Within the mainstream NeoPagan world there is this ideal that no magic should ever be done to influence the will of another and one of the biggest taboos is doing love magic in order to win a specific person. Going into a comparative diatribe of varying magical ethical systems is a huge topic unto itself that will probably get some blog time here eventually. Today is not the time or place for that discussion. However I will speak briefly the ideas of influencing a person magically in order to receive romantic attention from them.
For one thing, magic cannot create something out of nothing. It works by manipulating possibilities. If no such possibility exists, then no amount of magic can birth it into existence. If we look at magic as a manipulator of chance, then we need to look at manipulators of chance in general in order to gain a realistic perspective of how “ethical” the application of magic to romantic situations is or is not. Let’s start small and with an example that applies directly to our topic – with the hypothetical situation that you are a woman going out on the town with the intent of hopefully finding a new lover.
Chances are pretty good that you do not go out hair all a-tangle, in your sweat pants and t-shirt, and your face au natural. You know that, generally speaking, presenting yourself in such a way does nothing to increase the probability of attracting a mate. So to work probability in your favor you shower, spend time getting your hair looking lovely, put on some make-up to flatter your features and downplay any perceived faults, put on a push-up bra, maybe pull on a pair of Spanx, slip into a dress that shows a little cleavage and maybe some leg, don some heels to accentuate your legs and add some feminine mystique, apply a little alluring perfume, and then set out. You have just been working to manipulate the perceptions of any men who may see you that night.
If any conversations do strike up with potential lovers that night, I bet that you also do not conduct yourself in the same manner as you do with your best friend of 20 years. It’s much more likely that you do your very best to put forth a very idealized and sanitized version of yourself. Again, you are working to manipulate the perception of yourself by these men. If you do end up seeing one of these suitors again, I would bet that for at least the first couple of dates, if not weeks and months thereafter, you do your best to maintain this façade of the “best you”, only letting it drop a little at a time. By continuing to put forth this “best you” you perpetuate the manipulation of his perceptions of you, with the hopes that this will keep his attentions. Most will make an effort to learn the likes and dislikes of the new partner, in order to play to these in an attempt to gain further favor over the coming weeks, despite whether or not they actually like or dislike those things themselves. Some very ambitious individuals even take this whole process of possibility manipulation up a notch and study body language and subtle verbal communication. This works to influence their dates more subconsciously, by working on their more instinctual impulses and judgments. It’s all part of the established game.
This is the typical set of behaviors that probably 95% of all people demonstrate when they are looking for, and beginning a relationship. Is all this dishonest and unethical? It certainly contains a great deal of manipulation. However, no amount of make-up, water bras, or personality polish can make someone fall for you if there is no chemistry whatsoever. So really all of that just helps you reel in appropriate candidates, correct? To push things around into your favor a bit more, and in help increase your chances that you will be successful in your “hunt”.
Using magic is not much different. It is simply working to manipulate things on a more subtle level, rather than relying on visual clues, foundation garments, or canned conversation. Each situation that we enter into has a set of possible outcomes, each with their own statistical probability of coming to pass. Each word, action, and reaction alters the statistics until one wins the majority and comes to pass. Magic can help tilt the odds to the favor of one particular outcome. So, in my opinion, making a broad-sweeping statement that “using love magic to try and win a particular target is always unethical and a form of ‘black magic’” is pretty naïve and short-sided. If you think that’s the case, then I dare you to go out to a club bare-faced in your pyjamas and making sure to inform each person that may approach you of all your neurosis in the first sentence that you speak to them.
That being said, I understand why such statements have been made. As I said in the opening paragraph of this article nothing will turn people into irrational nut cases more quickly than love and lust. Far too many people get caught up in using love magic obsessively on a desired target – even when all signs, results, and divinations have shown that it is simply not going to work out, and even after professional workers have strongly advised them to cut that person out of their life and instead work on drawing a suitable partner. They will spend months working one spell after another, and spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on spell kits, magic supplies, getting readings, and in some unfortunate cases in employing the services of scam artists who prey on the hopes of the love-lorn by promising results at a very high price. But the old saying is true that says “the heart wants what it wants”.
Sadly, in many cases, the heart is plainly idiodic. Using a scare-tactic, such as saying that it’s evil and will rebound in untold horrible way upon if you do so, is a great way to attempt to keep people in line. Just look at the threat of the brimstone and demon-infested fiery Hell that has been such a popular socio-political and morality control mechanism for the past thousand or so years. (It may also be valuable to note the overall success rate of this tactic. You end up with a lot of very frightened and repressed people who still behave badly, but feel just awful about it - once they get caught.)
