Brussels sprouts

How to

Cast an ancient Greek love spell

We’re not saying that our readers are awkward, but who wouldn’t like to skip the flirting and cut to the chase with an old-fashioned Greek love spell?

Benjamin Recchie, AB’03

The Core spoke with Chris Faraone, the Frank Curtis Springer and Gertrude Melcher Springer professor in the humanities, a professor of classics, and the author of Ancient Greek Love Magic (Harvard University Press, 1999), to find out how.

There were two kinds of love magic, he explains. Men tended to use an eros spell—a curse, actually—to torture a woman until she found relief in a man’s arms. Women typically used a philia spell, related to healing magic, to bind their man closer. The Core has adapted the following spells from Faraone’s book.

A spell for inducing uncontrollable passion (Eros)

Make a clay effigy of a woman, kneeling and bound. Pierce the effigy 13 times with pins. Seal the effigy inside a clay pot alongside a lead tablet inscribed with the following spell:

“Rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house, and bind Madison,* she whom Tammy bore, the daughter of Fred. Lead Madison, whom Tammy bore, the daughter of Fred, to me. Prevent her from eating and drinking until she comes to me, Benjamin, whom Barbara bore, and do not allow her to have experience with another man, except me alone. Drag her by the hair, by the guts, until she does not stand aloof from me and until I hold her obedient for the whole time of my life, loving me, desiring me, and telling me what she is thinking.”

A spell for inducing affection (Philia)

Take a silver tablet and inscribe with a bronze stylus the following spell:

“Give to me, Madison, whom Tammy bore, advantage over men and women, especially over Benjamin, whom Barbara bore, forever and for all time.”

Wear it under your garment and you will be victorious.

All right, alumni! Go out there and get ’em!


*Example names only. The Core’s editorial staff will not be held responsible for miscast spells.

(Artwork courtesy Chris Faraone)