Love spells are part of the lore of the witch – the same lore that says we’re all ugly, warty, hags who can dry up a cow’s milk with a glance and fly through moonless nights on our broomsticks. As easily as we cause trouble we can cast our glamour to entrap a man who would otherwise never give us a second glance (the warts, you know). Since we’ve all gotten past this ill-informed lore and witches are increasingly mainstream love spells have become a bit of a dirty topic – and with good reason. Most love spells are manipulative and have all sorts of ways they can go wrong. Ellen Dugan is the first (to my knowledge) to write a book of love magick that is 100% free of manipulation.
How to Enchant a Man is a straightforward collection of spells to bring back, reawaken or otherwise manifest romance and love in your life. Although written specifically for women, the basic principles could probably be used by men and I had the strong feeling that they would work no matter the gender you are trying to attract (woman/woman, man/man as well as woman/man). Most importantly, Dugan is very clear about her rules of magick: harm none – no one at all, don’t manipulate another’s free will , don’t target a specific person, respect the elemental and natural forces, honor the God and Goddess, and follow the rule of three (whatever you send out will return amplified three times over). Doing magick without following those rules can (and likely will) lead you into situations where what you wanted is not what happens – it’ll be some weird, twisted version that causes you a whole lot of problems. (Particularly, as she notes, if you target a specific individual.) I found her explanation of what magick is and how to create the energetic pool to draw from in order to create enchantments.
A key element of this book is Dugan’s use of the word ‘enchantment’ by which she means the classic definition of “to influence by . . . to attract and move deeply; rouse to ecstatic admiration.” For her, enchanting another person is as much about being in love with yourself as any other. She says: “A Witch does not hunt for love; instead she attracts it and draws it to her. . . you should focus on yourself and make yourself joyful and content first.” Unlike the plethora of women’s magazines that make us feel inadequate all the time Dugan wants us to be the best we can be: happy, confident women. Our love magick spells help us use our best assets and make each of us enchantresses – not the fairy-tale or romance novel variety, but flesh-and-blood women who are irresistible. To this end Dugan offers tips on reading (and expressing) body language and flirting that feels a bit 1950s, but without the ‘how to marry a man’ smarminess of that time. Getting irritated about how men and women react to one another on an intuitive level is a waste of time anyway. Some things are biological; but that doesn’t mean they are inevitable. There is no rule that says you have to wear makeup, but people have been altering their appearance to be more attractive to their potential partners since the first man discovered that a rinse in the nearby lake made his sweetie more interested in coupling.
Dugan’s spells are specific in intent and use natural forces – day of the week, lunar phase, physical elements, and astrological signs – as well as candles and scents to add extra power to your intention. She includes a nice collection of charms and flower-based spells alongside a couple of intriguing Goddess workings. I found her Sabbat-based spells particularly excellent.
Some of what she says can seem insulting: men sometimes come across as horn-dogs looking for full breasts and a rounded backside that can be seduced by a good bra, silk negligee, and inviting body language. As a woman I know how NOT true this is. As a person living in the United States in the 21st century I also know how true it can be. Wearing something sexy to bed is arousing – whether it’s black silk (or scarlet!) or a sheer cotton nightie – and part of what makes it so is your attitude while wearing it. That’s the lesson, not that black silk is sexy, but that the woman wearing that silk (or cotton, or spandex or . . . ) is sexy.
Throughout the book we are treated to Ms. Dugan’s wonderful sense of humor and delight sense of play. She is clearly in love with herself and shares that joy with other women – we should all be so in love with ourselves!
Five roses out of five.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Ellen Dugan
Llewellyn Publications, 2008