I have had an official request for more fun witchy things, in anticipation of the publication of Petty Magic in October. So here's a gem—I rediscovered this newspaper clipping from 2007 in my notes, from a newspaper Ailbhe brought with her when she came to New York for the Mary Modern book launch.
How to win over an Elizabethan woman with a frog, an ant hill and a ring
Daily Telegraph, 26 June 2007
As a sure-fire way to win a woman's love, it lacks credibility and could lead to a charge of animal cruelty.
An incantation that surfaces at an auction next month in a unique handwritten manuscript of magic spells advises late-Elizabethan males: "Take a frog and put him in a pot and stop it fast."
The anonymous author then advises the love-seeker to bury the pot in an ant hill at a crossroads for nine days. Then the two bones remaining should be put in running water.
"One of them will float against the stream ... Make thee a ring, and take the part that swum against the stream and set it in the ring, and when you will have any woman put it on her right hand ... she shall never rest till she hath been with thee."The obscure "manuscript grimoire", written between 1590 and 1620, contains a vast range of conjurations, incantations, signs, portents, spells and folk remedies. It was found among the effects of the artist Robert Lenkiewicz, who died in 2002, aged 60.
The painter once faked his own death and kept the embalmed body of a tramp in his studio for 20 years.
Now the slim volume, which includes angelic seals with coded messages, is expected to fetch up to £12,000 at a Sotheby's literature sale in London on July 13.
Dr Gabriel Heaton, a manuscripts specialist at Sotheby's, said yesterday: "This is a richly illustrated Elizabethan anthology.
"Much of the text is set within a Christian framework - but there are also signs of an older and darker tradition in the use of blood rituals and, on one occasion, a reversed pentangle."