Before we get started, to make things clear, this is African and diaspora spirituality, not colonial spirituality. “Man” and “woman” in this context are about a person’s way of being in relationships in the way of social and sexual style, and not totally dependent on their physical presentation or biological sex or medical sex assignment. For a great many people, these things will apply, and for many they will not. If you are classically masculine or feminine, some of it will fit, and if not then consider that some roles and functions will be shared.
No matter who you are or how you roll, you get the same number of hours in a day as everybody else. Jobs in a relationship or household can be shared and mixed how ever, but some stuff needs to be done, and there needs to be respect and reciprocation. Africans are historically very flexible in this, so don’t use any of this to trash talk Trans folks or try to manipulate your partner is to doing things against their will or nature. If someone isn’t doing it for you, then you can use a door. First though, check yourself and make sure you are at least holding up your end, wherever in the gender or sex spectrum you are.
Love workings are among the most costly, fragile, and dangerous in all of magic. These days, many see love as an option or a thing of whimsy, but it is a matter of survival. It is the glue that binds humanity together, so love workings should be done very carefully and mindfully when they are done at all.
From my own experience and discussions with other sorcerers and priests, I would estimate that love spells work maybe 20-40% of the time. This might seem pretty grim statistically, but the good news is that most of the time they don’t work, it is because of either sloppy magic (improper offerings, prayers, tools, or mistakes related to naivete or lack of life experience or perspective) or because of problematic behavior from the seeker. A good proportion of love spells are ruined by the very person who asked them to be cast.
If you require help from a sorcerer or root worker in a matter of the heart, be prepared for the fact that you will need to invest both money and effort into the project. You can’t just throw money/offerings at it and expect things to go your way. You will have to live and behave in a way that makes loving you easier and more natural for the person you wish to love you. You can’t treat them like dirt or ignore them or push them away and expect the spell to work despite your behavior. You will have to swallow your pride, and perhaps in ways that you do not expect. You will have to follow the advice of the spirits.
Following the directions given by the spirits seems to be the hardest part of love workings for most people. You may need to lose your idealism or other illusions surrounding love. You may have to change your behavior or looks, speak about things you find uncomfortable, and face truths about the one(s) you love, that may cause you sadness or shock you. Sometimes in seeking romance, you may kill the romance to some degree. However, facing the truth and acting on it will help you to achieve your goal and keep your partner(s).
Different rootworkers, sorcerers, and priest/esses have different ways of tackling the issue of love. It is going to vary by tradition and by their level of experience and even by their head Orisha. There are some standards though, that one should be aware of.
First is the principle of energy. I won’t go into the complicated metaphysics in this article, but basically Nature works in a sort of a cycle. You can call it “the circle of life”. Energy and materials come from somewhere, and go somewhere. Nothing is really lost or created except through the Creator or how ever one chooses to call the force that generated the Universe. What we call magic (basically science that we don’t yet understand) works on this principle of cycling energy. Every action has consequences, and specific actions somewhat reliably produce certain results.
Under this principle, romantic love is basically the energy between two (or more) people that generates familial level vested bonding combined with lust which leads people to sexual union. Between a man and a woman, this may lead to procreation. Between two same-sex partners, it leads to the generation of joyous energy that fosters other kinds of creativity. Many times in the latter case, it leads to their opening their hearts to create families from children who have been discarded when something has gone wrong. Romantic love, whether it makes people parents or just makes people happy is a wonderful thing. Since we are evolved to procreate or to nest and make live survivable and joyous for one another, this is serious business. Romantic love is a big deal.
However, one should consider that the physical expression of romantic love, the sex, is a temporary thing for the vast majority of people. Yes, it is part of the glue that holds a relationship together, but anyone entering into a relationship should understand that even if the relationship lasts, the sex will end. People get old. People die. People get sick. People get tired. People discover that even though they love someone dearly, their orientation is not quite what they thought it was in their 20’s. Many women lose the desire for sex after having children. Their nerves are broken by one or more childbirths. All but maybe 1/3 of men lose their desire for penetrative sex after the age of 45-50. Even the lucky 1/3 become much pickier because what they truly desire is what works, and if it’s not what they truly desire, nothing is happening. The days of being able to shag anything that moves are over for them.
So when someone comes to me for a love spell, the first thing I want to know is what Eshu, the Ancestors, and Oshun have to say about it. This will tell me what the prospects are for a relationship. If you’re curious about where you stand and what the possibilities are, order a love reading from me or from your trusted diviner. This will give you a clear answer on what your relationship really is, and what your options are.
Bear in mind that even if your reading is positive, you can still mess up your relationship if you aren’t careful.
