Ethical Hexing

Not all the world’s ills can be met with love and light. Smiles, kind words and Facebook comments promising ‘thoughts and prayers’ will not save us from the idiots in charge. Sometimes, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to shout and scream and get angry.

But where does all that anger go? Out into the same void as the profile picture filters and weekly rounds of applause?

It does if you don’t channel it: target it. This is where hexes come in.

Many witches refuse to do hexes. They see them as infringing on a person’s free will. They see them as dangerous rituals and feelings to mess around with. In this, they are not wrong. A hex is a powerful thing. It has a hold on the popular imagination in a way that few magical rituals do and I consider it as one of the most consequential and terrifying tools at our disposal.

It’s because of this that I and most witches I know rarely use them. As a rule, don’t invoke hellfire on someone talking shit about you on a secret group chat; sit down with them and explain how you’re feeling. Don’t disappear into your room and surround yourself with candles and ill-will when your roommates haven’t done the dishes; talk to them about why respect is important. Hexes are not meant for the small acts of malice that happen in your everyday life. They aren’t just a cure for living around other humans: they’re for the big stuff.

Michael M. Hughes, creator of the infamous Trump hex used by witches around the world has written about hexes extensively. Every full moon since Trump’s inauguration, witches have gathered, united, to bind and hex the 45th president. The intent according to Hughes has been to prevent Trump from doing further harm and redirect any harm done back in his direction.

But where is the line drawn? Trump has clearly done unspeakable, evil and pointlessly dangerous things for the duration of his presidency. There is no need to go over his actions again here but there is obviously a whole host of malicious acts and actors between stoking fascism and forgetting to wash up your stuff from breakfast.

Hughes has said that finding this line involves considering what you would do to your target, in person, given the chance. The example he gives is seeing someone about to kidnap your child. Would you stop at anything to save them, including the horrible, sickening possibility of a fourth Taken movie? If you’re prepared to take radical, forceful action in the flesh, why would you not do so with the help of magic?

If you would still consider seeking divine retribution against the bad dishwashers in your life, you probably need more help than a witch blog can offer you. However, if you have an urge to let out rage and vengeance against terrible forces and figures that seem beyond your control, hexing can serve as an effective outlet. It won’t repair the damage done but it will help you feel more powerful and heal the hurt you’re feeling. What’s more, it widens the coven, bringing like-minded witches together with a unified sense of purpose against what can seem so massive and senseless.

But, if you’re drawn to political hexing, don’t stop there. Don’t hex Trump or Johnson and then sit down comfortably in your flat thinking you’ve done your bit. If you want to effect change then turn Hughes’ rule around again. Do what you would do with magic in the real world. Go to protests; be an active ally for communities under threat; vote for what is right and offer help, be that in kind or in cash, wherever you can, to whoever who needs it. No spell is too small to make a difference and no action is too small either.

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