With Beltane (the fire festival welcoming summer in its blazing, sensual glory) around the corner, the most common topic asked by tarot clients and seekers alike is about love magic. As a Libra who most definitely wears rose-tinted glasses, I fully believe in love as life’s most renewable resource one can give and receive. Yet with all my interest in the magic of ritual, I’ve been more likely to loan my copy of bell hooks’ All About Love before advising red wax, poppets and love charms. Perhaps because, like most young witches, my first spells were for love, or so I thought.
My first love spell was at age 15 and it worked rather quickly. At the time I was enamored with a pink-haired boy and the soundtrack to this affair was appropriately Bjork’s “Venus as a Boy.” The feelings it caused gave me a sense of awakening, sweetness and adventure. This informed my spell and on a Friday, the day of Venus, I carved various symbols representing love into a small red candle, along with my potential suitor’s initials and mine, using a pencil to carve the wax. Then, I rubbed a blend of rose and vanilla oil into the candle finishing it with a mix of flowers circling the base of my gussied up candle. It was a little messy, full of genuine wish, and goofy enthusiasm, much like myself. (My local new age store provided me with a serious look of “use caution,” as they hesitantly rang me up.)
As I sang out loud to tales of love and crafted this candle, I lost track of time and entered a most wonderful place in my mind, where I could see myself sharing experiences with the object of my affection: buying CDs at Tower Records and going to beach late at night. I visualized all of these things happening with this new friend of mine, hoping that our relationship would evolve into something more. After this spell, our romance exploded immediately and much to my heart’s delight, I attracted exactly what I had envisioned. This sweet, unusual, and witty artist, whom I had a complete blast with, was mine. Yet the passionate part of our union had trouble developing and I realized that what was making me happiest had more to do with having a great buddy rather than a deepening relationship. We quickly discovered that we were in the same queer boat, figuring out our confused states of sexuality. This allowed us to frankly discuss relationships and love in the most honest ways.
While I got exactly what I wanted, even down to cool body piercings and almost identical backgrounds, I also got what I needed. Skeptics may be rolling their eyes at this point and eager to say how magic is just a bunch of coincidences — we were two teenage freaks looking for connection in a suburban town, of course we met! Yet every love spell I’ve done has worked with sometimes frightening outcomes where I wished I could take back what I had shouted out on a Friday night under the full moon.
A botched attempt occurred in my early 20’s when I attracted butch rockabilly types, who looked and oozed Johnny Depp in Crybaby. In reality I found myself becoming a cartoon where I always felt pressured to look, behave and perform constantly. I had gotten exactly what I wanted only to discover that it left me feeling hollow. Like all of us at times in our romantic lives, I curated a very specific mask to protect the part of me terrified of revealing my true self for fear of rejection.
Over the years I found myself hearing similar wax tales of love, lust and loss. Always the romantic, I realized that with spells of love, the universe will send you a lesson embedded within your paramour and it is your job to look past their dreamy eyes. If you ignore the messages of a situation you will be none the wiser and will most likely attract the same emotionally unavailable and ever so fetching human across the crowded room. Love spells work when we can dust away the cobwebs of our own preconceived notions about what a partner or relationship should look like and listen to our body and soul’s messages about how we actually feel in the moment. If you’re feeling obsessed or possessed with someone, that’s not love, it’s intoxication. Being swept away is part of the attraction process, but when we ignore our bodies’ cries for help it can trap us into unhealthy, abusive or manipulative situations rather that situations that facilitate giving and receiving, the equality and balance of relationships.
On the eve of Beltane, April 30, use a pink or red candle and carve your name, the symbol of Venus and a heart into it. Rub the candle with olive oil from your pantry or if you have access to blends like rose, jasmine, patchouli, anything that makes you feel warmth and beauty in your skin. As you light the candle, watch the flame dance and meditate on when you feel most vibrant and full of love. Hold these moments and see where they register in your body, paying close attention to where you feel closed up, tense or wide open. See what memories of bliss or disappointment pop up and take time to write these down in a journal. Love is something we already have within our deepest selves and our heart is a compass leading us to the next level and lesson of awareness.
Header image: Anna Biller’s The Love Witch
Originally published on Slutist