Black Magic Badass: Curses, Coercion, and Collateral Damage

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Many of the non-cursing practitioners I've talked to reject the idea of it stricly out of fear of
the consequences.  Sadly, this means more freedom for the jerks who are trying to ruin
your life.

It is to those innocent and loving folks that I dedicate this article.  I would like to think that even those most mild-mannered, sweethearted casters would consider the many positive aspects of being a dasterdly witch.  So, I offer to you some of my truths on curses and their consequences.

The Curse

  • I'm not afraid of it.  Of all the stuff that makes me nervous, doing what needs done in the security of my home and head is not one of them.  I know we are taught to have a healthy fear of "the dark side," but I've been there often enough to know that those folks there are just like everyone else, only more honest.
  • I'm not ashamed of it.  This shocks some people.  And yet I've met so many mouthy, arrogant, self-important, loose-cannon spellcasters who would never curse because that would make them a bad person.  Listen here--the wickedness you do as a witch is not somehow different from the wickedness you do as a person.  You aren't better than me because you told lies to get a coworker fired while I cast a spell to make my neighbor move.  I have nothing to hide; I'm doing what witches have done for centuries.  But you?  You're just an asshole.
  • It's probably not what you think.  Why does everyone think that curses are cast for no reason?  Like I've got nothing better to do with my time than wreck things?  I've rarely heard a story where someone was cursed who didn't pick the fight.  This is especially true of complicated situations, like family, work, or social settings that make direct confrontation impossible.  For myself, the black magic I've spread was totally justified.  
  • A happy witch does it.  I don't curse because I hate the world, nor because I'm socially ill-adjusted, nor lonely, nor sad.  I do it because I don't like to see good people be treated badly.  I want to treat bad people badly!  And if you're near this situation at all, you may end up enjoying the fruits of my devious labors!  You're welcome.  All kidding aside, spellcasters are the last people in the world who should suffer from large-scale problems, troublemakers, or anxiety stemming from either.  If this describes you, now is the perfect time to get busy cleaning house!  Black magic isn't all hate--it can be a precious tool for love and compassion towards the innocent.  Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to rescue yourself and those around you from evil.

Now that we've cracked the topic and all the insides are running out, I'll tell you what I think about enforcing my will.


  • Society has been running on mind tricks since its inception.  Learn about the way advertising works, or salesmanship.  Talk to your mother-in-law (or other master of passive-agressive behavior).  Even innocuous things like art and literature employ tricks to make us feel what we otherwise wouldn't feel.  It's not special and it's not always mean, we just do it because it suits a purpose.  And whether my spell on you is in your favor or not, I'm not going to hate myself for using it if I feel it suits the right purpose.
  • Rude people don't deserve to win against my manners.  Well-placed deviousness can be a powerful ally against a jerk who gets away with their bad behavior because no one wants to make a scene.  And, before you start, this isn't about being weak; we all have seen those powderkegs who are just begging for a spark.  Go ahead and be that spark that makes everything explode--when they're not around anything you love.  
  • Manipulation isn't a bad thing but it is a witch thing.   To manipulate, strictly speaking, is to shape with one's hands.  And witches do this all the time; it's a good example of what it feels like to cast a spell.  But manipulation has become another boogey man for an otherwise powerful caster to fear.  You say you don't change people, only situations?  Well, situations are made of people.  It's their thoughts, goals, and actions that create problems.  If you want to stop a problem, you're stopping a person.  If you want to get a house or a new car, that's one less for another person. Should you feel bad?  Of course not!  There will be other chances for them, other houses, other cars, and other messes they can get themselves into.  You're not ruining their life, just redirecting a tiny part of it.

At last we come to collateral damage, that old terror.  "If you cast a spell to get money, you could find out the next day that someone in your family died and you now have an inheritance!"  What claptrap!

This farfetched tale is used (often!) to illustrate why magic should only be a pathetically small part of what you do to fix a problem.  This puts magic in the ranks of, at worst, a placebo and at best, self-help mind games.  Those are terrible reasons to cast spells, as
well as being lousy at inspiring newcomers to even bother with learning proper technique. What's the point?  It's all the same, right?  Whether you teach people that magic is only a boost to hard work or that it is far too powerful for you to contain, you're doing the same thing--crippling potential.

So what is the actual likelihood of hurting some poor innocent with your spell?  Not very likely at all, it turns out.  I've done many kinds of spells and rarely have they affected others in a negative way.  Even then, it was not life-threatening, only inconvienent or (once or twice) scary.  That's pretty good considering the amount of magic I've used over the years and how much of it has been lobbed at others.

So to get to the basis of this concern let's dig into it with pick and shovel.

Collateral Damage

  • Nothing is guaranteed in magic.  Everything is in motion; there is no such thing as a static situation no matter how slow-moving it may seem.  There may be information you don't have, relationships of which you're not aware.  You must understand and prepare for surprising interactions.  You could be a positive influence or a negative one depending on minute details.
  • Major change is always subjective.   When things shift, there are bound to be people who think it's the end of the world.  But just as many might say it's the reprieve they'd waited years to see.  Know that there will be opinions beyond your own.  You needn't feel like a monster just because one was bad.
  • Keep the gravity of the problem at the forefront.   The worse a problem is, the less you should worry about what little slip-ups may come.  At some point it may come down to greater and lesser evil.
In the end, you should know that even small situations have the potential to create unintentional harm but, no matter what, it's not an exceptional danger.  If being struck by lightning is keeping you from walking in the rain, you're missing out on a fantastic life.

My final word on the matter is that cursing isn't the problem, incompetence is.  It can ruin any form of magic and turn good men into beasts.  Know our craft, how you feel about the risks, and what you'll do if your work goes awry.  Be smart, be safe, be responsible, and do what needs done!

Related reading includes Dreams and Curses,  Gigi's First Big Spell,  How to Tell if You're Cursed

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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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