There’s a saying within the communities of the Craft that do not subscribe to the Ever-Shining-Light ideologies: a witch who cannot hex cannot heal. The maxim indicates a belief that one must be just as familiar with the dark as one is with the light; the witch must be knowledgeable about that which poisons, harms, and causes suffering as well as the remedies for such things. On a magical level, how can you break a hex that has been laid on a friend if you do not know what makes a hex in the first place? How can you advise a friend on ways to prevent the enemy from regaining the necessities to laying another hex? More seriously, how can you defend yourself or those you love without knowing how to take action through magic? While it’s true that if you are being harmed, you can take the necessary steps (magical and mundane) to heal yourself, but you cannot begin the healing processes if the perpetrator possesses the means and power to cause harm again, can you? The perpetrator must be stopped. One might also reason that it would be wise to prevent the individual from harming others, too. A hex is in order.
But here’s the question I pose: are hexes dangerous; not just for subject, but the witch as well? No, not because of the All-Powerful Threefold Law, but because of what is needed to place a hex, what it means, and what it will do to the witch. It is for this reason that, in my opinion, hexes and curses are best reserved for the most heinous of offenses and as the last or best-possible solution. Indeed, in some ways, to hex without just cause (and a belief in your cause) is dangerous for the spell-caster as well as those around him.
To place a hex, it is required to have not only an absolute belief in your cause, but an absolute willingness to manipulate–if not cause direct harm–to another human being. How many times have you wished someone who pissed you off would die or “get hit by a bus”? And how many times have you, after cooling down, recanted and hoped that no misfortune befall him?
Humans, via our higher-nature, are largely social and empathetic creatures. We, by this nature, do not really want to see others suffer. And so, to hex another requires us to reach deep-down into ourselves, past our higher-nature, and find that dark, deep-seated reptilian part of ourselves that would just as soon commit tear the flesh from a relative as easily as it would eat, drink, or breathe. We must reach and harness this often never explored area of our psyches and to be in touch with that is to, by definition, be out of control; to be acting on primal urge and instinct. To place a hex, requires you to, in effect, become the darkest part of yourself.
Having the need, desire, and ability to throw a curse also has a certain significance. It means that not only can the witch harm another living human being, it means that he is comfortable doing so. It means the witch is willing to “go the distance” with his work and see it through the end. It’s not an issue of motivation or fortitude; it’s an issue of willfully acting against another human being in the most violent way–to rob him/her of his/her will. Throwing a curse means you are a different person than you were before you had; it means you are willing to “do more” and “go further” than most other human beings. After all, the psychological and emotional steps that occur in the witch who decides to kill another via magic are not really different than those in a person who chooses murder with a knife, are they?
Finally, casting a hex upon another person also possess certain ramifications for the witch, himself. To cast a hex, the witch must completely surrender to the possibility–nay–the probability of nasty consequences and the inevitable fallout. I don’t mean any kind of backlash for a spell gone awry or any kind of “karmic punishment” but the natural consequences and fallout because, often, situations that require curses are necessarily entangled messes that never end cleanly.
The witch must be willing to and comfortable with accepting these consequences and results. And not only for himself, either, but for the others involved and maybe even people who simply are (figuratively) nearby the curse. (For example, if you curse someone to be miserable and unhappy for the rest of his life, you are also affecting those individuals with whom the cursed ever comes into contact with or the lives of which the cursed ever enters.) Accepting responsibility for the consequences and fallout and living with them can often be heavy burdens to rest upon one’s heart.
In the end and after all of that, hexing reflects and marks the witch just as much as it does the cursed, but do not read this entry as a call for the prohibition of curses; it’s not. Curses are as old as magick, itself, and there are a number of good reasons I could think of that would justify a good magical whopping.
Just make sure it’s worth it.