This isn't a very happy post, but it's something that's been on my mind now for a while and today, the subject came up on one of my online groups so I am posting my answer on here, too. Basically, we were talking about how a lot of wanna-be's and "neo Wiccan" Witches denied that curses ever happened or were used, and were incapable of recognizing and dealing with them. Even worse, I've been seeing a lot of odd comments on the web lately from people claiming that it was "bad" to do magic for "personal gain" and speaking as though this were somehow a Wiccan concept. It's not, it's from that awful TV show, "Charmed" but the fact that these people believed it only underscores how poorly educated in the magical arts and magical history many people claiming to be Witches or Wiccans these days really are. I think, if said people had even the most basic understanding of Witchcraft or any of the numerous other traditions like Hoodoo, Santeria, etc they wouldn't be able to make such ridiculous claims ever again.
Anyway, here's my post from the other group:
"You know, I hear the most horrible nonsense from the
Neo-Wiccans. Not once, but twice, in one week I saw somebody saying that "Oh,
witches don't do love magic because it's for personal gain." Another person
said "prosperity spells" were "bad" because they were for "personal gain."
Needless to say, I almost puked. In case you don't know, all that "personal
gain" stuff comes, not from Wicca (or ANY magical tradition) but from the cheesy
TV show, "Charmed." That's right, this person was lecturing other people on
"how to be a Witch" based on something they'd seen on a fictional TV show. Had
it just been once, it would have been bad enough, but I've seen it enough times
to realize that there are a lot of people running around out there who believe
"Wicca" is something they learned from Shannon Doherty.
Yes, Witches do love magic. Yes, Witches do prosperity spells. And yes,
Witches sometimes do hexes and curses. I've done them, most of us have done
them, and most of us will continue to do them. Now, that doesn't make one
"evil" necessarily; each time I've used a hex, it's been for a VERY good reason,
and was designed to teach a lesson or protect myself, and not to simply hurt
somebody for the sake of hurting (though there are people who will do this.)
However, if even nice Witches sometimes have to use the darker stuff, you can
bet there are mean, hateful people out there who use it for fun, and one does
have to be protected from them. Such people probably won't run around dripping
in pentacles and in black capes, and one might not even KNOW they're a Witch,
but they do exist.
Only in the shallow strands of Neo-Wicca are curses supposedly never used
(though that doesn't mean that they don't do them in secret.) Almost every
other magical tradition I know of, from Santeria to Brujeria to Trad Witchcraft
to Chaos Magic, uses negative magic. In Hoodoo, especially, there are loads of
spells to break up lovers, to control your partner, to cause bad things to
happen to other people, etc. Magical supplies for such spells are big sellers,
so clearly they're being used. Especially if one lives openly as a Witch or
other magical person, you may attract unwanted attention or jealously from other
practitioners, who might decide to "take you on" magically just to see if they
can. And of course, you might fall victim to a negative spell because somebody
wants your spouse, wants your job, or just plain doesn't life you.
I confess that I'm not as diligent as I should be in many areas; I don't
meditate enough, I don't know enough herbs/crystals by memory, I don't write
enough in my magical workbook. One area in which I DO pay attention, though, is
magical protection. Jason Miller has written a book called "Protection and
Reversal Magic" which I highly recommend; it's got protections and spells
against EVERYTHING. Much of it seems to draw from Ceremonial Magic and Hoodoo
traditions, but it's an invaluable resource, especially the parts that tell you
what to look for and how to tell when you're being attacked. The checklist of
symptoms he listed helped me discover that I was under the influence
of.....something negative, whether through my own mistake or through somebody
else. I did manage to break the situation, but it was difficult. "
If I sound more than a little angry, it's because I am. You know, I'm pretty open about my beliefs which, to me, are serious. Not to say that I don't have fun with them, or that I don't enjoy them: I do. However, it's upsetting to me that the public perception of "Witches" now seems to be that they're basically weak, lovey-dovey creatures who never hurt anybody, defend themselves in any way, or use their powers for anything other than "healing people." As I mentioned before, I think a lot of the problem comes from people carrying over Christian concepts with them; they still cling to the whole "self denial is good, sex is bad, turn the other cheek, etc" nonsense of their previous religion. The problem is, none of these ideas has anything to do with Witchcraft or even Wicca. The word "Witch" is being castrated. I think unless people start to learn more about the ACTUAL history of Witchcraft (and not what they see on bad TV shows) and about the real practices of established magical systems, we're going to end up with "Witchcraft" being just another form of dopey self-help practices.