exWitch Australia
Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


Although generally speaking Wiccans do not run around putting curses on others, there are others in Neo-Paganism who will become involved in the cursing of an enemy - in fact my old Coven had a 'Rite of Vengence' in the Coven Book of Shadows.   This was even reflected in the Coven's Motto: "Sic Gorgiamus Alius Subjectatus Nunc" ("We Gladly Devour All Those Who Would Subdue Us").  

The truth is, that despite the denials of some of those who practice Wicca and other forms of white witchcraft, the practice of cursing one's enemies certainly does exist in Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, though many do steadfastly shy away from it.   For example, Witchcraft author, Susan Greenwood, explains:
"Witchcraft rituals may be performed for healing..., or, as one wiccan explained to me, they may be enacted for 'the grey area of magic' - 'Hexing', 'sending' and 'fetching' energy for a specific purpose, or 'Binding'"
- Susan Greenwood, Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology, p 200

The practice of cursing one's enemies in Wicca, if admitted, is usually qualified with the explanation that it is only ever performed on those who deserve it, such as against a violent offender etc.   However, this is a definite grey area, as individual witches have different views on when they have been wronged and exactly who should be Hexed.   Again, Greenwood explains:
"The Dianic Witch, Z.   Budapest in The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries says that if women Hex rapists or others who 'commit crimes of patriarchy', there is no divine retribution.   She gives instructions on how to perform a 'Righteous Hex', for 'violent criminals only' and when you 'know, not just think' that someone has harmed you' (1990).   But I have heard mention of Hexing being done between witches for more mundane reasons, over quarrels about money for example, or to gain retribution against an employer who was unsympathetic."
- Susan Greenwood, Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology, p.   20.

The use of curses and other forms of malevolent Magick is more common amongst the practitioners of Ceremonial and Ritual Magick.  

That said, it is a sad fact that magicians are more famous for their curses than for their blessings, although less cursing goes on than popular fiction supposes.   One way of harming one's enemies is to send an artificial elemental after them.   These elementals are forms created by the magician's imagination out of the elemental power generated by ritual.   The nasty-minded adept can let his imagination run riot here and fashion the most grotesque monster which is then dispatched to effect its master's business.   (see ELEMENTALS)

Occult fiction is full of stories that tell of the havoc wrought by such elementals and it was a favourite theme of author Algernon Blackwood who, as a former associate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, knew full well what mental damage could be caused by Psychic attacks of this nature.  

It is said that in the 1920's a magical lodge in Hampstead created an artificial elemental which they hoped would disrupt a rival fraternity newly established in the neighbour-hood.   But someone tipped off the intended victims who promptly held a meeting at which the aggressor was sent back where it came from.

Meanwhile the original Hampstead group, fully confident of their success, were sipping tea in their sanctuary when in burst the turncoat elemental.   Pandemonium broke out at once; teacups were hurled in the air by invisible hands, sandwiches flung across the room and an ivory Buddha sent crashing through a gilt-framed portrait of Mme Blavatsky.

From that day forth no member of the group could escape the attentions of the elemental that each had played a part in creating.   It was described as looking like a giant sea anemone equipped with spindly legs, and for the next few weeks it was to haunt members at their work, in their homes and even in their beds where it once tried to envelop a lady adept in its gelatinous embrace.

This may sound very far-fetched and, indeed, the whole thing may be attributable to collective delusion, but according to occultist David Conway it was only after due and lengthy ceremony was the creature finally got rid of.   Conway claims that "the visitation did some good, since it for ever deterred that particular group from dabbling in that sort of thing again."

As far as Talismanic Magick is concerned, the curse may be regarded as an object designed to attract malefic forces to whomever the magician has in mind during the course of its manufacture.   Its function is thus similar to that of a Talisman, except that the latter creates benefic conditions.   Not that the job ends here, for tradition has it that a curse must be 'willingly' (i.e. unwittingly) accepted by its intended victim.

That is why magicians in the past have spent hours working out how they might pass on their curses without arousing suspicion.  

An atmosphere of curses can create both very real spiritual problems and elements of fear and paranoia.   Interestingly, Pagan writer Prudence Jones, said the following with regards to this very issue:
"When anything goes wrong in our lives, it is too easy to accuse our nearest enemy of bringing this about by magical means, and if necessary to take magical revenge against them.   Such an attitude of blame without proof can trap people in a constant cycle of vendetta and fear of vendetta, leaching energy from ordinary life."
- Prudence Jones, Paganism Today, p 40

All the blessings of God are in Christ and received by faith.   A curse cannot possible come to anyone who believes and puts their trust in Christ and walks by faith.   Anything that is not of faith is sin.  

For those who turn to Christ, all curses are broken (no matter how strong!), as Christ became a "curse for us" when He died on the cross for each one of us to take away our sins (see Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21).


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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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