There are a lot of ethical considerations involved with spiritual and mystical work, and the conversation points surrounding “black magic” is probably where the greater majority of the noise takes place. Typically, I leave all conversations on “woo” alone because I find them particularly pointless; there are so many different techniques, styles, conceits, and philosophies on the subject that you can say almost anything be circumstantially correct. It doesn’t help that most of the talk also degenerate into pissing contests; I’ve rarely seen an open and thoughtful discussion being held. Power trips and ego strutting? Oh, I can find that easily! Pardon me while I opt out as hard as I can.
I’ve heard and read a few tangential comments about curses within the last few months, and that is something I have a bit of a stronger opinion on. I thought this might be an interesting topic for the Halloween season and, considering that my opinion isn’t one I’ve heard reflective (or countered) elsewhere, it might be something that people may want to hear.
So, here we are.
A curse, like anything truly negative, is a pretty pathetic retort for any mundane or simple situation: A vast majority of the situations where I’ve heard someone threaten or imply a curse, they were acting like children. It wasn’t a measured or correct retort for some unbelievable offense or degradation; it was an action designed to masturbate a single ego and nothing else.
This is one area where Hollywood typically gets it right; a curse in a movie or a TV show is something done for big reasons, and it is justified within that character’s worldview. Even if they’re a malevolent, evil bastard…a curse is levied as a part of some grand scheme or as retribution for some hideous action taken against them. It wasn’t made because they had an argument on-line over whether you can spell magic with a “K” and not be an absolute wanker. See an average fairy tale for a reflection of the same.
I’m reminded about the worst aspects of urban and gang culture; where young men and women, eager to prove their capacity within their social model, will willingly escalate a situation to violence over petty or pointless slight. As above, so below; there is nothing different between a petty curse and a 16 year old boy with a pistol, trying to prove that he is a “real man”.
A curse can be a plain and simple admission that your enemy is stronger than you, and it’s usually the least effective method you have to resolve any problem you might have: I have people I don’t like. I could call these people enemies, but I don’t curse them. One of the reasons I have for this is I consider the vast majority of them unimportant. If they were important, I would face them directly and/or resolve the situation. They’re not, so I ignore them. They represent no credible threat in the present or future, and I’m not going to lower myself to responding to some pointless grudge.*
Such a gesture is far more powerful and self-affirming than any amount of shrill and shrieking condemnations could be. It is not only a waste of my time to go beg/bribe/force some entity (or equivalent) to go handle my business for me, but it’s also calling out to the world that I can’t handle my own issues. If I need supernatural forces to resolve my problems, I am embracing my weakness.
“I can’t handle this myself, with my own deeds and actions.” you say to the world. “The subject of my ire is physically healthier than me, mentally faster than me, and socially stronger than me. To approach them on any battlefield within the real world is asking to be conquered, so I choose a method of retribution that has almost no chance of granting me meaningful closure and/or the result that I truly desire. Just so long as the subject of my ire suffers, in some way, by my actions? I am satisfied.”
It’s a very childish statement. It’s also extreme dense.
Mystical work is almost never a certain thing; it’s one of the few things almost everyone agrees upon. With such a conceit at hand, you’re never going to know when and where your “attack” will connect, or if it even did at all. You’re also never going to know the method that attack is going to take, until it’s too late. Magic goes by it’s own rules, not yours. Even those who have the capacity to call themselves “masters” of a given art seem fully aware that few things are certain.
If you are doing such work out of emotional pain, chances are your work will only make it worse; you will never know.
If someone sexually assaults one or both of my daughters, I’m not using a curse; I’m using the phone, calling the police, and making sure the person in question ends up in prison with a child abuse charge**. If that doesn’t work, I’m using a baseball bat, gasoline, and a match. I’m not going to throw my energy into the void, and hope that it avenges the childhood of my kids. I’m going to take my agency, and wield it; where I go, so goes my energy and will.
If you are certain whether a curse is needed or not, it’s not needed.: There are times where dark work could be useful. Using the rather upsetting example of actions against my kids, if the assailant gets away and can not be found? Than I will do everything in my power, both physical and spiritual, to bring the just consequences of their actions down upon their head. If that involves so called “black magic” to get things done, than that’s that. That, however, is a justified thing.
Curses and dark work because someone called me a bad name? Or because they engage in mystical practice that I philosophically disagree with? No. People who engage in such things need some perspective. Not because their work is “dark” or “evil”, but because it’s bloody stupid.
*I think this is especially valid for a Norse Polytheistic perspective. Our Gods were posses of angers and grudges, but they were also possessed of pragmatic common sense in most cases. You don’t answer a grudge for grudge’s sake when there are more important things to do, and chances are good there is something more pressing at hand than spitting in someone’s eye.
**Also known as “Death by Sodomy”. The only thing that’s worse to go into a maximum security prison with than a sexual assault charge against a minor is an oral damn and a tube of lip stick.
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