Love divinations is one of the most common types of superstitions in the world. Everyone can probably vaguely recall at least one type of superstition that’s suppose to reveal whether or not someone loves you or will love you. Open to any page in a superstition dictionary and you’ll probably find a love related one. It’s that ubiquitous and it’s the number one question I get asked about as a professional reader.
That’s not a bad thing. People want to feel loved and there’s so many different culturally specific charms that have developed to reveal love to you. Here’s fourteen of my favorites for you to try and enjoy:
01 Apple Peels
Apples are, without a singular doubt, associated with love. From the golden apple that started a war to numerous divination methods, apples are commonplace in love rituals. While there are methods of divining a future love from pretty much any part of the apple, we’ll look at the peel itself.
Peel an apple in one singular piece as much as possible. Move slowly and take your time so you get it right. Toss the apple peel over your left shoulder and see what letter the apple peel formed on the ground. The letter should stand for the first letter of the future lover’s surname or Christian name. (1)
02 Plucking Daisies
Ever pluck the petals of a daisy to find out if they love you? You knot the charm “They love me. They love me not.” After each sentence, you pluck a petal and when you run out of petals you have the answer you seek.
Did you know that’s there’s another usage for this verbal spell? It’s used for determining whether your lover is faithful to you. Supposedly that’s why you say “he loves me, he loves me not”. Apparently, performing this little rite should be done around noon, facing the sun. (2)
There’s another verbal charm that could be said “Rich man, poor man, farmer, ploughman, thief” and whichever you say when you run out of petals, reveals the kind of person you’ll marry. (3)
03 Hair & Fire
Find a single a friend and sit together by yourselves from midnight to one in the morning in complete silence. During this time, you both pluck the hairs from each others’ head to match how old they are. So if you’re nineteen and your friend is eighteen, you should pull eighteen hairs from your friend’s hair and they’ll pull nineteen from yours. Toss the hair one by one into the fire while saying,
“I offer this my sacrifice to him most precious in my eyes,
I charge thee now come forth to me that I this minute may thee see”
The vision of the future spouse will appear. (4)(5)
Interestingly, the wording is almost exact no matter where I read the superstition. This is because it originally comes from page 215 of Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillip. Where he got it from is unknown but that’s where the wording originates from.
Not willing to pull out a friend’s hair? There’s an updated version published where you sit alone in silence and between midnight and one by one pluck your hair from a hairbrush to match your age (so nineteen hairs for nineteen years old) and put it on a scarf in a row so you can see each hair. At one in the morning, turn over each hair and say,
“I offer my hair as sacrifice,
To the one most dear in my eyes.
I call on you now to come to me
And this minute you I will see.”
And then the misty vision will appear to you. (6)
While I like the updated wording and the ability to cast the spell by myself, I’d probably use the fire and burn the hair plucked freshly from my head. Because that’s how I roll. But having other variations is nice too.
Speaking of variations, there’s a variation that the hair is to be burned in a linen cloth along with some of the herb true-love. The True-Love herb mentioned here is herb-paris, true lover’s knot and known scientifically as Paris quadrifolia. (7) Be careful if you decide to hunt up herb-paris. It’s name is derived because of it’s shape appears to be paired like lovers and looks like a lover’s knot but it’s poisonous.
Names and words have long been recognized for their magical importance. Love divination by names is no different.
One continuing divination method is to take the name of potential lovers or a bunch of current lovers and write them on separate pieces of paper. Then paper is then wrapped each paper in clay and tossed into water. The first to rise back up will be their valentine.(8)
This one has a very great many variances out there. Some people will burn the names to ashes, lay the ashes on a mirror, and they’ll dream of their lover. Or they use bread instead of clay. Or they use the alphabet rather than names. There’s even a method with holly twigs and blood. (9)
This one is perhaps one of the most varying out there but the theme remains. Gather the names of potential lovers or the alphabet if there are no potential lovers available. If you’re using the water method, they wrap the name in something that floats, toss it in the water, and see which one comes up first and closest to you. That will be the initial or name of your lover. If using the fire method, you can use smoke divination from the burning process, or spread the ashes out in front of you to find letters or names spelled out.
Nuts are often cited as a fertility ingredient and therefore are often used in love spells. There’s an interesting evolution in burning of nuts. Essentially, you lay out a nut or nuts on the hearth of the fireplace while saying the potential lover’s name. If the nut flies away, they return your affections. If the nut stays still, then they don’t. The verbal charm “If you love me, pop and fly. If you hate me, lie and die.” (10)
Another variation exists where if you already have a lover you can check their faithfulness depending on how the nut reacts. If it jumps away, then they’re unfaithful. (11) What’s interesting is this version may have been the original version used before the “pop and fly” became popular. So if the nut jumped away, the lover wasn’t interested rather than the current superstition of the jumping nut revealing a passionate lover.
Hazel nuts or chestnuts are often used but I heard this superstition using walnuts as a young girl.
There’s tons and tons more ways to divine who your future lover might be and it’s a popular (and fun) game to play as Valentine’s Day approaches. While cartomancy like tarot or palm reading are always popular, these folkloric methods are usually low key but culturally powerful ways to foretell the future. They might be silly now but they’ll well beloved and worth considering if you’re looking to do a love reading for yourself.
What kind of love divinations did you do as a kid? Did you recognize any or have one that was super common where you grew up?
- Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions. Opie, Iona and Tatem, Moira. Oxford Press. 2005. Page 3.
- Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions. Pickering, David. Cassell Wellington House. 1995. Page 79.
- Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions. Opie, Iona and Tatem, Moira. Oxford Press. 2005. Page 115.
- Ibid. Page 185.
- Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions. Pickering, David. Cassell Wellington House. 1995. Page 124-125
- The Fortune-Telling Book. Kemp, Gillian. Little, Brown and Company. 2000. Page 98.
- Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions. Opie, Iona and Tatem, Moira. Oxford Press. 2005. Page 185.
- Ibid. Page 246-277
- Ibid. Page 289