Padilla, Maria de

Padilla, Maria de


Maria Padilla



During her lifetime, many considered Maria de Padilla (circa 1334–1363), secret wife of Pedro I, King of Castile and Leon (30 August 1334–23 March 1369), to be a goddess of love. Others were absolutely convinced that she was a wicked witch. After she died, some perceived her as a kind of benevolent, if temperamental, Fairy queen. Others considered her a female devil. Both fans and harsh critics alike invoke her aid from beyond.

Maria de Padilla is a goddess of romance, sex, glamour, witchcraft, prosperity, and dreams come true. She is a primary figure in old Iberian love magic, petitioned for true love, faithful lovers, and revenge. She was born in Spain to a family of conversos, Jews who had converted to Catholicism but whose sincerity was often suspected, even after several generations. (Some of Maria’s later associations with the devil may stem from these suspicions.)

The English princess to whom Pedro was betrothed died of the plague as she approached Spain. (Maria’s long-reaching magic is sometimes blamed for her death.) Pedro responded by secretly marrying Maria. It was a marriage of love and passion, not politically arranged. They had four children: three girls and a boy. By all rights Maria was queen, but she was not a politically advantageous bride. Maria lived like a queen in a luxurious palace. She was the queen of Pedro’s heart, but she was never granted the title or official public acknowledgment.

In the summer of 1353, under pressure from his family and the royal court, Pedro denied that Maria was his wife, claiming her as only his mistress, leaving him an eligible bachelor. He wed twice more, to Blanche of Bourbon and to Juana de Castro but abandoned each abruptly after only several days of marriage to publicly return to Maria’s side.

His marriage to Blanche was allegedly never consummated. People accused Maria of sorcery, of maintaining her hold on the king via magic. Rumors spread that Maria had enchanted a gold belt that Blanche had given Pedro as a wedding gift. It transformed into a snake when he put it on. Maria allegedly wore a ring in which a Djinn was imprisoned. Solomon’s ring enabled him to command Djinn. Maria’s ring enabled her to command and bewitch men, subjecting them to her will.

Maria was perceived as the power behind the throne. She was the star of a luxurious court in Seville, filled with the mystic scholars and occultists who once made Spain their home. As documented by the Spanish Inquisition, Maria is invoked in Iberian love magic usually intended to make errant lovers return and obey the spellcaster. (Ironically, Pedro was a man who could not be told what to do. Although he continually returned to Maria, he constantly left her, too. He had a harem of mistresses.) These spells attest to the belief in her power but also associate her with infernal powers. Traditional Iberian love spells tend to call upon a standard cast of characters. Starring alongside Maria are Demons and manifestations of the devil: Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Barabbas. The roots of Brazilian Exu and Maria Padilha are found in these spells.

In Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 novella, Carmen (source material for Bizet’s opera), the gypsy Carmen sings magical songs invoking Maria de Padilla, who is described as Bari Crallisa, “Queen of the Gypsies.”

She is partnered with Asmodeus in the most famous spell associated with her. The spell requires a tiny bit of lodestone dust and brandy or other alcoholic beverage.

1. Add the powder to the drink just before bedtime and chant:

To the Mount of Olives one day I did go

Three little black goats before me I spied

Those three little goats on three carts I laid

Three black cheeses from their milk I made

One I bestow on the Lodestone of Power

So that it will save me from all ills this very hour

The second to Maria Padilla I give

And to her court of ladies about her who live

The third I fetch for Asmodeus the lame

That he fetch for me whomever I name!

2. Name the lover you desire out loud; drink the potion and go to sleep.


The historic Maria de Padilla is described as petite, beautiful, and intellectually brilliant.

Sacred site:

Her presence is palpable in Seville’s Alcazar, where her room, bath, and pleasure garden may be viewed; she is buried to Pedro’s right in the Cathedral of Seville.


Roses, champagne, gifts fit for a queen


Ashmodai; Beelzebub; Djinn; Exu; Fairy; Intranquil Spirit; Pa dilha, Maria; Pomba Gira; Solomon, King


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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