Although in Romany culture divorce is taboo, their marriages are not necessarily happier than most, and sometimes partners do go astray. But there is a spell that draws a partner home to his or her original ties. This spell is very basic, as down-to-earth as the Romanies themselves. It gets to the point and apparently works.
Choose a pair of your partner’s underwear and a pair of your own. Take two nutmegs, and write your partner’s full name on one and your own on the other. Bind the two nutmegs with a red cord (to symbolize passion). Wrap them in the underwear, and place them in a clean white envelope. Sleep with them under your pillow if your partner is away, or embed them in a drawer where you keep your favorite or most sensual clothes.
When an unwanted divorce appears likely, the Romanies advise the one who wants their partner to return to light a purple candle.
Pierce it with a pin from right to left, so that the pin tip emerges on the left side of the candle. Then take a pin with a blue head and pierce the candle from left to right. As you do so, focus on the point of the pin, and the idea of crossing the other person’s path. Leave the candle to burn and extinguish itself. Afterward, bury the pins.
Divorce is taboo among the Romanies, so this spell is used to heal a broken marriage. It requires little more than an apple, true love, and the sheer determination to keep the marriage intact.
The advantage of this spell is that a link is already been established. The marriage simply needs reinforcement or bridging.
Buy a perfect-looking apple. If it is summer or autumn, pluck an apple yourself; an apple right off the tree has more life force in it.
Cut the apple in half. Regard it as an auspicious omen if the seeds have not been severed with the knife, but don’t worry if they have.
On a piece of clean, unused white paper write the woman’s full name. Next to it, write the man’s.
Cut out the names, keeping the piece of paper they are on small enough to fit between the apple halves. Then place the paper with the names between the two halves and imagine the marriage being healed.
Skewer the apple halves together with two pins, inserting the pins diagonally from right to left and from left to right.
When you position the pins, send love to your partner and ask for the love to be reciprocated.
Romanies use their campfire to bake the apple. You could place your apple in your hearth or in the oven instead, and bake until the apple appears whole. If you can get your partner to eat some of the cooked apple, so much the better.
In the past it used to be that Gypsy child marriages were arranged. This is seldom the case today, though it does happen on rare occasions. Jean-Paul Clébert speaks of it in the book The Gypsies (1967).
“Among some Gypsy groups traces remain of the marriage of children before puberty: in general, between eight to fourteen years of age. Such unions are decided upon by the parents and, for a certainty, without the consent of the interested parties. The ceremony is limited to a simple formality, and the children remain with their own families until they have reached puberty. There is never any cohabitation.
At the moment of puberty (and when no unavoidable difficulties have arisen), a second ceremony seals the effective union. Yet the custom of precocious marriage is becoming increasingly rare, at least among western Gypsies.”
Clébert also speaks of there being three main forms of marriage:
- Abduction – by force or consent
- Mutual consent
The abduction and outright purchase forms are little seen today. More generally the parents of a teenage boy will decide which girl in the tribe is most eligible for him (though today the young couple’s feelings for one another are given definite consideration). They will then meet with the girl’s parents and, should they be favorable, come to an agreement regarding her dowry. From there the couple are regarded as engaged.
There is no engagement ring, as in gorgio society, but the girl is given a gold coin that she wears around her neck. This is usually an English sovereign (a Queen Victoria Jubilee sovereign is especially esteemed). The girl could be as young as thirteen, but sixteen is more usual. The boy could be anywhere from sixteen to eighteen.