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Love Spells, Charms and Customs From Around the World

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Love Spells, Charms and Customs From Around the World

People have used love magic for millennia.

Image © Ron Levine/Getty Images

Love and its pursuit have driven us for millennia. Valentine's Day is one of our biggest holidays of the year, rings are purchased, chocolate is consumed, flowers are delivered -- all in the name of love. It should come as no real surprise that most modern-day magical practitioners will tell you that hands down, they get more requests for love spells than anything else. And why not? Love magic has been the staple of the wisewoman, the cunning man, and the village herbalist for ages. Read through any account of rural folklore, and you'll find frequent references to charms, talismans, potions, and amulets that people have used to draw love their way. Here is a look at some of the best-known, and most popular, forms of love magic from around the world.

  • In some traditions of hoodoo and rootwork, those in love are advised to obtain a piece of their intended's hair. Wrap it in a piece of cloth and then carry the cloth in your shoe, and you will attract the person's love.

  • Many magical traditions encourage the use of bodily fluids to attract a person you're in love with. Like many magical customs, if this goes against your personal code of ethics, then you may want to skip it.

  • According to folklorist Vance Randolph, in parts of the Ozarks a man can make a woman love him by hiding the "dried tongue of a turtle dove in [her] cabin." Likewise, he says that a woman can make a powerful love charm by taking a needle which has been stuck into a corpse, covering it with dirt, and wrapping the whole thing up in a strip of winding sheet (Ozark Magic and Folklore, Dover Publications, 1946).

  • In many European countries, apples are considered a great form of love divination. By using the peels, the seeds, and even a few chunks, you can tell a lot about the identity of a potential lover!

  • Virgil and Hesiod both write of the ancient Greek practice of using hippomanes as an ingredient in love potions. The word Hippomanes applied variously to the semen of a stallion, the vaginal discharge of a mare, or a specialized herb.

  • Animal parts were popular in love potions of days gone by. During England's medieval period, girls were encouraged to make a liquid including -- among other things -- hare's kidney, a swallow's womb, and a dove's heart. Blood and wine was added to make it drinkable (see Rosemary Guiley's Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft for more on this).

  • Make a love magic bag. Create a small drawstring pouch out of fabric -- preferably a piece of your lover's clothing. Fill it with cinnamon, rosemary, and a piece of rose quartz. Add a magical link of some sort to the person you're in love with. Wear the bag around your neck or carry it in your pocket, and it will attract the person to you.

  • Some folk magic traditions call for a woman to grind up a piece of her own hair or fingernail clippings into a fine powder, and then brew it into the tea or coffee of the man she is in love with. This will draw him to her.

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