Hello and welcome! Today is Thursday, October 21. First and foremost, I want to get it out of the way because there are only a couple more weeks to get your questions in for the Thanksgiving Q&A episode. If you would like to submit a question specifically for that episode, please message me on my podcast platform Anchor, on Instagram @middleagedwitch, on Facebook again @middleagedwitch, or just send me a good old fashioned email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always respond directly to every message I receive, so if you have a question that you do NOT want me to share on that episode, please send it in anyway and just mention that it’s a private question and I will happily respond privately. I’ll include my contact info in the show notes as well.
The moon is waning gibbous and I hope everyone got their full moon rituals done last night. If not, never fear, the full moon power will still be alive and kicking tonight, so maybe get those intentions working ASAP as we are set to move into mercury retrograde tomorrow. It can’t hurt to have a little extra sauce working for us as we go into retrograde for the next several weeks.
We also have Halloween coming up in 10 days, which as witches, of course this is our time to shine. I know it’s super stereotypical for witches to go nuts for Halloween but I don’t give a shit. It’s fun and I love it. The weather is gorgeous, the decorations are spooky, and the veil is thinning. Next week we will go more into what that means for us as we talk about ancestor work and Samhain, but it is also relevant to Halloween because of how much more active spirits are during this time.
Or, rather, it isn’t that they’re more active, it’s that because the veil between worlds is so thin, we are more likely to notice their activity. And this isn’t just the veil between our world and the spirit world that is so thin; the veils between all the portals are very thin right now, so expect more vivid dreams, more astral travel, more alien and cryptid sightings… It’s a very exciting time. In fact I was in the shower a couple days ago and saw a big ass shadow person cross the entryway between the master bathroom and the bedroom, and I just laughed to myself. Because of course. They’re always there around us, but during this time of year, we tend to be more aware of them.
So let’s open ourselves up to what the other realms are willing to show us for the next several weeks and see if there are some important messages that we don’t want to miss. It can be a little spooky, it can be a little unsettling sometimes, to recognize that the spirits are trying to communicate with us, or at least that we are a little more aware of them at this time.
So today, I wanted to lean into the stereotypes of witchcraft a little bit and talk about baneful magick. This is a term that has come to replace dark magick and black magick, and I prefer it. I don’t like at all the notion that magick is black or white, and I definitely don’t like the connotation that black or dark means bad. So just to clarify, when I’m talking about hexes, curses, banishing, jinxes, etc.
There are a lot of witches who do not do baneful magick, and I respect that. It is entirely one’s own decision what kind of magick they do and do not choose to perform. I know that a lot of witches follow the rule of three, which we spoke about I believe in the Magickal Misconceptions episode, and that a lot of witches are concerned about karma. So I get why witches can be hesitant to perform this kind of work. But this episode is for those of us who do. Or at least those of us who are interested in baneful work and want to know more.
I have said repeatedly that I don’t hex lightly and I don’t hex often, but I do hex. And this is true. And I think it’s important to note that just because we are willing to hex someone doesn’t mean we are necessarily willing to hex everyone. And by and large, as long as we keep powerful wards on ourselves, we kind of don’t need to hex too often.
I’m sure it’s happened to a lot of us that we find when someone is going out of their way to make our lives miserable, be it a hateful coworker or spiteful in-law, that somehow things seem to work out that the person who is working so hard against us ends up reaping what they’ve sown without us having to do much at all. I’m going to be deliberately vague here, but I personally have dealt with a couple individuals who seemed determined to make my life a living hell and although they did give me grief for a while, eventually their own lives completely fell apart without my intervention whatsoever.
I had a boss several years ago who was just awful to work for. And I’m talking sexual harassment, unreasonable demands, he was racist, he was a narcissist, he was dishonest, etc, etc. And I struggled for a long time with working for him, because I was very new in that field, and I didn’t have the resources or the connections to strike out on my own, and he had been doing that work for a long time and could very easily ruin my reputation and make it impossible to work in that field, at least in my town.
And to be very honest, I was making a lot of money working for him. So I just didn’t know what to do or where to go for help, especially because, although I was working for him and under him, I was technically an independent contractor. But it got to the point where I was losing sleep, I was having panic attacks, it was affecting my mental and physical health, and I just had to walk away. My husband and I agreed that, even if it meant I couldn’t work in that field anymore, which hurt a lot because it was not easy to get licensed to do that work, that it wasn’t worth the compromises I was having to make with my health, my dignity and my ethics.
So I wrote a resignation letter in which I detailed all the awful things he had done that contributed to my decision to leave, and I walked away and never looked back. I stayed friends with the other woman who was working for him at the time, and maybe a month later I learned that she quit on him too, that he had lost an enormous part of his business due to his own sloppy handling of it, and that his marriage was in trouble.
