Do you know what a voodoo love spell is? Do you know what a voodoo love spell can do?
I was in London, living at the end of the northern line, lonely and unlucky in love, when my mentor and employer made a suggestion.
She was, I think, sick and tired of me moping around, unable to concentrate on the paid work of the moment.
"I know a practitioner" she announced one morning, before adding cryptically, "tomorrow is the first day of the full moon".
Vivienne has many contacts, both in this world and the next, and a practitioner could be almost anyone.
I stopped what I was pretending to do and looked at her.
"A priestess", she continued.
I was feeling desperate, but having met various of her practitioners, was wary.
"You have an appointment booked at 11 o'clock tonight'", she said, handing me a card.
Do priestesses make appointments? I inspected the card. There was nothing outstanding about it. There was the usual jumble of veves, symbolising voodoo deities and loas. Papa Legba, Ma'mam Brigit and Erzulie Freda and others. In short, it looked like something you might find on the internet, and print as a calling card.
I looked at Vivienne again.
"The appointment is booked. You are going. The ritual must begin on the first day of the full moon."
I wondered if Vivienne had become aware of my dabbling with love magic and spells. She wouldn't approve, and I hadn't told her what I was trying. But I had done some research at work so who knows?
At 11 o'clock exactly, I found myself miles from home, miles from the nearest tube stop and standing outside a vey average looking terraced house.
As I raised my hand to knock, the door opened and the priestess looked out. I assumed she was a priestess. She looked normal, but what were you expecting? Maybe that a voodoo priestess would be exotic, unworldly beautiful?
Or answer the door with a snake wrapped around her neck?
Exotic? Unworldly? Real world spells are cast by normal people, and not movie stars. Normal people, who have a gift, who tinker with names of power, sprits and the mechanics of the universe.
"Come in. We don't have long. They call me Maman and so shall you".
I followed Maman. We passed through a hall, empty except for a mirror, polished, smooth and alive, into what can only be described as a reception room.
I've been into many temples while working, but this was just a reception room.
I expected a voodoo temple, and there wasn't even a skull to liven the place up. Magic is helped by atmosphere and belief.
The room was empty apart from a table, candle, rings, black felt, and a silver ring.
I guessed that Maman was casting this love spell as a favour for Vivienne. It seemed being done grudgingly, or maybe she just wanted to go to sleep. The real temple would be further inside, or maybe elsewhere.
"Tell me her name. You can whisper it if you want".
I blushed and whispered. I felt ridiculous. Magic is many things, but belief and faith are among the important ingredients, and I had neither relating to voodoo love spells. I'd always thought of love spells as being used by woman. I blushed again.
Mamam wrote the name of my love on the candle from top to bottom. The first letter was written at the top of the candle, and the last letter at the bottom, and she placed a pin on each letter. The ring was dropped onto the last letter.
"Once the candle is lit, you must think strongly about the person you wish to séduire, until the ring falls".
There are also ritual invocations, chants and namings that must be performed. Each voodoo practitioner uses different rituals, and each naturally considers theirs to be the best or only way. >
She made me repeat the incantations three times. Maybe Vivienne had warned her about my lack of attention to detail.
And then she lit the candle, saying:
"The ritual must be repeated between 11 and midnight until the ring falls."
"Let yourself out when the first ring falls. Take the candle. Remember. Every night"
I was cold, and my mind was wandering by the time the candle had burnt down and the first pin had fallen.
The hall was dark. The only light a candle under the mirror. Despite myself, I glanced and felt the world twitch and move.
I started to fall, down and into the mirror. Scrying is like lucid dreaming but frightening and with no perks, and I didn't want it.
I stopped falling. Unexpectedly.
"Best you leave for now little one".
Can mirrors speak? I didn't' know in those days but I had suspicions. Each time we look into one a piece of our soul is absorbed, and with time with what lose, a mirror gains. I shuddered.
I let myself out. Cold and disorientated.
Have you ever wandered the streets of London looking for the nearest tube? Lost. Alone. And holding a voodoo love candle?
I worked the love spell for seven more days as required.
But each time, I found it harder and harder to concentrate on the object of my desire, and by the end of the seven days had lost interest completely.
My mentor and employer is wise, but at the same time intolerant of failure, and there would be consequences for her perceived loss of face.
But then, I'm an not a student or apprentice, nor a true believer in magic, so hopefully she won't turn me into a frog or anything so dramatic.
The next time I fall in love, I'll either look for a woman with a shorter name, or try a different type of love spell.
And as for you? Maybe your Voodoo love spell will work, or maybe you lack the intent and it will not.
If you want to know, ask Marcella.