Love spells are the most common type of magic a witch is asked about - spells to find the perfect partner, spells to ensure a happy marriage and spells to help heal the rift after a lovers' tiff.
With Valentine's Day approaching, here are some short reviews of classic books on the subject.
Aphrodisiacs and Love Magic, by Pamela Allerdice, is a fascinating look at the history of love spells, customs, sayings and superstitions. It has a slightly misleading cover with a picture of three scantily-clad young ladies on the front, a description on the back that says "Take control of your life - with a little practical magic" and a sub-title reading "The Mystic Lure of Love Charms". A better title would be "Aphrodisiacs and Love Magic: Folklore From Around the World".
It has sections on love lore, herbs, spices, flowers and plants, food and drink, charms, games and omens, superstitions regarding days and dates, folklore and customs on marriage, the wedding day and ensuring wedded bliss.
If you are interested in folklore, history and world customs relating to love, marriage, sex and fertility you will find this book fascinating. If what you are looking for is a book of usable recipes for aphrodisiacs and instructions for spells to attract a partner, look elsewhere.
What I found most fascinating reading this book is how some things have changed a lot over the years and some things seem eternal. At one time, every woman was expected to marry. It was a stigma to be a spinster - an old maid - and even worse to be an unmarried mother. Sometimes girls had little choice in who they married.
Nowadays, things are different - at least in most parts of the world - yet many young girls still have a fascination with finding out the name of the man they will eventually marry. They want that fairytale wedding day and to live happily ever after. Perhaps a little magic can still help them have their dream.
Aphrodisiacs and Love Magic was published by Prism Press in 1989, but is still easily available. Copies cost around £3.99.
Love is for the whole year, not just for Valentine's Day. At least, that is the idea behind Love Magic by Sally Morningstar.
It details this most magical and eternal subject throughout the seasons of the year and the heart, from the young love of spring, the time of new beginnings, through summer's richness, fertility and passion to autumn, when we reap what we have sown and into winter, the time to look inwards and find eternal love as well as to dream of the future.
This is a lovely book for anyone who wants to honour love in all its forms throughout the seasons, including friendship and divine love as well as romantic love and passion.
What I particularly like about Love Magic is that well as covering gods and goddesses of love and their festivals in the yearly calendar, it is full of practical instructions for spells, rituals, divinations, recipes and craft projects on the theme of love.
One idea that would be suitable for Valentine's Day - either to give as a gift or to keep for yourself - is a Valentine's keepsake box. This is a framed picture containing a heart shape made out of pulped recycled paper onto which you pin love token and mementos. Other magical projects include room fragrances, massage oils, scented pillows and an enchanted love mirror.
Love Magic by Sally Morningstar is published by Godsfield Press and costs £12.
One of my favourite books of love spells was Love: Titania's Wishing Spells, by Titania Hardie. I say "was" because I sadly lost my copy during a house move. Titania's Wishing Spells are a series of hardback, velvet-bound books with gorgeous pictures interspersed with practical spells on various subjects. This one is, obviously, about love. One day I will bite the bullet, accept I've lost my old copy and buy myself a new one. Or maybe someone I love will read this and get the hint :)
Another book by Titania Hardie is Love Potions: Titania's Book of Romantic Potions. It is similar to her other book but, as the title suggests, is specifically about love potions.
These books, published by Quadrille Publishing, are relatively inexpensive - Love: Titania's Wishing Spells costs less than £5 through Amazon, and the online store currently has a special offer where you can buy Titania's books on love, wealth and happiness together for £10.22. They are published by Quadrille.
A little book that has been recommended to me is Little Cauldron of Love Spells, by Midia Star.
The person who praised Little Cauldron of Love Spells said it is a very useful pocket-sized book, with spells for all romantic occasions, and would make a lovely gift.
It costs £3.99 and is published by Godsfield Press.
Aphrodisiacs and Love Magic
Love Potions: Titania's Book of Romantic Potions
Little Cauldron of Love Spells
Love (Titania's Wishing Spells)