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Love Potion

Isis and Cleopatra, the Love Goddesses' Love Potion

“The buds from Hatti are ripe … all the meadow blossoms with burgeoning buds.” - Cairo Love Song, “Seven Wishes”, New Kingdom
 
Love potions have been used since the dawn of time, Cleopatra used them on the besotted Julius Caesar and probably Mark Anthony too, no wonder her charms are still spoken of today. Cleopatra worshipped the goddess Isis, who has always been associated with love and roses, which is why we still give roses to those we love. Cleopatra was known to have been very smitten by the rose and it is reputed that the fountains about her royal palaces, lavishly flowed with sparkling rose waters and that the sails of her royal barge were scented,  washed in rose water.  As Shakespeare wrote in his play Anthony and Cleopatra:

'Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that the winds were lovesick with them …

IsisCleopatra'In the The Deipnosophists, the author Athenaeus records, in the 2nd century A.D that, 'On the fourth day she distributed fees, amounting to a talent, for the purchase of roses, and the floors of the dining-rooms were strewn with them to the depth of a cubit (45-cm), in net-like festoons spread over all.' The ancient Egyptians believed that the gods’ divine bodies radiated perfumes, that beautiful fragrance was a link with the divine.
 
Cleopatra proclaimed herself the living vessel of Isis on earth, the goddess of love, and so delighted in bewitching all with the rich and intoxicating, splendour of the scent of the rose, Rosa Gallica. To promote herself as Love Queen, Cleopatra had 100,000 roses, picked and tended by 100,000 slaves and sailed down the Nile to her temple to herself, Isis. 

Perfume was thought sacred and magical, and used in the art of sorcery by the high priests and physicians who fed rose water to the sick. They believed that perfume was a holy secret of the gods, passed on to the high masters of sorcery. The scent's ingredients were made into powders, or mixed into precious oils or beeswax to preserve unchanged, the magical life force of the flowers, plants, spices and herbs themselves, contained within. These were sometimes used to heal, as offering to the gods, or as elixirs of love, the first love potions, the first perfumes. 

love potion bottlesEgypt was famous throughout the ancient world for the beauty of its perfumes. A famous example is Rhodinon, rose perfume. Theophrastus, the Greek philosopher (371 – 287 BC) wrote of Rhodinon,  '...being very delicate and acceptable to the sense of smell, by reason of its lightness it penetrates as no other can …'
 
Scents of flowers, spices and incense are used in magic to stimulate the mind, enflame the senses, to kindle energies and desires, in the same way Cleopatra and the modern seductress wears her love potion,  her perfume to inspire and bewitch passions.
 
An ancient Egyptian love spell is to place a Rosa Gallica, beneath the pillow of the one you love. So now you know how to follow in the rosy scented footsteps of Cleopatra the Love Goddess and make the very winds sigh with love for you, with Isis' potion for love

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