According to The Encyclopedia Brittanica, witchcraft is the “human exercise of alleged supernatural powers for antisocial, evil purposes (so-called black magic).” You will notice the tone of negativity and the focus on black magic; white, or protective, magic is also witchcraft, but you’d never know it if you only read dictionaries or encyclopedias.
Witches have been given a very bad reputation of being in league with the Devil. All this began with the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum (“The Hammer for Witches”) a treatise written in 1487 by a couple of dedicated German churchmen and Inquisitors, who got their jollies doing things that sound very BDSM:
The method of beginning an examination by torture is as follows: First, the jailers prepare the implements of torture, then they strip the prisoner (if it be a woman, she has already been stripped by other women, upright and of good report).
This stripping is lest some means of witchcraft may have been sewed into the clothing—such as often, taught by the Devil, they prepare from the bodies of unbaptized infants, [murdered] that they may forfeit salvation. And when the implements of torture have been prepared, the judge, both in person and through other good men zealous in the faith, tries to persuade the prisoner to confess the truth freely; but, if he will not confess, he bids attendants make the prisoner fast to the strappado or some other implement of torture.
The attendants obey forthwith, yet with feigned agitation. Then, at the prayer of some of those present, the prisoner is loosed again and is taken aside and once more persuaded to confess, being led to believe that he will in that case not be put to death.
Wiki says that “Folk belief in the reality of witchcraft had been denied by the church in earlier centuries; Charlemagne had specifically outlawed the old practice of witch burning “in the manner of the pagans.”
By the 15th century, belief in witches was once again openly accepted in European society, but they typically suffered penalties no more harsh than public penances, such as a day in the stocks. Persecution of witches became more brutal following the publication of the Malleus, with witchcraft being accepted as a real and dangerous phenomenon.
This is the result of mass publication: the defamation of women’s characters. But I digress.
Wiki has this to say about women’s reputations vis-a-vis the publication of the Malleus: “Because the work deals with women as witches, some believe and claim that the Malleus Maleficarum is a work of misogyny. The treatise describes how women become inclined for witchcraft, claiming they were susceptible to demonic temptations through their manifold weaknesses.
It was believed that women were weaker in faith and were more carnal than men. Michael Bailey claims that most of the women accused as witches had strong personalities and were known to defy convention by overstepping the lines of proper female decorum. (Bailey, Michael D., Battling Demons: Witchcraft, Heresy, and Reform in the Late Middle Ages. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.)
After the publication of the Malleus, most of those who were prosecuted as witches were women. Indeed, the very title of the Malleus Maleficarum is feminine, alluding to the idea that it was women who were the villains. Otherwise, it would be called the Malleus Maleficorum (the masculine form of the Latin noun maleficus or malefica, ‘witch’).
In Latin, the feminine “Maleficarum” would only be used for women while the masculine “Maleficorum” could be used for men alone or for both sexes if together (Kieckhefer, Richard. Magic in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, England, 2000).
Now, none of this changes one very real fact: women throughout the ages have always been interested in love philtres to induce affection or bewitch the beloved. Anywhere you go in the world where there is, or has ever been, witchcraft, there have also been women lined up to buy some sort of potion that will bring them their true love. It’s one of the reasons Hallowe’en has always been so popular; it’s the night when summoning the dead will help you find a lover or a husband.
Even today, there are witches who specialise in casting love spells and charms. The Seven Witches will help you, for a price. White Magic has its followers; a recent comment from one of this forum’s participants explains what to do if you think a love spell has been cast on you:
First I guess I’d ask why you believe that someone cast a love spell on you. Are you suddenly feeling attracted to someone you didn’t like or didn’t notice before? Generally the consequences of a love spell are that you develop amorous feelings for someone that you would not have had such feelings for previously.
If you think you’re being targeted in this way then I would strongly suggest you do some work on tightening up your shields to prevent the spells from “taking”.
If you analyse the rhetoric of spells, they are, essentially, statements of intent. They focus the mind on your goal or desire, much like creative visualisation techniques. Then if you add on to this intention all the detailed tasks you might have to perform while you’re preparing the ingredients for the potion, what you have created will be a powerful statement of your hopes, wishes, and dreams.
