Hyunsuh Kim, Ruth Brickland


Aphrodisiac #1 - The witch's tonic

The word "wicked" originates from wicca ("witch"). Witches have been feared for their destructive potential against the existent power system, admired for their creative magic to reconstruct the world. "Wicked" is the hearth of knowledge, light to the moths, love for the rejected and brave, dangerous and life-giving. 


Wicked Concept Illustration - Hyunsuh Kim

Wicked is one of the aphrodisiac recipes in our "Seafoam" series, in which we attempt to queer the traditional aphrodisiac. We cordially invite you to embark on our odyssey of love— where crew members across species interact with one another in transforming adventures of various forms. Keep a loving eye on our blog as we update experimentation and taste testing of the recipes.



Kombucha, tea that has been fermented with symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), has been regarded as the panacea of various illnesses ranging from bladder stones to cancer (Tietze). And although such effects have not been "backed up by empirical evidence", just are other forms of magic and witchcraft, to many the general gastrointestinal benefits from kombucha's probiotics, the experience of keeping a low-maintenance living beverage culture, and most of all the characteristic flavor of kombucha– its delightful fizziness, acidity and honey-like aroma are more than enough reasons to start their own culture. I grow kombucha SCOBY myself, from the kombucha mother that I received from Mediamatic. It soon grew thick enough for me to divide it into more layers that I then gave to my friends and them, to their friends. This SCOBY that we playfully named "Kevin", begot children and grandchildren all throughout the dormitory, building a community of kombucha SCOBYs and their growers. Now, whenever a friend visits my room, I boast to them my healthy living SCOBY, quipping "It's a drinkable pet," as I pour two glasses of the wonderful tonic, initiating them into the cult. 


v. wisdom

never refuse

a gift from a witch

even when

it is wrapped in thorns


vi. strength






i shall




i walk


the valley


















i touch



- From The Witch's Manifesto by Kai Cheng Thom




Kombucha undergoes not one, but two stages of transformation over the course of 12-20 days. During the first half, intensely sugary tea meets the mother SCOBY and ferments into carbonated, tangy solution. The second time around, the liquid is introduced to various fruits, herbs and spices, and takes on their marvelous flavors as it becomes a one-off concoction (indeed, no one batch of kombucha is ever the same as another, even with the exact same ingredients and their ratios). Most commercial kombucha in supermarkets are boiled at this stage, in order to stop the fermentation process. Such kombucha cannot be used to grow a SCOBY out of, as the bacteria and the yeast have been killed. Wicked on the other hand is served raw and alive, so should you decide to see how the story of the two of you unfolds further, you can take it home, feed it more sugar and grow your own SCOBY from it. 


Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wild flowers will come up where you are.

- Rumi




Black darjeeling is the leaves of Camellia sinensis grown and harvested in Darjeeling, India. When the leaves are eaten by leafhoppers and tea tortrixes, the plant releases defensive chemicals that initiate the oxidation process and creates a grape-like perfume characteristic of darjeeling. Darjeeling undergoes further physical and chemical changes through harvest, drying, rolling and more drying. Blooming in hot water, it releases a complex bouquet of flowers and spices. When it cools down, its nitrogen, caffeine and theanine nourish the bacteria and yeast incomers as it transforms once again.

Goji berry bears petite violet and fuschia hermaphrodite flowers. In China, where the plant is known as the "happy berry", stimulating the reproductive hormones and adrenal system, people warned of its strong aphrodisiacal effects: “He who travels one thousand kilometres from home should not eat goji.” The Goji berry bush is often used as a food source and playground by sparrows. Considered to be among the most lustful of birds, sparrows were deemed sacred to Aphrodite.

Poppy has often been associated with femme fatale figures in various cultures, from Cybele, the Phrygian Great Mother and her descendant Aphrodite, to Yang Guifei, whose beauty allegedly ended the Tang dynasty. When Emperor Xuan Zong ennobled his concubine Yang Guifei's mother and three sisters, assigned a court role to her uncle and married his daughter to one of her cousins, and made another cousin the Prime Minister, people exclaimed “Don’t be pleased with the birth of a son / Don’t deplore the birth of a daughter / Look at Yang Guifei, who brought her family fortune” (Colville). Mythologies and legends have  on the one hand reflected the suppressed women's role in the realm of politics under the bedsheets, and on the other hand through and through downgraded powerful women into beautiful monsters that seduce foolish men to their own demise and that of their world. But when Eve, Pandora, Helene and Yang Guifei brought upon such irreversible changes, the very patriarchal narratives that absolve men of their responsibility (simultaneously ignoring the question of why such fools are allowed to wield such power to begin with), ultimately subvert themselves by simultaneously emphasizing the agency and power on the side of the female protagonists. 

Hibiscus is a short-lived but dramatic flower of flame, and symbolizes youth, beauty, success, glory, and femininity. In Wicked, the tangy hibiscus petals add a twist of flavor, change that may cascade instantaneously but linger in their pomegranate-like scent.

Lad's Love, or Maid's Passion is a titillating herb that was often hidden between other flowers in a seductive bouquet exchanged between young people.


Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it's Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon's blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people
look up from the street:
it is time they knew!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.

It is time.

- Corona by Paul Celan, to beloved Ingeborg Bachmann



Colville, Alex. "The face that ended a dynasty? The imperial concubine Yang Guifei." SupChina. November 2, 2020. https://supchina.com/2020/11/02/the-face-that-ended-a-dynasty-the-imperial-concubine-yang-guifei/ 

Tietze, Harald W. Living Food for Longer Life. Bermagui, Australia: Harald W. Tietze Publishing, 1999.


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