Group 2: Problematic Implications for Sexual Ethics in Love Magic

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Emily Halprin Kimberly Keller Alyssa Macgregor Jessica Paoletti Geoffrey Soo Meghan Vanderwater


This poster compares the ethics of love magic in Pagan New Religious Movements and in popular culture, and their mutual influence on navigating inherent issues of consent. Erotic love spells often take the form of agoge,1 which is a type of spell that compels victims into relationships with the agent who casts it. Casters of this type of spell exploit the free will of victims to initiate relationships. Contemporary progressive attitudes toward sexual ethics have given this kind of love magic a negative connotation by conceptualizing it as non-consensual sex or assault. The concern among Neopagan magic users for consent in sexual relationships means that love magic is increasingly seen as “accursed”2 by practitioners of magic, and for them its use symbolizes the creation of victims. Neopagans believe that love spells are dangerous to both parties involved as they produce obsession rather than affectionate love. Neopaganism therefore discourages magical manipulation of another person’s agency by assigning negative returns to the morally offending agent.3 This poster explores the intersection of Neopagan sexual ethics and sexual ethics in popular culture by comparing the use of erotic love spells among Neopagans and the representation of love magic in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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RELS 202 Course Specific Poster Project: Magic, Witchcraft, and the Supernatural