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Differences Between Curses, Hexes and Other Malefica

Ang3l

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Then there's the passive-aggressive uncrossing, lol. That one's always fun to see unfold onto an asshole's life.
Or to reflect the evil bad or use psalms. Frater Xavier (Mind&Magick on youtube) has a program in which you use the psalms and he mentions that you can hurt enemies with them without it being considered black magic(k).
 

Lyssia

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Then there's the passive-aggressive uncrossing, lol. That one's always fun to see unfold onto an asshole's life.
How do you go about that? I've always seen uncrossing as referring to getting rid of hexes. I can understand the basic idea - sort of like using a "blessing" of creativity on someone already overworked and over-extended - but how do you do it with uncrossing?
 

Scottish_Pride

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How do you go about that? I've always seen uncrossing as referring to getting rid of hexes. I can understand the basic idea - sort of like using a "blessing" of creativity on someone already overworked and over-extended - but how do you do it with uncrossing?
So first off, it's because a properly done uncrossing gets rid of much more than hexes. It'd take a bit of an essay to explain what a "crossed" condition is, but here's what happens in a nutshell. Everything in your life that is blocking or stifling your path, both good things and bad things, gets taken out. Doesn't matter if you're happily married or in an abusive relationship, if it's holding you back then it will get eliminated. Anything you're currently doing/dealing with that's healthy or your fault, will get resolved, and your shit will get aired out in front of you. All your chickens start coming home to roost at once. Baggage will be dealt with, whether you like it or not. Even for those who cross all their i's and dot all their t's, things can and will get messy. So as you can imagine, the kind of folks who fuck others over without a second thought, will have a looooot of possible ways their life can get turned on its head as a result. This means that while technically uncrossing is supposed to be beneficial to somebody in the long run, they certainly are not gonna like it in the short term. Especially to assholes. :)
 

Lyssia

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Oh, that is awesome. And very, very helpful.

Seriously, between uncrossing and the right "blessings", I can't imagine much needing curses or hexes too often.
 

Alfher

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Some folks need to learn how to use the phrase “this is my UPG,” and stop speaking with the implication that their personal experience is objective fact. It would make discussions like this much easier and much more useful.

A good place to look to determine the difference between a Hex and a Curse is etymology.

The word “hex” was first recorded being used in 1830 American English, by Pennsylvania Dutch / German practitioners of Traditional Witchcraft (the lore and praxis of which is well worth studying, they had their own rune spells and grimoire systems and all kinds of neat stuff). It effectively means “to practice witchcraft,” and has been used to refer to being a witch or sorcerer in general. The noun use of Hex was recorded in 1909, and means “magic spell.”

In other words, a Hex is any magic spell, regardless of intent or outcome, and also refers to the caster themselves. The secondary of Hex comes simply from the fact that most people in the 19th and 20th centuries viewed all forms of spell casting and witchcraft as inherently malicious and evil, so to everyone outside the Pennsylvania Dutch lineages of witchcraft hexes were always bad, and to the witches themselves it was just their word for “spell.”

Sources:

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Curse, by comparison, is a more mysterious but concrete word that comes from the late Old English word Curs, and refers quite specifically to a “prayer” that evil or harm befall someone.

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So.

A hex is any type of spell cast upon someone by a witch or sorcerer, and a curse is more specifically a spell that is cast with clear intent to harm the target.

As for me, and my own praxis and UPG regarding the general topic, I’ve learned to stop thinking in small patterns of spellcraft like this and to start thinking in broader patterns of Magical Warfare. This way, it is not the individual spell that matters, but the strategy and tactics of conflict in general - how the spellcraft is used - that actually matters.

For example, one of the principles in The Art of War by Sun Tzu is to use the terrain to your advantage.

A malefic spell from Norse Tradition that applies this principle perfectly is the Nidstang Curse. The Nidstang is a curse that is not merely aimed at a specific person, but rather, it curses the land the person lives upon and riles up all of the local spirits who reside there. After being informed that the target of your ill intent is the reason you have cursed the land, the local spirits will do everything in their power to make the targets life a living hell, until they have no choice but to flee to a distant land or perish. Egil used this curse in Egil’s Saga, chapter 60, and there’s all kinds of odd and occasionally interesting discourse about it among academics and practitioners alike.

Another common, general type of magic is to influence a persons mind and emotions. Perhaps the most popular form this assault comes in is the common love spells that abound, which usually amount to little more than a magical method of rape. Things like the hotfoot spells that are meant to rile someone up and make them restless are also part of this. The honey jar spell as well. Quite a bit of spellcraft can fit neatly in the broader category of “influencing the targets mental and emotional state.”

