There is quite a big debate about using magick in retaliation or self defense in the witch community, verses turning the other cheek and allowing “Karma” to do her thing. I personally have had the scolding finger shook at me by other witches who practice a… let’s call it, “Passive-aggressive” approach to the way they do things, (ie., the pot calling the kettle black or if you will, talking from both sides of their mouths).
What I mean by this, specifically, is that they will be the first ones to throw a law in my face that I do not follow (You can read my article from January, Shove Your Three-Fold Somewhere Else if you’re looking for an honest rant and controversy; It’s right there in black and white, so I will not rehash it here… and I will also acknowledge (just as I did in that article) that not ALL are this way, but sadly, the vast majority have continuously proven me wrong…. at least from the Western world) but they are also the first ones to lash back when they read something they do not like (i.e., the truth about how some of their members are portraying their entire religion).
They have the right to do that, yes? They have the right to defend themselves, whether verbally or magickally if they feel they’ve been attacked… and that was just what one blogger did…. and I certainly didn’t take any offense because she had the same right as I do. So let me ask you, what is the difference between that which was done, in defense, from magical self defense when you feel threatened or attacked and say, getting that extra insurance on your car in case of collision? Or better yet, filing suit against a store when you’ve slipped and fell on their wet floor when there was no sign saying such?
Go ahead… when it pops into your head, just shout it right out…
That’s right… absolutely NOTHING!
I’m not trying to ruffle any more feathers here, though I am almost certain I will anyway, freedom of speech is, after all, the nature of the beast when it comes to writing. What I am actually attempting to accomplish here, is to sort out some of the confusion when it comes to this subject matter. It is, of course, my take on it, but I’m certainly not alone when I say you absolutely have a right to defend yourself, and to protect yourself and those you love with magick if the need should call. You also have a good leg to stand on where “Karma” is concerned, should you decide to help give her a bit of a nudge for a wrong doing, because let’s face it, she doesn’t always act quickly. Most of us would rather see retribution happen quickly, and leaving things up to Karma alone doesn’t always work that way. But we also don’t always get to watch her in action, either. Sometimes, Karma doesn’t come around at all, leaving the person who was wronged feeling like it’s all a crock of…. well, you get the picture.
Am I telling folks to run out and gather up a group of “Voodoo dolls” and start checking names off their list? No. It would be nice though, wouldn’t it? Besides, I’m a firm believer that anger and bitterness, when held onto, is like cancer. It eats away at your spirit slowly until their is nothing left.
Here’s my take on the Rede, ‘Do what you will, an it harm none’ which I believe to be an ethic that discusses personal intention. In other words, it’s not acceptable to intentionally hurt someone, and I’ll go long with that, but conflict does occur. Bad people do exist. Bad situations happen, and often times, to very good people, unfortunately.
For times when harm comes your way I do believe that defensive magic is appropriate. In most cases this should never intentionally hurt anyone…. but notice I said most.
I have an ex who is probably the epitome of annoying. When we split, he wouldn’t go away. In fact, he thought he’d play the charming card. You know, “Mr. Helpful” and sweet after I sent him packing (and this was a guy who was never helpful or sweet). You would THINK after five years of living with me that he’d have caught on somewhere along the line that I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck. An entire half of my family is either in the military or law enforcement. The ability to sniff out BS runs through my blood, and I’m good at it (I totally missed my calling, but whatever. Being the family Bruja has its perks too ;)). But because I didn’t trust him, I cast a binding spell on him using the shoe lace off one of the pair of boots he’d conveniently forgotten and left behind.
I bound him from the ability to do any harm to me, to anyone I loved or cared for and even though I really had to think about this one, from doing harm to himself. The next day, I was served with court papers.
