“What is love? I’ve been trying to find out. Is there really such a thing?” –Deee-Lite
“Empathy will get you anywhere.” –Peter J. Carroll
Interesting scuffle in a Chaos Magic study group last week, after someone demanded that love spells be banned. Whether they wanted love spells banned from discussion or from occultism in general was anyone’s guess — regardless, the OP equated the practice to mind control and decreed it Very Bad, and anyone who dabbled in it a villain of the vilest order.
So when they were talking about “love spells,” I think what they meant was forcing someone to have amorous feelings for someone else via mystical means. Which I agree would, at the very least, suggest a boundary issue on the part of the caster. Thing is, though, through the lens of Chaos, that’s not actually Love Magic. That’s War Magic.
Remember that each spoke on the Chaos Star represents a specific form of magic, and that the Discordian Elements act as spectrums between those spokes: Looking at the glyph below, we can see that Love is the midpoint of the element Sweet, with Ego on one end and Wealth on the other.
Within the context of the Chaos Star, Love Magic can cover romantic relationships, but in a broader sense, it governs any kind of partnership. So if I was, say, having trouble getting along with co-workers, and I cast a spell to foster a more harmonious work environment, that would be Love Magic. As would performing a ritual to summon a familiar, or doing some woo to become a better gardener. In all of these cases, I’m using magic to create and strengthen relationships — ergo, I’m engaging in Love Magic.
Now, let’s zoom out and look at Sweet, which runs the gamut from Ego to Love to Wealth. Ego has to do with success and the self, so if we were going to practice Sweet Magic on the Ego side of Love, we might cast spells:
- to enhance our appearance.
- to develop friendships.
- to attract more social media followers.
- to get noticed by potential partners.
- to improve our empathic abilities.
Wealth Magic, on the other hand, involves prosperity and abundance. So Sweet Magic with a Love/Wealth bent might be employed:
- to bring more love into our lives.
- to find a job we enjoy.
- to get a raise or promotion.
- to turn a favorite hobby into a lucrative career.
- to be able to afford our dream wedding.
Note that none of these spells are unduly manipulative, nor do they subvert anyone’s free will. And yet they all still draw from Love Magic. Fancy that.
So how, you might be wondering, does War tie into any of this? Great question! For the clearest answer, we can turn to my favorite movie of all time, Practical Magic. (Aren’t you glad you asked? I know I am.)
At the beginning of the film, young Sally Owens witnesses her aunts casting a love spell for a client, and in response, she casts a spell of her own, which (she thinks) will prevent her from ever falling in love. But let’s take a look at what the client says about the matter:
“He has to leave his wife. He has to leave her now.”
“I want him to want me so much that he can’t stand it.”
At a glance, this might seem like Love Magic, but nope — she wants to take the dude away from his wife, and she wants to command his thoughts. She’s focused solely on winning the battle for his affections, and therefore her goal is not partnership, but domination.
If we refer back to the Chaos Star, we see that Love and War are on the same axis, and even though they’re polar opposites, it’s actually pretty easy to confuse them. But War is about conquering and subjugation, versus establishing mutually-beneficial relationships. So if someone is attempting to “mind control” a target into becoming their zombie concubine, then yeah, that’s undoubtably War Magic.
However, just like any other form of magic, War has multiple aspects, as demonstrated by the spell Sally casts. It does come across as a love spell (the name of the spell, “Amas Veritas” literally translates as “True Love”), but it’s designed for protection, which falls under the auspices of War. And because of the strategy behind it, the spell combines Thinking and War, which, from a Discordian standpoint, makes it an excellent example of Orange Magic.
Hot take: Sally is a Chaos Witch. You heard it here first.
The point of all this being that nobody can actually “ban” love spells, because Love Magic is too entwined with too many other things: A Chaos Star with one spoke removed would just fall over. And speaking from my own experience, sometimes the magic I’m most reluctant to explore turns out to ironically be the magic required to bring about given results.
Of course, I also once let a drunk Baptist accidentally put a love spell on me, so take everything I say with pink salt. But also, don’t worry about trying to ban or censor any type of magical practice until you fully understand what it is. And once you do understand it, accept that you can only choose the magic that’s right or ethical for you. Even if it drives us up the wall at times, we don’t get a say in the decisions other Witches make for themselves regarding their Craft. Period.
Okay, but seriously, plant lavender for luck, y’all. And, y’know. Fall in love whenever you can.