Men (and Masculine People)
If you are a man or the more masculine partner in a relationship, you have it somewhat easy because all you have to do is the three P’s: protect, provide, and penetrate. That is all you have to do. You don’t need to be the hottest guy, or the richest guy, or the most exciting guy if you are doing these three things:
- being physically and mentally strong, and not capitulating to every woman’s whims, including hers or even your mom’s
- making enough money to support a family with at least 2 children, and not having a ton of debt
- having sex with her twice per week, or as much as she desires
Aside of this, just don’t beat her or emotionally abuse her. That’s about it.
…but if you haven’t been doing these things, and there isn’t another guy doing these things for her, this is why you lost her or didn’t get her. If you have been doing these thing, and it’s not working, there is a different problem. It may be compatibility, which a love reading would tell us, or it may be that something else is going on, which a bone or tarot reading would tell us. (See the sidebar.)
Women (and Feminine People)
For us, it’s a bit more complicated. Isn’t it always? I’ve already written an article on how to keep your man and protect your household. If you’re currently single, you should be keeping the ways of Oshun, and preparing yourself for when you have a potential relationship.
It looks like a lot, and it is, but it is very important. A man who is doing his job needs a woman who is doing her job. You don’t even have to be the best at it. You just have to strive to do your best at it.
The hard reality is that it is much more difficult for most men to find a woman who wants them, than it is for women to find a man who wants them. The problem for women though, is getting a commitment or if one does not want that, priority attention from a man. Women have been taught to behave submissive, but if you look around, you understand that this is not the way to get and keep a man. On the one hand, you should be feminine as in not manly, but this is just for attractiveness and lust. To keep a man, you must control him. You must convince him to give you his time, attention, and resources. Yes, resources, as in his money.
Scroll up and see the 3 P’s. Giving you his material wealth is part of how a man shows you that he care because this is part of his primal, natural role on Earth. Masculinity is a force of Nature that was created to produce and build, and one of the things it produces is material wealth. Even the Bible says that where a man’s treasure is, his heart is.
That isn’t all though. A man should not just throw money at you and think that is enough. He should protect you…sometimes from himself and sometimes from yourself, but definitely from other people. It’s complicated to explain in words, but I think we all understand this. He should be protecting you even from shady people in his own family.
Now, if you have been doing your best or are clearly displaying that you are willing to do your best for him by keeping the ways of Oshun, and there is still a problem, again, get a love reading. It may be that you just don’t match, or it may be that there is another problem.
If the divination says that you should or can do a spell, and you choose to go through with it, you will need to help me to help you. Use the advice that I give on how to keep your man and what to do when you have an Oshun working in progress.
It is extremely important that you keep yourself busy doing things that raise your Oshun energy, and do not ruminate about your situation. Ruminating and constantly spending your energy talking about it and thinking about it will create blockages that will ruin your work. Sometimes I have watched situations turn from positive down to “okay let’s try to be optimistic” down to flicker of home maybe down to this might not work down to hopeless before my very eyes during observances, just because someone was constantly spilling negativity and worry from their lips or typing fingers. It is heartbreaking for me.
When I take on a love working, my soul is wiggling between two other people’s soul and trying to knit them together or back together after a breakup. I feel their pain. I feel their frustration. I can’t separate myself from it while the work is ongoing. I am in your romantic dreams about each other. I am in your nightmares about each other.
I need to stay positive and confident and not lean towards any negativity. You need to tell me news about whether or not the person has contacted you or if there is any progress maybe every two weeks or once a month. If they are male, then if it hasn’t resolved in 7 months, then I need to try a stronger, more aggressive tactic. If they are female, then 3 months.
You also need to tell me if there are any signs like Oshun showering you with a windfall of money that is higher than the offerings you gave. If that happens, then she is telling you that after doing all she can without breaking their mind, the person is still resisting, and it will be a bit longer, or that they have made a decision that deems them unworthy of you or that it is hopeless without breaking their mind. At that point, we need to do a bone reading to get word from the Orishas about whether it is worth it to continue, or to just take the blessings of Oshun and move on.
Seasonal Love Workings
For those of us who have the blessing of being in an ile, there are festival times during which the energy is higher, and love workings can be done less expensively, and with much less effort. If your situation can wait or go on maintenance until a festival time, this is a good way to go. You can give a smaller donation to an ile to maintain, and then do a larger but still less than normal one during their Oshun festival.
Ile Baalat Teva usually have ours in March and in August.
Doing It Yourself
Love spells are among the most complicated, stressful, and expensive workings in all of magic. One reason even I prefer to do these seasonally, during the Oshun and Shango festivals, is so that I am flowing with Nature and have the energy of community, which is strong actual love, right there in the offerings. I understand though, that love spells are also highly personal, and that you may want to do them yourself. I don’t recommend anyone trying this unless they are doing daily observances for at least a year.
If you have any questions about love spells and how they work, please feel free to ask in the comments. Also, if you have ever done or ordered a love spell, share your experiences.