- #paganvalues: Politics and Religion
- #paganvaluesmonth 2011: the nature of evil
- Pagan values month: a roundup
- Pagan/Magical Values: the bad ideas edition
- The core values of neopaganism – as I understand them
- Happiness: the other white light
- A few more values
- Eclectic: Use what works, not whatever the hell you want
- Wicca and suffering
- Pagan Values 2011: Other people’s religions – and lack thereof
- #paganvaluesmonth Pagan Values 2011: 1st week Roundup of Favorites
- Pagan Values Month: She’s Gonna Doooooo Something (Reprise)
- #paganvalues The Double-Edged Sword of Silence
- Please don’t do unto me
- Back to the Pagan Values discussion: Premarital sex
- 2011 Pagan Values Month Roundup week 2
- Situational ethics in Wicca and Divorce
- #paganvalues the truth about consequences
- #paganvalues the Social Contract: Our rights over others, and theirs over us
- #paganvalues The fine art of courteous living
- #paganvalues Feminism
- #paganvalues The Apology, and its receipt
- #paganvalues the Overculture and the Subculture
- #paganvalues month Observations
- #paganvaluesmonth Free Will
- #paganvalues War (unavoidable political discussion)
- #paganvalues Values Change
Back in college, a young woman used quite a bit of nasty social manipulation and pressure to get mutual friends to drop me altogether. It really only worked on her original group of friends, and the one genuinely mutual friend we had and I fell out eventually for reasons that had nothing to do with this original person. I was, as I always am, sad at a lost friend, but her long diatribe-driven phone calls never left her satisfied because I wasn’t doing what she was demanding I do, which was confess to a lie I had not told. You know the logic behind the Salem Witch trials? Yeah, it was pretty much like that. It boiled down to one of those bizarre Mean Girl female domination games, and since at the time I had a fiance’ with a serious neural condition, a mother ill-wishing our relationship because we’d moved in together without her blessing and a bachelor’s degree to earn, I dealt with her issue with the respect it deserved: absolutely none.
Unfortunately, this girl gained power via attention by making a Big Deal out of Everything. So if I crossed paths with her, she’d actually do things like yell “I hope she knows I use mirror shields!” ((I’m the one who told her about the technique.))
She couldn’t even fathom that one, I did not and DO NOT case curses over petty social disagreements. I have friends who disagree with my outlook, and I understand it. I save more negative magics for when lives and livelihoods are at stake, but most of the time, I just leave it the hell alone. Karma has done things to people that are so much better than anything I could concoct. Also, when it comes to the petty social stuff – no matter how well I think I’m 100% in the right, if I’m not, there’s a good chance that what I put out will turn on me not so much in a law of three way but in a nasty domino effect that can drain me for years.
This woman also could not fathom that she just wasn’t that important to me. Her issue with me was petty, she was never a particularly positive or good friend, and while I would have preferred a quiet exit from her, her loud one assured me I was not making a mistake in feeling glad of her disappearance from my life. She spent quite a deal of time going on to friends about how she was utterly convinced that I was going to “Doooooooooooo something!”
I never did. As irritating as it was to hear about it, I really did have much bigger fish to fry, of the kind that would make my life better in a way that mattered to me. And it had nothing to do with some guy that made out with me at a party and then called me a domineering bitch when I said I didn’t want to hang out with him again, whose cause she took up for reasons of personal ego.
Eventually, to vent the aggravation, I posted an essay on Medea’s Chariot titled “She’s gonna DOOO something!” The jist was, “Of course I won’t you stupid fuck. You’re not that important.”
While I’m less of a Wiccan purist than I was back then – there’s been a war or two since then, which forces a change in paradigm – I’m still disinclined to curse. I’ve done it once, on someone else’s behalf. I had excellent reason to believe she was in physical danger if I didn’t, above and beyond protection work that she knew I did for her. That’s the only time I’ve done it, and I on that one, I’m 100% sure I’m in the right.
Phil Hine puts the mentality of this woman and many others in its exact right place:
“Positive thinking works. Negative thinking works even better and Paranoia works absolutely brilliantly as a magical theory. If you imagine a conspiracy against you, you will soon end up manufacturing one for real. You will lose friends and allies and things will go wrong for you.
In my experience very few people have the skill and the motivation to launch a successful magical attack. If they do have that sort of skill they actually do something else instead. They simply work to change the behaviour of the person that creates a problem for them. Anyone with the skill and intelligence to perform real sorcery will turn an adversary into a resource rather than a casualty. Thieves are fools and murderers are romantics, for both could achieve their aims more effectively by other means. Serious capable sorcerers simply change people’s minds.
And that of course also provides the only real means of defence against it as well. “
This wanders into free will, magic and influence, which is a rich discussion for the future.
Negative energy and magic DOES get passed around with and without intention. If you’re working up energy and a thought slips, stuff can slip. Not always, but sometimes it does. When you’re mad at someone and you haven’t sent anger back to its desk, it’s all too easy to obsess. It’s not an intentional cursing. Energy gets passed around all the time, and can be directed without intending to direct it. While some people have truly gotten themselves into that state of zen “doesn’t matter,” most people these days allow their emotions to govern them, rather than keeping emotions in their rightful place as informants and advisors to the throne of consciousness. Even the ones telling other people to “chill” or “let it be” are completely different when something similar happens to them. It’s too easy to create your own snowball of negativity: when I go road rage too often, I’m locked in the car with my own negative energy. Increasingly stupid stuff happens. I’ve found it’s better to develop the skills to stay calm and not take it personally that someone on the road has depersonalized me enough that they’re driving around me like a total dick. My energy isn’t reaching them, just me. Besides, enough dickhead driving does eventually attract the police so my energy doesn’t need to reach them.
Situations have arisen since then where people are convinced I’m going to curse them. This is always from a person who has seen firsthand how I work, has never EVER seen me do any cursing or manipulation work, and knows that most of my talents lie in healing and herbalism. Yes, I know how to poison someone – it’s a knowledge key that keeps me from harming anyone. I am prone to macabre jokes of an extreme nature that should be obvious. It’s conveniently not obvious to the people who have seen firsthand how I don’t operate.
There are situations that have crossed my path that have left me feeling compelled to do something. Without going into specifics, these are standard bags of tricks that are strong alternatives to cursing, especially in situations where you just don’t know the whole story. Being a theist helps, but for those less inclined, the Egytpian Goddess Ma’at manifest more as a force than as a persona.
This is a routine practice I do to clean up the petty stuff.
A reverse all evil spell, in the event someone is really focusing angry energy on me. On my end, it clears out my environment. I’m honestly not sure what it does to the other person. I think for some it chills them out, too, and for others it’s like what happens to me when I’m locked in a car with my own road rage.
When in doubt, a justice spell where you petition the divine/the Universal equilibrium makes a great difference. If you don’t know the full details, or suspect that the truth might come out with some distortions, sometimes the best option truly is to just hand it over. I have in some circumstances asked for specific results and given compelling energy over to the gods to bring things about, and fed that energy – but I leave that energy in the hands of the godforms I called, for them to make the decision.
Have I crossed over into shadier areas? Yes, when I’ve felt pushed by persistent behavior. This has happened maybe twice in my life. While Hine above indicates changing people’s minds is the best bet, that’s a difficult road for a religion that upholds free will as the most sacred of the sacred. I tend to do things that leave the person all the free will s/he wants, and just make myself impossible to reach. Attitudes can only be changed when someone wants to change them from within, and again, fishing about inside a person’s head is a complicated business – generally too complicated for me.