This weekend, I needed to plan a dark Moon ritual and I turned, as I often do for inspiration, to Judika Illes' Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells. I don't know that I've ever actually done one of the spells in Illes' book, mostly because (Bad Witch!) I'm usually lacking some important ingredient such as High John the Conqueror's (not that my garden isn't full of bindweed, but I'm always trying to get rid of it, not preserve it for magic) root, or Abra-Melin Oil (which I'd make, except that I lack galangal and myrrh), or kyphi. But I always come away with a ritual in mind after spending a few hours with Illes.
Just now, when my friend NTodd is talking about what we all CAN do to change things and when so many of us are feeling as if some things just never seem to change, and while I am contemplating a ritual with some new witches with whom I've never before done magic of this sort, I was struck by something Illes said:
Why would anyone send a hex or a curse, anyway?
The first reason is the obvious: bad people do bad things. The destructive impulse can be extremely potent.
Other answers are more complex and ambiguous. In some cases, there may be an extremely fine line between a hex and a justice spell. We're very quick to jump to conclusions these days and automatically brand every hex-caster as evil; however, this perception may derive from the luxurious vantage of comfortable ties. People don't create or cast courtcase spells unless there's at least a remote possibility of legal justice. What if you exist in a time or place where you or your loved ones are at the mercy of others more powerful than you and there is no recourse, none, not at all, to justice? What do you do then? Hexes are not an uncommon response. Hexes may be cast as a desperate attempt to end persecution and abuse.
I don't know that I've ever hexed anyone, but I've definitely done plenty of magic that would worry a lot of 21st Century witches who were raised hard on the "Rule of Three" and the notion that you should never interfere with another's will. When it's some powerful man's will that women be denied access to abortion, just as an odd-for-example, I've got no problem interfering with that man's will. (He, as I used to say to my mother, started it. And used his access to power that I don't have.) And if I feel ok about moving on the "mundane" plane to make a political impact (writing my Senators a letter or showing up at a protest), I've got no problem doing magic to make those "mundane" actions more effective. YMMV and one of my few hard-and-fast-rules about magic is that no one should do any magic when she's uncomfortable with either the objective or the means.
When do you do justice spells? And where do you buy Jezebel Root?
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."