Welcome to week two of the (Bi)Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. The phrasing of these questions were adjusted, if they were changed at all, for clarity. Feel free to ask any questions about witchcraft that you may have, and, if the question inspires you, respond in your own magickal journal. This question is another very common one that you will get asked after revealing that you’re a witch.
Question 2: Do witches cast spells? What sort of spells? Can they hurt people by casting spells? Is casting spells dangerous?
Yes, witches cast spells, but it would probably be more accurate to say that witches work with magick. Spells are of an almost infinite variety, but can truly be ‘for’ anything. Releasing negative energy, protection (both physical and non-physical), prosperity and abundance, love and self-love are some of the larger categories. However, it can be extremely specific: a spell to help you find your perfect home at the perfect price, a spell to make sure your baby is born safe and healthy, or a spell to ensure that a loved one recovers from a hospital stay are all spells that can be performed. There’s also weather magick, herbal magick, candle magick, and pretty much magick and witchcraft for every part of life including techno magick that uses technology. Other witches exclusively perform divination, so even though they don’t cast spells, they still work with magick.
In general, there are two major categories of spells: passive and active. An active spell is one that a witch is performing to do something in the moment. The spell is cast by the witch and the energy is released then and there. These spells are usually done in a circle and takes a lot of energy from the witch. A passive spell is one that works over time, such as a charm bag, crystal grid, or a spell jar. The item that it imbued with magick will release it continually, though more energy may have to be given to it, depending on what it is. What a witch works with it completely up to them; for example, the vast majority of my spells are passive ones.
On the topic of harmful spells and danger, yes, witches and can cast spells to literally hurt people’s physical bodies, lives, emotions, and so on. Yes, absolutely. Do they? Generally, no. Can they? Yes. Will they? Maybe. It’s up to the witch and their personal ethics system. Think about where witches come from, though, the medicine men and conjure women, the cunning folk of the village. These people were healers, and that is our tradition.
Can spell casting be dangerous to the witch? Absolutely. It can be dangerous in the literal sense that some of the herbs witches work with are poisonous, and you can accidentally burn your house down with a out-of-control cauldron fire. It can be dangerous in the sense that spells can backfire, be returned, or you can get smacked down by the Universe (if you believe in it). There’s the issue of karma, which many witches believe in, and the three-fold law, which Wiccans follow.
Most witches do not cast spells that are truly harmful; it takes a pretty powerful witch to do this, and if you’re that far into your learning, you’re also probably not petty enough to want to harm people. The witch Z Budapest is famous for helping women hex their rapists, but rapists kind of deserve to be hexed, don’t you think?
Instead of hexing, many witches will perform a spell to return the negativity to the offending party, possibly amplifying it, or a spell to help justice be served. Witches may want someone to pay for what they’ve done, but most are okay with the Universe, or whatever they personally believe in, handling the details. Like someone pointing out “You missed a spot!” when you’re cleaning, so that nasty people don’t get away with things. Some witches, on the other hand, are 100% completely and totally against this type of magick in any and all circumstances.
Still, though, I wouldn’t piss off a witch.
For your magickal journal: What types of spells do you feel comfortable casting? Do you prefer passive or active spells? Have you ever had a spell fail or backfire, and, if so, what happened?
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