Recently while tooling around the witchy web I was reading a few blog posts and Reddit discussions about magick and free will. I ran into an argument that I’d never thought of and I found it interesting. Magick done on someone specific for a specific reason, like a love spell, does not go against their free will because it is only a way to influence someone not force them to do something they don’t want to do.
Here’s the argument…
Doing a love spell on someone to get them to like you more or find you more attractive is no different than dressing up really nice in a sexy dress when you’re going to see them. Magick is just an influence and it’s no different than if you tried to influence them in a more mundane way.
This was interesting. I can see the point, and to a degree it’s true. Magick is an influence. I’d argue that you’d probably have a better chance of getting the person’s attention by just wearing the sexy dress and skipping the magick if it really doesn’t matter because an influence is an influence.
Before we get into this discussion I feel we need to look at the actual definition of free will and not our interpretation or personal view of it, as well as the definition of influence.
Free Will: the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.
Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.; the power to shape policy or ensure favorable treatment from someone, especially through status, contacts, or wealth.; a person or thing with the capacity or power to have an effect on someone or something.
My argument is this…
Are both magick and mundane actions aimed at a specific person influences? Yes. Are they the same kind of influence? No. Does one have more free will attached to it than the other? Yes.
You can have an influence on someone with or without magick but unless the person is aware of the influence that you are attempting to assert over them they can’t make a free will choice to accept or reject it. When we cast spells on someone they aren’t given an opportunity to “act at one’s own discretion” just by the nature of how magick works. So yes, you’re going against free will.
I’m not a fan of magick done on specific people, most of the time. There are cases where I feel it’s totally valid, specifically in the case of protection, but in spells like that taking away the free will of a person is the point. You want to stop them from using their free will to harm you. When we’re talking about love spells we are trying to influence someone to feel a certain way for us and just by the nature of how magick works they don’t have an opportunity to act on their behalf. Whether or not a spell actually has the influence on the person that you desire has variety of factors but free will isn’t one of them.
Back to that sexy dress…
Let’s go back to the sexy dress vs. a love spell example. When you show up to a party in a super sexy outfit and strut around to get the attention of someone you like, they make the free will decision whether or not to acknowledge you. It’s a conscious choice for them to talk to you or engage with you or not. When you’re using magick to influence someone’s thinking, whether you acknowledge it or not, the purpose is to “make them” feel or think a certain way.
Think about how we talk about love spells. “I’m going to use this spell to make him fall in love with me.” Not “I’m going to use this spell to try to get him to think about falling in love with me if he wants to.” With the spell you’re not influencing the person with a suggestion but influencing them to specifically think, feel or act in a way that you want them to.
I always feel like if you need to do a love spell on someone to get them to like you either you haven’t done your part to get their attention or endear them to you or they just might not be that into you. If you feel like you’ve been trying all you can to get their attention and they still aren’t interested, using a spell to get them to like you is an act of trying to influence them against their free will.
We all know that magick is never guaranteed to work. Just because you cast this love spell on someone doesn’t mean it’s going to land. At the same time just because you get all sexy when you go to that party doesn’t mean this person is going to pay any attention to you. The difference is that if they pay attention to you at the party it is a conscious choice. Your spell not working could fail for a number of reasons, but not because of free will. How can they make the conscious choice to not be affected by a spell you’ve cast when they don’t know you cast it?
Did you see The Craft?
I know this is going to sound so fucking silly, but I think the movie The Craft shows such a great example of how love spells can go wrong. Chris was fully aware of Sarah. Chris flirted with her at lunch the first time they talked. Shortly after that she casts a love spell on him because she’s (superficially) very into him. The spell works and he becomes a stalker, tries to rape her, and attempts to ruin her reputation at school. Sarah only did one spell, she didn’t do a rolling list of spells until she got what she wanted.
By all rights it looked like if she’d just let things develop in their own way and time he may have ended up being into her. She also could have realized he was a total jerk and would stop pursuing him. Either way, the chances are that had she let this play out on its own it probably wouldn’t have ended in attempted rape and him getting killed.
Of course, not all love spells go this way, but they can and they do. It happened to me; I did a love spell on my ex in college and we got back together but I and ended up with an abusive stalker within a month and not the guy I’d been with before. Unfortunately, I have other similar stories but I’ll leave it with that.
Whether or not you do magick on someone is up to you…always.
If you’re considering casting a spell on someone here are a few things to consider.
Is there a mundane action you could or should take that you haven’t? It’s possible there is something you haven’t done or said to that person that could change everything.
If you haven’t taken these mundane actions, why? Do you lack confidence? Work a spell on yourself for confidence. Are you afraid of rejection or not getting the result you want? Work with divination to see if there are things you should be aware of that could help you with taking action, or work magick on yourself to help with your actions. Are you just lazy and looking for an easy way to get what you want? Magick isn’t your answer because more often than not the magick will take more time, effort, and energy than the mundane actions you probably need to take.
Are you OK with the idea of bypassing someone’s free will? You might not give a shit! You might feel like what you want is more important or you feel this would be good for both of you. You might feel like you’re actually doing them a favor, depending on the spell you’re doing. That’s perfectly fine, it’s your choice! That’s YOUR free will at work.
Are you willing to accept the consequences that come from your magick? Always take time to weigh the pros and cons of your spell being successful. It’s possible that what you think you want isn’t what you get and it all goes to hell really fast. If that happens you have nobody to blame but yourself. If you cast a love spell on someone and they end up being possessive and abusive you can’t say “Well it’s his fault too because his free will let the love spell work.” That’s fucking ridiculous and not a thing.
Magick is all about influence, that’s true…
But the influence asserted through magick is not the same as influence through a mundane action. It effects things differently. You’re working on someone in an energetic and subconscious way. It is a power used to create change, and if you choose to do magick on a specific person you’re making the choice to assert power over them which, by its nature, takes away their free will. Do that magick if you need or want to and own it, whatever it may bring about.