As posted on the Hoodwitch, love spells are probably what intrigue people most about magic. Who doesn't want to influence whether or not someone falls in love with them? Knowing that this kind of magic is accessible to people through paying professional witches to conjure a spell for them or even throwing a concoction together in their own kitchens can be very powerful for non-witches. However, there are ethics to witchcraft (manipulating energies in general) that cannot be ignored. Even if you aren't a practicing witch, this message still pertains to you!
So what's the deal with love spells? You drink something, or give someone something to drink, wait however many moons, and it's done? Not unless that's the way your spell was designed, no. Each spell is different and there is no right or wrong spell. While you can write a spell that has a list of contradicting ingredients (ie: lavender for sleep, but you also throw in lemon, which has energizing properties), spells written with pure intent and carried out with focus and passion will usually go as planned. I'll definitely have a post on spell writing soon, but this post is focusing on the way that love spells function in society today among witches and non-witches alike.
Karma/Rule of Three
The Wiccan Rule of Three essentially states that whatever energy a person puts out into the universe, it will return to them times three. There is also a similar principle among karmic beliefs, you know, "what goes around comes around." While I believe in this rule to an extent, I'd like to make it very clear that if you are not Wiccan, this rule should not scare you out of continuing to practice your magic. If you want to perform a curse and people are shaming you for it, using the Rule of Three as justification, please try to ignore this toxicity. Your practice is defined by your beliefs and you should in no way feel confined by the beliefs of another faith.
In applying this to love spells, however, if you do believe in these principles you may want to keep your potential fate in mind while crafting these spells. Do you want to permanently bind a person to you, forcing them to always love you? This may not seem like such a great idea however many years from now if the energies of your spell become stronger with time. But again, you should only consider the consequences in terms of "returning in three" or karma if you believe in these principles. Ultimately, energies put out into the universe will be returned. Despite your own personal beliefs, this is just the way the universe works. But I personally believe that even if you know this, you shouldn't let others scare you out of doing a practice on the basis of "but what about the rule of three?" You should still craft/conduct your spells carefully. But you know this already!
My biggest issue with love spells practiced by non-witches is the fact that many people gloss over consent. I think most witches today are deeply concerned with respecting other people when it comes to casting spells (not jinxes, curses or hexes). However, I still want to stress this. I personally believe that spells should not be cast on another person unless their consent has been willingly given.
This doesn't mean love spells are off the table, though! There are plenty of love spells that focus on attracting love in a general sense, whether it be through glamours or strengthening self-love. These do not focus on a specific person as the target of the love spell; this way, nobody will be forced to do anything they don't want to do. If you're still interested in love spells, I strongly suggest searching for glamours, self-confidence spells, and spells that welcome similar, attractive energies.
To sum it up, I believe spells should require consent, unless they are jinxes, hexes or curses. The reason why I advocate for the latter is because I have also been in the place of a victim/survivor/the abused. If you've never experienced the deep, twisting need to enact vengeance on your abuser, there is little room for you to judge the way someone practices their magic. At the same time, I have seen negative energies at work when I unleashed some darker magic, and I prefer not to invite negative karma into my life if I can help it.
I share this with you not to convert you to my way of thinking, but rather to encourage you to solidify how you feel about certain issues. Your practice is entirely up to you, so you should know where you stand and let that confidence bless your magic regardless of what kinds of spells you like to do!
Peace and love to you all.