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Friday, February 24, 2017

Practicing Safe Hex

Hexing is one of those things that some people feel comfortable doing and others disagree with. This post isn't about the ethics pro or con, but purely offering some safety tips for people who may feel motivated to hex and who are not well versed in the practice. Like any other magical specialty it is a niche practice that requires its own study - in my opinion - to do well. And like most magical specialties if done wrong a person can potentially cause themselves some serious problems.

Black Nightshade
First lets clarify some terms. Technically hex just means to use magic but it's taken on connotations of harm that make it in common usage synonymous with cursing, ie to use magic to inflict harm or punishment on someone. I use the two terms interchangeably in English. In many views both binding and banishing magic falls under the purview of hexing/cursing because they involve forcibly altering another person's freewill. Binding means magically controlling someone's actions, often by limiting what they can do; banishing means sending them away from an area or keeping them away from a person or situation. Hexing in general terms can be a diverse practice that may involve a wide array of methods intended to affect a person in a negative manner, often as a means to achieve justice*.

So, with that in mind some general tips on how to hex safely:

  1. If you are calling on deities of justice or associated with justice, be 100% sure you are innocent in the situation. Generally speaking just because you invoked them doesn't mean they won't weigh your actions as well. Justice is their thing after all.
  2. If you are invoking other types of spirits that historically expect to get paid make sure you pay them something. Most spirits don't work for free, unless you go the route of calling them and binding them to your service which is a whole other conversation. Spirits will help you out but they expect something in return, so offer it to them up front. 
  3. If you invoke, you dismiss. Don't just open that metaphysical door and leave it swinging in the wind. Make sure you show your guests out and close and lock that door when you are done.
  4. Keep your wording consistent. If you are using positive language like 'may he be destroyed, may he lose his prosperity' or whatever then stick with that throughout; if you are using negative language** like 'may she be without rest, may she be without peace' stick with that. Don't mix and match the two, it muddies the waters. 
  5. Keep your intent consistent. Focus matters. Don't try to cram in a variety of goals in a single working, just stick with a single strong intention and be clear on exactly what your intended outcome is. 
  6. Be really clear with your symbolism and know what you are using, what it represents, what its associated with, and any possible deeper layers of meaning that could apply. Don't use foreign symbols or items that you don't understand or know the meaning of. As long as you believe you know what a symbol means or you have a strong association with it that's fine. 
  7. Although there is a lot of historic precedent for using languages you don't speak yourself, I don't personally recommend it. If you don't know what you are saying, don't say it.
  8. Be specific in naming your target.
  9. Do not use your own name especially if you are invoking spirits. This is what magical pseudonyms are for, and no I don't mean your True Name - you guard that like your ATM pin number - I mean that magical name that you share around like free candy. The one that has no real meaning for you. That one. If you don't have one make one up. Think of it as a hexing code name. 
  10. If its a binding be aware you are tying yourself to the person, thing, or situation. Consider whether that's your best option. If its any other type of hex be willing to accept whatever consequence results from it. 
  11. Always cleanse afterwards and double down on your own protections. 

A basic classic hex*** would go along the lines of: "Spirit of ---- I call you to punish (person's name) who has (done X) and caused me (this specific harm). May they suffer (lack of sleep and lack of peace, etc.,) until (item is returned/they are sorry/justice is done/etc.,). In the name of --- I offer (specific offering) let (person's name) be brought to justice."

We also have a wide array of maledictions and satire to look to for examples of traditional hexes in Celtic culture. These usually combine physical actions and spoken charms. Similarly the Norse culture offers an array of cursing options we can look to for examples of how it's done in that tradition. These all help provide guidelines for ways to hex safely.

*historic, mythic, and folkloric examples of hexing often are predicated on attempts to restore social order or avenge harm done to people who have no other recourse. Often, but not always.
**some people prefer to avoid negative phrasing altogether but there is some precedent for it, for example in Irish satire practices.
*** based on curse tablets found in healing springs

1 comment:

  1. Excellent break down of hexing, esp. the step-by-step instructions!! So many modern witches and pagans are completely opposed to any magic other than the lightest and whitest. As a Witch who practices primarily within the many magical shades of grey, hexes are an essential part of who I am and what I do. Great to see someone who is really knowledgeable about hexes bringing that info out in the open to share with other witches in such a clear, concise, practical manner. I'd love to hear more from you about different aspects of Witchcraft - keep it coming :-)