book I ever read, several years before my journey with Aphrodite began. “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman was the first book I read after my boyfriend moved out.

7. Learning Her Language

Unlike my romance research, my academic pursuit of learning Greek directly flowed from a desire to more deeply connect with Aphrodite. I’m still definitely a beginner, though the letters look more like letters and less like symbols now, which is an improvement from several months ago. I can’t afford to take a dedicated in-person class, so I have mostly been using free apps and the occasional book. As a consequence, I’m not picking it up as quickly as I did Italian (Surprise! I’m fluent in Italian!), but I’m making progress. I’m studying modern Greek, because ultimately I think it will be more useful in my travels and studies, but eventually I would love to learn ancient Greek as well.

For apps, my favorite so far has been Mango Languages. It isn’t free, but my local library pays for a subscription, so I can access it for free using my library card info. I’ve also used Duolingo, but Duolingo’s grammar instruction (or any instruction, period) leaves a lot to be desired. I also occasionally use Memrise. At this time, the Memrise Greek course is unofficial (I think someone other than the main developers made the lessons), but it is still pretty good.

8. Tantra

Sacred sexuality has fascinated me since I learned what sex was (which wasn’t until I was eleven years old, by the way – It appears that I was the last of my friends to figure it out.) Growing up in the Bible belt American South, sex wasn’t talked about very much, if at all. Even from a young age, I intuitively knew the type of power sex could have (why else would everyone be so secretive about it?), and luckily I was not indoctrinated with the seemingly requisite shame about sex that most of my peers had (Thanks, mom!). Even so, I knew that sex was not something to be taken lightly, and I waited until college to have my first sexual experiences.

My interest in sacred sexuality didn’t really take off until grad school, and it was very slowly at first. After grad school, I was on a mission to learn all I could about sex, and that led me to Tantra. The first Tantra book I ever read was “Urban Tantra” by Barbara Carrellas, and it is still the #1 book I recommend to anyone wanting to start a practice of sacred sexuality. It is just the right balance of serious and lighthearted, which is an excellent starting place for beginners. I learned later (through reading “Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition” by Christopher D. Wallis) that originally Tantra was not all about sexuality, and that this idea largely arose from the Western import of this Eastern tradition.

Tantra taught me more about moving and manipulating energy than countless other witchy or Pagan books. I could actually feel it in my body and direct my sexual energy. This had an amazing effect on my Pagan practice outside of sex. And the sexual experiences were pretty phenomenal, too! It became a natural way to connect with Aphrodite, both through partnered sex and masturbation. Tantra really helps me to tune into all of the pleasure my body is experiencing, and that brings me closer to Aphrodite.

Brightest blessings to you as you embark on your relationship with the Resplendent Aphrodite!