With Valentine’s Day upon us, I have been reading many articles on love magic and how it’s done and suggestions for “spells” and different ways to bring love into one’s life. Each year this happens and each year it annoys the crap out of me.
Firstly, I hate Valentine’s Day. I hate it with a passion. Why? I see way too many of my female co-workers depressed and devastated around this time. (This year, to counteract this, my husband and I sent flowers to every woman in our offices anonymously. What so many people don’t understand is that it’s not the romance so much as the sign that one is remembered, that someone cares). All too often, there’s a sense of being forgotten, overlooked, not good enough. Walk into any workplace in America on Valentine’s day and the tension is so thick you can almost, as the saying goes, cut it with a knife. The social and cultural pressure for women to be in a relationship and/or married is tremendous, even now. At no time does it come to the forefront like Valentine’s Day. That’s ironic too because the day is very much an invented one. Apparently we have Chaucer to blame for creating an association between St. Valentine and romantic love.(1) The sentimentalizing and commercializing of the day came later, in the early nineteenth century and by the middle of the century the sending of valentines had become cultural convention.(2) Apparently, within Paganism, this is also a day not only to send valentines, but also to talk about love charms.
Now, let me preface what I’m about to say by stating bluntly that love is a precious gift. Whether it’s romantic love, friendship (maybe especially friendship), filial, platonic, in all its forms, it is a very precious gift from the Gods. It’s something I never, ever take for granted and I give thanks for those loves big and small in my life every day. I’ve been very blessed. That being said, what the f*ck is wrong with people? Love spells? Really? As a magician every time I encounter this fetish for love magic I’m alarmed. Consider this:
- There is an inherent lack of integrity in this type of magic.
- Would you want love if it only existed because of a charm?
- Most importantly, love magic, when it is focused on a specific individual has all the moral subtleties of psychic rape.
I’m no white-lighter, in fact I’m probably far more on the left-hand path than most magicians would be comfortable admitting. Still, there are limits even for me. Love magic is one of those limits (perhaps it comes as a result of having been a rape crisis counselor for too many years. Some things should not be forced). Moreover, I’ve had the occasional client come to me when a specifically focused love spell backfired and the result is obsession. Either the target becomes hostile and dangerously obsessed or, more likely and frequently, the person casting the spell becomes entangled in their own magic and becomes gravely and unhealthily obsessed with the original target of the charm. It’s very, very ugly when it happens and it can cause a lot of unnecessary pain.
Can love magic be done ethically? Yes. I believe it can. If someone came to me wanting to know how to do a love spell, I would counsel that person to work a spell to open him or herself up to love, or to welcome love into one’s life. If one is in a relationship, one might, with consent of all parties involved, work a spell to enhance the love and/or passion that is already there, or to strengthen it. But really, those are about the *only* cases that I could think of where love magic isn’t an appalling violation with its goal a type of mental and emotional slavery.
Better yet, take the day and do a ritual or honor one of the Gods one loves. There are several traditional Pagan holidays at this time including the Greek Gamelion (dedicated to the marriage of Zeus and Hera) and the Roman Lupercalia, which also included February 13th -14th as a day sacred to Juno the Purifier. Take the day and make offerings to Juno or Hera and ask for help in properly maintaining one’s love relationships. It’s not easy, you know, and no amount of magic will make that truism disappear.
- Jack B. Oruch, "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February" Speculum 56.3 (July 1981:534–565).
- Eve Devereux (2006). Love & Romance Facts, Figures & Fun (illustrated ed.). AAPPL. p. 28. ISBN 1904332331
- The picture is courtesy of my friend G. Krasskova who found it on facebook. I don’t know who originally created it and neither did she, but to that person, I say THANK YOU. It’s fabulous. ^_^