“I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for…”
Many readers here are familiar with that line from the popular movie Practical Magic (1998). Two sisters, the quest for love, and a family curse. The aunts and midnight margaritas. It’s the stuff cult classics are made of. Any why not? Who doesn’t love a good love story?
Here is a confession; I have been in a 37 year love affair with romance. To quote Cinderella: “I fell in love with love one night when the moon was full.” And, yes, I will believe until my dying day that “it’s possible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage.”
Love and weaving magic are indelibly connected in our arts, music, and stories. From folktales to Bible tales, Shakespeare to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot‘s “curse cracked mirror after bold Sir Lancelot,” love sometimes makes fools of us. Regardless, what haven’t we done for love? Or in my case, who have’t we asked?
If there is one question that is asked more often than others of magical practitioners, diviners of tarot, mediums, seers and weavers between the worlds, it is: “Do they love me?”
I always want to say, “Should they love you?” However, that is not what people have come seeking answers to, well at least in the beginning. Instead most want to know, if their beloved is the one? Or where is the one? Or even better, “I want them to love me, how can I make them love me.”
In popular culture, we have lots of songs about making people love us, and also about how we can’t make them love us if they wont. Love is tricky because to love others fully, we have to love ourselves fully first. And lets face it, that hard. It was Whitney Houston who I think summed it up best, “learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all.”
As a Tarot reader, I seem to attract people with love questions. I would say that, in one weekend if I read 15 people, 10 of them have love questions. And that’s just fine, because I can talk love all day. On the surface, love is pretty; love is roses and lavender, pink candles and beautiful poetry. Love spells are enchanting, fairy tales; they are sensual, and luscious. Love spells work in the movies, in books, and in the phrase, “Happily Ever After.”
Oh yes, love…it even sounds better in French: l’amour.
Love however is often confused with lust. When most people first come to me for a reading, what they call ‘love’ is in fact lust. Lust is perfectly fine; we live in a world peppered with it, along with eros and erotica, and all sorts of passions. Lust is willful, which can certainly be sexy. However, can we will someone to love us? I’m going to venture a firm no. There is no good end to that. So often this is where the movies and the books get confused. (Damn Shakespeare. He had the love spell all wrong!)
So what is the purpose of the love spell if you can’t attract the person you just met – a person who makes your heart flutter at first sight? Well, let me tell you what a love spell can do.
I dated a man for almost two years. We met right as I moved to Philadelphia. The relationship was sometimes wonderful and other times it not. There was no doubt that we had love.There was also no doubt that our pride and vanity made it impossible to nurture a healthy relationship. In the end, we crashed, and that was a truth universally acknowledged.
I had rarely done any love spells prior to that relationship. Yet, with a broken heart, I turned to magic as many do. Yet, unlike a novice, I knew that the role of magic would deliver me first unto myself. As Christina Rossetti once said, “Love, love always, love in always, a love divine.”
My first love spell was on myself, to heal and learn to love again. There was no point in pursuing love if love was not in my heart. And, it wasn’t. That spell helped open me to other sides of the Goddess. I was able to engage with a better therapist, and meet craft teachers that pushed my magic deeper. It was not a spell about romantic love, but self love.
As I moved on and over time, he came back into my life again. He was in a state of emotional repair, and my love for him was still very real, and I was confused. So I asked a teacher for help. The advice was: “Back off, and be the friend and not the lover. Now was not my time. If I rushed this, I would loose him.” I also turned to tarot, where I saw myself as the empress card to his magician. There lied my only security. The choice was mine. I could will “love” onto him for my immediate gain, or choose to be supportive.
My second love spell was for him; that he find strength, that he find love in himself and, if destined, that his love would lead him back to me. It was not a spell about romantic love, but strengthening his love for himself.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months. It was hard. But I has laid a solid foundation through using magic to support myself in love with my first spell. I also had listened to my teachers wisdom and used my magic to support the person whom had gone from lover to beloved. Eventually his love came back to me. However, this love and our new attempt at being together had to be different than our first go almost three years prior.
My third spell was for us; that we learn from our last relationship, that we communicate better, and that we don’t pull up from the past but reach forward. This was not a “bind us for life love spell.” Instead, I kept symbols of our love and love in general on my altar. I honored us when I did my daily devotions, for example.
Over the course of eight months being back together, we discovered that we were not the same people we once were. We realized that we loved each other deeply. Even more, we realized that we had healed so much that we were actually able to be better lovers to another. That was a little over two years ago, and today he and I are friendly; he is happily partnered and I date.
What I learned through the exploration of the love spell is that the best ones start with working the love within you. Some point in every reading I do about love and every conversation about love, I always invite in something about how personal love is manifesting in the seekers’ lives. I truly believe that love comes when we create a space for it in our lives; a space that begins with breath.
Magic works because it draws from within us and is directed because of our intention. If we are grounded in a place of self-love, then our love magic is also infused with love. When we invite deity, for me that is Goddess and elements that please her, dress and anoint our sacred spaces and bodies in ways that enhance our work, we only enhance our crafting and it becomes ritual.
And so the love spell on this Valentine’s Day is more about you; falling in love with yourself. For me, it’s also about my continued love affair with Goddess in all her many faces, the great romances in the stories of myth and legends, and, for this day, a quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “I love thee with a passion put to use.”
This article was originally published at The Wild Hunt