What’s Love Got to Do With It?

What a year it has been already? On some days, time feels like it is standing still, and on other days, it feels like time is flying. I suppose the time feeling like its flying is why I hardly noticed that we were coming up to Valentine’s Day. I am taking a small shift away from talking about the Chakras this weekend to talk about another topic that I love to talk about, and that is love. Initially, I wanted to do something for black history month, but I will do that next weekend, and then back to our regular scheduled chakra conversation. You can find this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/Fw91LyZKr6k

Also, this past week marked the Lunar New Year. This is the year of the white metal Ox. I read that this is a year for good luck and relationships. It is said that 2021 holds a wealth of promise for each sign. I also read that it is a year where hard work can really be rewarded, that there will be enhanced unity and harmony, and most importantly, there shouldn’t be any major catastrophic events, you know, like a pandemic. Since this year is marked by the color and element of white metal, there should be greater abundance, prosperity and success.

That sounds pleasant, and since relationships will be a focal point, let’s talk about love… Does it really make the world go round? What are the different types of love, and then Valentine’s Day? What’s it really all about?

We will start with Valentine’s Day. I don’t recall celebrating Valentine’s Day in the first few years of my life…my first real memories of it came when my family came to America. I remember nagging mommy to take me to the store to buy Valentine’s for my whole class. I would spend the time writing each one up, adding an extra message for my friends and other people that I like. I think I only wrote my name on the ones for people that I didn’t really care for, lol, ah childhood. I also remember asking mommy to buy chocolate after Valentine’s Day because it was cheaper. I hoped that would help make my case for why I should get her to spend her hard earned money on chocolate to begin with.

Chocolate itself has a fascinating history. On a trip to Mexico, I learned about the healing, medicinal, and purported aphrodisiac-esq qualities of cacao. Growing up in the islands we ate the cacao plant, and we made a delicious chocolate tea from the dried fruit. Like in ancient times, we mix the chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. It is said that cacao helps to heal depression, insomnia, nervousness, and that pure cacao can even regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. In ancient times, chocolate was for royalty.

Chocolate Margarita in Mexico… Delicioso!

This carried on with colonialism, and when the British learned about this delicious treat, they were not immune from loving it. Apparently, Queen Victoria had a thing for chocolate, and the British confectioners took advantage of that to start mass producing the sweets. In 1868 Richard Cadbury created a heart shaped box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. You know Cadbury—the eggs, think the Cadbury bunny eggs.

But how did Valentine’s Day even come about? I read that the origins of Valentine’s Day are actually pretty wild. Of course, as with most things, there is controversy over the facts. Some historians trace Valentine’s Day back to a Roman celebration called Lupercalia. It was an annual festival that was observed in Rome from February 13th to February 15th. The purpose was to avert evil spirits and to purifying the city. This purification would release in good health for all, and increased fertility. It was also called dies Februatus after the thong used for purging (februa)—we will get to that. That is also the origin of the name February.

Essentially during Lupercalia, male goats and a dog were sacrificed by one of the Luperci (a priest of Lupercalia—a member of the brothers of the wolf). It is important to note here that Rome was said to be founded on Palatine Hill by two brothers—Romulus and Remus. They were raised by a she-wolf, “La Lupa Capitolina” or the “Capitoline Wolf.” So wolves play an important role in Roman history and mythology.

At the Capitoline Museum in Rome (Roma Capitale)

After sacrificing the goats and dogs, an offering was made and there were additional festivities. The Luperci cut thongs known as februa from the skin of the sacrificed animals. They would run naked around Palatine before returning back to their base. During the run, they would hit people (mostly women) with the thongs. Apparently, pregnant women believed that if they were struck by the thong that they would have a smooth pregnancy and delivery, and if a woman was barren and struck by the thong, that she would become fertile. This festival also included a matchmaking lottery. In the lottery, men would draw a woman’s name from a jar and they would be paired up for the duration of Lupercalia. Some matches resulted in marriage. Maybe that is the romantic origin?

In other accounts of the history of Valentine’s Day, the Romans still had a role. Emperor Claudius II executed two men both with the name Valentine on February 14th in the 3rd Century.

The Catholic Church honored them with martyrdom, and this resulted in the celebration of “St. Valentine’s Day.” In one version of this story, Saint Valentine was jailed for ministering to persecuted Christians. He restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. In other stories, he was said to write letters to the jailer’s blind daughter, and he signed one letter with “Your Valentine,” before he was executed. In another tale, he performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were not allowed to be married. It was said that Saint Valentine wore an amethyst ring, with a cupid engraved on it. Soldiers would see the symbol and ask him to perform their marriage. Some people think this is why the amethyst is the birthstone for February. In the 5th Century, Pope Gelasius I established the Feast of Saint Valentine. This was while simultaneously trying to cancel the Lupercalia, however he was unsuccessful. The day had become attributed to purging, fertility, and love.

Many ancient writers like Shakespeare and Chaucer helped to romanticize Lupercalia and that helped to transform it into a sweeter sounding holiday. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream (my favorite Shakespearean work), he said, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, all in the morning betime, and I a maid at your window, to be your valentine.”

