It is said that by throwing a small handful of salt on the family cooking fire every Monday morning, you will keep the family together and help heal any rifts.
Another belief is that to roll a wagon wheel in a great circle around the outside of the vardo once a month at the New Moon will ensure family togetherness. It should be rolled clockwise.
One Gypsy woman in Norfolk assured me that the only sure way to keep the family together is to take a small clipping from every member’s hair. These are then all placed together in a large leaf, which is rolled up and tied around with one of the mother’s hairs. The package is then buried at the foot of an oak tree. The type of leaf in which the hair is wrapped was not specified, but it probably should be oak.
Togetherness can similarly be ensured by taking nail clippings from all family members and burying them at the foot of a tree – in this case a hawthorn or elm.
Romani families, or tribes, though wandering the country most of the year, would occasionally stop at a particularly favorite campground for two or three months at a time. Frequently this campground was a favorite of other branches of the tribe, and sometimes there was a grand reunion that took place when the different groups came together there.
Many Gypsies, especially the older ones, looked forward to these reunions, to again meeting with old friends and to sharing their stories, their adventures, their tales of sorrow and joy.
Here is a spell that was sometimes worked to bring about such a gathering, particularly if it had been a hard winter and support, comfort, and advice was needed. This magick is worked by the mother of the family when cooking a meal (usually hedgehog or rabbit stew) during the waxing of the Moon.
All potatoes to be used should be cut lengthwise, rather than crosswise, and thrown into the family cookpot along with a pinch each of allspice, thyme, and mace. Onion can be used but not garlic. Carrots, turnips and similar root crops should be plentifully included. Stir the cookpot only clockwise, and when moving around it, move only clockwise. The stirring spoon must be a wooden one, and the cookpot must be iron.
On the fire over which the cookpot hangs, throw handfuls of cedar chips; and at some time during the cooking, sprinkle onto the fire three spoonfuls of salt.
Any time the pot is stirred, it must be stirred in batches of three, for example: three, six, or nine clockwise stirs at a time. During these stirrings the mother will say:
Stir the pot and bring us round;
Rom are to the atching-tan bound.
Merry we’ll meet and merry we’ll part
And merry will be the company found.
Source: Gypsy Love Magick
This little spell can be done for two lovers, for all family members, or for any two or more individuals. Many Gypsies use it when, for example, there is a rift between mother and daughter or an argument between husband and wife.
Cut a lock of hair from the head of each person concerned. This should be cut during the waxing phase of the Moon (growing from new to full). Put the two locks of hair together and tie them with a red silken thread. The thread should be wound around the hair at least seven times before it is tied. Wrap the tied hair in a small square of white silk and then bury it at a crossroads (it doesn’t have to be buried right in the center of the crossed roads; alongside the cross is fine).
Prepare a pot of tea (size depending upon the size of the family, as you will see) made from valerian root herb (Valeriana officinalis).
The cut and sifted form of the herb is most useful, since it can be easily strained through a regular tea strainer. Dried herbs can be used, but fresh herbs are better. Use about an ounce of herb to a pint of water. The herb should be broken up in a pestle and mortar to release the active principles. Since valerian is one of the deeper essences, you may need to simmer the tea for about an hour, after which time about half the water will have evaporated. Incidentally, do not use an aluminum vessel. Use glass (Pyres), earthenware, enamel, or stainless steel.
When ready, pour into a teapot and top up with hot water. Then with everyone sitting in a circle, the mother should pour a cup of tea for each family member; but make sure that at least half the tea is left in the pot (this is where the size of the pot comes in). All drink their tea. Then take what remains in the teapot and sprinkle a little of the tea in every corner of every room in the house; in the corners of the rooms and alcoves, and in the corners of all the larger closets (such as clothes closets and pantries).
When this has been done, all the family members should stand in the kitchen with hands joined, and the mother, or eldest female, should say:
Peace be unto this house
And peace be with all who dwell herein.
Let harmony be forever here,
And let love abound.
