John Beckett recently put up a quick Facebook post that sparked some fun conversation. He said simply:
“Just had a scam call that left a voicemail, ‘this is the IRS. We have filed a lawsuit against you.’
Delete. Block number.”
The first comment was from someone who said to, “Delete. Block number. Hex the caller.”
I replied with concerns about that. The number belongs to the corporation, but where does the hex go? To the person that was just trying to do their job who put the robo-call together? To the manager who also was just trying to do their job by telling the person to put the call together? Or does it go to the CEO of the corporation?
The person who suggested the hex in the first place seemed to dismiss my concern, while another suggested it would just hex the machine. That made the conversation degrade into a bunch of silliness regarding demons in computers and banishing emails and talk of hacking the entire conversation thread.
The hex comment however is an excellent point to bring up something I have been trying to figure out my stance on for quite some time. When you cast a spell for, or even against someone or some thing, how do you know you aren’t causing ripples that will have unintended consequences?
My personal belief on this for the longest time was that Divinity had a way of making things work through you. So whatever you did was actually the will of fate, or divinity. But that didn’t account for free will, something that most magic users believe exists, and something that I was forced to concede when I finally started doing energy work again.
So if we do have free will, we have to take responsibility for our actions. But that means every bit of our actions, from what you wear to what makeup you buy to what you eat?
I realized that some do feel it goes that far when I was discussing doing a binding spell. I wanted to do one on a certain coworker who had been known for significant bullying tactics and had me in his sights. I was discussing the issue with a friend, a lineaged Peruvian Shaman. He was surprised that I was concerned at all, because in his mind I was changing the fates of thousands of people each day by working for a medical device manufacturer that makes equipment for life saving surgeries.
How can my little technical configuration position affect the lives of thousands of other people? I can see it, but I’m not directly working on the devices, nor am I in a position of making decisions as to what devices are made, how many, and how they are used by doctors.
So how far does the rabbit hole go on this? Should you consider all of the implications of the work you are about to do? What about at your job? Eating (or not eating) specific things? Or at that point do you just rest on your morals and do what you have to in order to make ends meet?
A final example to ponder – recently I was part of a discussion with a group of readers and clients at the local pagan store where I give readings. Two of the readers talked about a gentleman that came in for a reading from both of them at two different times, always wanting to know about how an ex was doing. Both readers got the feeling that the guy wanted to do harm to his ex. So one of the readers, a British Traditional Witch (BTW), decided to cast a spell while doing the reading to force the man to forget about the ex.
I personally was appalled. First, because I wouldn’t have handled it that way at all as a reader, but secondly I was appalled that he would force his will onto someone else, even if it meant to stop violence that may or may not happen. The witch did say that he knew it was a risk, and accepted the consequences of his actions, but at the time he felt that it was the best course of action for this particular individual. However, the entire issue was quite unsettling for me. I think because it continues to bring up the same questions I have over and over.
I realize now that there are times when you can plan your actions, use divination, and carefully word your spells so that they do what they were intended to do. However, intentions can backfire very quickly, even with the best divinatory tools. So in those cases, do you just accept your losses, or is the magic let loose on the land, free to spread from person to person through the results of situations started by the initial intent of the spell? Is it like money, which changes hands from one person to another for one intent, but the receiver then sends on, either through good or bad deeds, because he now had the money to spend?
If anything, the conversation on Mr. Beckett’s Facebook timeline just tells me that I am on to something. Personally, I know I haven’t figured out my ‘black and white’ truth to this issue. But I do think there is something else to this now. Perhaps this needs to be brought up again for discussion as an issue in the pagan community today. Perhaps in our day and age of throwing insults, watching our presidential candidates making derogatory comments about each other, and seeing how much people in the pagan community classify and judge others, perhaps we have forgotten that our actions and words carry just as much energy as a spell. And that energy and can heal, or it can hurt. And that perhaps that word that you say could be just as damaging to the world as a misplaced hex.
Photo by deviant art.