*This one is rather long compared to usual, but it’s a topic I felt needed addressed yet again, as it continues to pop up frequently.
One topic that inevitably comes up when discussing magik is whether or not hexing and cursing or other forms of harm is allowed, or against the rules. The problem with this discussion is that there is not a definitive universal answer. Answering the question of whether or not cursing is allowed is like asking if a particular god or religion is true. The answer is whatever is true to the individual and their path. In recent years, it has become commonly taught that harming anyone magikally is wrong and “against the rules”. This is especially so in groups that emphasize the more trendy form of light work that has become highly popularized and even commercialized lately online. Many of those even go as far as to say don’t harm even your enemies and instead maybe try just blessing everyone around them except for them. This can be problematic for a few reasons. For starters, that takes a lot of energy to bless everyone around a person, and very likely their blessings will be in some way shared with the person you think you’re punishing. Secondly, even though it is ultimately their choice how they behave, consider the fact that many people became toxic because of toxic people in their lives. For those cases, you would be inadvertently blessing toxic or even abusive people, and possibly the people who caused your enemy to treat others the way they do. Thus the cycle will only continue. Not only this, but the idea of harming no one at all is difficult, if not impossible. Aside from a very few cases, you can not avoid all forms of harm when working magik for things you need or want. Say, for example, you are doing a working to get the job you applied for. Guess what that means. That means someone else did not get that job regardless of their qualifications and now has to keep looking and go even longer without the pay they are needing or wanting. Sure, that’s the case with all jobs. But at least without magik you know that you didn’t cause it to happen that way. And what about prosperity that isn’t job specific? Well, that usually takes longer because you did not specify. But also, money doesn’t just appear out of thin air created from the gods. Even with magik, it had to come from somewhere. Someone had to part with their money to give it to you. Again, the same is true for all businesses. But it’s also true that there are likely other people who offer the same product or service that might have gotten that money instead of you if you hadn’t done that working. Are these things bad or wrong? No, not at all. But the point is, someone was still harmed or at least inconvenienced. So one has to be really clear on what constitutes harm when stressing these “rules”.
Now, the matter of actual willful harm is slightly different. But that too, though not encouraged for just any upset, is still allowed in most systems of magik. And that is true going back for as long as we have records of magik being practiced. For example, we know that in ancient Egypt curses and darker forms of magik were used. Even in the mythology of Ancient Egyptians, that form of magik and ritual was mentioned. In the tale of how Auset (Isis) got Ra to reveal his secret name to her in order to get his full power, she had used magik to make a poisonous snake from clay come to life and bite Ra so that he would become so close to death that she could make him give her his name in exchange for being healed. In Norse mythology, Andvari cursed a gold ring to bring death and despair to anyone who possessed it, and it continued to do so through multiple generations. Even the Christian Bible includes passages that were praying to their god to curse those who did wrong to them. Some of these are even used in modern practices today. In non-myth, real world examples, history has many records of people utilizing curses on a nearly regular basis in almost every culture. We’ve all heard the stories of the curses on Egyptian tombs. But there’s also evidence of curses in everyday life. In many societies, that was standard practice. Ancient Greece and Rome had a tradition of making curse tablets against those they thought had wronged them. According to Smithsonian Magazine, one of these tablets was found and translated that “invoked the god Mercury to bring down a curse on Varianus, Peregrina and Sabinianus, whom the curser thought had brought harm on their animal. “I ask that you drive them to the greatest death, and do not allow them health or sleep unless they redeem from you what they have administered to me,” cursed the aggrieved Docilinus”. (Blakemore, Smithsonian.com. 2016). In Ireland, curses were common even into the 1700s and later. In many areas of the Southern United States, both curses and ways to avoid curses were so common, even in later years, that some people still carry traditions now that they don’t even realize originated from those practices. And there are many more examples of these things all around the world. So why do we shun these practices now as if they were always considered wrong?
Part of why this has become so commonly accepted as “ancient truth” is misconceptions of one or two teachings from a select few paths. One of these is, of course, Christianization. Much of the anti-magik, anti-witchcraft stigma was brought about by the churches in power after christianity had taken over various places and peoples. One of the first things they did in this process, was demonizing any part of the older ways of the people that couldn’t be somehow shown as the Christian god’s power or that was viewed as sin by the church. Not only that, but they made great effort towards erasing any reminders that future generations could come across and realize that they weren’t demonic. So in modern times, when people started going back to older ways, ancient practices were not only misinterpreted by Christian scholars, but many who had been raised by generations of christians now had this mental programing of right and wrong and “sin” that made any form of harm be seen as “wrong”. Then, with the rise of modern Wicca and movies and media showing that as the primary form of “old ways”, the “rule of three” and “harm none” became almost a staple in every expression of “good” witches. Not to mention that, because of discrimination from the Christians, many practitioners still had to claim “witches don’t do harm” as a safety measure. And that’s still needed in some places even now. The problem with this is, it is not as ancient as we were lead to believe. In fact, the old granny witches who were christians is an older practice than the Wicca as we know it today. A lot of modern Wicca is taken from the Gardnerian form which is younger than my grandparents. Even the ones that were older than that who preferred no harm, at one point in time, the rule wasn’t to never cause harm, but that harm could be done in certain circumstances such as self-defense. And again, that is that handful of practices among all the multitudes of practices and cultures throughout the history of humanity. So, back to the question of is it right or wrong.
For me, in my personal belief and path, I feel that sometimes it is justified in those cases of self-defense and terrible wrongs. I have seen too many horrible, abusive, toxic people go unpunished and never change their ways to believe that karma will just on its own take them down. I believe sometimes we are the karma. Yet, only for certain very bad cases would I ever go to that point. However, I also believe that unless they are harming and cursing innocent people for personal petty reasons or just because they can, that’s between them and the gods and spirits they work with. And maybe whatever person or group they aimed it at. Because it is not a universal law, there is not a definitive yes or no, black & white answer. So to Hex or not to Hex? That is determined by the individual, their motives, and their path. And we can’t keep telling people that all must do it the same way; no matter which side of arguement we’re on.
That’s all I have for this entry. As always, feel free to comment and discuss, and I will respond as I’m able. See you soon.