My personal philosophy on love work goes thusly – go ahead and try for the person you desire. We all know that you’re going to do it anyway, so we might as well be honest about it. There are plenty of gentle and non-coercive love spells that will greatly enhance your chances or winning the affection of said person if there is a real possibility for you to be with them. This can help skew the odds in your favor and give you a chance to try your hand at a relationship with the person, or get you some hot and heavy lovin’ with that sexpot. Of course, said spells do not guarantee that the relationship will actually work, or that your fling will last. That is the responsibility of the two people in the relationship to navigate. If the personalities simply clash there’s really nothing to be done about it. Magic cannot change a person’s basic nature.
If after trying for a while for a specific person – and I really don’t recommend spending more than 3 or 4 months trying for a target – you are not getting the results that you had hoped for, it’s in your best interest to admit defeat, do your best to cut your ties with that person, take a bit to heal, and then move on. In my opinion, if nice tricks like honey jars or a Come to Me spell kit do not turn the tide, then you are MUCH better off turning your attention to attracting a suitable partner. Escalating work into the more coercive, controlling, binding, or torturous routes is just wasting your time and energy on what is obviously a lost cause. You may keep drawing them back, but chances are whatever keeps breaking things up, will continue to break things up. You’re playing a losing game, and all the time and money and magic is not going to change that. Cut ties – move on. Everyone will be happier for it.
In my practice as a magical practitioner, I will not help people pursue love cases that are not right for them. I know that some workers, even if they have told the client outright that there isn’t any hope for the case, will still agree to help the person continue to try as long as the situation is not abusive or dangerous. I make no judgments on that, because we all know what it’s like to feel desperate for someone and be willing to try to make it work long after the ship has actually sailed. For most people, that experience is instructive. We learn that it just doesn’t do any good to keep trying when all signs point to “MOVE ON, LADY – HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU!!!” Aiding people through that process is neither good nor bad. It just is. I choose not to participate in it, and that’s just as valid a choice as being a willing part of the process.
While I am happy to consult on love cases when my divinations show that there is a good probability that things can work out in a way that would be beneficial, and to provide instructions and in some cases supplies for working prescribed love magic, I have also chosen to not do any love work on behalf of any clients, except for crafting custom bottle spells, or mojo bags. I feel that one should win their love – or not - through their own power. I’ll be happy to back-up and lend loving support to their efforts through crafting an item they can work, and I have no issue with any practitioner who takes a more ongoing hands-on approach to helping clients in love situations - but ultimately relationships are something that I feel one really needs to learn to manage on their own. We all need outside advice from time to time, and readings and consultations with reliable practitioners can help provide that. I certainly don’t pull any punches when I give them – in many cases tough love is the best love! But the heavy lifting is something that you have to do yourself. No one can fix a relationship for you.
Sometimes targeted love magic works out to that happy ending that everyone dreams about. But in the majority of cases, it does not. That’s life. Most sexual encounters do not end up as long-term relationship, and even most long-term relationships peter out. Hence why the pursuit of romance is so frustrating! You have to kiss so many frogs before finding that Princ/ess. It would be my hope that eventually people will get to a point where instead of working to draw who they think is the best person for them, they switch to working to draw the person who is actually best for them. Period. And THAT is some very powerful magic that works extremely well. But to work best, it requires that the person doing the work has spent some time really getting to know themselves, and what things they actually need from a partner, rather than just wanting.
Love magic, in and of itself is not evil or bad or immoral. It’s human nature. Can some people get carried away and take things way too far? To quote an unfortunate political figure, “You betcha.” That’s pretty much true of anything. The most powerful love magic is the love magic we can do to benefit ourselves at a deep and honest level. To attract a partner that embodies all the things that we know we need, has qualities that we simply enjoy, they will compliments our personality type and lifestyle, and they will bend over backwards to make us feel amazing and appreciated for being exactly who we are. A perfect partner will receive those same benefits from you, as well! I found my husband through such a spell, and I know others who also found their life-mate through magical work. Love magic can be some of the most meaningful and healing magic that we can perform – we just need to gain a modicum of self-knowledge and emotional sophistication to reap the benefits of it.
I hope that this, and the related articles that will follow it, will be not only entertaining and educational, but thought-provoking as well. Please feel free to subscribe to this blog so that you won’t miss anything in the coming weeks!