Finding love is difficult. Unrequited love is the pits. Our ancestors knew this and being the proactive folk they were they invented their own methods for catching and keeping the man/woman of their dreams.
Methods that involved frogs’ legs, corpses, hemlock and other bits-and-bobs they had lying around the house.
Let’s check some out!
1. The “I can’t look” of Love
Let’s start with a little charm from the Scottish Highlands made for the lassies. If a young woman wants to know if a fella truly likes her she must:
- Lift her hands to her face and then while gazing through her fingers at her crush say the following:
I have a trial upon you,
I have a looking at you,
Between the five ribs of Christ’s body;
If it be fate or permitted you
To make use of me,
Lift your right hand,
And not let it quickly downSuperstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, John Gregorson Campbell, 1900
If your intended’s first response is to raise his RIGHT hand, he likes you too.
Or maybe he’s just waving at you because you’ve been staring at him. Non-stop. For 5 minutes.
2. Pretty Poison
Coming to us from the Emerald Isle, this love potion requires:
- Ten leaves of hemlock, dried and powdered
- Mix into the food and drink of your intended
- They will be compelled to love you.
Sadly, because hemlock is a lethal poison, your romance will be short lived.
3. Dead Lovely
Ireland continues to bring the ick with this love charm that asks the lovesick necromancer to:
- cut a piece of skin from a corpse (perhaps the one you prepared earlier)
- tie the skin to the person whose affections you desire (without their knowledge or consent and preferably while sleeping)
- Remove before they awaken.
- Keep the piece in your possession for the longer you have it, the longer they will love you.
However, should the piece of skin ever be destroyed or leave your possession, the spell will be broken and the spellbound left with feelings of rage and hatred towards you.
4. My Bloody Valentine
Not to be outdone, the boys also have their own spell for winning love. One that involves a bit of bloodletting and some delightful prose:
- Drain blood from the ring finger of your left hand
- With a quill made from a raven’s feather use your blood as ink and write the following incantation:
By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayest thous love me, woman!
As the sun follow me.
As light in the eye, as bread to the hungry,
as joy to the heart, may thy presence be with me,
O woman that I love, till death comes to part us asunderAncient Legends of Ireland, Lady Wilde, 1919
Or maybe you could try talking to her.
5. Hearts and Bones
In medieval Transylvania, love required a sacrifice and:
- two hind legs from a green tree frog
- Bury the legs in an ant hill until all the flesh is gone
- Wrap the bones in a linen handkerchief
- Keep the charm on you for who ever touches the fabric “will be seized with love for its owner.”
Until they see what’s inside.
6. Heart-Shaped Box (with a dead frog inside)
Taking the animal cruelty one step further, the Golden Wheel Dream-book and Fortune-teller, by Felix Fontaine, asks that the love-starved:
- Put a live frog in a box pierced with holes
- Place the box on an ant heap.
- Let the ants eat the frog alive and strip the carcass completely.
- Take the box home, take apart the ones and locate the ones that most resemble a hook and a fish (possibly the coracoid process bones)
- Fasten the hook shaped bone to the clothing of your crush without their knowledge.
- And they will be “constrained to love you.”
Which sounds just lovely.
RESOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
Ancient Legends of Ireland, Lady Wilde, 1919
Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, John Gregorson Campbell, 1900
Transylvanian Superstitions, E. Gerard, 1885, published in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review. Volume 18
The Golden Wheel Dream-book and Fortune-teller, Felix Fontaine, 1890
I love this look into the history of love, finding it, embracing it, understanding it too! Well done 👍 💖💝💓
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
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