Using Baneful Magick: Cursing, Binding, Banishing

Using Baneful Magick: Cursing, Binding, Banishing September 9, 2019

Baneful magick (cursing, binding, banishing) is a topic which can cause heated conversation among those who practice spellcraft. Last year, I led a discussion group raising the subject. Here are some of the questions asked.

What do people consider to be “baneful?” Do binding, banishing and cursing all fit into this category? Is there value in performing baneful magick? Does casting an “innocuous” spell (for a job, love, et al), which might prevent an unknown person from getting what they need in favor of the one for whom the spell was cast, count as baneful magick?

Does baneful magick have its place? Image by Pexels via

Baneful Magick is defined as any spell, ritual or “craft” meant to cause “harm.”

What does it mean to cause “harm”? This can be understood as anything creating injury–hurt, suffering, distress… (physical/mental/spiritual)– to a person, place, animal, etc. Some Wiccans in the discussion group said to banish or bind is acceptable so long as the Rede’s “harm none” is honored. Cursing is a definite no-no because “harm” would be caused. However, one person stated any form of binding or banishing would fall under the heading of harm, right along with cursing. They maintained that magick should always be practiced for the “good” of others. No one should play “judge and jury.”

Here’s the thing. Consider the question about the love/job/whatever spell. In the case of a job spell, one must presume the magick is putting favor upon one individual above all others. Does this not bring “harm” to those other people who also need a job? They have bills, families, needs. There are people who are desparate for employment. Some magickal practitioners will add the caveat “so long as it harms none” to their spell to honor the Rede. But can spellcasting, which is meant to bring our intentions (needs/wants/desires) into the universe, ever be truly inoffensive (not objectionable or harmful) when the potential to effect others remains? This begs the question: Is any form of magick benign? An important consideration for anyone who practices the Craft.

Baneful Magick
Can all spells truly “harm none.” Image by Artie_Navarre via

Some believe baneful magick begets negative blowback.

Several people in the group said they will not curse because of the Three-fold Law. Believing the energy they put into the universe returns at three times the strength. In other words, in cursing another person they might bring a worse condition upon themselves. So really, it comes down to not wanting to hit themselves with bad juju or karma.

The idea of “karma” is best defined ( in Hinduism and Buddhism) as the total of a person’s actions in this life and within previous lives. Karma decides what comes in the next life for those who believe in it. In my opinion, the Three-fold Law is more akin to “reaping what you sow” (a Christian concept).

For my part, I have not experienced this in magickal practice. In other words, I’ve not seen or experienced the Three-fold Law effect in regard to spellcraft. Where I have seen such principles (whether you call it sowing-reaping or Three-fold Law) at work is in how one lives their life. Their decisions and how those choices effect their personal sphere of influence. Take from that what you will.

Cursing seen as “Black” Magick.

Cursing has been labled as “black” magick. For many, this indicates magick which is evil or bad. According to Wikipedia, black magick is that which is done for evil (the opposite of good) or selfish purposes. Black magick or cursing is often viewed as malicious. For some, magick or ritual practice of any kind is “black” and associated with “The Devil” or “Satan.”

Not long ago, while my family and I were teaching a class on divination at a Pagan event, a participant asked if Tarot and other divinatory devices are “black magick.” The person was new to the Craft and still overcoming fears instilled from a deeply religious past. I believe those who claim to practice “white” magick, or who shun the idea of baneful magick, may be operating under a similar (albeit subconscious) fear.

The idea is that while “black” magick is vile, “white” magick is pure. One can say to an unapproving friend/family member, “See. I only practice good magick. There is nothing bad about what I do.” Can one style of magick be more noble or just than another? Or is magick curious shades of gray, where cursing might be as valuable a tool in the magickal practitioner’s spellkit as cleansing, healing, and blessing.

Magick is what it is. Image by freestocks-photos via

For me, yes. Baneful Magick, can be useful when needed.

Every magickal practitioner needs to determine their own mind on what defines baneful magick. Human beings are complicated, as are the intentions with which they set about their spellcraft. In my opinion, magick is neutral and all forms of spellcasting has its reason, time, or place. What spells are cast is up to the Witch, Wiccan or magickal practitioner and is dependent on the situation, need or desire.

What it comes down to, for me, is not a universal “law” or a guiding tenet (unless one is part of a tradition or belief system which has those things) but rather the ethics of the Witch, Wiccan, or magickal practitioner.

