Discover more from Going Love First
7 • The Altar of Love & Death
From a declaration of love to a dream come true, this was a weekend like no other.
This weekend I watched a monster parade, made a “potion” in a cauldron using ingredients of music and light, became an alien flower dissolving into the earth as it rained people around us, stylized the world as a graphic novel, jumped off a 20 ft rock into a river, bathed in a “milk bath” of Orbeez, and watched people joust on inflatable chickens in a pool. Yet the best part of my weekend involved an art piece of my own making.
Suffice to say, I was at a playful arts festival in the woods over the past five days. There I contributed to The Altar of Love & Death, an art project made as a declaration of love to the creator's partner. I was asked by my friend Caitlin to contribute since, well, I’m all about love. As I perused the brief I immediately had some ideas. They talked of ceremony, rituals, and magic as some of the activities the Altar could offer to the festival.
Ceremony, ritual, magic… and all of that in the context of Love & Death? Sign. Me. Up!
My primary contribution became The Book of Love & Death, a spell book for Love magic. It contains five Love spells I created, one for each of the four Elements of Love and a manifestation spell for the element of Love itself.
And then there is a spell for Death, written by the lifeless.
This spell is for accepting your mortality and overcoming your fear of transitioning to the next chapter in life, and I wrote it together with Artificial Intelligence. I fed ChatGPT my first five spells and told it to compose a poem about death and acceptance. At first it fumbled a little, but with refinement it eventually got to a baseline spell I thought was quite good. It still needed editing and rewriting by a human, but enough of it was usable that I could legitimately say it was written by the lifeless. Honesty and transparency are a part of Love, and the water element.
I cast two Love spells with the audience of our Altar’s opening ceremony on Friday night, after which several people told me how beautiful it was. One friend said it brought him to tears; others appreciated how the Earth spell created meaningful connection in such a short amount of time.
Later in the night, I found myself back at the Altar with some friends, cuddling in the beautiful space we had made, when suddenly a woman appeared on top of us like a smiling weighted blanket of love. After a little bit of cuddling and talking she got up to leave. “My fiancé and I were actually about to head out.” I got up to give her a hug, then also met the fiancé, but just before they left I asked them:
“Are you interested in doing a Love spell?”
“That sounds amazing, yes!”
The three of us sat down and I opened with The Ties That Bind, an Earth spell for building connection, grounding, and confidence. We held hands as they each shared a short story about how falling in love with the other had changed them for the better, leading to their recent engagement. It was beautiful and moving, and led into a longer, deeper conversation in which I shared the story of my journey into Love First; the Year of Loss; and my tattoo. We talked about our various journeys and experiences with love, healing, communication, relationship dynamics, and more for about twenty minutes, at which point I picked up the book for another Love spell. After concluding that spell, the two of them checked in with each other and then asked me:
“Would you like to officiate our wedding?”
This was a long-held dream come true for me! Years ago, my mom was asked to officiate the wedding of two close friends of hers, and ever since I’ve wanted to do the same. And, what a profound affirmation it was of the power of Love magic to be asked to officiate a union of love for two people I had just met!
If that had been the only highlight of my festival, it would’ve been more than enough—and yet the universe still had more in store for me. Multiple people asked me to make The Book of Love & Death available for purchase, and the universe next connected me with two people who are perfectly suited to help me take it to the next level.
Two weeks until the next festival appearance for The Altar of Love & Death. I can’t wait!
Leave a comment if you would like a copy of the book, too.