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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catch and Release


A Cautionary Tale of Hexes and Hormones

In my last blog entry, I described how I was lead by a dream to forgive those who had wronged me. However, it dawned on me that for true balance to be obtained, I must also seek forgiveness from those whom I have wronged. 

One of my greatest sins, if you want to call it that, occurred more than 12 years ago. I fell in love with a man who was as ugly on the inside as he was beautiful on the outside.  Johnny Jump-Up (not his real name) was a liar and a thief who I later discovered had a criminal history as long as my arm. Although there were warnings, I could not see past his beauty and so I sought to use magick to make him mine. Out of a desire to punish me or teach me a lesson, the Gods granted me my desire. Within two weeks of meeting him, he moved in with me and that night we became lovers. 

Johnny was not my first lover, but he was the first lover with whom I felt that I had an emotional connection. Whether that connection was a product of my own hormones or my love spell is another matter entirely.  Suffice it to say that I would have done anything for that man, and actually went quite far out of my comfort zone to make him happy. Johnny was very charming manipulator. He lied to me. He used me for his own pleasure. He stole from me and ultimately left me broke and broken. 

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Johnny Jump-Up set the standard by which I would measure every man that would come into my life thereafter. I found myself attracted to aloof men, often straight, who used me for their own pleasure, treat me badly, and who abandoned me once I got attached. Either consciously or subconsciously, he became what I wanted even though I didn't want Johnny anymore.

Now this may seem like a very simply psychology, however, according to endocrinological researcher Bradley T. Smith, MD. Ph.D. there is a physical basis for emotional bonding. "Oxytocin, a chemical produced in the hypothalamus region of the brain during love-making, is sometimes called the 'attachment chemical' because it generates feelings of closeness."  Ocytocin and other pleasure-inducing chemicals are most abundant in men in their 20's and early 30's, which is why intimate connections forged in those years remain so intense in the male memory. Because of this physiological phenomenon, says Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., author of The New Male Sexuality, "an early love may set the standard for women [or men] to come."

In the ensuing years, I often thought about Johnny, what happened to him, and what could have been had things not gone wrong. This is not unusual according to Marty Klein, therapist, author, and expert on male sexuality. One's early lovers are often "associated with a time when [a man] felt positive about the future, before he'd experienced real disappointments", says Klein.  When a man thinks about his old lover, he "feels good about himself again. The old [relationship] may also represent the 'road not taken'. If he is not in a good relationship, he may fantasize about what might have been" says Herb Goldberg Pd.D., therapist and author of The New Male and other books on male psychology. A man may also revisit the past more often if the relationship ended with unresolved issues.

Through the magic of the internet, I have been able to discover that since parting ways with Johnny Jump-Up he has been in and out of prison for several convictions including possession of drugs, drunk-driving, stealing electricity, and evading the police to name a few. In fact, as of this writing Johnny Jump-Up is serving time for a felony in North Carolina. Looking at his intake picture on the NCDOC site, Johnny is not the beautiful man that I once knew. His hairline has receded and is thinning, his face is asymmetrical, he nose appears to have been broken at some point, and he looks much older than the 33 year old man that he is. However, some part of me still wants to reach out to him and make everything ok.

You may be wondering, if this man was so awful and did all these things to me then why do I need to seek forgiveness from him? Because it started with me. It started with me. I saw him. I wanted him and I sought to use magick to make him mine without ever truly knowing him. Granted he was a criminal before I met him and undoubtedly he would have still been a criminal had I not known him. Yes, he used me and he lied to me; but I made the choice to let him use me. I let him lie to me. I let myself believe that he loved me as much I loved him and if I didn't do what he wanted that he would take that love away. For 12 years I've blamed Johnny for everything that has gone wrong in my life, especially in the way of relationships with men when I failed to take responsibility myself. 

Obviously, I am not going to contact him because even though he's in a prison across the country I don't want him to know where I now live. Nonetheless, that does not prevent me from writing him a letter acknowledging that he was not totally at fault for what occurred between us, asking his forgiveness and then burning it in my cauldron as before. Though it may not improve his life, it sure makes me feel better. However, I think its time to unbind this magickal bond between us.

How to Unbind a Magickal Bond

After Johnny Jump-Up and I ended our relationship (he went to jail) I had bags and bags of his clothing and personal items. Over the years I slowly got rid of all his belongings until today all I have is a photograph of him and a "love-letter" he sent me from prison. 

To unbind this bond, I took these things out on my patio along with my cauldron. I read the letter backwards and placed it in the cauldron along with dried Rue, Vetiver, and Witch Hazel. I poured a few drops of rubbing alcohol over them, struck a match and tossed it in the cauldron setting it all on fire. I took the photograph of Johnny in my hands, looked in his eyes and chanted:

This bond formed by witch's spell, 
can be undone just as well;
so that both parties can move on, 
reverse the magick, break the bond!

I told him goodbye and dropped the photograph in the fire. When cooled, the ashes was scattered into a wind moving away from me. 

Carolina Dean


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