I was curious about something I have heard of in pop culture as well as many ancient stories from around the globe, the usage of curses or “dark magic.” I have heard from many pagans that dark magic doesn’t exist and from others that it does exist but it is a double edged sword. the ones who say it exists say that if you tried to curse or hex someone you would also curse/hex yourself because the energy gathered to preform the curse/hex would first flow through yourself. The others say that it is impossible to use magic in that way. What are your thoughts?
It never fails… spend enough time browsing around any sort of Witchcraft related book, site, forum, etc… and eventually you will come across comments that describe magic in terms of color. While there are a variety of shades that might come to mind, the most commonly seen tend to relate to “black” and “white” magic – which of course (more often than not), leads one into the “dark” vs. “light” conversations as well.
While labels are sometimes useful – in that they can help us to understand an idea or concept at a glance; the converse is, that one word rarely conveys everything, which then leads to misinformation or misunderstanding. In this case, the truth is that assigning color to magic, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of exactly how magic works.
It probably shouldn’t be surprising that this happens, so many books out there are trying desperately to cater to the “rainbows and ponies” world vision when it comes to the Craft. So long as it’s presented with glitter and sparkles, then how could it possibly be wrong, or hurtful? After all, white/light is good, and black/dark is bad – right? Ehh… not so much, as both are genuinely necessary “forces” in the universe.
At its most basic, magic is simply manifesting a desired goal, or affecting a desired change through force of will. The fundamental lack of understanding that I mentioned above comes in, right about here – magic has almost entirely to do with the intent of the person casting it. This means that a spell which might typically be considered “white”, can absolutely be used to cause harm, while one that could be considered “black” can be used to heal. A good example of this is magic that can be used when working with someone who has cancer, in which banishment spells (considered “black magic” by many) are often used.
The point in all of this, is that magic is colorless, and if one is going to do magic (be it witchcraft, or any other form that one might choose), then it’s something that we all need to accept. Magic is what it is, and the only thing that really matters at the end of the day, is how we use it. And while there may be many people who will never cast a hex or curse in their life (or even consider the thought), the fact is that there may be times when one is justified, and in most cases there is nothing that prevents anyone from doing so, if they should choose to.
As to energetic issues resulting from cursing/hexing, there is always the potential for backlash (of a sort) if one doesn’t ground properly, but that is true of any magical working. In the same way that magic is colorless, when you are raising energy, it’s just “energy” – it hasn’t been shaped or focused to any particular purpose. When you do purpose it, it’s being directed into (or at) something/someone else, so even though the energy comes from you, or as a result of your actions, you are only the channel for that particular component, not the actual mixing bowl (so to speak). Sort of like baking – you gather up your ingredients, and mix them all in a separate container. So even if the milk comes from a jug, the jug doesn’t get dirty because you’ve poured just the milk you need into the bowl, and then sealed the jug back up to use next time.
Only real instance where such a thing could be plausible, would be if you ask deity/spirit/entities, etc… to work through you, or to use your body as a conduit of a sort – which potentially could leave “residue”. But it’s still more of a grounding/shielding issue, which typically isn’t lasting (unless you somehow manage to screw something up big time). Guess too though, it would depend to what degree (if any) someone holds to the Three-Fold Law, or similar concept. I could see where someone could find themselves regretting a curse/hex, and it probably causing them to feel like they were cursed instead (by the guilt).
Along with that though, if one does hold strongly to a concept like the TFL, (or something like the Eclectic interpretation of “an it harm none“) there could potentially be actual backlash if one verbally incorporates it as an oath in a working. If you always invoke some such as a part of your ritual language, for example, it will become a part of your magical practice that actually has impact. You would then have given this idea power to affect you through your own words and actions.
So… long story short, it really depends on the person, the Tradition/Path involved, and any number of other factors. It’s just not one of those things that is going to be the same for everyone, which is really somewhat typical of many things related to Witchcraft, and even Paganism in general.