And then there are things like Bindings, Uncrossing, Reversal, and more depending on the exact nature of a particular conflict or situation.

I care more about the type of action than individual tactic used to execute it. I can always craft a spell for a specific occasion, after all.

Most importantly to me and my praxis:

Whether or not a spell is malefic does not depend on the spell itself, but rather the intent of the user.

That’s a very “guns don’t kill people” statement, but it’s also the truth as I have experienced it quite consistently.

Binding someone from getting a promotion you are competing with is a malicious action, it’s not inherently more noble just because you’re not being more vicious with your curse. Refusing to “curse” someone, but rather bless everyone around them, is a malicious action because your end goal is still to see them suffer while everyone else prospers. Uncrossing someone because you’re angry at them is a malicious action. Doesn’t matter if they get on a better track and live a better life afterwards, if your goal is to watch their world burn down around them in the mean time.

Likewise, it is possible to use some rather ruthless spellcraft honorably and beneficially, such as in cases of neutralizing threats that have come upon you or your loved ones, or ruthlessly destroying a person or a system that is causing harm to your community. To be kind to your enemies is to be cruel to your loved ones.

The notion of inherently good or inherently malicious magic is a very….human notion. And a relatively recent one at that.

Your ethics, your character, and your honor are determined by your thoughts, your words, and your actions.

Nature doesn’t care if you think you’re the good guy, nor does it care for our habit of categorizing things in all the ways we do.
 

Lyssia

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Most importantly to me and my praxis:

Whether or not a spell is malefic does not depend on the spell itself, but rather the intent of the user.

That’s a very “guns don’t kill people” statement, but it’s also the truth as I have experienced it quite consistently.

Binding someone from getting a promotion you are competing with is a malicious action, it’s not inherently more noble just because you’re not being more vicious with your curse. Refusing to “curse” someone, but rather bless everyone around them, is a malicious action because your end goal is still to see them suffer while everyone else prospers. Uncrossing someone because you’re angry at them is a malicious action. Doesn’t matter if they get on a better track and live a better life afterwards, if your goal is to watch their world burn down around them in the mean time.

Likewise, it is possible to use some rather ruthless spellcraft honorably and beneficially, such as in cases of neutralizing threats that have come upon you or your loved ones, or ruthlessly destroying a person or a system that is causing harm to your community. To be kind to your enemies is to be cruel to your loved ones.

The notion of inherently good or inherently malicious magic is a very….human notion. And a relatively recent one at that.

Your ethics, your character, and your honor are determined by your thoughts, your words, and your actions.

(Cut for space)
I agree with the majority of what you've said, but I will say, in my experience, human motives are very rarely that simple. You speak of binding someone to get a promotion as malicious, but I've seen a lot of situations where it could be argued, with validity, that it was also an act of neutralizing a threat to yourself or a loved one, or to a community. I suspect anyone being truly honest with themselves would admit that, no matter how much they wanted to protect their community, the advantage to themselves was as strong a reason for doing whatever they did. Certainly anyone paying attention to current events knows that the fine line between anger at an injustice and the intention to change it can slip into the desire to see others suffer and the intention to take what you need for yourself in an instant. I do know, I can't think of any situation I've been in or could imagine when protecting my children wasn't accompanied by the kind of anger that would happily torture a person to a slow and lingering death. "I intend to protect my family" would be very true, and not merely the excuse for the malice, but the very reason for it.

Personally, it's my experience that putting too much emphasis on only acting honorably almost never actually produces more honorable people; it produces people who have a vested interest in lying to themselves about their intentions and motives, and who therefore do horrific things truly - and wrongly - believing that their intentions are pure and their reasons are right. Or else it produces people so distrustful of their basic human feelings and impulses that they carefully divorce them from action... which, again in my experiences, rarely produces ANY kind of change or even effective action, magickal or otherwise.

Interestingly, when I came across using blessings in malicious ways, it was in context with working with specific jinn and goetic demons. The idea was, jinn in particular (according to this author) didn't care about your intentions, so long as you stated the reason for for your request; it was easier and safer for you to work creatively within an existing relationship than to try to work with someone more traditionally associated with malicious actions if you didn't work with them regularly already and didn't intend to start.
 

Alfher

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As I said, nature doesn’t care what you think your motive is. It simply reacts to what you’re doing. All emotions are natural in that sense, and none of them are inherently good or evil. They simply are. They exist, and that’s enough.

