Love Potion Spell & Ritual

Documentation from Love Potion (2005)

Documentation from Love Potion (2005)

Love Potion is both a spell and a ritual which unfolds in three phases and then begins again. Perhaps it is first encountered when a host offers her guests a magic potion made from borage; a herb reputed to drive away sorrow, melancholy, uplift the spirits, and when shared with others to nurture compassion and peace. For some the potion has quite a powerful effect and they feel relaxed, convivial and joyful. Sounds and visuals seep into their consciousness and float away. The following day some sense a strange feeling of disengagement from power structures, but for now they enliven the sad with the joy of a joke. Upon leaving, guests take a small bunch of borage flowers and leaves with thoughts of hosting a similar event for their own friends and family. The converted clear a space in their garden, or fill a flower pot with fresh soil and plant some borage seeds. They tend their plants over the months watching them grow and bloom. In the summer they cleanse a space with frankincense, prepare a magic potion and welcome their guests.

Love Potion was devised in 2005 by Kate Southworth and Patrick Simons as Glorious Ninth. Sound and visuals were produced to be shown as part of the ritual. The visuals can no longer be shown in their original form. The music and sound loops by Patrick Simons are available below.


Love Potion was made for the 2005 Port Eliot Literary Festival, St Germans, Cornwall where it was part of the Artytechs Parlour. Following that it was accepted into the Rhizome at the New Museum permanent archive. Dominic Thomas, Rupert Howe and Sarah B enacted aspects of it as part of a live art performance at Live Art Falmouth in 2005. It was exhibited as part of the (in)visible networks exhibition for Networks of Design: Design History Society Annual Conference, 2008 at University College Falmouth. A paper on Love Potion was peer reviewed and presented as part of the ‘Challenge to Ocularcentrism: Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery’ panel at the 2006 Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, University of Leeds. The work was one of three that I discussed in an artist presentation panel at the Challenging Cultures of Death: Mercy Not Sacrifice conference at Trinity College, Dublin in 2007. It was one of three works that I discussed in a paper, Distributed network art: protocol and ritual’ at the International Symposium of Electronic Art 2008 in Singapore, and in two papers that I presented at ISEA 2009 in Belfast.