I know this went down over a year ago, and I also own that I’m the last person to get around to discussing it. But the topic just popped up again on the Patheos Pagan Facebook feed, so I’ll go ahead and remind everyone that a group of “baby” Witches on TikTok allegedly tried to hex the Moon, which prompted a bunch of “elder” Witches on the same platform (the primary requirement for elderhood apparently being purple eyeshadow) to glare mysteriously into their webcams and scream, “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE.”
I’m not much of an investigative journalist, but as far as I can tell, the whole thing started when someone on Reddit was like, “Hey, those Witches who hexed the Fey are going to hex the Moon next,” and various Netizens reacted accordingly. Okay. So. Alright, while it may not be the popular opinion, I am going to go out on a limb and say nobody actually hexed anything (or Anyone), for a couple of reasons:
- It was rumors and rumors of rumors right from the get-go, which is never auspicious.
- It was also literally a plotline from the fifth season of The Magicians.
For the sake of argument, though, let’s say some kids really did band together to toss woo at the Moon. What would possess them to attempt this? Well, as Jason Mankey rightly points out, kids are just going to do dumb stuff sometimes. (To quote one of my favorite comic book characters in her first appearance: “I’m thirteen. Stupid stunts come with the package.”) But there are also those suggesting that the bigger issue is the lack of support and educational resources for youngsters who want to practice Witchcraft, and I agree with them as well. And I feel like I can be of assistance.
So gather ’round, children, and prick up your ears, because I’m going to teach you how to hex the Moon properly.
First off, we’ve got a LOT of historical precedences to work with. From ancient Graeco-Egyptian spells to bind the Gods, to taking back offerings when the Lwa don’t answer prayers, to burying St. Joseph to sell a house, occultists have long used coercive tactics to garner results from the Divine. But, since we’re specifically talking about the Moon, I want to look at a spell from Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, published in 1899 by the folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland:
Great Diana! thou
Who art the queen of heaven and of earth,
And of the infernal lands–yea, thou who art
Protectress of all men unfortunate,
Of thieves and murderers, and of women too
Who lead an evil life, and yet hast known
That their nature was not evil, thou, Diana,
Hast still conferred on them some joy in life.
Or I may truly at another time
So conjure thee that thou shalt have no peace
Or happiness, for thou shalt ever be
In suffering until thou grantest that
Which I require in strictest faith from thee!
Leland goes on to say:
Here we have again the threatening the deity, just as in [Inuit] or other Shamanism, which represents the rudest primitive form of conjuring, the spirits are menaced. A trace of this is to be found among rude Roman Catholics. Thus when St. Bruno, some years ago, at a town in the Romagna, did not listen to the prayers of his devotees for rain, they stuck his image in the mud of the river, head downwards. A rain speedily followed, and the saint was restored in honour to his place in the church.
What’s important here is that the curse doesn’t go into effect unless Diana doesn’t grant the Witch’s request, which, if you’ve ever worked in retail, resonates. You know when a customer starts yelling about calling the 1-800 number on you, so your boss is like, “Ugh, fine, whatever, just give them the discount”? That’s pretty much what’s going on here. Personally, I try to take a more positive reinforcement approach to my relationships with spiritual beings, but hey, a Witch uses what works. If extortion is your bag, then I’m not going to ask to speak to your manager about it.
Although this does beg a question: How do the Gods Themselves feel about devotees hurling threats and invectives at Them for personal gain? For that answer, we’re going to flip over to Tumblr, because nine times out of ten, this is what I think happens: As for the WitchTokians who may or may not have hexed the Moon in the first place, the whole kerfuffle and the associated culprits will be forgotten, and the jokes and memes that were funny in context will eventually stop making sense. (“Why the hell would anyone hex the Moon?” the newly-minted Elder Witch wonders, six months from now.) So I’m just going to go back to mucking around with herbs and oils, and tending to my daily devotions, and absolutely waterboarding a statue of St. Bruno if lighting candles isn’t met with success, because nobody likes asking twice.