dedicate this collection to the cause against the white-washing of witchcraft. It is only in the past few decades that some have tried to reclaim the title of witch to mean a loving, goddess worshipping, tree hugging, non-Christian. I do not view this as a service to witches. Despite the efforts of many this definition is only accepted by a portion of the Neopagan community. The rest of the world still sees witches as dark, mysterious, frightening, alluring, and yes, associated with black magic. The dark definition of Witch stretches so far back into the depths of time that it cannot be unmade. We need to accept this part of what we are or our witchcraft cannot move forward.
Despite the popularity of darker forms of sorcery today, cursing is still taboo to talk about and can result in heated arguments even among friends. There are many who would never curse even when put in unbearable situations, there are those who would only curse defensively to protect themselves or loved ones, there are the ones who are all talk about how dark and scary they are but who have never cursed, and then there are some who would curse you just for looking at them sideways (and you hesitate to wonder what they do to those who have actually wronged them).
Each curse has been collected from a different person and is unique. The purpose of this collection is not to glorify cursing, but to show the many varied reasons why witches curse and the many different ways we put our curses into action. Some curses are almost funny, some are directed towards coworkers, some towards fellow Pagans, some are to gain lawful justice, and others are at a level that may disturb you. My intention and the intention of those who have participated is not to upset the reader, but to educate them. Whether you judge the authors of the curse stories or not is your own business; perhaps instead you will find yourself losing your prejudice against those who curse. This is simply a curated non-fiction exhibit showing a reality of the witchcraft people are actually practicing today. It is my sincere hope that it will help to foster intelligent discussion about curses and get you, the reader, really thinking about the black, the white, and the grey of magical ethics.
The Corporate Curse
She had lied about me, demoted me without cause, passed off my work as her own, called me into her office to berate me with no rhyme or reason, and would stop at my cubicle for the sole desire to insult me. For four hellish months belittling abuse was heaped upon me from my new boss. Her last act of cruelty was to fire me. My first was to curse her.
I remember mulling through the curse options. She and her daughter had a strained relationship. Romance had died in her marriage. She was a cancer survivor. She was prone to infection as a result. I could have killed her. But death is too easy. There are worse things in the world than death. Besides, she would miss the opportunity to feel the same scourge of indignity and insults she had gifted to me. Better to curse her with living through all that I had endured for the four months I was under her thumb, and the indignity of seeing her career reverse to the same point I had been when I was hired by the company. I was going to turn a Vice President of Marketing into a Marketing Manager. And I did.
I talked with the egregore of the company I’d worked for five years and it agreed to help me. The company was known for high turnover and I had been there the longest. Then I invoked my Gods. I had already conversed with them about the curse and what I wanted to do. My matron, the Morrigan, assisted too. By the end of the first month her team had quit. By the end of the second, news of her heinous treatment of other employees and who really was doing the work made the rounds at the company and she was barred from hiring replacement employees. Because of Silicon Valley politics, because the CEO had fought the Board of Directors to hire her, he couldn’t fire or demote her in title, but he could in responsibilities. And he did demote her responsibilities: down to marketing manager. The curse is still in effect. I received a call last month from a friend who works there that she has now been barred from travelling for work.
The curse can be a force for justice. I meted justice as I thought fit. I do not regret cursing her. I never will.
— The Fox
A Twisting of Tongues
Sometimes circumstances need to change, and the change needs to be sped along. In this case, there were two people in positions of power at work who had carried out a great deal of emotional abuse and manipulation against the teams they managed. They clung to their power while acting against the best interest of the organization and those it was meant to serve. For the betterment of everyone and everything they touched, they had to go.
Easier said than done. A great deal of effort and time was invested in knowing the organization’s structure and policies like the back of one’s hand, being professional and impeccable with words, and addressing the problem in a less… esoteric capacity. This is most of the work. I would liken it to this: You tee up the ball, you wind up the swing, you work the bat, you connect with the ball, you aim it just right. The curse is just what you use to make sure the wind is just right so that you knock it out of the park (or open a portal in the sky to send the ball straight to Hades).
Changing the winds, in this case, meant using some otherworldly will to help these two individuals incriminate themselves regarding their indefensible deeds. To inspire in them extreme guilt, bad luck, and nightmares. To make their perception of the situation so twisted in their heads that they betray themselves and suffer a just consequence.
