The last time I visited Ireland we were in Cork during a women’s rights rally. There was an upcoming referendum on making abortion legal. We showed our support and spoke a bit with a protester who when we walked by was being bullied by a man who opposed the legislation. The man focused on us when we walked over and we make it pretty clear we weren’t on his side and were just rude Americans and he slunk away. We talked to the women protesters for a few minutes and donated what Irish coins we had left in our pockets to the organization. I remember saying words of encouragement, and that we had already fought this battle in the US. I think about that conversation a lot now. I still have the pin they gave me on my altar to Macha. It makes me angry that we are fighting that battle again. What that has to do with cursing I’ll get to in a minute.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in regard to Roe vs Wade, I have gone through a whole host of emotions. As a woman who has had an abortion, and firmly feel it was one of the best decisions of my life, I find myself reliving a lot of the feelings that I went through surrounding that decision. I was in a failing relationship, I did not want children (the fact that I never want children is kind of a first date topic for me, I feel that strongly about it), and I was in a bad financial position. I was on birth control, took it correctly, yet still here I was. I felt betrayed by my body, trapped, and going through a lot of hoops to get an abortion. My doctor could do it the next day if I wanted, only their practice's policy stipulated that they would only perform it in a hospital, and it would only cost $1800 that I did not have. My next option was Planned Parenthood, whose $500 price tag I could just barely scrape together, but the available appointment would put me very close to the time period where I would not legally be able to obtain one in CT. I am grateful that Planned Parenthood was an option, and I support the organization, but I don’t know if I can explain how insulting it is to constantly be asked (it felt like a thousand times) if I really wanted to do this. I have had other medical procedures before, and yes signed consent is always a part of any procedure. But I had already signed the dotted line and given my consent. It makes you feel like a five year old, who doesn’t know what they really want, or what could be best for their life and their body. It makes you feel like you aren’t a person. It makes you realize that you only have control over your body within very specifically mandated timelines, and if I passed that imaginary timeline I wouldn't own myself or my choices anymore. And this was when Roe vs. Wade was in effect. We have a long way to go in this world to honoring the sovereignty of woman over their own bodies. And we have had a long way to go for a long time.
Understandably, after the Supreme Court’s decision I have seen a lot of talk about cursing the Supreme Court. I talk about curing and baneful magic in a few of my books, most extensively in Priestess of the Morrigan. I firmly believe it is the last resort for the disenfranchised, when done correctly and with some forethought. One doesn’t just run into battle without a plan. Usually those kinds of strategies are unsuccessful disasters. Magic is no different. Baneful magic can be effective, and it does work, but the thing is if it is not done correctly, it is not going to have the outcome you think it will. It can at times even make things worse. This is in part why I have waited to take any magical actions. And trust me, there will be magical action. But I need to take the time to collect my thoughts, and build a plan of action, to find the correct words, the correct places to put pressure on to manifest my desired results. So, in this vein of thought, I felt it might be a good idea to talk about a few things to consider when crafting baneful magic. Maybe it will help guide your own plan of action.
This is beyond important. Words have power. They are the placeholders for ideas. They shape our perceptions of things. In anger you might wish to curse the entire Supreme Court. Let me explain why that’s a bad idea. Three of the justices did not vote to overturn Roe vs Wade. Do I want to curse those justices? I don’t think so. Also if I curse the court as an institution, I am setting it up to fail in continuing rulings. For example saying, ‘I want the court to utterly fail’, well what does that mean? Fail to do its job? Fail to be effective? I mean it already is, I don’t want to exasperate the problem. Fail is too broad a term. What you are probably trying to say is fail to overture rulings on x,y,z issues. But if you don’t say that, then it has the potential to do the opposite of what you intended, especially when calling on other beings to enact your will. They could interpret it to just mean cause chaos and make all rulings failures. Do you see what I mean? It is like the stories where a genie grants someone a wish, and they will for world peace, and the genie makes them the only person left on earth. They got their wish, but not in the way they expected.
