When I told my mom I was casting love spells for my job, she said, “Those things don’t work.” A second later, she added, “But don’t do any black magic.” That is basically how I feel about witchcraft/ghosts/astrology/Katy Perry’s live vocals: It may or may not be real, but the world is more fun if it is. Watch out, men of New York. More specifically, non-assholes of New York. More specifically, non-assholes of New York who like cats and cheese.
1. The Dominican Stomp
During an interview, my subject mentioned that her Dominican friend’s grandma taught her a folksy ritual to emotionally dominate a man: Write his name on a piece of paper, fold it five times, stick it in your shoe, and stomp on it five times while saying, “I dominate you,” (you guessed it) five times. I did this alone in my apartment, using my ex’s name. It did feel kind of cathartic, but there was no bolt of lightning that struck his house, and my eyes didn’t turn red like they would if life was like Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Mostly I just scared my cat. Then I went out and bought batteries, watched seven episodes of Nashville, and went to sleep. Magic!
2. The Honey Jar Spell
Next, I discovered Catland, a metaphysical boutique (is there a better description for a store? No) in Brooklyn whose employees were kind enough to point me in the direction of the kind of spell I needed. Damon Stang, one of the diviners, nicely pointed out to me that he personally disagreed with “coercive” spells, the kind that force feelings on people. (In other words, the kind that 90 percent of people interested in love spells want, probably.) Instead, he preferred “sweetening spells,” which have positive energy and only enhance the attractive qualities you already have — “Just like makeup,” he explained — thus drawing more people to you without using dark magic. After he shared a few options, I chose an easy-sounding one.
You write your name and the person’s name on the brown paper and surround it with a “statement of intention,” like “I want to feel pretty and confident around X and also figure out how to shave my knees without bleeding.” Take a spoonful of the honey and eat it, then stick the paper into the jar of honey until it is submerged. You should say, “Love me, love me, love me,” repeatedly, but I said it once, alone in my apartment, and then felt dumb. Then take your sugar cubes, soak them in brandy, drink the rest of the brandy (just kidding), set the cubes up so they surround the honey jar, and light them on fire. Make sure you are not using a flammable surface, obviously. Tie the red ribbon around the jar.
The red one is to sever any emotional ties with any old flames (see what I did there? Because I am a wordsmith, NBD) and the pink one is to attract whatever form of new romance you want, whether it’s a relationship with a specific kind of person, a few flings, more sex, or anything. Like the honey jar spell, you write a letter of intention for each one and keep it near the candles.
These are 7-Day Burning candles, which you are supposed to let burn straight through until they’re melted all the way down. But I have an office job, and a cat, and had to blow them out when I wasn’t home. Stang said that was okay. Magic understands that people have to go to work and not come home to find their apartment on fire.
I suppose this was not technically me casting the spell, since the good folks at Catland are the ones who made these incredible candles (plus there are herbs and oils and things on the bottom), but can we count lighting a match as a spell? Yes, we can. I kind of felt nothing while burning these, except anxious that I’d forget to blow them out, have to go back and be late to work, which wound up happening one time.