In practical terms, it meant gathering two cow tongues, naming them for each of the two people, and storing a photo of the person inside. Fill the tongues with herbs meant to confuse and twist and sour words. Add a number of other curse trappings and then twist the tongue itself (holding it in place with barbs, nails, and wire on a board). With a magnifying glass, the tongues were burned with sunlight so that they would likewise find themselves burned by the truth. The burn ended up looking like a Hagalaz rune, which was likely no coincidence. The tongues were buried just outside their office.
The home run looked like this: the worst of the two was summarily fired, and the other was given a huge demotion and pay cut, and was not allowed to manage anyone. A few months after, the area where the tongues were buried was turned into a children’s playground. Who knows if they were dug up or if they remain.
If there is any advice to glean from this story, it is this: If you are going to dig a hole, make sure it is sufficiently deep. Also cow tongues are huge and unwieldy, try something smaller.
— The Shape-shifter
Two people in my Pagan community were making my life a living hell and I wasn’t the only one. I was getting pretty tired of it and decided to do something about it magically. I took a photo of them and went for a walk in my favourite park. It is wild and beautiful and I used to go there all the time. I went to an outhouse in the park, crumpled up the photo and threw it down into the toilet. Then I sat down and had a good long shit, concentrating on my intent to turn their lives to shit. Every time I went for a walk in the park I’d stop by the same outhouse and drop a present to keep the curse renewed. I never saw or heard from them again shortly after that.
— The Musician
The Litter Box
Someone was stealing my hard work and trying to pass it off as their own. I tried to deal with the situation though adult communication, but the person refused to play along. I took the legal action I could, but it only went so far. Their actions didn’t justify anything particularly nasty, so I called my mentor for advice and as a fellow cat owner they gave me a perfect suggestion. I wrote down the person’s full name (I had no photo or personal concerns to work with) and put it in my cat’s litter box for a whole week without cleaning it. The person lost all their credibility and I didn’t have an issue with them again.
— The Slightly Pissed Off Witch
“He raped her. He raped her, and so I cursed him.
I would go to his place of employment, stand across from his place of working, and hurl all my intent of hatred into him through my gaze. ‘Rapist.’ I would whisper, ‘All shall know you for what you are.’
I took dirt from his place of employment, from the place where he had stepped. I fashioned a doll from wax drippings and squeezed from him his life. I wrenched away his job. I banished him from my sight. From her sight. “Rapist.” I hissed into his ear, ‘All shall know you for what you are.’
He lost his job. He grew fat, and pale. His hair became filthy. His skin caked with grease. Then he was gone. And I have not seen him since.”
— The Voice
The Child Molester
I feel as though the demons that modern witches fight can be all too real compared to the old wood cuts. Some of the best people are too trusting. A friend of my partner and my coven-mate became romantically involved. There was a lot of unrest in their relationship–he was an alcoholic, he seemed cold at times and hit on other women online–single moms like my friend. But my friend wanted to help him heal.
None of us saw how cold he really was to the core. We felt something off, but perhaps in our naivety having never met real evil we didn’t see it. This man molested her children for a year. Eventually her children found the words to tell her what he did to them and she immediately called the police. Officers came and took evidence, but the man heard her call the police and escaped.
The following hours, days, weeks, months and year my coven and I cast a number of curses and called upon a goddess of war and sovereignty. Firstly I called on my familiar spirit to locate him. It assisted us well and we soon learnt that a family member of his put him in a local motel. Then we cursed for him to be arrested. His family member who we thought was helping him was actually plotting on our behalf and brought him into the police.
More curses were cast and the lab found solid DNA evidence on the child’s bedclothes. Yet another curse allowed me to be there as my friend’s child testified and I was able to tell the prosecutor when the defense had confused the little kid by not using a last name for a witness. The whole case could have been destroyed had I not done the magic to get out of work because there were two people with that first name who played different roles in the events.
And finally, the sentencing, another of many rituals calling upon a dark goddess of justice and protection of children. The child molester is in prison and will be for a long time well after our coven children as well as the man’s own children are grown. Cursing in our coven gave us and the children we protect power to witness in court, paved the clearest route for justice, and avenues to repair and build after evil’s aftermath.
