Here’s a situation and question that was posted a few days ago on a popular social media site (I’m summarizing the post for various reasons):
Witch knows two people. Person B has romantic feelings toward Person A, feelings that Witch says are unwanted and inappropriate. Although Witch does not go into detail, the readers are given the strong impression that either incest and/or Person A being under the age of legal consent are factor(s). Person A doesn’t know that Person B has feelings until Witch tells her, whereupon Person A is upset. Witch feels like Person B cannot emotionally withstand being told that Person A is very much less than interested in any congress with Person B. Witch wants advice on doing some sort of banishing and/or protection spellwork, whereby Witch intends to solve the issue, without either Person A or Person B knowing. Other members of the social media site start to post suggestions.
Since apparently this week I am channeling Hekate Taurakarenos (thank you Cyndi Brannen [Which Hekate Are You?]), I’m moved to ask WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? (OK, there’s more than a little Hekate Brimo goin’ on, too, so I’m pretty much shrieking this question.)
Imma gonna go on a Cranky Crone Rant here.
There’s a lot to unpack.
First, whether or not you are designated as a mandatory reporter, if you have a solid reason to believe—and not just gossip or your or someone else’s opinion—if you have witnessed first-hand or a person you trust has witnessed first-hand that an adult is engaging in sexualized behavior with a minor, or if the minor affected has confided in you that an adult is engaging in sexualized behavior with them—YOU NEED TO REPORT THAT TO SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY. Throwing a spell or a hex is not a first-line response.
Second, it is not your job to go tell someone “so-and-so is thinking sexy thoughts about you”. That’s triangulation. It’s manipulative. And it’s just plain icky. Lighting a fuse to a people-bomb and standing back to watch what happens next can’t be gussied up in terms of “I was just trying to help.” You weren’t. Lighting a fuse to a people-bomb, watching what happens and then swooping back in to say “I can cast a spell to fix this” smacks more of a Messiah complex than it does Glinda the Good Witch.
(I warned you, Dear Reader, this is a Cranky Crone Rant.)
Third, consent, consent, consent people! Don’t go casting spells at people without their knowledge and permission.* Just don’t. It never works out the way you think it will. Have most of us done it? I would guess yes. Have I done it? Yup. Did it work? Certainly not the way I had envisioned. As some of you may know, the Love of My Life is currently searching for employment. At the last Dark Moon, with no input from him, I cast a little knot spell asking for his employment options to increase with increasing of the moon. Now, what he really wanted (had I asked him) was a particular position. He didn’t get that job, but wowee are his options wide open now!
Fourth, you just don’t know what you don’t know. Witch or not, you can’t decide you know what’s best for another person (unless you are the legal caregiver for that person). Individuals have personal agency; they get to make their own choices, even though those choices look like big honkin’ mistakes to you. Believe me, if I could have cast a spell to get my sister out of an emotionally abusive marriage I would have. I’m convinced she would be alive today if I could have somehow spelled her out of that controlling relationship. But even though she knew she was surrounded by people who would have financially and spiritually supported her, she would not (or could not) walk out of darkness toward the light. Sometimes, painful though it may be, people don’t want your help or don’t want the kind of help you’re offering.
Fifth, wiser Witches than I (Cyndi Brannen, Mat Auryn, and a whole host of others) have written about being authentically who you are. Witch, to thine own self be true, but please do keep in mind that ethical behavior is never a bad or wrong choice. Please don’t be seduced by ego. We Witches are powerful, and it is so easy—too easy—to start believing that because we are powerful we have the absolute gods-given right to be the final arbiters of the injustices we see around us. Too easy to start believing that we ourselves are power, rather than Wise Folk who understand how to work with, how to harness the Power all around us.
* While I do believe the most ethical choice is to talk to the person for whom you’re planning to cast a spell, rightly or wrongly I don’t feel the same way about hexes. I do think that hexes thrown while in the throes of anger are inadvisable. Successful spellwork involves a level of control; hexes whipped out in a blind rage are very likely to have painfully sloppy results. If you want to hit the proverbial bullseye you have to have not only ability, intent, power and skill, but patience and control as well.