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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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Black superstition was the subject of lucrative exploitation of charms and philters, and cheap pseudo-religious votive ornaments and accessories alike, but it was in the systematic organization of the Numbers Racket that the most relentless and deliberate exploitation took place.
191: "As for me, I believe that these philters correspond nowadays to the profit accumulated through immoderate greed, to the wages of ambition, as well as to the excessive, blind extravagance of fortune.
it is certainly predominantly the case that women seem to have access to magical philters created by Morgan [le Fay, and] the link between [female] magic and power over an individual is tied in many ways to the link between control over female sexuality" (Sweeney 2000: 27).