In some other cultures, the time marks the coming of spring, and this is something that we can all love. In the 19th century, many people started exchanging paper cards and this tradition carried on when the holiday crossed the pond. In 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass producing cards for the holiday. Valentine’s Day is big business—with sales of more than 20 billion dollars spent annually to celebrate. So even though the holiday has become so commercialized, does that mean the love element is lost? I have celebrated Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner in the past and now the present…but I have also celebrated Galentine’s Day with my dear friends. (A few of the people I’ve celebrated with below… <3)

I think love is too powerful to be diminished by capitalism. There are several different types of love. You can express any one of them at any time. According to the ancient Greeks, there were eight different types of love.

·      Agape: This is the highest type of love there is to offer. It is selfless love. It is unconditional love. It is free from desires and expectations, and is often considered to be a more spiritual form of love. 

·      Philautia: This is self-love. You take care of your well-being, and you recognize your self-worth. It is also about compassion for the self. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Once you love yourself, you can provide love to others. 

·      Mania: This is exactly what it sounds like… it is an obsessive love towards a partner. This is madness in relationships, and can lead to issues of possessiveness, jealousy, and codependency. 

· Ludus: This is flirtatious or playful love that is usually found in the beginning stages of a relationship. This is where we feel butterflies and that sense of euphoria.

·      Eros: This is a primal love that deals with physical pleasure. Named after the God of love and fertility, it is sexual passion and desire. 

·      Storge: This is the love between parents and children, and between best friends. It is built upon a deep emotional connection. It is a natural form of affection that flows between family and friends. 

·      Pragma: This is mature love and it evolves and deepens over time. Pragma is love where the parties have put in the work to make it work. 

· Philia: This is affectionate love, and exemplifies the love in friendships. It is love without romantic attraction. Plato believed that physical attraction was not necessary for love, and this is the root of the word “platonic” friendship. Some refer to Philia as “brotherly love.”

I think we can all experience some or all of these in our lives, and in combination with each other. I believe that understanding the different types of love, and our own love language makes it easier for us to give and receive love. The Five Love Languages was coined by Dr. Gary Chapman and outlines five general ways in which we express and receive love. These are:

·      Acts of Service: These are the people who show love by taking action. They do things that they believe will help make your life easier. Show you care by doing the dishes, picking up coffee, or fill up the gas tank. 

·      Gift-Giving: These are people who like to have a visible symbol of love. They value the gift giving process, including the time spent thinking about the gift, and the meaning behind it. Show them you care by appreciating the gifts that they give to you, and by surprising them with meaningful gifts—small or large. 

·      Physical Touch: These are the people who enjoy touch. They want to cuddle, hold hands, and feel physical intimacy. You can show you care by making intimacy a priority!

·      Quality Time: These are people who value time—mostly undivided attention. They want to connect through conversation of activity done together. You can show you care by doing something where they have your attention. Take a long walk together, or take a trip together. 

· Words of Affirmation: These are people who value verbal acknowledgement of love. They love compliments, words of appreciation, frequent communication, and encouragement. To show you care, send unexpected messages, and genuinely support them.

You can take the quiz to find out your love language. I think it is important in partnerships—not just romantic ones—because Dr. Chapman theorized that most people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive it. If this is your approach, you might actually miss that someone is showing you love because they are doing it in their way. They might also think they are showing you love, but you just are not receiving it because that’s not your love language. For example, if my partner washes the dishes as an act of service, they might think they are showing me love. But if what I really want is to sit with them for quality time, then I might overlook the act of service as an expression of love. I think these are helpful in developing and evolving in healthy relationships. I once had a conversation with my friend DeJuan (https://www.whatjuanknows.com) about how I used the Law of Attraction to Manifest a healthy love. Some of the tips that I gave were:

1. Know Thyself. You want to work on yourself, not to “perfection,” because you are not perfecting yourself for a man or woman. You are getting solid in yourself—not only does this prevent getting absorbed into the other person, but it allows you to know what you will stand for. I think that when we are not in a romantic relationship is the best time to prepare for a relationship. Your relationship with yourself will always be important. Love yourself so that you don’t eventually put the burden on others to do it for you. Their loving you is icing on the cake. When you are in a relationship, remember that someone else cannot make you whole, you are already whole. Enjoy the lessons and companionship of that other person, but don’t make it their responsibility to provide your happiness.

2.     Believe that you are worth it! Believe that you deserve a healthy love. Don’t settle for anything less than that. You are worthy of love. You are love, loved, loving, and more. 

3.     Make peace with your past so that it does not sabotage your present. You are the captain of your destiny. The past graced us with important lessons, but don’t let the past be a shackle on your future. As you learn, and evolve, you will also learn a lot about the beautiful ways that love can enter our lives and transform things for the better.  

4.     Speak LIFE into your life! Speak love into your life. 

5.     Expect that the things you want will happen. In the words of one of my favorite metaphysical speakers, “You have to believe it before you see it!”

6.     Be authentic. Be true to you—to your wants, to your needs, and to your personality. Everyone is not the same, and it is important to do and say the things that feel natural and authentic to you.

7. Love, love, and love some more. We will talk more about this when we discuss the heart chakra…but I do believe that love is the most powerful force in our universe. I have seen it, experienced it, and work to be an advocate for it.

No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, or any day, I hope that you remember that you are love. I hope you are reminded of that from friends, family, a partner if that’s your jam, but mostly from yourself. As Paulo Coelho said, “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

And to my own love, As Emily Bronte said, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a week filled with love for you.

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