Cursing, Binding & Love Spells: Magic of the Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greece developed groundbreaking concepts that are still relevant today.  Things we might take for granted, like the arts, philosophy, athletics, politics, and architecture were all modernized by the brilliance of Ancient Greece.  Performance art in the form of tragedies and comedies, architectural achievements like those found in the Parthenon, and philosophical thought, based upon the writings of Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, are examples of Greek influence.  Even two of the hottest news topics, our government (a democracy), and the Olympics originated in Ancient Greece. Humans continue to build upon many ancient Grecian ideas.

Not all thought in Ancient Greece was progressive.  With regard to the treatment of women, the Ancient Greeks were hardly modern. Women played a submissive role; they were largely dependent upon the will of men. Women were permitted to manage the house, raise children, and fulfill their “domestic responsibilities.”  In essence, women were confined to the home.  There was, however, one exception. The female courtesan was permitted to be beautiful, to leave her house, and to enchant men as she wished. What’s a courtesan, you ask? She was a prostitute. In Ancient Greek life, the courtesan had a different job description than the housewife.  The courtesan was a professional enchantress, witty, and ambitious.  Her sole job was to charm the male élite by whatever means necessary.

If you were a woman living in Ancient Greece and not a prostitute, it was a rare occasion when you were allowed to exit the home and venture out into the world. When a woman did leave the house, she had to fully cover her head and face with a veil, she had to be careful to not look men in the eye, and she was not permitted to participate in public life. Women were not allowed to vote, or to own land.  They were seen as more of a commodity to be traded, rather than human.  Women were traded between families for the sheer purpose of sealing deals and sustaining patriarchal traditions. The Ancient Greek society of men segregated women into a never-ending loop of doing as she was told.

How, then, with all the restrictions on movement, dress, and action, did women survive in Ancient Greece?  I would like to believe it was magic, of course!  While stuck in the home, with her herbs and household items, we can imagine how women incorporated the practiced magic. The practice of magic then, as it is now, was a bit of freedom and self-empowerment. Let’s take a journey back in time via a few ancient spells!


Spells and Magic of the Ancient World

Although the spells recorded by ancient Greeks were written by men, the practice of magic was utilized throughout the Greek population. In fact, archeology suggests that the practice of magic was thriving in the ancient world. Both the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians believed in the power of rituals, spells, incantations, and spiritual practices. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians would commonly invoke deities and other spiritual energies in order to gain power and positive influences. Just like in the practices seen today, these ancient societies sought to manifest their intentions and improve their lives with magic. Magic was infused into their belief systems.

The ancient Greeks employed three distinctive magical practices: the curse tablet, binding spells, and love magic. Sometimes, their approach included elements of all three. In other words, one might choose to bind a lover to them, or another might choose to curse and bind an enemy. In another case, someone could choose to both bind a romantic partner and, at the same time, place a curse on them until they were compelled into action. This meant that these magical practices were not separate, isolated techniques. They could be combined to create specific outcomes.

So, now that we have touched upon the types of magic that were performed, let's look at how these ancient practices are applied to magic today. Keep in mind the following spells are variations of the originals. (To explore the original spells and rituals, see references noted below).


Ancient Spells: Curses


An Ancient Greek Spell Stop Gossip of An Enemy

You will need the following:

  • A piece of lead sheeting. (This can easily be acquired through online sources such as Amazon or Home Depot). If this is not feasible, you can simply use parchment paper.
  • A pen or tool to carve into the lead (nails and precision scissors work great for lead sheeting).
  • A nail and hammer
  • Stop Gossip Oil (optional)

Get your piece of lead and place it in front of you. If you are using a conjure oil, like Stop Gossip Oil, dip the tip of the nail or precision scissors into the oil as you carve. Imagine the oil is like ink. As you are carving, continue to dip the carving tool in the oil as if you are applying the oil into your carving. Take your nail and carve the following spell directly into the lead.

"Name of Person I bind his tongue, his soul and the speech he is practicing. I bend, I hide, I bury, I nail down. If they speak any lies, let them seem to be of no account in word or deed. I bind the words from their throat and tongue and silence them."

Next, roll up the sheet.  Now, take the nail and hammer it through the folded piece of lead or paper. Put the entire bundle in moving water or bury it in a graveyard.


A Spell to Curse an Enemy

You will need:

-a piece of lead sheeting. (This can easily be acquired through online sources such as Amazon or Home Depot). If this is not feasible, you can simply use parchment paper.

