Friday, September 11, 2009

An Ye Harm Some

Since this topic came up in both a "real conversation" and in the forums today I decided to spin this topic off of the "Where to begin thread". Black arrow wrote:

I do admit I have wondered regarding his and many other occult writers' warnings against any "harmful" use of magick due to karma reasons, threefold law, etc. In some cases, it seems somewhat counter-intuitive. To give a more mundane analogy, I have a pistol, and a concealed handgun permit. If I or my family was attacked, I would have no problem shooting the assailant. "Harmful" use of that pistol is not innately evil. What matters is the intent and the context involved.

The issue of wrathful magic and its fallout is a bit more complex than this I am afraid. There are really two factors at play: moral and technical considerations. Most sources treat the two as one, which is a mistake.

On the moral end, you are quite correct that it is intent that matters. Great good has come from wrathful action which is why in the Bodhisattva vows, Mahayana Buddhists vow to not refrain from wrathful action if compassion demands it. Any system that suggests good for good and bad for bad that doesn't take this into account is just sophomoric.

Real Karma as understood in the east takes intent into account, as well as the performance of the action, the fallout both intended and unintended, and finally the rejoicing or regret that follows. But all of these are not judged by some karmic panel, they are just factors in the cause and effect that is karma. This brings us to the technical side of the matter, but only a fully realized being can truly know the full extent of every action.

There are however less subtle technical aspects of wrathful magic that can be grasped. Whatever work you do surrounds you with energy that patterns itself after that work. This is why when doing wealth work for others, the operator often finds himself coming into a little bit of extra cash. There is also the matter of spirits employed, and in turn the spirits that those spirits employ. Even in the case of a cosmic goddess like Hekate or a realized guardian like Ekajati, there are retinues of spirits that follow them around which are not as easily controlled; Aoroi, Empusae, and so on in the case of Hekate and Mamo's in the case of Ekajati. Beings that do dirty work, regardless of intent, are still wrathful in nature and need a firm hand to control. This is why in hoodoo you take a Hyssop bath to rid yourself of any spirits that linger after harmful work, and why you generate as a wrathful yidam in Tantra to scare the crap out of any dregs-pa (wrathful beings) that attend your guardians.

The stronger the wrath, the more prevalent the problem. Dudjom Rinpoche wrote and article called "On the bad luck of the Nyingmapa" basically detailing the ways in which many of the beings that were subjugated and bound during the importation of Buddhism into Tibet have since caused various problems when not tended carefully.

An even more drastic example is the country of Haiti. The Congo spirits were already served in the country and are themselves pretty powerful for wrathful work. To facilitate the slave revolt however, a new nation of Loa were evolved from the Congo spirits - The Petro. With the help of these beings, the people of Haiti pulled off the only successful slave revolt in the western hemisphere. One they are no longer needed though, you still have to deal with them. Because many of these spirits are really really bloodthirsty, they tend to cause problems which can be seen in the history of Haiti ever since. The secret societies have evolved yet more Nations of Loa such as the Bizango nation to deal with some of the reprecussions of this.

An analogy would be like you making friends with the local gang in order to get their help to take out your enemy. After that is done, you are still friends with a gang and may find yourself dragged into several undesirable situations.

Basically, wrathful magick is not different than any other type of magick. Even if you do not believe in retribution for the morality of the act, which I do not, you still have to deal with the wrathful energy and spirits that you atttact during the rite. This is why in many African and Asian magickal systems the darker spirits are all served outside the home or at least on a separate altar.


Frater POS said...

there is also the mind of the practitioner. If you're still wondering if this is right or wrong, you shouldn't do it. You will generate your own 'repurcussions'. If there is a seed of guilt, it will flower in unexpected ways.


WitchDoctorJoe said...

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

Coincidentally; my wife and I conducted a VERY wrathful ritual this afternoon, casting very wrathful magic on very deserving individuals.

As a Wiccans we believe in peace, but don't mistake kindness for weakness. If you harm us we will "oppose" you by any force necessary.

No guilt. We're not doing random drive-by cursings. We're defending ourselves & fighting back.

I know from experience that its better than stuffing it down and holding it all in. Its a very healthy way to deal with things and it keeps me out of jail.

Brother Christopher said...

What I find interesting is that I seem to come across people you are involved gun control extremists, anti-death penalty, pro-peace, but yet seem to have no problem with sending curses, dusting a letter with goofer dust to strike at an "enemy" or feel the need to brag about how they are not afraid to "go there" and then turn around and tell you how they are peaceful, calm and loving individuals. Isn't that a double standard? I often wonder how they can not recognize that.

WitchDoctorJoe said...

Well speaking only for myself, I am very pro death penalty, I own swords, knives and two guns, and I believe in peace by force.

I believe in nature, like any other animal, I am a very happy, peaceful, calm and loving individual. But you wouldn't want to fuck with me.

