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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love and Magic

So, it's Valentine's Day. The day that the birds traditionally pair up for mating, and people celebrate the idea of love and romance (or fertility, since 'true love' seems to be a relatively modern idea).

There's a ton of information around about love spells, for example:

  • different coloured candles can be used to focus on different kinds of love (e.g. new love = pink; faithfulness = green; passion = red)
  • over 150 different herbs have been associated with spells to attract love over at least the last few decades
  • contemporary books on magic tend to emphasise the need not to remove someone's free will, and often advise creating a spell to facilitate meeting the right person, rather than a spell that asks for a particular individual's love

I think the existence of love spells reveals a desire to make love certain and predictable. But perhaps that's the point? Perhaps what makes us value 'true love' (or genuine commitment) is precisely the difficulty in finding it? Finding true love requires a leap of faith in making oneself vulnerable and even this cannot guarantee that love will be reciprocated. How much safer it would be if we could control the process and not have to risk so much! But then, would we put so much value on love?

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