Baneful magick has its place in the Craft of the Wise, as it does in other forms of magickal paths and religions. In my practice, I can both curse and cleanse. Bind and release. Banish and call. How I choose to apply that knowledge is on me to decide.

What I believe about Baneful Magick and when to apply it:

To bind — is the equivalent act of a restraining order on someone who is entering the scary realm of troublesome or has the potential to or has been actively causing emotional/spiritual/physical harm (there’s that word again).
To banish — is the equivalent of either a relocation program or a jail sentence (depending on intention). The subject of the banishment is being “sent away” or “contained” for the protection of oneself or others. And once you take action by casting a banishment that individual becomes your spiritual “responsibility”. In other words, maintaining wards.

To curse — is to punish someone causing grievous harm (emotional/physical/spiritual) and is an action which should not be taken lightly or on a whim because you or someone you know is pissed off. Cursing is a last resort action.

Gwyn is one of the hosts of 3 Pagans and a Cat, a podcast about the questions and discussions between three pagan family members, each exploring different pagan paths and how their various traditions can intersect. The most practiced pagan on the path, Gwyn is a Modern Hekataen-Green Witch, Devotee of the Covenant of Hekate, and Clairsentient Medium. She loves working with herbs, essential oils and plants. In the past, she has been a musician, teacher, and published author. Now, together with Car and Ode, Gwyn is a teacher/presenter at multiple Pagan events and loves to chat about witchcraft, spiritual things, and life in general. You can read more about the author here.
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  • mptp

    Those who pay attention to the wording of the rede (which means advice, not law or commandment), know that baneful magic isn’t prohibited for the Wica.

    A with who can’t hex can’t heal.

  • Gwyn

    Agreed. However, I’ve had many conversations with people identifying as Wiccan who do not hold this understanding of the Rede. They do treat it as universal “law” rather than advice. Perhaps this misunderstanding has occurred outside of the initiatory traditions of Wicca within the solitary community? The difficulty of being a solitary is parcing accurate information from the multiple resources available.

  • Wicked Witch of the Northwest

    I’m a witch, but not a Wiccan. I have no problem cursing those who harm others, especially certain politicians.

  • Brenda Keitt

    I had to bind on two different people both with the intent to cause me harm. The results were mind boggling. No regrets.

  • Brida Sylphide Firelight

    About banish work, you wrote “And once you take action by casting a banishment that individual becomes your spiritual “responsibility”. In other words, maintaining wards”. Does mean that U should casting and re-casting a banish spell upon a person for maintaining him or her away from your life? Because that sounds pretty exhausting 4 me! Plus, love your article! It’s precisely what I was looking for. Greetings! 😉

  • Kathy

    This is such a difficult one. I think the best thing with magic is to use your intuition about each working. If something feels off, it probably is and is not the right spell for you at the time. It’s just getting in touch with our intuition. That can be the hard part. Thanks for the article. Love your podcast.

  • Gwyn

    Thank you for your comment and I’m so glad you enjoy the podcast. Intuition is always the best way to go (imo) when it comes to any kind of spellcraft.

  • Gwyn

    Being “responsible” for a banishment is something I learned in a class from a teacher who has taken on this work for others. It’s not re-casting the spell, per se, but making sure it holds by periodically strengthening or maintaining the wards (which I believe should be part of a banishing spell). Plant, stone, or spirit allies are great for this aspect because it means less personal energy is put into it. Think of it as setting up an ally as a kind of warden.

  • Gwyn


  • Gwyn

    Sometimes we do what we must. No regrets.

  • Brenda Keitt


  • Dora

    Interesting thread. Where would one not knowledgeable nor practicing go to learn or find help in utilizing things mentioned here to help a child remove a
    bad person from their life.

  • Gwyn

    An excellent question. You’re welcome to contact me at for more information. If there is a Pagan store in your area you could go in and ask for assistance or recommendations. You can also go to Coventry Creations for some very simple but effective candles which have spells associated with them.

  • shubha jaggi

    I respect your views, however I feel cursing is abuse of power. Were we not walking this path and someone were to banish/curse us, would we still find that fair?
    Karma, Saturn and Rede’s law aren’t dependent on belief. They are.

    That’s my opinion. Thanks for blogging yours, stay blessed

  • Gwyn

    We shall agree to disagree but I appreciate you sharing your view and opinion. Blessings. 🙂