News this week that after a witch planned a mass hexing of Stanford rapist Brock Turner by posting it on Facebook, Raymond Buckland threw a hissy fit by exclaiming “Witches do not hex!” This caused a certain amount of cynicism to manifest to visible appearance in certain quarters. The fact is that never mind what historical witches were alleged to have done or not done hundreds of years ago – the fact is that the Elders of the modern-day Craft are known to have indulged within living memory.
For example: Gerald Gardner once cursed a man into selling him his house when he was unwilling to do so. He then re-wrote the Book of Shadows to say that this was perfectly acceptable, so long as the seller gets paid a fair price for it.
Later on, Alex Sanders demonstrated a ritual technique for placing a curse on someone for the benefit of a film crew. Ironically, the same ritual technique found its way into Janet & Stewart Farrar’s The Witches Bible, although they did not make it clear that it could be used to make someone drown themselves. However, in Stewart Farrar’s earlier book, What Witches Do, he described another technique Sanders had for performing psychic abortions (i.e. on pregnant women who asked for it). The method consisted of destroying the foetus by first imagining it as a Pentagram, then magically collapsing it. The problem with this approach is that the Pentagram is the sign of an actual living being – Sanders was effectively admitting the foetus was alive, before killing it. This raises the possibility that the same method could be used on any Pentagram… but I have said more than enough.
This raises an interesting question: given that so many occultists publicly claim they never practice evil magick, just where do they get knowledge of these vile techniques, if the practice thereof supposedly does not form part of their tradition?
The answer unfortunately is that the knowledge of these evil rites is preserved, because it is good for marketing purposes. Seriously! I actually wrote about this in 2011, in my novel Licence To Depart. Without any trace of irony in relation to the quip about marketing, I quote:
“Tonight we’re going to perform a black magic ritual, to kill one who is in the service of the forces of Light,” Sir William said gravely. He paused – and then lightened his tone. “Do you know where I got this ritual from?” he asked, almost conversationally. “A book on white magic!”
A murmur of laughter rippled amongst those present. Sir William continued.
“It’s true: it’s an extraordinary fact that often the vilest, most despicable forms of evil magic are set out in the books which claim most loudly to be working for the service of the light! The mediaeval grimoires. ‘Magick’ by Aleister Crowley – that’s got at least one death-spell in it: so too has that book on Huna by Max Freedom Long. ‘Psychic Self-Defence’ by Dion Fortune – that’s got lots of black magic in it, all for the sake of supposedly warning her readers against it. Pah! To them they’re hypocritically increasing their sales: to us, they provide a valuable resource.
“Well tonight the ritual we’re going to use is drawn from another book on so-called white magic – ‘The Tarot’ by Mouni Sadhu…”
Cover Artwork © 2011, Alex Sumner