“One hand to heal, one hand to hex. One heart, one mind to know what’s best.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about Aradia, lately. She has always been a potent figure of the personal empowerment of the witch, in my eyes, and features in the mythos of the Black Rose Witchcraft school; the daughter of the Witch Queen Diana and Lucifer, an avatar who came down to earth to teach humanity the art of witchcraft to the oppressed, and how to magically punish and torment their oppressors. Not exactly the peaceful “Goddess of the flowers and life force” sort of figure often portrayed in popular Witchcraft.
If it’s one thing that I’ve found myself thinking repeatedly in the aftermath of the travesty that was the US Presidential election, it’s that the art of cursing needs to make a serious comeback.
I’ve always been a fan of the righteous curse. The declaration of such on social media has actually cost me some friends (though that may be a strong word to describe someone whom I have never actually met). It’s happened too often for me to be surprised anymore: some well-meaning yet all-too-often sanctimonious practitioner takes it upon themselves to “school” me in the proper etiquette of witch practice and culture, which invariably translates to some form of the Threefold Law, much beloved of Wicca. (Don’t get me wrong… I love Wicca and I have no beef with the beliefs of those who practice it… it’s just when I’m told that now I have to adhere to their rules, that’s where I have a problem.) There are many different types of witches, and (shock! horror!) we don’t all believe or practice the same way. (Not by a long shot.)
While much of the modern Craft turns a morally superior nose up at the thought of working baneful magic, and would presumably prefer it be stricken from the historic record, it has always been part of the witches’ milieu to do such work. While the lightworker will send white light and love to the abuser or oppressor in the hopes that they reform, a witch might be more interested in the more immediate concerns of actually stopping the abuse and protecting from further harm. The tradition of the Craft into which I was trained and initiated itself has no judgement one way or the other on cursing. It is merely a fact of magical life. A tool to be used when needed. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There is always a price to pay. Part of that price for cursing, as with any magic, is to be subtly affected by it. If the practice is rarely engaged then this will likely cause no problem. But if throwing curses becomes a regular practice then it can begin to negatively affect the practitioner. I have seen people become increasingly dark and paranoid as a result of their regular cursing work. It is not to be done lightly. For this reason it is important to have a regular practice of spiritual cleansing.
This will not be everyone’s work. It is not normally my work. But these are not normal times.
In the figure of Aradia I draw inspiration. She is the spirit that will not be put down; she rises up to demand equality for all. She is a freedom fighter. Those witches who might be involved in political actions and protests might draw magical inspiration from her image as the champion of the oppressed who would teach her students how to manipulate and control their masters.
I call upon Aradia to inspire witches everywhere in these dark and troubling times. I call Aradia to the recount efforts going underway. I call Aradia to the black communities who are being targeted by a racist system and being disproportionately jailed and killed. I call Aradia to protect Muslims and refugees. I call Aradia to Flint, MI. I call Aradia to Standing Rock.
In our own ways we need to stand up. In whatever ways we can. Donate money to a cause. Donate time. Write letters. Make phone calls. Join marches. Cast spells. Vote.
We need to be the resistance.