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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A magic potion. Philtres were often, though not always, used for love or sexual purposes. Supposedly, when drunk, the philtre would cause the recipient to fall madly in love with the first person he or she saw. As described in literature of the Middle Ages, many were made up of obnoxious ingredients and administered in strong wine, to disguise their foul taste. Mandrake root was a common ingredient, as were vervain, briony, human or animal blood, and the red gum known as dragon's blood.

As Rosemary Guiley points out, in Wicca the forcing of love upon another is forbidden—one must never interfere with another's free will—so today philtres would only be used to enhance love that already exists.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(60) For more on accidental poisoning via love philter, see Faraone
Thus, Urquhart's expedient of providing a simple caique, along with his other exuberant word-coining, is understandable but it is imprudent to draw the conclusion that jynge ever--before or after--had widespread currency as an English term for a love philter or charm.
O Helen, Helen, Daemon that thou art, We will be done forever With this charm, this evil philter, This curse of Aphrodite (4) Because of this established demonic image of Helen, H.D effectively writes an "apologia of Helen" (Friedman 166).
Alfred Tennyson's retelling of the (probably apocryphal) story of Lucretius's succumbing to madness after downing a love philter that "confus'd the chemic labor of the blood," producing in him not sexual reignition but something like an acid trip, describes the poet seeing "flaring atom-streams / And torrents of [the] myriad universe/Ruining along the illimitable inane" (not to mention flames shooting from Helen's breasts).
A magic potion that's thought to arouse sexual desire is known as a "philter"
On the night of the Patna's collision, Jim is "penetrated by the great certitude of unbounded safety and peace that could be read in the silent aspect of nature," and in the "serenity" of the night, his "soul" becomes "drunk with the divine philter of an unbounded confidence in itself" (Lord 17, 20, emphasis added).
Such discrepancies are not due to mistranslation: "In this way we hope to display in the most striking manner the regular, ordered polysemy that has, through skewing, indetermination, or overdetermination, but without mistranslation, permitted the rendering of the same word by 'remedy,' 'recipe,' 'poison,' 'drug,' 'philter,' etc." (33) This over-determination (which results in a certain indetermination) of pharmakon is the result, as Jasper Neel says, of "both a history and a sediment of prior meanings." (34) As the Phaedrus is linguistic fabric, "[t]herefore the dissimulation of the woven texture can in any case take centuries to undo its web." (35) The pharmakon, with its colorful philological history, "...introduces itself into the body of the discourse with all its ambivalence." (36 )