Naturally, the binding hadn’t worked yet because the papers were drafted even before I performed the spell. But the utter garbage and lies they contained was one of those instances where I see all too often a person who wields the power use it in the wrong way… don’t get me wrong. If I sat here and told you I didn’t think about doing it too, I’d be a liar. In fact, I sat and thought about it for a whole week before I decided the best course of action for someone like him. I pulled the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” spell on him. Anything, and I do mean ANYTHING he sent my way, anything he did to try and throw me under a bus, undermine me, proverbially cut my throat, any negative thought he had toward me would bounce off and head right back at him ten times. Simply, what I did was side-step the responsibility that comes with cursing another. It’s not a curse, a jinx or a hex if all you are doing is protecting yourself and wielding back what was sent your way in the first place. A person doesn’t have to physically do something to cause you harm. Thoughts are a powerful force too. Whether he realized it or not, the thoughts he had about me were being sent out to manifest, and I wasn’t taking any chances of allowing that to happen by being lax, turning the other cheek and letting Karma handle him. Chances are, if I didn’t want to deal with him, she wouldn’t want to either. To make a long story short, within months he’d lost his job, had utility service cancellations attached to his front door and the house in early foreclosure. Ironic since his last words to me were “You won’t get by without me”…. and to his dismay, I did. Not only that, but the final order handed down from the court did not go in his favor either. Quite the opposite (for good measure, I’d also worked an old family court spell with the petition I received while I was at it… it’s called crossing your “t’s” and dotting your “i’s”.)
What is the point of being a magickal being if you are too afraid to use your own power and energy or the power and energy around you? Sure, you could live a life of servitude, collecting Karma points along the way by performing nothing but house blessings and healing, but even a tea pot that has been steaming and whistling for too long will evaporate and run dry.
Speaking of crossing “t”s and dotting “i’s’s”, I also have several triggers set up in and around my home. If something nasty is coming my way, these little alarms will tell me. Here are a few easy tricks and tips that you can set up yourself:
Place a plant (I use Rosemary) on your front porch or household plants by the front door and in every room of the house at or near an entry point, like a door, window or mirror. If there is a spiritual or psychic attack of any kind that makes its way in, the plant will take the hit first: by literally just dying or drying out (presuming you have been watering and caring for it in the first place).
Magickally connect yourself to your familiar(s). I have a dog and two cats. If there is something coming, has already arrived or is on its way, I know it. I have an Old English Mastiff. Look up the breed. They’re known as gentle giants, who are incredibly inactive, but fiercely protective and pass their time away by sleeping.
I mean, c’mon… here’s what he does all day…
They also aren’t vocal, therefor, they rarely bark. Mine will howl when something is present (he also does this each time I perform a ritual bath). The cats will stand guard or attempt to protect me by smothering me to death in my sleep– or while awake– (why my head is the most coveted space to them of all the places in the house they could go is beyond me.) But they will also stand guard at the door of the room I am present in.
My vehicle is charmed. Both of them. I have an SUV with a disabled alarm. When something comes, the alarm will still sound. (I was shocked when it actually worked, I won’t lie, I had my doubts). The lights on my black car will randomly just begin flashing.
There are Gargoyle statues at the entrance of my back garden, which is where I meditate, pray, perform rituals and host Sabbats. Needless to say, the land has been made sacred and the Gargoyles, known for their fierce protection and servitude of the home and its occupants, have been placed upon the grave dirt of the 90 year old grave of one of my aunts, another witch. Both the gargoyles and the spirit have been charged with one task: to protect the home and all within it by not allowing anyone or anything with ill intent to enter. (And for the record… Spirit trapping (another blog post for another time) isn’t trapping when the spirit has agreed….. more good juju coming my way for that. 😉
One of my children, who is a sensitive, refused to enter the garden (I hadn’t told him what I’d done) because of the “Lady in the black dress” who stood by the wall, smiling at him. Once I explained, he was OK with it…. the sight of her still freaks him out a bit, but all spirit does, since he is only just learning how to develop his gift and doesn’t particularly trust something that makes all the hair on his body stand on end just by walking into a room… and I can’t really say I blame the kid for that. But a few of the more nosy neighbors who have seen her weren’t so “OK” with it. I suppose it’ll teach them a thing or two about trespassing.
I have also driven a rusty railroad spike into each of the four corners of my property, creating a grid. Ever wonder why those old cemeteries have iron gates around them? It isn’t for keeping the living OUT as much as it is for keeping the dead IN. Iron and spirit do not mix, and it is a powerful deterrent for anything looking to cause trouble.