For a very long time, words have been thought to be the ultimate form of magic, when strung together just right; words are so powerful that the first line of the Bible says something like “in the beginning was the Word…” (note the capitalization, because whoever wrote that took the word ‘word’ seriously, even in translation).
WhiteMagic.com says this about the importance of intention:
Any successful person knows, magic is the art of getting results. WhiteMagic.Com takes this concept to the logical conclusion, and uses acutal spells and charms to ensure propserity in career, business, and personal ventures.
The most important part of any spell is belief and intention. If you do not believe that the spell will work, it will fail. By identifying your goal or wish and casting a spell, you move your attention out from everday life and its complications to the belief that there is a higher power. This faith in an energy greater that our individual egos is what links your wish to the universe, so that magic can happen.
Magic spells have always relied on the power of words for their import. You’re not allowed to string just any combination of words together, nor are you allowed to use just any ritual or ingredient. That’s the entire point to magic: that all the specific details be in place. What good would it do you, for example, to cast a love spell using a white candle when only a pink candle, representing true love, will do? If you try casting a love spell at the wrong time of the month, you’ll mess it up. Nowhere else in the realm of the occult is detail and following the rules so important.
Now, the science of the ingredients of a love philtre (“a drink supposed to excite sexual love in the drinker”) is simple: you’re trying to excite them, so you’re creating something similar to what the Chinese have been drinking or eating for over a thousand years, some aphrodisiac or other. (This is why casting spells is harder for online lovers, since you have to be in the same area as your beloved to give them this potion. In the old days, people tended to fall in love with someone they knew, rather than someone they didn’t).
For the neophyte who wants pure, romantic, love, here’s a spell that’s fairly easy to do (you’ll find as you go that there’s a reason the Seven Witches charge for this; it’s a laborious task to perform complicated spells, so start small):
Assemble materials and cast a circle on the appropriate and hour day. Light an red candle and burn Venus incense. Cut a circle out of red or rose-pink cloth (orange, green or white could also be appropriate). Fill it with a mixture of any of the following herbs and oils: acacia flowers, myrtle, rose petals or buds, jasmine flowers, lavender, cloves, rosemary, cinnamon, olive oil, basil, mint, patchouli, musk, honeysuckle. Add a red felt heart and a copper coin.
Write in tiny letters on a small piece of paper:
Aphrodite of the sea,
Send my true love to me
Place it in the charm. Charge it with the four elements. Imbue it with your desires and visualizations. Ground the energy and relax. Bind the charm by tying it with a blue thread in seven knots. Open the circle.
Compare this with the more intense charm for enticing and bewitching a lover:
(edited, because I can stand only so many grammatical errors)
Note: This spell is designed to be worked on someone you desire, who also desires you but is shy and cannot express their feelings easily.
Timing: Perform this spell on a Friday night with a waxing moon
3 hairs from the head of the person
A candle in the shape of a phallus (for a man) or a womb (for a woman)
The candle can be red for sex and passion, or green for love and affection
Plain piece of paper
If you make your own candle, wait until Friday to prepare the wax. Then add the three hairs to the soft wax as you mold the candle with your hands. However, if you bought the candle already made, soften the wax a little, and then embed the hairs in it.
On the Friday night of a waxing moon, take the candle into your hands and focus on the relationship you long for with your loved one. See yourself with this person in the present, doing all you desire to do.
Now anoint the candle with olive oil, using a sensuous, caressing motion, as though you were attending your lover. Never stop imagining how it could be with this person.
Finally, light the candle and pray that your lover will come to you. Write your lover’s name three times on a plain piece of paper, and burn it in the flaming wick. While the paper burns, chant the name of your lover out loud three times. Blow out the candle. Now be patient and wait for your lover to respond.
- Häxan @UAlbany (dave-lucas.blogspot.com)
- The Salem Witch Trials: Revival Gone Wrong (socyberty.com)
- The truth about witches and witch-hunters | Julian Goodare (guardian.co.uk)
- An Introduction to The Pendle Witch Trial of 1612 (socyberty.com)
- Witchcraft! (oup.com)