— The Mandrake Witch
I was a land-tied witch. I took care of it and it took care of me. It was my business to mediate between the spirits and the humans who shared the land. When I learned two young men had gone missing and then turned up murdered in my territory, I wasn’t about to sit on my hands and do nothing. The police investigations went nowhere, there wasn’t enough evidence for them to go on. One body had not been found, but I performed a divination and talked to my spirits and they confirmed he was dead. The other body had been burned before it was buried, unearthed by a stream flooding in the spring. I talked to the spirit of the young burned man. He was angry and he wanted revenge. I collected the dirt from his grave site in the forest and told him to imbue it with his rage and desire for vengeance. I told him I would use it to do a working to get him and the other boy justice. I soothed him with a cigarette and some whiskey. After he calmed I sent him on his way to the other side and undid his ties to the land that were keeping him there. I burned a purification incense and Old Man showed up. I knew what I was doing was right.
I returned home and kept my promise. I printed out photos of the young men. I folded them, tied them with red string, and placed each one under its own seven-day candle. I tied two justice cards from tarot decks to the candles. Around the candles I sprinkled a homemade cursing dust of the grave site dirt, wasp nest, hot peppers, black pepper, and snail shells. Inside the ring of dust I placed a chicken heart stabbed with eight blackthorns. I invoked Old Man and I invoked justice. I asked that the killers of these young men would be brought to justice by the legal system, and if that wasn’t possible, that vengeance would be satisfied instead (no matter how). I anointed the candles and consecrated them to their purpose. I lit them. “In the Devil’s name I light this flame.” I burned those candles every day for the full seven days until they burned out. They burned hot, steady, and true all the way down. I buried the remains of the spell.
The land felt much lighter after that and the restless spirits had gone. I do not know the results of my working other than it made the family of one of the boys feel better. There was nothing in the news from the police. I only know that I felt compelled to do what was in my power to do for the young men as they could no longer speak for themselves.
— The Steward
Under the Influence
In the early 90s my friend’s brother had broken into his place and stolen $10,000 worth of his property. We were in a Thelemic order together and were having a party that night for a friend’s birthday. They told him I was the one to help him out with a curse. I came over with hash, pot, cocaine, heroine, and a cocoa leaf liqueur and got right down to business and asked him what the situation was. I told him as long as he was one hundred percent certain it was a justified action, I would curse his brother. He promised that he knew it was his brother and I discussed what we could do. I asked him what his brother’s favourite drug was and his answer was heroine. I wanted to use his drug of choice to make a direct connection to him by being under the same influence. The group of us from the order set up circle, smoked the heroine I brought, invoked vengeful spirits, read from the third chapter of Crowley’s Book of the Law, and I incited the conjuration of destruction from The Satanic Bible.
We closed the circle and went back to the party, drank and chatted, forgetting the curse. Within an hour the phone rang. It was his brother. He had been driving in a car with friends high on heroine at the same time we were performing the curse. They had bought the drugs with the stolen money. The car crashed and was completely totalled, beyond saving, and the brother was the only one who had suffered any injuries –multiple broken bones and fractures. My friend told his brother he knew it was him who had stolen from him and to return the property or else things would get even worse. The brother freaked out, cried, and apologized over and over. My friends all stared at me with a “holy fuck” look.
— The Frater
Someone was creating issues like crazy in my local Pagan community and it kept escalating. They were hurting people and themselves and it got to the point I just wanted to get rid of the person but couldn’t do it physically and didn’t want it to be tied back to me. I thought for a while on how I could deal with it and was reading a book and happened upon a page on poppets. The instructions for baptising a poppet with a person’s name and then doing with it what you will jumped out at me.
I didn’t want to make a poppet and at the same time realized I had to feed my black snake… suddenly it came to me and I knew what I was going to do. During a dark moon on a Tuesday night I took a live pinkie (a newborn mouse), tiny and wriggling in my hand, cast a proper circle, exorcised it with salt, and baptized the pinkie with the offending person’s name. I spoke to it of its crimes and told it why I was doing what I was doing.
I put it down on the floor with the snake inside the circle. As the snake was seeking out the tiny mouse I said: “May your eyes go blind, may you loose your ability to breathe, may you feel fear and panic like you never have before, may all your lies and tricks turn against you as long as you live. You are dead to me now.” And that was when the snake took the pinkie, suffocated it, crushed it, and swallowed it whole.
