Curses are a hot topic among the witch community, some are adamantly against cursing and some make cursing a regular part of their practice. There are a variety of reasons why I curse. When it comes down to it, there’s really no good reason not to curse and plenty of reasons we should.
The False Ideal of Harm None
The proclivity to avoid cursing in an effort to harm none is a lovely ideal, but unfortunately, it does not have much of a footing in the real world. We can’t avoid harming others to some degree in our everyday actions. The same can be said for magickal work as well.
Let me give you a rather concrete example. If you do a spell to get a job, invariably that means other people do not get that job. This could be considered harmful because someone else loses out for you to get this job. Even if you didn’t do a spell and simply got a job that others were applying for, the same principle applies. Our actions necessarily result in benefiting some while negatively affecting others. I won’t dive any further into the philosophy behind this, nor the caveats (such as a better suited opportunity arriving for the other people) because I don’t want to dedicate this post to the streams of possible outcomes.
Suffice it to say “harm none” is unfortunately not the way the world operates. None of us can even eat without causing harm (to plant or animal). Harm none is a very human ideal that flies in the face of what we not only experience personally, but also observe in nature.
Understand that I am not advocating recklessness or saying it’s acceptable to actively try to hurt others. Efforts to reduce harm should always be employed whether in magickal workings or mundane activities.
Not all witches are Wiccan (I am not Wiccan), and not all witches adhere to the Wiccan “Rule of Three” which states that what you put out will come back to you threefold. I don’t adhere to this rule because it’s demonstrably false (I’ve never had any spell I did returned to me times three), and because it’s a bastardization of the original rule of three.
The original rule of three is that what you do to a witch will be returned upon you with three times the power and force. It was a warning to others, not a restriction on witchcraft.
I don’t recognize karma as a universal payback system for the same reason stated above (it’s demonstrably false). If these checks and balances actually existed things would be much different in our world. Justice would be cut and dry. And it wouldn’t be acceptable to say “karma will get them” with a hint of self-satisfaction and glee in your voice because that would result in karma coming to get you for wishing it upon another. Using “karma” as a form of fear mongering to limit actions is just a way to hinder the power of witches.
I do understand karma as a state of being. Karma is what happens to me (or to you) when we commit an action. We either become more of who we are, or we are diminished. We either contribute to our sense of peace, or we perpetuate discord within.
When it comes to cursing, one of the questions that keeps me in check is, “will this action help me be the kind of person I want to be?” In the case of petty situations, the answer is no (regrettably, for me).
A person who is mean and terrible to be around is, internally, in a hell of their own making (state of karma) and attempting to perpetuate it outside of themselves by how they treat others. They can change this by taking actions to heal themselves and their relationship with others. Witches can limit the harm they do with magick, which brings me to the third pillar.
Curses are one of the ways that witches can help get justice in an unjust world and corrupt system. We do not need to wait and let the gods sort things out. Cursing, binding, protection, banishing–these are active ways to reduce harm right here and now for ourselves and our communities. I believe that we have an obligation to use our power for the benefit of ourselves and others. Sometimes that means cursing.
It can mean doing a freezer spell to get someone who is harassing you to leave you alone. It can be a spell to influence the courts in favor of a victim. It can be a spell to bind someone from doing harm. It can be a spell to erode the power and wealth of someone who is abusing people and bringing their actions to light. It can be protection work to keep harmful people away. And so on and so forth.
Magick doesn’t have clear lines. We have to set those lines ourselves. Sometimes you need to do something that is good for you, that is for your protection. This will have a negative impact on the person or being that doesn’t have good intentions for you. That shouldn’t be seen as an ethical dilemma.
I once performed a very effective truth spell on someone who I knew was hiding things from me that could cause me harm. However, when this person’s secrets started spilling out from their mouths and the mouths of those around them, I doubt this person would have felt that the spell was not harmful to them.
This spell I did could technically be considered baneful magick because of the way it affected the other person, even though truth spells don’t fall under the category of baneful magick to most witches. Doing this spell helped me verify what I knew, gain the pieces of the puzzle that were missing, and avoid a situation that would have caused me much more harm than good in the long run.
Know How to Curse to Break a Curse
We are powerful. We are sovereign. We have the right to protect ourselves and others. Baneful magick is an essential for the witch, and it’s something to be familiar with whether or not you agree with using it. Without understanding of how baneful magick works, reversing it is impossible.