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Good Witch v. Bad Witch: Magic Curious

"Dear Sisters:

I'm looking for some kind of help or guidance here. I always considered myself a Unitarian until recently when I started to question certain things in my life following a very bad relationship breakdown. Previously when I've been hurt badly, things have happened to the perpetrators, things I have not wished on them nor had control over, I always believed it was my late Mother helping me out. However having looked more into things and having tried 2 spells on the latest person to hurt me, they have both worked, to my amazement. How do I find out more and how do I go about seeing if this is the right path for me to follow?"

Arlene in Albany

Good Witch responds:

Sorry, dear, but your letter is making Good Witch take off her pink glitter hat and channel Dan Savage, who doesn’t mince words. Your letter reads to me like, “I’ve caused some bad things to happen, both accidentally and on purpose, to people who’ve hurt me. So, since I have a natural talent for hurting people, I think Witchcraft might be right for me. How do I find out more?” I hope that’s not what you mean, because it’s really offensive. Witches take ethics very, very seriously and most work actively to cause positive change, not harm. Despite the centuries of bad press Witches have had, Witches don’t own the rights to being bad. People of all religions—and no religion—cause harm. In reality, to be a Witch means to take responsibility and wield power respectfully, and frankly, if you’re going around hexing everyone who hurts your feelings, you’re not mature enough to be a Witch or do magic, simple as that.

However, if what you’re really trying to say is, “Wow, magic works, and it’s really cool, and I want to learn more about it!” that’s a better approach.

First off, it’s highly unlikely that you made bad things happen to people unintentionally. Cursing someone usually takes intent and focus. You have to really want it for it to work. If it were as easy as you’re describing, everyone you felt road rage about would end up in a ditch. So unless you have some abnormally strong telekinetic power and went all Carrie on the people who hurt you, chances are you didn’t cause whatever bad things happened to the people who you weren’t trying to hurt.

Second, if it’s the magic you’re interested in, you don’t need to become a Witch or Wiccan to learn magic. Many types of Witchcraft and Wicca practiced in the U.S. today are full spiritual traditions that include magic, but magic itself can be done independently of a religious framework. It generally requires you to believe in things that some consider spiritual, such as energy and spirits, but not that you adhere to a particular spiritual path. So if the magic is what really appeals to you, you can just study magic and spellwork and leave all the religious trappings aside.

However, if you’re looking for a religion or spiritual path that happens to include magic and can provide a framework for doing psychic work, Wicca is an option. You’re very lucky to be living during a time when there’s a staggering amount of information available on Wicca, and part of that whole “taking responsibility” thing is doing the work to sift through it and begin to unravel the threads to find what you’re looking for. Try Googling “beginning Wicca books” to find people’s recommendations for books to get you started. And there is, unfortunately, a lot of crap about Wicca on the web, but there’s plenty of good stuff, too. Here are some sites to get you started:

And last but not least, whether you pursue becoming a Witch or not, stop hexing people who hurt you! There are times when a hex might be warranted, but those are extreme circumstances. Find another way to handle your hurt feelings. If you’re going to hex everyone who pisses you off, you’re not ready, or frankly, worthy, to be a Witch. And no teacher of Witchcraft worth his or her salt will take on a student who will hex people on a whim. There’s enough nasty stuff going on in the world right now. If you have a knack for spellwork, use your power for good.

Good Witch

Bad Witch sez:

Well, well, well, Arlene in Albany. Where should I start with you, you clever Unitarian sorceress? Should I start with the arcane magical rule about personal responsibility? Or should we start with the old Greek adage “Know thyself”? Either way, someone needs to have a very long talk with you about your ethical sensibilities. Were you raised a Unitarian Universalist (which is what I suspect you mean by saying you used to consider yourself a “Unitarian”)? Did you learn any of the basics of right and wrong? But perhaps you don’t need that since invisible forces seem to act as your personal vigilante ninjas. Look, kid, I know magic looks like a lot of fun and hexing seems like a logical way of getting back at people who done you wrong. You do need to find out more and you need to find someone sensible to give you a good grounding in both religion and magic, because they aren’t the same thing. You would do well to do some inner work to determine why so many people seem to “hurt” you and why you feel such a desire to have revenge on them. While you’re doing that good work, figuring out who you are and what your path is will seem a whole lot clearer.

—Bad Witch

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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