If you're a newcomer in the world of spellwork, you're probably after one of two things: money or love. Of course, willing a little extra cash into your wallet is different from trying to will another person into your arms. This form of magick (as it's spelled when referring to true spellwork, as opposed to a magician's tricks) comes with a whole host of ethical questions, chief among them: Is there a way to cast a love spell without being totally creepy?
We spoke with Skye Alexander, author of The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells: Your Complete Guide to Attracting Passion, Love, and Romance, to get to the bottom of this.
Alexander tells us that committing to performing love magick means you're already in emotionally murky waters: "Matters of the heart are often baffling. When our emotions are engaged, when we're overcome with desire, we may not be able to see situations clearly." In other words, don't be afraid to question your motives — and be sure to consult an experienced spellcaster to guide you.
Your spellcaster may use crystals, herbs, or other magickal tools to direct your love spell's energy toward the object of your affections. That said, the best love spells are more conceptual than specific. It's better if you aim to emphasise the traits you already have that make you attractive, Alexander says. "Or, do a spell to bring about the best possible conditions in an existing relationship, rather than stipulating what you want to occur." If you're a total newbie to magick, it's important to remember that asking for something doesn't mean you'll get it (otherwise we'd all be millionaires, right?).
Another caveat that should sound obvious: Emotional manipulation should not lay at the heart of your spell. "It's ethical to attempt to put yourself in the best possible light so that you attract another person's attention, but trying to dominate or trick someone might not be the best approach," Alexander says. If your crush (or whoever it may be) wouldn't normally do what you're willing them to do, you're crossing a line.
Unfortunately, even if your intentions are pure, things can still go very wrong. If you were acting on infatuation rather than real feelings and cast a very serious love spell (often known as a binding spell), you could easily end up stuck in a relationship you never really wanted.
Luckily, there's a fail-safe incantation you can add on to the end of your spell to prevent this from happening: "Let this be done in harmony with our own true wills, divine will, and for the good of all concerned, harming none." According to Alexander, "If the situation isn't right, it won't develop."
So, yes, love magick is tricky, but it doesn't have to be totally off-limits. There are plenty of ethical spells out there that can help you attract a partner who's right for you. And, Alexander has a simple rule of thumb to follow if you're ever unsure of your intentions: "Don't do anything you wouldn't want done to you — or that you wouldn't advise your best friend to do."