There is a tendency to view baneful and blessing magic as completely incompatible polar opposites. After all, baneful magic intends harm, and blessing magic intends benefit. But, harm and benefit are not absolute universal values, and the magics we weave can and do often incorporate aspects of both baneful and blessing energies. When you learn how to do this consciously and deliberately, it can greatly enhance the efficacy of your magic.
The Issue of Good and Evil
Magic, of any form, is neither good nor evil. It is a tool by which we can protect, manifest, or create change. The specific intentions can at times be classified as good or evil, but that is a result of the magic worker and what they are attempting to achieve, not an inherent property of the magic itself. Rather than fretting about absolutes of good and evil, it is usually much more helpful to critically evaluate the ethical ramifications of your intentions and approach.
Most of the time, the goodness or badness of a spell depends upon your point of view. A healing spell to help cure an infection is great for the person who has the infection. It is terrible for the colony of bacteria that will be killed in the healing process. I am always going to view it as a good act to heal someone, but it is important to be aware of all foreseeable consequences. The detriment to the bacterial colony is one of those foreseeable consequences.
When you create a spell to get a job, it is mostly good. If you structure the spell well, it will help you to find and obtain an ideal job which meets all your needs. That is a wonderful thing, and is well worth doing. However, it also means that other people who also want that job are going to miss out. I do not think that is a big deal because it is a natural consequence of anyone getting the job. It is, however, still a consequence of the spell succeeding.
A “love” spell designed to create desire in a particular individual is extremely unethical because it infringes on the other person’s free will solely for personal gain. It ignores the hopes, dreams, and loves of the other person, and attempts to twist them into an unhealthy and toxic relationship based on possession instead of partnership and friendship. The only “good” that can come out of such a spell is the gratification experienced by the individual forcing a relationship which is not naturally reciprocated.
What is Baneful Magic?
Baneful magic is combative magic. It is intended to produce consequences for the subject of the hex or curse. When it is done ethically, these consequences are for bad deeds, past and present. It is a path of resistance for the downtrodden and oppressed. It is a way to fight back against abuses and inequities. It is a way to claim or reclaim personal power, and can be a route to resolving past traumas and finding closure.
Please read Ethical Baneful Magic for all Skill and Experience Levels for a more thorough look at baneful magic.
What is Blessing Magic?
Blessing magic is magic that is focused on bringing benefit. Whether it is used for manifestation, protection, prosperity, healing, good luck, or social justice, the focus and intent are squarely planted on benefits and boons. It is about bringing beneficial things into reality, and nurturing and supporting the beneficial things that already exist.
Please read An Introduction to the Craft of Blessing Magic for a more thorough look at blessing magic.
The False Dichotomy of Baneful vs. Blessed
Much of the dichotomy of viewing baneful and blessing magic as polar opposites hinges on the perception that baneful magic is inherently bad and harmful. It can certainly be used that way, but that is not an inherent or unavoidable part of the craft of baneful magic. Just as when a person fights to protect themself, their friends and family, their home, or even strangers, it can be an avenue for protection and positive empowerment.
When baneful magic is conducted ethically, it is extremely compatible with blessing magic designed to aid those who are being protected or avenged. I think of it as two very different approaches to the same goal, where the baneful magic is acting on the aggressor, and the blessing magic is acting on the victim, to simultaneously deter further bad action and empower the downtrodden.
Let us say for example, we want to conduct a spell to stop an active group of white supremacists who are harassing a business owned and/or frequented by black people in the community. We can create a spell with a one-two punch of protection, which both blesses the business with continued success, and curses the white supremacists for behaving badly. In doing so, it acts on both ends of the problem by uplifting marginalized people and punishing ill deeds.
If you focus only on aversion wards and blessing the business with continued success, the malice which fuels racist behavior continues unabated. This means the wards will need to be recharged much more frequently, and they also have a greater chance of failing. If the wards do succeed, the unabated malice will simply be refocused on a different target. That may help the one business which is magically protected, but it does little to nothing to help the community as a whole. This is no different than focusing rape prevention on women’s behaviors, rather than punishing rapists, because someone is still getting raped.
If you focus only on cursing the group of white supremacists, you are doing nothing to help the business recover from the assaults and return to a healthy status. It may do fine anyway, or it might have suffered too much financial and social damage to fully recover. If the business struggles or goes under, then the white supremacists still accomplished their goal of ruining a non-white place of business. Even if the white supremacists also suffer due to the curse, that is small comfort to those who have lost their livelihood or a beloved business they once patronized.
When you both bless the business and curse the white supremacists, you have the best possible chance of supporting an outcome which is both good for the victims, and reduces or prevents future occurrences in the entire community.
Some warriors fight with two swords. Swords are created to stab and cut, but in skilled hands they can also be used to protect, block, deflect, and defend. Shields are created to protect, but exceptional examples like Steve Rogers Captain America also use their shield to attack. Most warriors across countless cultures and multiple millennia take a more balanced approach between offense and defense, such as using a sword and a shield. Baneful magic is the sword. Blessing magic is the shield. It is possible to accomplish your goals using only one or the other, especially if you are particularly skilled with it, but the easiest, most effective, and most balanced approach for most people is going to be a combination of the two.
When you are creating a spell based on social justice, or protection, or in response to bad deeds, take some time to consider how baneful and blessing magic can both aid your goals. What needs to be uplifted or empowered? What needs to be deterred or punished? How can simultaneously uplifting and deterring be used to accomplish your overarching goals?
You can incorporate distinctly different magical approaches into the same spell, provided that the primary goals are compatible, and you are very clear about how and why you are including them all.