If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find examples of everyday transcendence from our physical reality on a street corner, down an alleyway, or through a door left open which has previously to now, always been found closed.
By instinct we are drawn to examples of sympathetic magic, where objects found or created form a link to the thing they resemble.
Sympathetic or imitative magic involves using effigies, fetishes or poppets to affect our environment, or the people around us. Objects believed to have supernatural powers can range in power from a found copper coin (See a penny, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck) to the notorious Voodoo Doll.
Who wouldn’t be disturbed if they found a doll made in their image, spindled and mutilated?
The phenomenon we will examine here is a far sweeter proposition: love locks. You may have noticed these around the place – padlocks attached to a bridge or gate to symbolize and protect love. Traditionally the names or initials of the lovers are inscribed on the lock, and the key thrown away.
In 2014, the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris started to collapse from the extra weight attached to its parapet, after which over a million love locks were removed from it.
So this is a popular phenomenon certainly – but if you’re going to do a thing, do it right, that’s what I say. Let’s charm your lock so that it really works.
You can use padlocks for two main magical purposes: locking love in, or keeping a secret.
You can buy padlocks very cheaply from a lot of places, but if you want a heart-shaped one, which is really ideal for a love charm, you can source these online. Alternatively, draw a heart on the lock with an indelible marker. Write your name and theirs on the other side.
Light two white candles. Mix up a Love Spell Cocktail or make a drink which you associate with your beloved. Something you have shared together in the past would be ideal. Take either a photograph of the person you wish to lock, or something they have handled, and place the lock with the key inserted on top of it.
Whisper to the lock as you lock it: As I turn this key, let the Fates turn also, to bring you to me, together forever, locked together in love now and always.
Take the key out, kiss the lock and let both candles burn down until they gutter. Take the key and bury it in the ground, as deeply as you can. When you have pressed down the earth, kiss your fingertips, and press it down one last time, visualizing your loved ones face as you do. Throw the locked padlock into running water. A river is ideal.
If you have access to them, you could use the power of nature to strengthen the charm. Bury the key under an oak for strength, or ivy for endurance. A stinging nettle gives protection, a white flower lends silence. You should use a yellow rose if you have betrayed someone’s love, or use a yellow tulip if this is a secret hopeless love.
If you are worried about something you have done which you are terrified will be discovered, or if you have a secret which you MUST tell, but cannot share with another person, you can work a different version of the charm.
Light a white candle after dark, making sure you are alone. Take your lock – the bigger and heavier the better – with the key inserted, and whisper the secret to it.
Then whisper: Here is our secret, the secret is locked here. Nobody will discover it, no one will unlock it. Those who find it, will forget it as it is locked away from their mind. Those who know it, will never use it against me.
Lock the lock, and blow out the candle. Bury the lock in the ground, with a stone on top. Throw the key into the deepest water you can find. As the key drifts down through the water, feel your spirits lighten as the weight of the secret lifts from you.
As you throw the key, say: “L’Chaim!” This is the Jewish toast meaning “To life!”, but phonetically sounds out as “Lock I am”. It will seal the charm.