[Once a month for the next twelve months, I will be doing a post on the 13th of each month based on one of the Thirteen Houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers from Kushiel’s Legacy.]
The seventh House was going to be Heliotrope, but then I realized that Valentine’s Day is coming next month, and so I thought I’d save discussing Heliotrope until then.
This month’s house is Jasmine. The motto of Jasmine House is “For pleasure’s sake,” and the House canon is sensuality. They, naturally, hold that Naamah slept with the King of Persis for pleasure. The House cultivates a very “exotic” image, and its adepts are said to have Bhodistani [Indian] blood in their adepts’ lineage. (D’Angelines have a bit of a bad habit of being Orientalist.)
That aside, pleasure and sensuality are both very much the province of the Vanir (not that non-Vanic deities don’t include it in their purview). As beings who are so closely tied to the well-being of the land and material prosperity, it seems natural to associate them with sensual pleasure, which may or may not be sexual, although it often is where the Vanir are concerned. I’ve also heard it said among Vanatruar that the Vanir are definitely deities of “the good life”: good food, good company, good sex, good things all around. In fact, one of the best pieces of advice I was given when I was worried that the Vanir weren’t interested in me was to bake bread, sing, and just generally enjoy life, if they wanted something, they would let me know, and I think that’s pretty good advice, especially since, in my experience, the Vanir tend to be pretty relaxed (this doesn’t mean that they can’t be absolutely ferocious or that someone else won’t experience them in that way, just that I experience them as pretty chill deities).
Personally, I find this approach to pleasure, with deities who accept (and in some ways embody) the “good” in life to be a refreshing change from a tradition that labels many pleasures (especially sexual ones) “sins”, especially if you are a woman (although, yes, men are also expected to curtail their desires).
Alao, you know, you don’t need to experience sensory overload to get the most out of pleasurable feelings, sometimes simple pleasures are best, like this delicious lemon tea I’m drinking.