Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love Divination from Leland

People who know I am a witch ask me for assistance with many things, healing, prosperity, revenge, divination and, most often, assistance with their love lives.  Whether they want a love spell (this is really the most requested service) or a reading to determine if they should be with a certain person, will find the right person or what to do in a relationship, I take it all very seriously. It is after all of paramount importance to them. Some may laugh that people are still looking for magickal assistance with love, but deep within, most actually want assistance as well. It is a timeless endeavor for the witch. I find that hearts (emotional) are fragile things so I try to give assistance whenever I can. I do not do love spells for anyone, but I will tell them what they can do to bring love into their lives and, of course, there is always divination to advise and guide.

I have, as mentioned previously, recently been browsing through Charles Leland's Gypsy Sorcery & Fortune Telling, originally published in 1891, my copy is a Dover reprint from 1971. He had a keen interest in folklore and so traveled the world publishing articles about his research. He is best known for Aradia or Gospel of the Witches and this book on gypsy sorcery.

There are as many love spells and ways to find one's true love as there have ever been people on Momma Earth. Gypsy Sorcery has many ways to divine the romantic future, all interesting and some strange. Do they work? They must have, at least sometimes, since they survive. If you are looking, why not try a few?

Gypsy girls of Transylvania, Leland passes on to us from a Dr. Wlislocki's Ethnographies and The Gypsy Lore Journal of June 1890, believed that spells to know one's true love were best carried out on the eves of certain days, New Year, Easter and St. George. A young lady was to throw her shoes or boots on a willow tree. If the shoes were caught in the branches, she would be married within the year. A girl could only use this technique nine times, although there is no explanation as to why. 

I have a friend, age 80, who was born and grew up in what was once known as Yugoslavia. She taught me that women there danced around trees and shook them for a variety of spells - perhaps to awaken and receive the assistance of the tree's spirit? She could not tell me why they did this, only that it was done for many kinds of spells.

On these same eves, girls could go to a tree and shake it, taking turns, singing
Scattered leaves around I see,
Where can my true love be?
Ah, the white dog barks at last!
And my love comes running fast!
If she hears the barking of a dog while singing, the young lady will be "wedded and bedded" by the next New Year. This charm, he goes on to say, is very similar to one used in Tuscany and believed it to be of Etruscan origin. At night, on St. George's Eve (April 23, the date he is believed to have died or May 6 in the Eastern Orthodox calendar) gypsy girls would blindfold a while dog, letting it loose and placing themselves in various places nearby. Whomever the dog runs to first will be the first to be married. Wlislocki relates this to the game blind man's bluff and calls it an "anciently amorous, semi-magical, or witches' game, only that in place of the dog a man was blindfolded."

Another divination has a girl pull a hair from her head, tying a ring to it which is then dangled in a jar. The ring swings and as many times as it strikes the jar so it will be as many years until she is married.

On Whitsun morning (the seventh Sunday after Easter) girls would go outside and if there were clouds in the east, they would gather some twigs, throwing them in that direction while saying:
Fly my bird, fly I say,
Do not chase my love away.

On these days, the girls are not permitted to wash themselves, kiss anyone or go to church. They must also eat fish if it is Easter or St. George's Eve.

On Easter Sunday morning, they could boil water and try to divine the names of their future husbands in the bubbles. To find out whether a husband would be young or old, one would take nine seeds from a thorn-apple, dig up some soil from nine different places, gather water from nine places and with these ingredients, knead a cake and lay it at a crossroad. Her husband will be an old man or widower if a woman is the first to step on the cake; a young, single man if a man first steps on the cake.

I shall share one last divination, which I find the most interesting. On the night of St. George,  a girl should go to a crossroad with her hair combed back. She must prick the little finger of her left hand and spill three drops of blood on the ground while saying:
I give my blood to my loved one,
Whom I shall see shall be my own!
From out of the blood, a form shall appear showing her future husband, it will fade away slowly. She must then gather up the "mud-blood" and throw it into a river, otherwise the Water-spirits will lick up the blood and she will drown before the year is finished. Blood magic is always a serious business not to be undertaken lightly. 

There are many more, some silly, many interesting. Do they work? I leave it to those gentle, unmarried readers to find out.

Blessings nine!


  1. Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing all these great insights. One wonders sometimes, do things really change and stay the same? I love this post. The Olde Bagg, Linda

  2. I remember sleeping with wedding cake under my pillow -- but I don't think I got results. It was a very long time ago...

  3. Vicki, I vaguely recall hearing about that, but can't remember the source. I might just have to research more of these - there are plenty in Leland's book, but I'd like to look at more general folklore. And Appalachian folklore - I wonder about love and marriage lore from the mountains!
    This topic interests be greatly even though I've been married almost 31 years! You must have gotten something from that cake under your pillow, you've been married a good long time too!
    Linda - no things don't change much, especially when it comes to love and marriage! XO

  4. Rode over here on my broomstick from Vicki's site... Delightful post this; I have a copy of Leland's Aradia but had no idea about the Gypsy Sorcery one - how cool! Thanks for sharing some of its treasures... Blessed Be

  5. Darla, you are most welcome. If you can find a copy of Gypsy Sorcery, snap it up - it is pretty interesting. I'm not sure of Dover still has it in print, but you could try finding a used copy.
    Blessings and thanks for stopping by!