My point is, before I went on my tangent, is that setting up the proper reinforcements before you find yourself the victim of someone else’s ill intentions or pubescent rage is not something you should ever fear Karmic retribution from. Nor should you fear it if you are protecting yourself. My ex simply received back what he sent my way in the first place. If you’re simply walking around town hexing folks for the joy of it, you’re going to have a problem. If you hex your lover’s wife so that she takes ill and dies, leaving him all for you… you are most definitely going to have a problem. You’re likely to have a problem anyway if she finds out about you. It doesn’t really come down to Karmic sense as much as it does ethical sense. One of the few things I agree with in the Bible is that Golden Rule of theirs: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Keep your nose clean. Don’t go looking for trouble, or to cause it needlessly, because trouble, where magick is concerned will have no problem finding you to collect.
Another thing I do is pay very close attention to signs. If I am so angry that the thought of cursing another enters my mind, (it’s a fight) but I take a few days out to calm down and really think it through. I’m grateful that I haven’t come into to many situations where I’ve felt the need for doing this, but I stand by saying that there are rare instances when it is appropriate. Sometimes, someone needs to be taught a lesson. But before I take it upon myself to do anything like this, I meditate long and hard over it, and I ask the Gods if it is appropriate. Signs for me usually come through nature. 3 black crows will appear in a row at my window. A Red-tailed hawk will rest on my out door altar, leaving its fresh kill behind. A coyote will pay a visit, make sure it’s made eye contact with me and then go about its business. Four or five young bucks will cross my path, each acknowledging my presence before moving on.
The use of magick alone is a big responsibility, particularly in that witches for the most part believe and accept that we ourselves are responsible for our own actions. We didn’t do it because someone else made us do it. We didn’t turn our back on our gay brother because there was a book telling us that, that is what we are supposed to do because the other person is wrong in their decisions. We make up our own minds. We are also prepared to accept the consequences if any, of all of our actions. The act of healing, even through a modality such as Reiki, requires an exchange for the energy and healing given and performed. It is no different with magick. The exchange with healing services is more often than not monetary, but there is still an exchange nonetheless. It’s all about balance. When we allow other people to harm us, we become imbalanced. We are left with feelings of hurt, anger, sorrow, bitterness and even victimization. You can’t tell me that sticking a few push pins into that doll you fashioned of the offender doesn’t make you feel damned good. It’s therapeutic at the very least. When we take in other people’s garbage, it depletes us. And that goes for everyone, not just witches or sensitives. It robs us of the beautiful, magickal lives we are meant to live.
I know a woman who was in an abusive marriage. One day, she went to the little botanica down the street from her house and bought the items she would need to perform a spell to separate herself from this marriage and from the abuser. A month after she performed the spell, her husband was dead. He’d gone for a check up at the doctor’s after he’d developed a cough, discovered he’d had advanced emphysema and was dead 2 weeks later. Although she hadn’t cursed him specifically, by performing the spell she did she asked for this problem of hers to be removed from her life, she called for protection, and the Universe did it in a way it saw fit.
If you are ever so angry at another that you want to condemn them to a curse, take a few days to really think it through and calm down a bit. No one thinks clearly when they are enraged. But whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances allow another to tell you are wrong in wanting to do so. It’s the same as them telling you that you are wrong for feeling hurt. Your feelings are yours, and at the end of the day, it is you who reaps the benefits or faces the consequences of your actions, not them. Shaking a finger at you and telling you to “Harm none” is the Pagan equivalent to the Christian hell fire and brimstone for not being a Christian, for having pre-marital sex, for admiring the beauty (coveting) of your neighbor’s wife, etc., etc…. that gives you something to think about, doesn’t it? Protect yourself and those you love as you see fit. Sometimes, sending something nasty to the offender is the only way of protecting yourself or others from that person. Causing harm of any kind may be unacceptable for some, but being a door mat for continued hurt and abuse is unacceptable for many others, and more importantly, to your own spirit….. cast wisely.