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I had a big learning this past year about Love spells. Early in 2020 I did a very ‘absolute’ love spell.
I cast for a securely attached relationship, the real deal, true love and only that. I was tired of what I’d been doing and wanted a real change, to skip ahead in my learning journey to the good bits. I remember feeling at the time that the timing wasn’t right or something. It felt in my magical intuition, something I usually trust, that there was some problem with it, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care. I wanted what I wanted and I’m a powerful priestess right? So I should be able to make this happen, right?
Can you imagine how this turned out?
When I do a love spell, I do it with the expectation that there will be learning along the way, that I will need to put myself out there and be brave and do the right things, and this time, to go after the kinds of love I wanted. Since this was a big ask, I figured I needed to embrace that and go big in my learning. I decided that instead of waiting to be approached, I would seek out women I thought were great and ask them out. None of them happened to be interested. However, it felt empowering to express my desires, to assertively and respectfully pursue what I wanted.
And then the pandemic hit.
This was a meme going around at the time (picture and caption at right).
So I thought, well I guess this is going to take a bit longer. I added a note to my online dating profile saying – go ahead and swipe right if you are interested, I will too and I’ll see you after the pandemic. At that point I thought it would be six months, at the most.
I continued to swipe right on women I found attractive, but did not message anyone or expect anyone to message me. It was more just to pass the time.
Four months later, the first wave lockdown had opened up a little and I got a notification from the dating app I was on that someone I had liked had swiped right. About a minute later, I received a message from her. We chatted briefly and she wanted to meet up for a walk. I found her picture attractive, and we were in an ‘opening’ stage of the pandemic, and so I agreed.
What followed was a bit of a whirlwind romance, for about three months, and then another three months of, well, not.
I stayed open, I acted as if I was an emotionally secure person, in an emotionally secure relationship. This gave me lots of practice in asking for what I needed and setting limits. I did my best. I told myself that I was only available for a secure relationship, and if this was going to be that, then I was going to need to behave in a secure way. I was sincerely warm and open, I was clear about my feelings and desires. I did not engage in chasing her when she distanced (except that once) and I did not pretend my own needs were not important.
Here’s the part that is about magic
Magic doesn’t work the way some people think it does. It is not a requisition we fill out for what we want, light some candles, chant and pray and abracadabra, we get everything we want. It’s better than that.
Particularly during the whirlwind part of this relationship (or as researchers into narcissism call it, ‘love bombing’) I believed that since I’d cast a spell and since the gods had surmounted the hurdle of the pandemic to find me someone lovely for me, that this must be it. I was filled with joy. I remember opening to deep joy, arms flung out beside me as I prayed under a beautiful tree, in gratitude, with tears in my eyes. I believed this was it.
I was listening to a comedy clip earlier today from American comedian Josh Johnson . He said (paraphrased) that you can only ever three things from a man: Good sex, Good person, Got his life together. The trick is that you can only ever have two. You have to pick the two you can live with. If you think you have three, according to Johnson, they are a psychopath and are just telling you what you want to hear. Also, if there is only one of the three, get out. There is sometimes a lot of wisdom in comedy.
She was not a psychopath, but let’s say she had been telling me what she thought I wanted to hear, in order to get what she wanted. When I figured this out, I was angry and broken hearted, but grateful that I got out intact and fairly soon after her true colours became visible.
And that was the biggest gift.
I learned that, even in an impossible relationship, I could behave in a secure and healthy way. I could just assume it was okay and good to say what I felt and ask for what I needed without censoring myself, and I that I could set limits. And the fact that this relationship did not work out was actually healthy, because if someone cannot love you in a healthy and secure way, the relationship should end, and quickly.
I had recieved the answer to my prayer, to my spell, not in the way I wanted, but in the way I needed. I’d been given a secure physical love relationship, not by being given a partner I could have one with, but by being given the opportunity to learn what it was to be a secure person. Despite all prompts to the contrary, I was empowered (mostly) to behave the way a secure person would – asking for and feeling she deserved what she needed, while being open to compromise within clear boundaries, and prepared to walk away if necessary. Was it fun? No. But do I know I can do it now? Yes.
At another level, I was having a spiritual crisis. I felt hopeless. If a priestess of Aphrodite cannot manifest secure love, then what is the point?
She told me Love cannot be coerced.
Aphrodite laid down the law. Aphodite is naked for a reason, y’all. She doesn’t answer to anyone. She’s never been raped, in any of her myths, even the ones that have filtered through patriarchal lenses. Aphrodite is married, but has whatever lovers she chooses, and no-one sees a problem with it. You can’t coerce love. Not even with magic. I know this of course in relation to casting love spells on specific people, which is forbidden for good reason (and doesn’t work), but I didn’t really get it in relation to love itself. You can be available for the love you want, but nothing can guarantee it will work out. Love is about showing up.
In my hubris, I thought I could demand happily ever after to order. In casting my spell, I’d tried to force something that could not be forced. I thought I could just throw magic at my life and make it perfect. We witches do that, and it can sometimes convince us to stay stuck in situations that need to end.
The gods only guide us to our growth, and when we are in relationship with them, they tell us who they are. Love is not something that can be coerced. Love guides us, advises us when we ask, Love is a process, not a product you can slap two candles down for and receive. Love spells are declaring our openness to that process. They are focussing our attention on what are deepest goals are, and moving us in those directions, but there are no handouts.
I had a coven-mate years ago who wanted me to teach her how to manifest wealth. I taught her and she didn’t like it at all. It didn’t work the way she wanted it to. She wanted to fill out a magical order form and receive abundance. I was trying to teach her how to sail a boat on the currents of reality, of the world as it is, and make the most of where you are blown by how you direct your intention. In my temporary hopelessness, I’d fallen into her mindset about Love as well. Love is not a treasure I am given, it’s a quest I am on. I wish you all the best on your quest.
Header Artist credit: Picou, Henri Pierre – Venus – 19th century
Aphrodite of Knidos – artist unknown, image, Wikipedia