Practical Magic

Spells from Medieval Popular Culture by Aron Gurevich

Image: Alberto Bigoni

From spells recorded by Buchard of Worms.

Deliverance from Drought

Get a bunch of friends together, ask your chillest friend to strip naked, and follow her out into the forest. Have her dig up some henbane with her right pinkie finger, tie the root to her right pinkie toe, then chase her to the nearest stream. Sprinkle her with water, and say some rain incantations. You can make these up, “Let the Rain Fall Down” by Hilary Duff might work. Or Patty Griffin, whichever you prefer. Lead her back to your apartment/village, “walking backwards like a crab.”

Calm Down A Baby

“A highly successful method of treating a crying baby was believed to be this: a hole with two entrances was dug in the ground and the infant pulled through this tunnel.”

Murder/Better Sex

Smear your naked body with honey, roll in wheat, then take the grain to the mill and grind flour. The bread baked with the flour will either “cause [your] husband to become feeble and die, or, in another text, to become a better lover.”

Make Them Text You Back

“Buchard records several esoteric prescriptions used ‘by some women’ to assure greater attention from their menfolk, including baking menstrual blood in the bread or feeding them with fish that has been suffocated in the vagina.”

Fun/Stress Relief

Hold a “nocturnal assembly” and “devour a man’s entrails.”