Love spells! Everyone wants love spells. When it comes to doing magic, often time when clients come many a reader, sorcerer or spiritual worker, they are looking for love, either to get new love, re-gain love that has been lost, or move a current love into a new situation, such as marriage. Of course, part of the field of Love spells, also includes spells that promote harmony among people, from married couples to families and communities.
It often seems to me that Love magic is the ignored part of working with runes. Maybe a footnote here, or a value given there, but in many books dealing with runes and rune magic, Love is often overlooked, although that maybe the prior trend of the “unpopularity” of love magic with the Neo-pagan movement. However, it’s pretty clear from some surviving written lore, that spells that promote love and harmony were definitely part of the Northern Tradition. I would like to turn to the Havamal in this case, and the runes described by the speaker.
The first stanza that identifies a spell dealing with promoting love (or in this case harmony) is the stanza of the eigth rune:
An eighth I know: which all can sing
for their weal if they learn it well;
where hate shall wax ‘mid the warrior sons,
I can calm it soon with that song
Where the hate and conflict among kin can be soothed through singers magic skill. The second stanza identifying love magic is the sixteenth rune:
A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and love
I would win from some artful wench,
her heart I turn, and the whole mind change
of that fair-armed lady I love.
And the seventeenth:
A seventeenth I know: so that e’en the shy maiden
is slow to shun my love.
Being the clearest examples of what is recognized as love magic. Of course the singer indicates his mastery in the this art, as he is able to win the love of not only other skillful women, but even young shy women who are often harder to obtain.
To this end, I looked to the runes, seeking and identifying which runes resonate with the powers of love, harmony, and relationships. With my research I identified nine runes, which can be worked, separately or together, in master the arts of love magic.
In the ordering of the futhorc aettirs, the first rune identified is Kenaz. Kenaz, the torch, is the fires of passion. They ignite the feeling inside, a flame that reveals the desires, but also burns. The burning passion leaves little peace, until they have been satiated.
The next rune is Gebo. In Gebo we see the exchange of relationships, partnerships, the agreements, the contracts, the idea of dowry, union of people and the rules that govern that union. Gebo is the most unromantic side of love magic, the side that comes after “and they all lived happily ever after” which people often want to forget. It is having the skills in this side that make relationships succeed or fail, and being able to manage the give and take successfully will often help in being successful in whatever partnership is entered into.
The third rune of love is Wunjo. Joy is it’s name, and joy can be a wonderful, if temporal thing. This is one of the first runes I identify with harmony among people, although in this case it is usually familial harmony. The conflicts between spouses, between parents and children, between siblings, can all create a very unharmonious and dissonant environment. Wunjo is the joy and peace of happy family, and a happy familial home. It’s dark side can be the grasping for this temporal thing. When everything is sacrified, just so that one can maintain the illusion that life is free from strife, the grasping for joy can become a toxic quest, and the peace is shallow, and soon shattered.
Interestingly enough, a whole aettir is skipped here. I studied this for a while, but part of my understanding of the second aettir, the aettir of Hagal, is that it is the runes of warrior, and conflict. While there are runes here that might be useful in influence and command (which has sometimes role in the world of love spells) they are not really concerned with love per se, but with having influence over other people, to any end.
The fourth rune is Berkana. In Berkana is the love of a mother for it’s child in sense. It is nurturing, supportive, and steady. It is also powerfully feminine, which can be somewhat hard to describe exactly how. It is the rune of Women, and express the powers of women, not just girly, but also Amazonian. The mysteries of Women who Love Women are found in this rune, which has it’s own draw, but it can also be used by women to draw whatever kind of love they desire, especially when combined with other runes, or to heal a womans sexual nature, if it has been damaged or cursed.
The fifth rune is Mannaz. In Maanaz, there is the coming together of equals, or rather the marriage of equals. While the rules of marriage belong to Gebo, means of relating to each other are found in Mannaz. This marriage of equals also governs friendship, the brother and sister-hood of humanity. This rune promotes the harmony of whole communities, but also individual people. This is love without lust, just a simple affection, which flows out from within. The idea that comes to me is that deep within each person, there is Love, and when this love is allowed to expressed freely, without expectation of return, or demands, is when people can get along innocently.
The sixth rune is Inguz. As Berkana is to feminity, Inguz is to masculinity. It is a great power, that lies dormant, until it is triggered and released, bring strength and setting change in motion. It can be aggressive and rough when needed, but mostly it is strong and solid. It is the rune of Men and in many ways directly relates to the phallus. It is not only the usual masculine stereotype, but also the gentle man, who can be strong, but sensitive. It also contains the mysteries of Men who Love Men, but it can be used by all men to attract Love, and also sex. It can also helping curing the damaged sexual nature of men, whatever their orientation.
The seventh rune is Ac, the mighty Oak tree. In the permanence and endurance of Ac is fidelity, the ability to stay the course and endure the trials of Love. While many love spells used to promote fidelity were the domain of women who livelihood often depended upon the fidelity of their husbands, who if they could get to stay at home night, at least to make sure they come home when they are done. Fidelity is also about staying together, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” Sometimes the stress of living can sow the seeds of discontent between partnered couples, and it may take the patience of the partners to rise above their own trials, and embrace their partner(s). In exchange, it also buries jealousy, as I was taught growing up that “jealousy is the grave of affection” and being able to stand fast by your partner, when perhaps they are succeeding, and your own efforts are impeded or faltering can be a difficult thing.
The eighth rune is Ior. Ior is the rune of boundaries and finding happiness within those boundaries. Sometimes, that happiness is found by transgressing what is perceived as binding us, but sometimes it is also recognizing that boundary helps us to nurture ourselves and find our own happiness, wherever it maybe. Happiness is an amorphous thing, and constantly changes. What feeds your happiness today, is not what fed your happiness yesterday, and may not sustain your happiness tomorrow. Being able to change, adapt, and move between environments, elements, or even worlds is a survival skill, that opens up opportunities to find new resources that can sustain you.
The ninth rune is Khalk. Khalk is the cup of desires, the loving cup which contains all that one can want. Contained within the wondrous draught is the fulfillment of our hearts content, yet the difficult part is getting the drink. It can show you what it is you really seek, from this person, from this relationship, from this moment, but it can also make you that which is sought. Glamor was the popular word used for such thing, the magical gilding which brings out the best in each person, showing them as the desired prize, yet keeping it just unattainable enough that they want it all the more. Khalk proves the desire is not about being the best looking, but having the confidence to show your worth.
Having worked with these runes in love magic over the past couple of weeks, I can tell you, yeah it works, quite well. My first experiment was working with each rune, to see how they would manifest. Over the course of nine days, combining the runes with other love-drawing methods (red candles, condition oils, and galdr) those nine days were some of the more interesting escapades in love that I have had.
The image with this post is a Love rune talism that I created when working with this, a simple disc with the runes inscribe in a circle around. The image in the middle is an aegishjalmur described in the Icelandic grimoire, that will get you the love of the person you desire.