-A pen or tool to carve into the lead (nails and precision scissors work great for lead sheeting).

-A nail and hammer

-A Black Candle

  • Cursing Oil (optional)
  • Myrrh Incense
  • an altar set up to Hermes (for the altar you will need a picture of Hermes, a plate of thyme, fruit and honey, and a small bowl or cauldron of wine).

To begin, set up the altar for Hermes. Get a picture of Hermes, you can simply find one on Google and print it out. Place this on your altar. Next, take your honey and fruit and lay it on your plate that you place directly on the altar.

Then get your candle and carve the name of your target into the candle backward. There are two ways to do this, depending on what feels right. You can either carve their name down the candle, beginning at the wick, and carving their name down the candle towards the base of the candle. Or, you can write their name up the candle, starting with the last letter of the name and working backward up the candle.

Take a bit of cursing oil and gently rub a few drops in your hand. Hold the candle as if you were pointing it toward yourself. Using your hands, anoint the candle by pushing the oil up the candle, away from your body. When this is complete, take your candle and place it in an appropriate candle holder, and set it on your altar.

Take the lead sheet or piece of paper and carve the following incantation into it. You may want to dip the tip of your carving tool into the Cursing Oil each time you complete a few words as if you are using the oil as ink.

"I Bind Name of Target, who is General Description of target (here write some details about them i.e., son of so and so) I bind the soul, the work, the life, the hands, and the feet. Of all these I bind and if he utters a harsh word about me, may his tongue be  stabbed. May everything he does be lost, stripped away, and destroyed. I bind all these to Hermes the Restrainer."

Light the candle. Roll the sheet of lead or paper up and hammer a nail in it. Gently hold the lead to the flame and repeat the following

"I bind Target’s Name to Hermes the Restrainer, their tongue, the mind, their soul, their life."

When the candle completely burns out, take all the remains of the spell except the picture of Hermes, and bury it in a graveyard.


Ancient Spells: Love, Attraction & Binding

Ancient Love Spells

A Love Spell to Compel a Person to You

You will need the following:

  • A bowl of honey
  • Cut Fresh Fruit Apples or Pomegranates are preferable
  • A fire safe plate
  • A red candle
  • A pen, nail, or some kind of tool to carve into the temple
  • A piece of Parchment paper and pen
  • Goddess of Love Oil (optional)

To begin, carve the name of your love interest into the candle. Then anoint the candle with Goddess of Love Oil, making sure you draw the oil up the towards the wick. Place the candle in an appropriate candle holder and place it in the center of your fire-safe plate. Surround the candle with your cut fruit.

Get your piece of parchment paper and write out the following petition:

"Name of Person, may you be sent to me to fulfill my commands.  Let Name of Person love with me with a divine indelible love."

Light the candle. After the candle is lit, gently pour the honey onto the fruit and sat the following, 

"Name of Person, may you ignite with sweet passion."

Now, take your piece of parchment paper and burn it in the flame and recite the following:

"May your heart and soul burn for me."


A Spell to Bind a Lover

You will need the following items:

  • A piece of parchment paper
  • Two red candle (these will be melted down)
  • Bound to Me Oil (optional
  • A clay pot

Begin by taking you piece of parchment paper and write the following:

"Seize Name of Person and lead them to me, loving me with mad desire. Bind he/she with shackles, Do not allow Name of Person to eat, drink, sleep or laugh, but make Name of Person leave behind any other until he/she comes to me."

Melt both candles until the wax is turned into a liquid. Let it cool until it is malleable. Then make two wax figures. One that represents your love interest and one that represents you. As you mold the figure add a few drops of love binding oil into the wax figure that represents your lover interest. Once the figures are formed, mold them together so they are embracing each other. Take your parchment paper and wrap it around the embracing wax figures. Stick this in a clay pot and bury it in a graveyard.



Faraone, Christopher A. “When Spells Worked Magic.” Archaeology, vol. 56, no. 2, 2003, pp. 48–53.

Faraone, C. A. “Aphrodite's KESTOS and Apples for Atalanta: Aphrodisiacs in Early Greek Myth and Ritual.” Phoenix 44.3 (1990): 219. Web.

Gager, John G. Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World. New York, Oxford University Press, 1992.

Hans Dieter Betz. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, Volume 1. University of Chicago Press, 21 Oct. 2022.

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