So that’s what I mean when I say that most of the time, witches don’t need to do anything. Shitty people tend to destroy themselves given time. But there are times when it would behoove a witch to intervene. And that’s what this episode is about. Just as with other kinds of magic, there are a lot of methods. Spell jars, vinegar jars, sigils, bindings, and on and on. So I’m not going to necessarily give step-by-step instructions about how to do curses here, because there are plenty of hexes and curses to be found in books and online, but I will give a little practical advice and some general tips.
First and foremost, and this is true if you are going to do any magic, but especially baneful magic, make damn sure your wards and protective charms are in place, good and solid, and thoroughly charged. You don’t know what kind of reverberations may come back on you, even if the object of your hex isn’t a witch, and even if you don’t believe in karma or the three fold rule, which I don’t. Sometimes, people just have the knack for sending back ill intentions even when they don’t use magick, and even if they don’t believe in magick.
So keep your amulets and talismans healthy, and even do a special charm to protect yourself for the specific hex you’re setting. If you’re unsure about protective magic, please refer to my previous episode, titled Protection Magic, for more information on that topic.
Next, be very specific about the hex or curse. And again, this is true of all spellwork. But if for example, you’re cursing someone to lose their hair, make sure that your curse is worded in such a way that they aren’t going to lose their hair from like, cancer, ok? Unless you really want this person to get cancer, in which case, holy shit, and also, you’ll still need to be specific in the words you choose to set the curse.
But by and large, magick works by taking the path of least resistance. So if you’re cursing someone so that they have relationship trouble, the simplest way for magick to do this might be for the person’s partner to become gravely ill, or even to straight up die. So when you’re writing your spell, word it very specifically. “I will Connor to break up with Jasmine forever” is specific. ‘I will Connor to leave Jasmine” is vague. Don’t leave room for the universe to interpret your words. Be clear in your intention.
Along that same line, set a timeline if it’s appropriate for the spell. If you want your bitchy coworker to leave your company, you can work the best, most powerful spell ever, but if you don’t set a timeline, you might be waiting for a while. It goes along with the path of least resistance again. Maybe your coworker will leave… in five years when she hits retirement age. So maybe when you’re writing your spell, set your intention to happen say, by the next full moon, or by the Lughansadh, or whatever. Be clear, be specific, and consider any potential mix-ups with your wording or with the outcome.
So with that all said, let’s talk just a little about what kinds of ingredients to put in your baneful spells! The typical things that come readily to mind are vinegar and lemon juice, sometimes people use pickle juice, thorns, rusty nails, pins, razor blades, barbed wire, basically any sharp bits of old rusty metal, cat shit is a popular one, literal poison, like rat poison or insect poison. I shouldn’t have to warn you to be VERY careful with these. Don’t go touching this stuff with your bare hands, and if you do use these things in your spell work, make sure that your container is glass and has a secure lid.
Now, be very careful about mixing noxious chemicals because you don’t want to accidentally gas yourself. Please take the utmost care about what you do with these items and where and how you dispose of them. We are trying to hex humans, not animals and/or the environment.
As far as herbs and plants to be used in curses and other baneful work, here is a not at all comprehensive list of some of the more commonly used herbs that are good for spell jars, spell bags, dressing candles, and whatever hexing method you prefer to use :
Cayenne pepper is great for causing anxiety and unease. It is a really good choice for making someone want to quit their job. Chili powder can be used to cause discord in relationships and struggles in general. Hemlock is another great plant for sowing discord too. Nightshade is a great plant for causing nightmares and restless sleep, so if you’re just looking to make someone’s life miserable in general, nightshade is the right herb for the job. Ivy is a great plant for doing bindings. Because of the way it grows, just wrapping around trees and pillars, and just choking out other plant life, it is a natural for that kind of work and works very well in that capacity. And stinging nettle will encourage jealousy and unhappiness in relationships.
Castor beans can cause sickness or illness, so can belladonna. Datura, which may only be easy to come by if you live somewhere where it grows wild, is excellent for causing nightmares, confusion and misery. Mistletoe will just straight up cause harm. Be very VERY specific how you set your intention with that one. And in fact, mistletoe, castor and datura are what I think of as pulling out the big guns. These are not for cutesy baneful work, like you’re not using castor beans to make sure someone always steps in water when they’re wearing socks, you know what I mean?
And there you have it! Again, if you do use this kind of magick, please do so with the full understanding of what you’re about to undertake. I am not responsible for any work that you do which comes back to bite you in the ass. We’re all grown up witches here, so we have to behave that way. Magick is amazing and it can be a lot of fun, but it can also be incredibly harmful if we’re sloppy and careless. So don’t be a messy witch! Hex responsibly, and I’ll talk to you again next week. Until then, my name is Eli, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.