The Elegant Curse

web-binding

Spellcraft: Binding – painting by the author

When asked “what is cursing?” most people will reply with one of the two following answers:
1) The use of vulgar or impolite language.
2) The throwing off of “negative” energy and/or the use of sympathetic magick to manipulate, particularly in the form of a poppet, witch bottle, or similar system. 

Under the right circumstances, I can say I’m a fan of both.  But in actual practice, I tend to be somewhere in between – what I call “the elegant curse.”

The Origins of Cursing
Hexing, cursing, and other forms of baneful magick have been hot topics in the last few years, especially in regards to political and social situations.  Mat Auryn recently posted a fantastic and lengthy compilation that asks the opinions of many well-known practitioners (yours truly included) on using magick and spellcraft as a form of activism.

But despite the new wave of popular discussion, the idea of cursing has been around probably since the time our species developed language (in the case of #1) and a sense of cause and effect (#2).  And really in the case of the latter, it goes both ways – blessing and cursing has long been recognized as two sides of the same coin.  Divine powers could bestow both on the same individual – with or without apparent reason.

The same has been said of witches for centuries.  Take for instance the legendary Baba Yaga, one of the most iconic witches of folklore.  Whether she chooses to help you or hurt you is always a gamble.  Why? Because she embodies Nature itself – and found within that truth is the essence of magick and energy.  In and of itself, energy is neutral, unaligned – and whether something is a blessing or a curse is often a matter of personal perspective.  Regardless even of initial intent! One of the most common ideas of cursing found around the world is the idea of “the evil eye.”  Many cultures believe that in case of both the giver and the receiver of the evil eye – neither is intentionally conscious nor aware that some exchange has taken place.

witchcurseThen there’s the argument that when you get down deep into sympathetic magick, working with binding, banishing, hexing, etc – that you get yourself connected/intertwined with the person or situation.  Which frankly, if they’re already in or otherwise affecting your life, I’d say that’s already happened.  But is a lot of effort, and falls into the category of what I call “pulling out the big guns.”

The Elegant Curse
Which brings us to the realm of elegant cursing, and the power of words. Why is #1 – vulgarity – called cursing? Well think about it – if you’re telling someone to F off in some variation, you’re not exactly wishing them good will.  Nor do the words have to be impolite – consider the phrase “Bless your heart.”  It sounds nice, but it certainly isn’t meant to be a blessing.  Rather, the intent in both the F off and “bless your heart” is a reflex of protection.  They essentially mean “get thee away from me and may your words/actions come back to you.”  It’s a ward, a kind of shield or mirror.

There are also many benefits to the elegant curse.  A well-worded curse can be used again and again, by anyone who finds meaning in it.  It doesn’t require a specific target, but rather generates an overall net against those that fit the bill.  There also tends to be a bit of humor in it, which gives a sense buoyancy.  It doesn’t invoke an “I” statement, but rather appeals to the surrounding forces.  Rather, the elegant curse follows the structure of the fabled curse: “May you live in interesting times.”  So it also doesn’t usually outline everything in detail, but rather relies on the universal energy to sort out the balance as it sees fit.  Yet it’s clean and precise at the same time. curseoftheweek-whiteknight

I’ve been rather inspired to come up with one on about a weekly basis.  Per seeking to legislate women’s bodies, the curse “May your penis get caught in your zipper” arose.  The visual is enough to make most folks cringe, but isn’t meant as something bad to happen to an innocent person.  But rather it is directed to those who would deem to make decisions in arenas where they don’t belong – and that they may feel the sting of it if they do.  Another one is “May false white knights in shining armor get cooked in the fires of their own devising.”

Creating It:
It’s fairly easy, especially if you’re handy with words.  Take a step back from the situation and consider what’s going on.  When is a general way to define the players and their actions – what is their intent or goal? Then consider what is the best way to impede that goal or intent in such a way that re-routes their efforts – through their own actions, so others don’t get hurt.  Create a visual with words. Lastly, keep it simple.

Combine that elegant curse with the power of “meme magick” and/or the power of sharing a thought in general and you activate a current of energy that adds another level of consciousness to the sentiment.  Again, the intent isn’t malicious or to cause any innocent person harm.  But rather to protect those who are or would be hurt – to give them space – while curbing the activities of those who seek to cause harm.  With no strings attached or pins necessary.

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About Laura Tempest Zakroff

Laura Tempest Zakroff is a visual artist, author, designer, dancer, and Witch residing in Seattle, WA with her partner musician Nathaniel Johnstone and their 3 cats. She has identified as a Modern Traditional Witch for over two decades, viewing her path as one of vocation, craft and practice, spirituality, and way of living.