Love on the Brain: The Ethics of Love Magick


February is now upon us. Valentines Day is right around the corner, and Spring is on the horizon. Now seems like the perfect time to start talking about love magick.

A (Very) Brief History of Love Magick

I don’t think it would be risky for me to say love magick has been around since magick has been around. It seems as though any time a new manuscript or tablet of spells is unearthed in any corner of the world, you will always find a love spell mixed in with spells for obtaining glory and riches, and rituals of necromancy.


Credit: Photo by Ms. Effy Alexakis, copyright Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre

Some of the oldest and most enduring love magick comes from the Papyri Graecae Magicae (or Greek Magical Papyri, or PMG). The PMG is a collection of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, dating from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD.

Derek Collins writes of one of these spells in his book “Magic in the Ancient Greek World”:

“[…]we find a ‘Wondrous Erotic Binding Spell’. It instructs its user to fashion two figurines, male and female, from wax or clay. The male is to be made in the form of Aries, with a sword in his left hand poised to plunge it into the neck of the second figure, a female with her arms behind her back and kneeling. Various voces magicae or magical words with Egyptian and Near Eastern referents are to be written on her head, eyes, ears, shoulders, arms, hands, breasts, belly, genitals, buttocks, and the soles of her feet..”

(Derek Collins, Magic in the Ancient Greek World, pages 88-89. Blackwell Publishing. 2008)

For more information on the history of love magick, I would suggest starting with the Wikipedia article on the subject, and diving deeper from there.

What is Love Magick?

According to Paul C. Rosenblatt, love magick is, “the attempt to bind the passions of another, or to capture them as a sex object through magical means rather than through direct activity”.

While this is true today, over time (with the pagan and new age movements), the definition of this practice seems to have expanded. Things like self love and confidence boosting spells have been added to the fold. The basic workings (from my point of view, at least) that fall under the modern category of love magick are as follow:

  • Self love
  • Confidence boosting
  • Glamours
  • Attraction (drawing those who are already attracted to you closer)
  • Love strengthening (working on an established relationship)
  • Attraction (drawing people close, generally)
  • Obsession-driven binding spells (making a specific person attracted to you)
  • Break up spells (“I want to date X-person, but they’re already in a relationship, so I’m gonna break them up.”)
  • Non-consensual sex spells (making someone sexually attracted/active with you)

These things obviously get murky (when they’re not outright amoral!). Which leads us to…

The Ethics of Love Magick

I’m going to go ahead and address the elephant in the room.

While I hope we can all agree that non-consensual sex spells are one of those things none of us should ever stoop to…a lot of the above listed workings could definitely fall into a gray area.

Ethics in magick (especially for solitary practitioners) is a very personal thing. And I would never want to try to tell you how to think or feel about any topic.

Instead of listing off my thoughts and beliefs about the topic of love magick (and how some of them have changed over the years), I have created a free workbook for you! Download it at your leisure, and fill it out when you’ve got the time for serious contemplation.


Is love magick a part of your personal practice? How much thought have you given to the ethics of the practice? Did the workbook help you in any way? Drop me a comment and let me know! I love to hear from you.




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