Hexes and Curses

Searching the Internet for information on hexes and curses brings a wide variety of websites. There are some with loads of information, but that information is misinformation all the way from what they are to who can perform them. There are quite a few claims like, “Help! I’ve been cursed!” and “My neighbor said he was going to hex me, NOW WHAT?!?” There appear to even be a lot of pages listed on Google which are dedicated to helping people remove these things that they do not know anything about.

Hexes and curses are often confused for the same or a similar thing, but they are not.  In fact, I found in my research that most people, including the dictionary, really do not have a clue what either of them are. According to dictionary.com, a hex has three meanings: “to practice witchcraft on someone”; “to perform a spell or charm”; and “a witch.” The same dictionary defines a curse in part as “an expression of a wish that misfortune, evil, doom, etc., befall a person, group, etc.” According to the dictionary, it is also “a formula or charm intended to cause misfortune to another”; “the act of reciting such a formula”; “an evil that has been invoked upon one”; “to wish or invoke evil, calamity, injury, or destruction upon”; and “to afflict with great evil.” Wow. Some scholars believe that the “hex” is the action, and the “curse” is the result of that action. For example, John Doe hexed Jane Doe, now Jane is cursed. No wonder there is so much confusion if even the dictionary and scholars do not understand these words.

So what are they? Well, a hex is generally something that alters another’s path, whether it be a spell or a binding.  A hex is often thought of to be the placement of an evil or dark spell over someone, but that is not always the case.  Although someone hexing another may have an evil intent, hexing does not always involve evil – it may just be a spell done on someone else in order to protect someone or something. Examples of a hex might be changing someone’s intent so they stop trespassing and tearing up your garden or making someone release a kidnapped child unharmed. Both of these are changing the path of someone else’s life without their permission, but neither are done to bring evil or harm to the other person, just protection to the garden (and potential food source?) and the child. The word hex came from the Pennsylvania Dutch/German word “hexen” which was a general word meaning “to practice sorcery” and was later interpreted merely as “to practice witchcraft.”

A hex is sometimes confused for a curse, but a curse is far more serious. Curses are often done to bring ill fortune, difficulty, bad luck, or tragedy to another and may have long-term repercussions. Curses are sometimes created from anger and hatred, and they may live on for generations. Examples of curses might be taking away one’s free-will such that they live in a trance for the rest of their lives, and bringing death to another is considered the ultimate curse.

When it comes to hexes and curses, there are three general types of witches: those who try to live only in the light and refuse to touch hexes or curses, those who live in the darkness and throw hexes and curses around for fun, and those who take them serious and only cast a hex or a curse when absolutely required. Those who live in the light refuse to do anything with hexes or curses. They may cite one of several reasons why, including that it is against the Wiccan Rede, it’s forbidden by the Ardanes, the Threefold Law, and other reasons like that Witches just don’t do them. The Wiccan Rede does not actually address hexes and curses specifically. It does indicate that you can do what you wish so long as you harm none; however, it does not address circumstances where you are acting out of need rather than desire.  Further, the Wiccan Rede is just a recommendation to live by (rather than a commandment for all Wiccans), and it is not followed by all Wiccans. Some also claim that the Ardanes forbid harmful magic which, while true, the Ardanes is considered Old Law. It is equivalent to the Christian’s Old Testament, and it is incredibly outdated and is not entirely applicable to modern times (ignoring the argument of whether it was applicable and followed even at the time it was created). Not all Wiccans today follow the Ardanes. The argument that Wiccans just don’t is also not a good idea because plenty of Wiccans have and still do. Even Gerald Gardner’s student Doreen Valiente worked darker magic and wrote about it. Some will not just because they are not comfortable with it or because they have concerns about the return.  To each their own, but some things might require more or different magick than basic “harm none” white magick. This is not to say everyone should go the extreme of performing hexes and curses for the fun of it. The Threefold Law still certainly applies. This provides that whatever magick you put into the universe will come back to you threefold, and those who do jump into hexes and curses regularly and use their magick to harm others do have to pay heavy costs for their magick.

What about that third group of people who would perform hexes and curses if they had to? For those people, hexes are only performed after all other attempts, both mundane and magickal have been performed, but there is still a need for action.  A curse would only be performed if the hexes did not work, and it was absolutely necessary. What could create such a need that someone would subject themselves to the Threefold Law in order to affect someone else’s path? This is certainly not a conclusive list, but here are some things to consider. Taking a chapter out of my book, what if your child has been kidnapped and is in potential danger? Would you consider hexing or even cursing the kidnapper for the return of your child if nothing else worked? Another example would be if someone has hexed or cursed you and is making you very ill – it might be appropriate after other measures to attempt hexing or cursing for your own health and well-being. Once that point is reached though and it is determined that a hex or a curse is required, it still should not be taken lightly. It should be carefully thought, and the hex or curse should only be what is necessary, and never out of anger, spite, or greed. In the first example of a child being kidnapped, you might not want to jump to cursing the kidnapper to death, even if you hate him and feel like it. Why not? Well, what if the kidnapper dies in a car wreck while driving with your child in the car? This is not logical or direct means to your goal.

In talking with others I associate with regularly, they were mostly in agreement regarding the idea of hexing and cursing. Most take the subject lightly, and most only use them if necessary for protection of someone or something, although one person said he has no problem affecting or speeding someone’s karma.  He also understands there is a price and will happily pay it. On the same subject another said she has to think REALLY hard before doing such a thing and whether or not the price will be worth it. In sum, there may be certain situations in which hexes or curses might be required, although they should always be used carefully and only as a last resort and only when one is willing to pay the price.


The Celtic Connection The Wiccan Rede Unknown https://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/rede.htm

Dictionary.com Unabridged Hex Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hex

Dictionary.com Unabridged Curse Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/curse

DifferenceBetween.net Difference Between Hex and Curse Emelda M. http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-hex-and-curse

Interview with Gaelen, Mesquite, Texas, July 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm, Email and phone number withheld but available upon request

Interview with Q’est, Mesquite, Texas, July 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm, Email and phone number withheld but available upon request

Interview with Rose, Mesquite, Texas, July 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm, Email and phone number withheld but available upon request

Ken Page Curses, Spells, and Hexes Ken Page and Nancy Hester http://www.kenpage.com/articles/curses_spells.html

The Pagan’s Path Hexes and Curses Unknown https://www.paganspath.com/magik/hex.htm

Storm Faerywolf Beyond Toil And Trouble: On the Ethics and Practice of Hexing in Modern Witchcraft Storm Faerywolf http://faerywolf.com/beyond-toil-and-trouble/

Wicca For the Rest of Us Hexes, Curses, and Baneful Magic Catherine Noble Beyer http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/curse.shtml

Witch Path Forward What is the difference between a curse and a hex? Unknown http://www.witchpathforward.com/ask-a-witch—questions-and-articles/what-is-the-difference-between-a-curse-and-a-hex

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