I don't think that's a double standard, I think it's pretty straight forward. It goes back to our forefathers.

"Don't tread on me"

Frater POS said...

Brother Christopher, perhaps this will help.

There is a difference between those that want to 'throw down' and those that are willig to. If someone wants to, I hope that someone gets their butt kicked. They are no better than a school yard bully with cool toys.

In my 20 year magickal career I've fired negative magick three times, once at someone aiming to get me fired because she disliked me on sight (she got fired), once at a friend that was irritated at me and sent some bad stuff at me. I assume he had a bad day. I defended myself and we are still friends today. The other time someone sent me a cursed candle, which I had independantly verified before returning fire.

I have had people call me bad names, cut me off in traffic, attempt to ruin my reputation, and basically the social gamut of things human can get away with in so-called polite society and never raised a figurative wand. Had I, I'd see myself as a bully. Just because I can doesn't mean I will. I do not practice magick by knee jerk reaction.

Most of the time someone attacks someone socially, it is simply a case of their own pain being externalized. Because I am a peaceful loving guy, I give them that and hope they heal.

I will simply defend myself in the
rare cases that call for it. If I found the need to work negatively, I'd think thre was something really wrong with me.

I see no hypocrisy in my point of view. Do you?

Jason Miller, said...

Actually I am anti death penalty and pro gun control. I am quite peaceful yet not afraid to “go there” if the reason should call. No conflict. The world is not black and white, divided up into complete pacifists against any kind of action that could harm a fles or crazed warhawks who faming at the mouth to throw the switch on anyone that comits any crime whatsoever.

Lets deal with these issues separately.

Gun Control: Being for gun control doesn’t mean that you are against gun ownership. That’s what the NRA would like you to believe. It means that you are for people having to get checked out before purchase, for good records, and for some guns that have no other purpose than to murder people, to be banned. My Grandfather was a gun owner and hunter and left the NRA because he saw how irresponsible they were becoming. I am all for shooting someone that breaks into my home and means to do me and my family harm. I just don’t need a fully automatic assault rifle to do it. If you for complete bans on weapons like the recent DC handgun ban, than I stand against you. If you are for selling anything, to anyone, anywhere than I am even more against you.

Death Penalty: There is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between someone using deadly force to stop an enemy that means you harm, and the government killing someone that has already been imprisoned. None. Zero. Do I think some people would be better off dead – you bet I do. I just have no faith in the government’s ability to determine who those people are accurately and fairly. All evidence is on my side. There is no evidence to support the death penalty other than emotional appeals. The price of having someone like this evil fuck that held a girl hostage as a sex slave for 18 years still breathing air, but in prison for the rest of his life rather than dead and buried where he belongs is well worth the hundreds of people that have gotten harsh sentences because of the color of their skin or false evidence against them. We are all more than the worst things that we have ever done, and a life even a life in prison, still holds the chance for personal redemption.

Goofer Dust and Death Curses: I use these with the same weight that I would use any other deadly force. More in fact because I know that I can do it and do it well, and that society at large will have no means of holding me accountable. Peace and compassion can demand wrathful action. Today is 9-11. Clearly the events of that day demanded a response. The forces that perpetrated that crime need to be stopped. It would be a much better world if we could drop the bombs out of compassion than anger. Compassion for the victims and for the criminals. Regret that we have no other reasonable recourse. The action would be the same, but the spiritual cost would be entirely different.

Frater POS said...

Well, you can't add much to that. Very nicely said!

Anonymous said...

Excellent discussion. Being that I come from a Trad that does not adhere to the Rede or Threefold ideals, (Feri), this discussion comes up a lot over the years. Self-responsibility in magical acts is extremely important, IMHO.

I do subscribe to the belief that a witch who cannot hex cannot heal, a reflection of what I see being discussed here. Doesn't mean I do it all the time -- it means that I work very hard to have clear discernment.

I've done a severe banishment one time, for instance -- it was highly effective. Many times I've wanted to, but I liken it to spanking my child for something that isn't that big of a deal instead of saving a harsh discipline for something truly serious. I try and be very clear where my motives stem from. In this case, a person was a danger to me on both physical and astral levels, as well as attempting to harm my family energetically. A line was being crossed that I simply won't allow (even though I'm a real sweet, little thing [cough, wry grin]). But other times, I was angry and clear that my Ego was bruised -- not a reason to unleash the gnarly.

Assisting clear discernment,etc, I believe is a very honest and broad understanding of one's Ego and personal complexes. Which is sadly lacking in a lot of pagan circles I've seen over the years. The Rede feeds this, I think. I don't want to over-simplify, but to have a crutch that 'saves' you from having to go there, to dig deep and know your dark and blind spots, means your magic will reflect them and possibly boomerang in ways one is not expecting.

Kim Sequoia