Articles/Essays From Pagans
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
Article ID: 15944
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: July 2nd. 2017
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Most of what passes for Occultism in general and Witchcraft in particular is a shallow, ineffectual caricature of the Art. We could fault the good intentions of folks in the early era of the Revival, who erred on a good image and public relations. We could fault the current culture of instant gratification without hard-ass, sweaty, bone-whitening work. Or we could fault a host of other factors (or combination thereof) . And, truthfully, it is OK: the real Mysteries, the real Disciplines, the real meat-on-the-bones Sorcery, will still exist, quietly, as they always have.
Or will they?
I suppose THAT question is one that is beyond the scope of this article. Some of us will always remember: real Witchcraft and real Magic has fangs filled with venom. Whether that venom kills you, drives you insane, or cures you, is a different thing altogether. And, as long as we live and love and work, that current will be upheld.
Pausing to collect my thoughts, I’d like to address a topic that instantly sends myriad folk into an uproar. That topic is... cursing.
Most will cite the Wiccan Rede of “harm none”, followed by the Threefold Law of Return, as prohibitions NOT to curse. Except most citing these tidbits of lore miss several glaringly obvious points. Allow me to elucidate.
Rede is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “advice, counsel, rule of thumb.” And, as food for thought, “Harm none and do as you will” qualifies as phenomenal advice. We all need reminders to check our motives, consider our consequences, and make the best decision as we see it in any given situation.
What rede does NOT mean and cannot mean is paradoxically what some insist it does mean. A rede is NOT an inviolate law. It is NOT a commandment. It is NOT a requirement.
Again, some of those insist that it is will cite some of the early books of the Wiccan/Wican Revival, which stated that it was analogous to a law or commandment. This goes back to the public relations campaign. People had perfectly good reasons to insist that the Craft and Art were harmless and purely gentle methods. There were very real threats of losing custody of children, losing employment, etc. Mind you, there were other ways that it could have been done, though such would have violated or stepped on a rather fundamentalist reading of certain oaths.
And, regarding the Threefold Law of Return... Well, see my comments about public relations. That said, in Gardner’s published works, there is no mention of this Law. He does mention the European concept of Fate as being analogous to the Eastern concept of karma.
All well and good.
Yet, Gardner also recounted how HIS teachers (the Lindhurst coven in the New Forest) cursed Hitler and how their forebears had done the same before to sink the Armada. Alex Sanders publicly filmed a curse upon a journalist that had attacked some of his coven mates (using an effigy he incorrectly labelled a *fith-fath* vs a poppet) . Doreen Valiente said (in response to an Anglican vicar cursing those who had desecrated his church in a black mass) that “as a Witch”, she had no problems with what the vicar did. Indeed, as a Witch, she applauded the call for justice. And Sybil Leek once told a Satanist that, if he showed up in the New Forest again, she would kill him because “evil may be justified if it is used for the greater good of the whole.”
In each of those cases, our Wican brethren made a decision to break the Rede of “harming none.” And, they lived to tell the tale. Granted, there was and always is a consequence.
Not all of us are of the Wica. Other varieties of the Old Craft, much like other varieties of ceremonial magic, have other ethical/moral compasses.
My own Craft tradition’s coda can be summed up in two words: Honor and Respect. I usually add two more: Personal Responsibility. We also refuse to separate magic from life - they are one and the same. So, to separate magical ethics from real world ethics (to us) is tantamount to hypocrisy!
We have the right to defend our Selves and our Loved Ones. We have the right to right wrongs and work toward justice. And we have the right to protect the innocent, liberate the oppress, and vindicate the disenfranchised. To Italian Witches (and those of us who descend from Italian immigrants) , whose Goddess Diana championed the poor and urged rebellion against tyranny... we have no qualms about exercising our Art to destroy the enemies of Life, Liberty, and Truth. We agree proudly with the line from Jeremiah: “For the spirit of witchcraft is the spirit of rebellion.”
Whether Witches or Magi or Druid or Shaman, we are marked as “other”. We are the elect, the chosen of the eldritch Powers. Yes, we have been loved and respected, but we have also been feared. And being feared rightly for getting things done is a GOOD thing, IMHO.
In Sardinia, they say that the First Witches were born from the Mother’s heart. All others may be Her children, but we alone are Her Sons and Daughters - the arbitrators of Her justice and the maintainers of Her balance.
That said, we agree with the adage: “Thou shalt not coddle a Witch’s conscience.”
I have waxed long - longer than I intended. Let me see if I can sum this all up.
People think that ethics are something you learn when you study Witchcraft, Occultism, or any of the Mystery Cults. It’s not. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The first thing stressed to any postulant is this: Know Thy Self.
And, with the Craft (in all permutations recognizable as traditional) , no one may enter the Craft, save they be a proper person. What does that mean? It means you need to have your sh*t together; it means that you should have a good enough idea of who you are, where you stand, and how you mean to live; it means that you are striving to learn and grow, even if you must falter many times in the process; and it means that you have the courage to cross the Veil that separates the quick from the dead. We are ALL works in progress - perfection is a worthy ideal, but not one any of us can reach...ever.
So, there you have it: If you are a Witch (or equivalent) , you should ALREADY be an ethical and moral person, striving ever towards wisdom.
That means that, if you feel that a Curse is justified, then you are empowered to do so. If you do not feel that it is justified, then... do not do it. The same goes for any other magical-mundane-social-personal-sexual-spiritual act.
Copyright: (c) Jonathan Sousa 2015
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