The person’s life fell apart to the point they left the coven we were in together and disappeared from the community completely, falling deep into drug use.
— The Serpent
This curse really starts with one of the shamanism students that I used to teach. He was in his early twenties and very interested in spirituality. While at a sweat lodge one day, he prayed to be powerful. Asking for power is a terrible thing to ask for, the power given is rarely yours to keep and can often destroy your life. He found this out the hard way.
He called me up, and told me a terrifying story. He had been out in the woods behind the little cabin that he lived in, and suddenly his vision shifted, it felt like he could see hundreds of miles in each direction and could see the energy of the land, the energy of the spirits. His sight focused on a tall, ancient man with moss in his beard and wearing bark clothes. They locked eyes and the shamanism student was filled with terror. Then the vision was over. He went into his cabin, shaken to his core. Within a day or two, he noticed that it felt like someone else was also in the cabin with him. The presence and energy felt just like the old man he saw in the woods. He avoided his own cabin, and his cat which also lived in the cabin was very uneasy and irritable.
“I don’t know what to do, I must have invited the spirit in by asking for power.” He said.
“Well I’ll come over and see if I can ask the spirit to leave.” I offered.
“That sounds great, when can you come over?”
So I went to his cabin, out in the woods. Even walking down the path I felt the intense gaze of this old forest man, glowering, demanding. Many spirits I can take on in a fight, I can trick them or limit them some way. Some spirits are too large, too powerful to do that. This ancient spirit was too much for me to take on. The only chance to was to use diplomacy. The young man told his story again, going over it in greater detail, and sat down in the cabin.
I went into a trance, and the presence of the ancient man was overwhelming.
“Grandfather (I used this as a term of respect), what do you want from this young man? This is his home, and he is impacted by your presence.” I said to the spirit.
“He asked for power, and I’m here to show him power, and to take it away.” The old man’s voice was old, yet strong, rasping but clear. I trembled a bit to hear it.
“Please forgive him, I know he asked for a foolish thing, I know it is your role to take away the lives of those who seek power. Please, I beg on his behalf.” I pleaded, there was really nothing more I could do in the presence of this powerful spirit.
“Who’s soul will you give me in trade?” The old man’s dark eyes sparked in folds of brown, wrinkled skin.
It fell into place, I had the perfect solution to this.
“I will give you the soul of someone else, but not right now. Tonight. But, you have to swear to not follow this man, not impact his life negatively, and to not tell other spirits that he wished for power.”
The old man nodded, and the deal was made.
I came out of the trance. I told the young man that he shouldn’t have any problems with the old forest man again, but that he should try to move out as soon as possible. He told me he was already looking for a new place to live. A week after he moved out.
That night, in the comfort of my own home I went into a trance again. From the trance state I entered the spirit world and walked into the woods. The old man was waiting. We walked over hills, over streams, and to the door of a house.
“I can not go through the door unless I am invited.” The old man said, annoyed.
“I know. I have permission to be here, and I invite you.” I opened the door, and said “Please come in.” and the old man followed.
We walked through the mud room, past the dining area, through the living room, and into the master bedroom. Two people slept in the bed. I brought the old man up beside the bed, where a man was sleeping.
“This man you can claim, his house you can claim, his soul you can claim, his life you can claim. I give you permission.” I announced to the old man of the forest.
The old man grew in presence, leaning over the resting form of the man. Then he drew back.
“This one, his blood smells like you.” The old man stated, somewhat shocked.
“Yeah, that’s my dad. He’s yours now.” I replied, matter of factly.
The old man of the woods just stared at me for a moment.
“I am serious, he is yours. He is a pedophile, he preys upon children, he pins them down and rapes them. Just because he is related to me does not make him sacred to me.” My words were sharp now, and with anger behind them. The old man of the woods softened a bit, and nodded.
“Thank you so much for accepting this trade.” I bowed to him, and left the house before returning to my body, and coming out of the trance.
I do not know what has happened to my dad since then, I have not talked to him in years for obvious reasons. I have heard that he doesn’t look well from a distance. However, the power of the spirit, the old man of the woods, I have trust in that. It was a good trade, and I have no regrets in my dealings.
— The Green Shaman