Be clear about what you want. Perhaps focusing your work on the justices who did make the ruling would be far more helpful than those who were against it, and the court as a whole. Or the justices who clearly lied to congress when asked about overturning rulings. Lies and broken oaths being called into account can be powerful too, and target very specifically.
What Does Winning Look Like?
You really have to think hard about this. What is the exact desired outcome. Sometimes when you really sit down and picture it, it may make you change the magical direction you were doing with your work. I like writing out a list to describe all aspects of the desired outcome. If you don’t have a clear idea in your head of what you want the outcome to be, then your magic will have no focus, and little chance of success.
Which Allies to Call Upon? And Can they Play Nicely Together?
Calling on beings you have no relationship with for something as volatile as baneful magic isn’t a great idea. If that being embodies a quality you need for the work, like a connection to battle, justice, overcoming odds, a protector of women etc. I recommend you take the time to connect with that being and build a relationship before seeking their help in such work. I don’t mean meditate on them for three days and bam you are best buds with Ereshkigal. Really build a relationship with them, and this will take time. If you have no relationship to speak of with them, what are the chances they will expend the maximin amount of energy and effort to your goal? Maybe they will, or maybe they won’t. It’s like ringing the doorbell and asking to borrow the car of the neighbor you never talk to.
Another consideration is if you are calling on multiple allies, do they all play well together? Are they all from different Pantheons, are they forces that would normally be apposed to one another, do they get along in their own mythology? Having forced that aren’t friendly to one another come together for your work isn’t the best idea in any type of magic, yet I see it suggested often when cursing comes up.
Spirits don’t exactly tell time very well. Not at least in the way we perceive it. “Soon” and “as quickly as possible” could mean years or centuries to them. Be specific or make it conditional. A year, three months, or until the person in question rights the wrongs they have done this will be so, etc. Whether it is how long something will be held in effect or when you wish a desired result to manifest, specifics help you get better results.
Consider What Could Go Wrong
This is also a consideration when you are putting your desired outcome into focus. Think about what you want to manifest. Where could it go wrong? What things could manifest because of this working, that you DON’T want to happen. How might those things be avoided? These consideration might alter your approach.
In addition to all these points I would suggest that any real change will require a many layered plan of attack, mundane or magical. There is a place for cursing and baneful magic, but there is also a place for calling on the Gods and spirits who embody the righting of injustices, upholding sovereignty and victory in war. I say all these things not to discourage you. I just want us to win this war, and that means thinking about our actions, magically and otherwise, crafting them into something that brings victory.
I do not leave you will a ready-made curse, that is for you to figure out if you feel that is the magical route you wish to take. I do leave you with something I modified from Priestess of the Morrigan, which is based on a magical battle in the The Siege of Knocklong or Forbhais Droma Dámhgháire. It is more a binding than a curse and could be used to call upon Macha in doing work regarding the place we find ourselves in right now. Right now, it is Macha’s council I seek in funneling my rage into something useful. Could it become a cures? Sure, and if you've been paying attention to the above points you could easily turn it into one.
Champion of Women
Who meets injustice with battle
Temper my rage with your own
Imbue my anger with purpose and power
That it may be a brand, a shining spear, to rout my foes
A sword of flame
An arrow piercing those who seek to enslave others
I beseech thee
Be you a flying shadow;
Be you a red water-snake, a monstrous eel
As the Morrigan bound Cuchulain,
so too bind those who move against the sovereignty of women
Be you a sea-eel of nine coils
Rending power from evil men and women
Woe to them around whom you coil,
Nine time you wrap around the enemies of sovereignty
Nine times you sap their strength
Nine time you gnash your teeth,
tearing, destroying their evil,
Nine times you bind their limbs,
Nine times nine, a curse
bound like the honey-suckle round the tree
That no deed or hand may be raised against the sovereignty of women
That their deeds against women shall be made to fail
That bad judgments may be overturned
May my fury be an eel of the Morrigan’s making,
Be you a flying shadow,
I beseech thee
You whose cursed the men of Ulster
You who chained the sons of Dithorba to your will
You who reap justice from injustice
You whose crop are the severed heads of war
I beseech thee