Manfri Frederick Wood, a founding member of the Gypsy Council, and for many years its president, said that he had never met a Gypsy who had a hobby. The reason was that life itself is a hobby to the Rom. They believe in living life to its fullest, and in trying to take an intelligent interest in every job they do, they find there is no need to do anything just to “kill time.” As Wood says:
A Gaujo will go out for a walk or a drive merely for the sake of walking or driving – but a Gypsy won’t; he must have some reason for doing so; he is studying the lay of the land or the movements of the gamekeeper, or the habits of the game in the locality; or he is advertising the fact that he is in the area, where he is known and has a reputation for doing this, that, or the other job…
Even when he does appear to be at play – for instance singing and dancing, gambling, or doing a chop – it is with a view to something extra in the pocket.
The same holds true jfor the whole family. Even the children seldom play, in the strict sense of the word. They work along with the rest of the family. They may do basket work, peg-making, artificial flower making, wood carving or metal work; they may work with animals, or do dyeing, hedging, ditching, or perhaps dukkering (fortunetelling).
The family works as a unit. Boys will help their fathers with the horses and, from a very early age, will learn how to make deals. Girls similarly learn domestic chores from their mothers and also how to tell fortunes and work simple magick. There is a special closeness in a Romani family not found anywhere else.
Yet as with any family, there are times when the closeness is threatened. There are times when magick is needed, and used, to reinforce family ties.
From: Gypsy Love Magick by Raymond Buckland
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.
One point needs to be emphasized! You must never try to interfere with another’s free will. We are all individuals, each with our own lives to lead. During your lifetime there may well be times when you feel especially attracted to a particular person and feel strongly tempted to work magick to gain that person’s love. If you go ahead and perform that magick, then what you are doing is akin to rape!
Working magick is making things happen… making things happen. To make someone fall in love with you, then, is to force them to fall in love with you, to go against their free will. How would you feel if you knew you had been forced to love someone you didn’t naturally care for?
So what can you do if you feel strongly about a particular person? The answer is to work on yourself, magickally or however, to make yourself so attractive that the person (or perhaps someone else, someone even better that you hadn’t realized was around) will fall for you naturally.
This is magick used when there has been a rift in the family, be it between two individuals or between two whole groups within the family. It can be recognized as basic sympathetic magick.
Take a long white candle and break it into as many parts as there are factions. However, be careful not to break the wick – only the wax.
On each section of the candle carve the name of the individual or the initials of the major figures in the dispute (for example: should it be one whole branch of the family against another, with perphas as many persons in each group, then just mark the initials of the leaders, such as the father, mother, or grandmother, etc).
Lay the broken candle on a sheet of clean parchment (paper will do). Light a pink (best), red (second best) or white (third choice) candle and hold it over the broken candle so that the melting wax drops down onto the breaks, sealing them.
The broken candle should be slowly turned, keeping it on the parchment, so that all sides of the breaks become joined by the falling wax. As you do this, say: “Heal! Heal! Heal!” repeating it as necessary until the white candle is whole again.
When the engraved candle is once again whole, stand it upright in a holder and light it. It should then be left to burn down completely.
From: Raymond Buckland
This spell can be used to attract love or to draw a lover closer. It should be begun on the night of a new moon.
Take a salt shaker and pepper shaker, and designate one the female and the other the male. Then take a piece of pink ribbon, and tie the female object to one end and the male object to the other, leaving about a foot of ribbon between them.
Every morning, untie the ribbon, move the objects a little closer together, and retie the knots.
Eventually the salt and pepper shakers will touch. Leave them bound together for seven days before untying them. By this time, love should have entered your life or your current partner should have drawn closer.
To draw children in a family closer, as well as to stop them from bickering, take water from a stream or river. Bring it to a boil on a fire built with fresh twigs. Write the name of each child on a bay leaf and let them simmer together in the water. Ask Venus (The Goddess of Love) to bless them.
Using a pin, inscribe the names of the children on a pink candle and then light the candle, so that its flame may flicker over your spell.
Take a pink, a blue, and a green ribbon. Braid them together, knot the ends, and tie a knot in the middle. The first knot represents will, the second, wisdom, and the third, activity.
- Remove the pot from the fire and leave it to cool.
- Extract the bay leaves.
- Allow the candle and the fire to burn down.
In the garden or in an unused flower pot, bury the ribbon under the bay leaves. Sprinkle ash from the fire on top, and then plant a rosebush or miniature rose on top of everything. (The rose is a potent ingredient in any love potion.)
As the rose grows, the bond between the children will be strengthened. This spell is also said to work when children from two marriages are brought together.
From: The Good Spell Book