It’s what you do with it that matters. You can do your Shadow Work and process everything in a healthy way, or you can live in an unhealthy way. But the ethics of that are not particularly complex.

Many (mostly western) humans lately have trouble understanding ethics and honor because many humans have trouble thinking in perspectives outside of their own. The paradigm of individualism prevents many from fully comprehending the paradigm of community.

Nature is a collective, as is the base nature of human society, and ones actual honor is determined by ones behavior within the collective. You either live in harmony or you don’t.

And, living in harmony certainly does mean understanding that what goes around comes around. It also means understanding that, sometimes, you are what has come around.
 

Lyssia

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Agreed. But in context of the start of the thread - namely, the difference between a curse and a hex - my point was simply that I don't feel that malice/lack of malice is black or white enough to make a distinction that's worthwhile. If a hex is any spell, and a curse is a spell with malice, and malice is determined by intention alone... then it seems to me, we're pretty much down to "spells are spells and people are people." Which is fine, as far as that goes, though I could simply be missing something.
 

Alfher

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Intent isn’t the sole factor, but it is a primary factor.

Even in mundane Law, killing someone is still a crime, but whether or not you intended to do so makes a big difference.

Likewise, self-defense is a very specific legal clause in most places.

These things are only convoluted if you make them so. Either you hurt someone or you don’t. Either you intended to do so or you didn’t. Either you celebrate their ruin or you make amends for your mistakes.

The ripple effects of action and reaction can indeed get quite messy, especially in the mess of emotional reactions, but the roots of a matter rarely are in my experience.

People simply like to obscure the roots and the morality of their actions and assume that they are right or that another person is wrong, or that they are wrong in the case of self-loathing, or that things are just too complicated to figure out so we just shouldn’t think about the problem too much… but all of that is just a delusion at the end of the day.

Because many people would rather be comfortable than ethical or self-reflective.
 

Lyssia

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These things are only convoluted if you make them so.
Seems to me that the vast amount of political, philosophical, theological, legal, and occult thought dedicated to these questions across thousands of years by every group and subsection of humans throughout history disagrees slightly with that conclusion. 😉

I understand what you are saying; I'm not following the jump you are making when you say this defines a curse. Are you saying that "curse", as compared to a "hex", is an ethical distinction, rather than a magickal one? You wrote above "a curse is more specifically a spell that is cast with clear intent to harm the target". "Harm the target for harm's sake", is perhaps closer to what you're describing?
 

Alfher

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Seems to me that the vast amount of political, philosophical, theological, legal, and occult thought dedicated to these questions across thousands of years by every group and subsection of humans throughout history disagrees slightly with that conclusion. 😉

Indeed. Countless fools have spent thousands of years working tirelessly to convolute the simple.

The current state of the world is a direct reflection of their efforts.

On the other side of the coin, the Mystics and Sages have likewise told people for thousands of years that simplicity is a vital key to prosperity and peace. Inner simplicity and inner peace especially

But, in every generation, restless minds prefer complex games and petty distractions over simple truths and mundane wisdom.

Are you saying that "curse", as compared to a "hex", is an ethical distinction, rather than a magickal one?

Yes. This is the definitive, textbook, exact difference between a hex and a curse.

A hex is a spell.

A curse is a spell intended to hurt someone.

That’s it.

It has nothing to do with technique, has nothing to do with this or that tradition, has nothing to do with religion or anything else.

You either hurt someone or you don’t.

The rest is all a matter of strategy and tactics, motive and method.
 

Lyssia

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Yes. This is the definitive, textbook, exact difference between a hex and a curse.

A hex is a spell.

A curse is a spell intended to hurt someone.

That’s it.

It has nothing to do with technique, has nothing to do with this or that tradition, has nothing to do with religion or anything else.

You either hurt someone or you don’t.

The rest is all a matter of strategy and tactics, motive and method.
Ok, fair enough. Legacy of a technical writer: I'm inclined to challenge any definition based on the subjective, rather than the objective. "Harm" is subjective, in the sense that it has to be experienced. As an ethical definition, rather than a magickal definition, that one's functional. In that definition, the recipients' experience, if I'm understanding you right, has absolutely nothing to do with whether something is a curse or not.

I would disagree with "curse" being only an ethical description, but that's not really the topic here, and I've hijacked this thread quite long enough. Thank you for the clarification, I appreciate the time you took to explain your ideas.

Edit: typos
 
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