Love Spells
This is my response to an email from a young girl who wrote asking me for a love spell.

My dear young lady,

You want to cast a love spell. I understand your situation. I have to tell you that I am philosophically opposed to love spells, because the goal of a love spell is to get someone to do something against his will.

However, I'm almost 50 years old, and I've been in love a few times, and I know how things work (hope I don't sound too much like your father), and THERE ARE ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF "MAGICK."

There are some basic principles that apply to what I call The Love Game (I've been playing it for ... well, about 40 years now). These rules haven't changed since the modern practice of "dating" began about 100 years ago (before that, parents would arrange marriages for their children). And yes, it IS a game. A very serious one when you're a teenager, but it's still a game.

1. Boys are attracted to you by what you can "offer" them (companionship, intelligence, friendship   —   we're not talking about sex!). Boys are NOT attracted to you by what you NEED. Need is not attractive.

Of course, it may be your physical appearance that causes them to notice you in the first place. It's better to look like Scarlett Johansson than Barbara Bush. But after they notice you ... after they start talking with you and interacting ... when the two of you are face to face ... how INTERESTING are you?

2. Boys are attracted to you if you are CONFIDENT. The hardest thing in the world for a teenager to have is CONFIDENCE. I'll tell you a secret: the head cheerleader, the class president, the "cool" kids, the rich kids: every single one of them is riddled with self-doubt and fear. Why? Simply because he's a teenager. It comes with the hormones.

I used to do this when I was 15 years old: I would stand in front of a mirror (I made sure I was alone) and just look at myself, and make a list of the things that I liked about myself. I'd say, "Okay, you're not fat. Your face looks pretty good. You're smart. Some people don't like you, but that doesn't have anything to do with your quality as a person. You're ambitious. You're not afraid to dream. You survived Mrs. Bennett's class in the eighth grade. Jennifer liked you last year, and you kissed her six times."

As I went through the day, and suffered the usual assaults on my ego, I would try to remind myself:   Don't worry about this; you're a high-quality person, in spite of what this girl (or this teacher) just said to you.

My mantra was, "Why should I care what SHE thinks? She's an asshole! She doesn't define me, and she doesn't limit me."

I probably should have printed out little cards to give to people that said, "Thank you for your opinion. Since you're an asshole, your opinion doesn't make my life any different."

And I should have printed a little card to carry around for ME to look at from time to time: "ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING."

3. Some loves are destined to be unfulfilled (there are 753 ways that love DOESN'T work, and only a few ways that it DOES; it has a lot to do with random chance). Love is only 25% what you make it, and 75% how you take it (or I should say, it's 75% what you GET   -   what falls out of the sky and lands in your front yard). As you know, you don't have complete control over your own life! You damn sure don't have control over another person's heart.

There are 7.9 billion people in the world; half of them are male; in your lifetime, you're going to meet only a few thousand of them. In other words, you're going to meet only .000001% of all the males on this planet. If you find one who has good sense and appreciates you, you're very lucky.

4. It's an old rule from the 1950's, but it's still true: if you "chase" a boy too hard, he'll think you're cheap. There is a very fine line between letting a boy know you're interested (you don't want him to think you hate him!) and going overboard.

5. Flattery is bad; honest appreciation is good. If he does something well, and you see him do it, give him a compliment (in a flat, calm manner): "Hey John ... I read your English paper ... wish I could write like that!" And then if he wants to talk to you, talk; if not, walk away. You aren't trying to GET anything from him; you are expressing honest appreciation. You aren't flattering him; you are simply telling him about something that you believe ("I believe that your English paper is good").

"Hey John ... thanks for helping me out yesterday."

"Hey John ... saw the soccer game last night ... are you the captain of the team?"

"Somebody said that you guys really use power tools in shop class. Do you guys ever have accidents?"

Try for an attitude that is only a few degrees above absolute boredom ... kind of like Thora Birch in "Ghost World." You don't want to seem too eager.

6.   Ask him for help, if you can do so in a way that isn't too contrived. If there's something that he's good at, he will enjoy showing you how good he is. That's human nature.

"John, you're going to think this is stupid, but I've decided to rebuild my own carburetor. Is there anything I should know before I get started? I've never done it before. Is this something I'm going to screw up?"

"John, you make better grades in chemistry than I do. You got a minute? What the hell is a valence?"

"John, I got the new phone last week, and it uses the Android operating system. I'm still trying to get it set up. What kind of phone do you have?"

You're going to make mistakes in the Love Department. I was a teenager once (oh no! I sound like your Dad again), and all I ever DID was mess up. 100% of the time. I dated about 30 different girls (over the years) when I was young, and every single relationship was a failure. All of my ex-girlfriends ... every single one of them ... all those gorgeous teenage girls, the short ones, the tall ones, the ones with good figures, the fat ones ... now live 398 miles away, and they've found happiness with somebody else.

I can tell you for a fact that (1) you can't actually die of a broken heart and (2) you can't die of embarrassment. Don't ask me how I know.

Think of your teen years as a time of fun (before long, you'll have to work 48 hours a week just to be able to afford a crummy one-bedroom apartment); your teen years also bring lots of heartache. It's as if, when you're 13 years old, you get sentenced to prison for five years for a crime you didn't commit. Pimples, awkwardness, questions about sex, peer pressure ... try to take a deep breath and relax. Make the best of it, and remember that you're up for parole at age 18. And remember to duck at the right time.

Think about this: a normal teenage girl gets 95% of her self-esteem from her relationships with boys (and yes, this is NORMAL). From the moment she first opens her eyes in the morning, she makes every decision (hair style? hair color? clothes? makeup? shoes? choice of words? potato chips for lunch?) based on what impression it will make on a boy. And yet she doesn't have a guidebook on boy-girl relationships; and they don't teach it in high school. This poor girl is wandering through a wilderness with no map. Everything she does is an experiment. And the experiment seems to keep blowing up in her face ("All I did was be nice to him. Why did he treat me like that?").

You won't believe this, but I'll tell you anyway: the things that are happening to you, the things that drive you crazy, are being experienced by all of your friends, too. You are NOT alone. They may LOOK as if they're happy, but adolescence is driving them crazy too. They just hide it better than you do.

And all those weird things you're going through ... they were endured by your parents, too, when they were young. In almost exactly the same form.

Some time, just for fun, ask an adult (mother, aunt, teacher) this question: "If you could go back in time and be 13 again and re-live your teenage years, would you do it?" The answer will be NO (or "GOD, no!!!"). Adolescence is the painful transition from childhood to adulthood.

This is probably a lot more information than you wanted when you asked for a love spell.

The general "Pagan rule" about love spells is that they are okay as long as they don't target a specific person. A "love spell" should make this simple request:

"O great Goddess, O great Lord, I know there is someone for me.
"I have love to give, and I want to give it to that someone.
"Help me find that person.
"If that person is Ralph, let it be. Show me the way.
"But if Ralph is destined to find happiness with another,
"And I must suffer so that Ralph can be happy,
"Let it be.
"Without reservation, I now place Ralph's happiness above my own.
"If I am to learn by suffering, let it be. Show me the way."

Okay, there's one exception:

I WOULD do a love spell for two people who had just gotten married!

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