Eros is passionate love, one of several categories of love we’ve borrowed from the ancient Greeks. It is the root of the word “erotic,” but its meaning both includes and surpasses sexual and romantic love. It refers to our deeply embodied life force, the satisfaction and pleasure we feel in connection and creativity, and the instinctual drive that moves us towards what we find captivating and life-giving. It is a powerful force that has been powerfully abused in contemporary culture. As Audre Lorde writes in “The Uses of the Erotic”:
The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor of self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.
Eros is the heartbeat pulsing through everything—and yet, most of the associations we have to this power involve it being either exploited or vilified. Our myths, stories, and songs are full of sex and romantic plot lines, but they too often depict limiting, flattened, or oppressive simulacra of our own erotic potential. To whom, then, do we turn in search of erotic wisdom? How might we recognize such wisdom if we met it?
About the spell:
Eros is not known for its safety nor its stability. There is a wildness within erotic energy that transcends all that is (or can become) civilized in us. The wanting urges of the body are primary—they come before reason or compassion—so it makes sense that they inspire fear and aggression alongside pleasure and exhilaration. But the wanting that burns in our soul is primary even to our instincts, and it is that primordial desire that feeds our physical experiences with meaningful riddles—namely, is what you think you want actually what your soul desires? How would you know? Desire is elusive even as we seek to satisfy it—it always reaches beyond what we can attain.
We are used to absorbing our desires from the culture around us, which tells us what beauty and success mean. The available options for either of these feel suffocatingly limiting and unattainable for most of us—and what if what you really want is to lie down on the earth and feel the moss on your bare back and the play of breeze and dappled sunlight on your skin? What if the passion you’re looking for is available to you, through all your senses and your erotic connection to the world, in this very moment? What if the satisfaction you search for and work for can be harvested in an instant from the depth of your awareness?
We offer this spell as fierce protection for the innocent desires of your animal body in this society that ignores and defiles them. We hope this spell helps you sink a little deeper into the riddles of beauty and fulfillment.
A meditation on eros:
Every moment of your life can be a meditation on eros. The rhythm and charge of your erotic existence dances through each of your cells throughout the stream of your breathing life. If you'd like to follow this particular meditation, you can simply turn your awareness towards yourself with soft curiosity. Notice your body and how it is resting in space. Notice your breath and how it is moving your body. Notice the quality of your mind and how it is affecting the quality of your life today. And then, consider: how does eros move through your life? Does it guide you towards things that feel good? Does it route you into obsessive patterns? Is it only allowed out at certain times—or is it ever allowed to come out at all?
Perhaps these questions are enough to sit with for now... But, if you feel like playing a little more, continue to offer yourself keen and gentle attention, but let a glint come into your inner eye. Practice paying yourself the kind of attention you long for from others. Can you look at yourself so intently that you make yourself blush? Can you feel yourself bloom in the warm energy of your own gaze? Can you sustain and endure loving attention? If practicing this becomes excruciating for you, see if you can harvest one piece of information about why it is hard—what is it that you feel that makes this hard? If, on the other hand, this is intriguing or fun, consider taking it a step further and make loving contact with yourself somehow—touch your face, rub your cheek against your shoulder, hold your hands together, make yourself laugh, listen to yourself sing. And then wonder again—would you risk foolishness and failure to become intimate with yourself and your desires? What would it take to fall in love with the creature that you are, in all its ridiculous and brilliant complexity? What would it take to settle into the understanding that your erotic energy is more vast and powerful than you can imagine, and completely yours to enjoy?
To end this meditation, rest assured that however glorious or clumsy or terrible these moments were for you, you just practiced a deep magic of erotic existence: when you turn your desire inward, the experience of wanting can unite with the most essential form of having.
About the painting:
Corina: This might be my favorite painting from this year. I’d been dreaming of a cat languidly draped over an open poppy for a few years now, originally for a different project, but I’m glad it made its way into this one. I remember crossing my fingers that my sister wouldn’t get mad about how much I stretched the proportions of this panther. No cat is actually long enough to wrap around that giant poppy, and between us I tend to take liberties for the sake of composition that mess her up as a more figurative painter. But when she called me angry about my misrepresentation of cat anatomy, she merely pointed out I’d drawn one shoulder blade way too high and asked to move it down, which was exactly right. The final painting feels so right to me, like a perfectly accomplished idea. It also reminds me of how in sync my sister and I are getting over years of collaboration. We used to have long fights about how to finish a painting-in-progress, each of us somewhat defensive of our own vision and not entirely trusting each other’s (or our own) skills. After many years of learning to trust each other’s skills and our shared vision, our collaborations are now easy enough that we can make something (like this blog post) with minimal discussion and absolute freedom to edit each other.
Jocelyn: Painting that poppy was so pleasurable, but I’ve never been more stumped than I was by that panther. When I found the source image for the cat and fell in love with how it was both black and spotted, depending on how the light was hitting it, I didn’t consider how difficult that might be to render in gouache. And then, as I tried to make the cat look like a real, complex individual, its body just wouldn’t fit together right. As my sister already told, I reached a point of frustration where I asked to change her drawing to make it work. When I got clearance to fix the cat’s shoulders I extended my creative license to give the cat a backbone, too—an important moment of symbolism for me as an artist, collaborator, and erotic being. As soon as that cat had bones I could trust, I was able to serve its majesty with paint. This image and spell mean so much to me — I dedicate their beauty and power to the mentors in my life who have taught me to champion erotic energy and devote myself to its riddles.
This month's offerings:
We've got a sale going on this image for the whole month of July! Buy a print of Eros and get 15% off, using the coupon code CANTTOUCHTHIS.
WE FINISHED THE 2019 CALENDAR!! The file is off to print and soon enough we’ll reach out with a link to pre-order. Also, one of the images will be sold soon to raise money for migrant justice.
Jo will be vending at The Big Crafty this Sunday! If you are in the Asheville area, please come and say hi!!
Mostly, though, we are both planning to spend as much time as possible this month at waterfalls, lying on the ground, playing badminton, and enjoying spontaneity. Follow our shenanigans at @abacuscorvus on Instagram. And you can find out what each of us is up to by following @corinadross and @jocelyncorvus