Love Magic

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Love Magic

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Love magic seems to be one of the most popular forms of magic. It is usually used by a woman to persuade a particular man to fall in love with her, or by a man to persuade a particular woman to fall in love with him. Yet working magic to achieve such desires is actually considered, by Wiccans, akin to working black magic. The reason is that, in trying to make another person fall in love with you, you are working against that person's free will. The Wiccan Rede says, "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." To force—in this case by magic—someone else to do something they would not do naturally is to harm them. It should therefore not be done.

This may or may not have been the reasoning behind a sixteenth-century law in England that said it was a felony to "practise or cause to be used. . . any invocation of spirits, witchcrafts, enchantments or sorceries to. . . provoke any person to unlawful love" (Witchcraft Statute, 1542). It was said that Anne Boleyn had used witchcraft to lure King Henry VIII into marrying her. This was ten years before that particular Statute.

The "harm none" creed of Wicca is not to say that no form of love magic can be performed. The usual solution is for the would-be perpetrator to work magic on him or herself, to make themselves so attractive that the desired one will be drawn naturally, rather than by having a spell put on them. Another way out would be to work magic to attract "someone," without naming any specific person. In working the magic, the type of person can be specified: appearance, interests, whatever is found attractive. This, then, might draw the attention of the particular one desired, but might just as easily draw another—someone not even realized or considered before, yet filling the "requirements."

Love magic has a considerable history, usually of the above mentioned "black" variety. Poppets—human-shaped figures of cloth, clay, or wax—have been constructed, frequently made more potent by mixing in nail clippings, hair, or blood drops from the one desired. Yet here there needs to be caution, as was shown in the incident of Dr. John Fiene, one of the accused witches of North Berwick, Scotland, in 1590 who was described as "clarke to all those who were in subjection to the Divel's service." Fiene, whose name was also given as John Cuningham, was a schoolmaster at Saltpans, in Lowthian, and took a fancy to the sister of one of his students. The brother and sister apparently slept together—not unusual at that time and place—and Fiene therefore asked the boy to obtain "three hairs from his sister's privities" and gave him a special piece of paper to place them in. Unfortunately for Dr. Fiene, the boy inadvertently woke his sister while trying to get the hairs. She complained to their mother. The mother, being a witch, guessed what Fiene was up to and substituted three hairs from the family cow's udder, placing them in the paper. The boy delivered them to his schoolmaster, who "wrought his arte upon them." Subsequently, the young heifer appeared in the doorway of the church when Fiene was inside, then followed him everywhere he went.

Certain herbs, such as the mandrake, were thought to possess aphrodisiac qualities or magical potency especially effective in cases of love. Amulets, charms, and talismans have been constructed, candles lit and ritualistically manipulated, and ceremonies performed, all in the name of love. There are many love charms and practices used by the Gypsies. They include magic to draw a desired person, magic to repel an undesirable, and magic to cement relationships.

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