Beliefnet
Phyllis Curott is an author, attorney and Wiccan high priestess. One of the Wiccan spiritual movement's most influential theologians, Curott lectures and teaches internationally, and is also the Wiccan representative to Harvard University's Religious Pluralism Project Consultation on Religious Discrimination and Accommodation. Curott, 50, describes The Love Spell as a true story of a love spell that worked, and the sexual and spiritual journey that the spell provoked. It's also a tale of personal, and global, awakening to the magic of love. Beliefnet senior editor Deborah Caldwell talked with Curott about the spell.

How did you decide that you wanted to cast a love spell?

From the time we're little kids--singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or blowing out the candles and wishing on our birthday cake--we're casting spells all the time. When you meditate, when you make a plan, when you make a wish, you're casting a spell, you're opening your heart to the universe, you're focusing your mind and visualizing what you want, and you then are investing life force energy to bring it about. And that was part of the message of this book--I wanted people to realize how powerful we really are in manifesting the longings of our heart.

Tell the story of casting the old-fashioned spell to get your man.

I was 27, and practicing Wicca at the time. I was a witchlet, a baby witch, and had been practicing for about a year. My women's group would meet in this wonderful, spooky old shop, a dark dusty shop in New York, which is no longer there, a perfect movie set. I would see all these people coming in to cast love spells, and I had been longing for a long time, and finally I said to myself, "Well, why not? If you can, why shouldn't you?" So I concocted a potion which was made up of an herb which at the time was much more obscure and now much better known in the medical community, using the bark--it's calledyohimbe--using the bark of an African tree, and it has to be treated very specifically because it can be toxic.

Wow.

It's given to men to enhance their sexuality, and in African cultures it's given to newlywed couples for their honeymoon night. Anyway, I whipped up this little potion and I followed the directions very carefully, and it was a full moon on a Friday night, the night devoted to the Goddess of Love, and I cast a circle to create sacred space and to contain the energy that I was going to raise, and I had a drawing of a very romantic image of a man who looked like a king. He was wearing a crown, and had wonderful cheekbones and long hair. He was riding this magnificent horse with a long mane and a long tail, and a broad sword and a shield with a face on it. And sitting in front of him on the horse in his embrace, is a princess, and they're going through a magical forest. And I clutched that to my chest as I went into an altered state, which was extraordinary and intense, with amazing feelings of energy coursing through me. And I then proceeded to use a little good old-fashioned sex magic, which is essentially the harnessing of one's arousal and orgasm. That energy is directed into what it is that you are longing for, the goal of your spell, the object of your prayers. And for me it was embodied in this image.

There was this sense of diving deep below the surface of my own inhibitions, which is when I brought the energy of sexuality into this religious ritual that was devoted to love. And then I fell asleep after the culmination of this rite and the raising of energy.

A number of weeks later, lo and behold, one evening the priestess that I was studying with said, "I have somebody that I want to introduce you to," and she pointed to a man standing, looking at a book, his back to me. He had long hair, and when he turned around he was the image in that drawing. The long hair, gaunt cheekbones, and I almost passed out.

Did you immediately know this was "him?"

Yes, I knew who it was. And he looked at me and I looked at him and there was this flair, that love at first sight thing that hits, and I think he felt it too.

How does casting a spell work?

We know now, through lots of studies, how much the mind and the heart--the energy of a human being's soul--directed at a goal can affect the outcome. That's quantum physics. One perspective on this is when you use herbs and spells and incense and music and chanting, essentially all you're doing is using those things to trigger a shift in consciousness. And that it's actually that shift in consciousness that makes things manifest. There is another theory which says, yes, that's true, that is what's going on, but simultaneously everything has energy, and so you're adding the energies of a plant and aroma and light and color and sound - all these additional energies to your own, which have the effect of magnifying what you're doing.

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