Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Cursing the Moon?

Over the last few days social media has been going nuts over a group of witches on the app TikTok who claimed to have "cursed the Moon." How that makes any sense at all is anyone's guess, aside from these folks being inexperienced with real magick. It's one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard, but I will say that one thing these witches did manage to do is troll very successfully, stirring up a whole bunch of nonsense in response to their nonsensical cursing. Cracked gives the whole fiasco about the level of snark it deserves.

These be dark time, fellow pilgrims. In every commune are the frightened whispers of mutuals who speak o'er what ought to be left unspoken: witches. Some claim that foolish young waifs have banded together in the grove of copyright-free song and dance to perform dark Satanic rituals, cursing the moon and bringing damnation upon all our heads! Hark! Ye can near hear their mad cackling carried in the winds. Sksksks. Sksksk.

With witches ditching their spellbooks for smartphones, a lot of witchcraft now happens online. And what better place for these covens to congregate than on TikTok, the one social media app specifically designed for chanting and dancing under the pale light of the moon -- or some dorm room LEDs. The platform is particularly popular with "baby witches," the first generation of puka-shelled neophytes to be learning the craft who are actually younger than the movie The Craft.

But with youth comes recklessness and rebelliousness. Recently, online witches started flying about social media cursing (but not actually cursing) a small coven of rogue WitchTok witches. These baby witches had posted videos of them casting foul hexes not only on the Fae, the ancient and fickle fairies of folklore, but the moon itself. And this was no accidental and I oop. These VSCO witches sought out to challenge their elders as if to call them out for being a bunch of dusty old c-words (crones) too scared to clap back at Mother Moon and her Fae boomers.

I also have since heard that this whole idea was posted online as a joke, which makes me feel a little better about the intelligence of these folks. To be clear, it's not that I think what they are doing is dangerous or will invite some sort of retribution, I just think the whole thing is pointless. The intent behind it doesn't make sense and it's not clear how you would even measure success or failure. I expect it will do absolutely nothing to the Moon.

Maybe it would work like a Greater Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram for the Moon? That is, it would block lunar forces from interacting with them for good or ill. That's really about the best I can do in magical technology terms. And if so, you can't really call it a curse.

But regardless of all that, it's a good jumping-off point to answer a question that I get asked a lot and see implied in various comments online even more. Horror movies have promulgated the idea that if you try to do something with magick and you make even one tiny little mistake or cast the wrong spell or whatever, all sorts of awful things will happen to you. That is not even remotely true, and it makes magick harder for people to learn.

The result of so many people believing this is a whole culture of folks online trying to figure out the "right way" to do rituals before even trying them. I get questions like "should you vibrate the divine names in the LRP as you trace the pentagrams, or do you trace the pentagram and then vibrate the names?" The answer, which sometimes people accept and sometimes they don't, is that practitioners generally do it one way or the other and you should figure out what works best for you.

That shouldn't be a hard question - experiment, right? When you have a ritual with several possible ways to do it, all of them more or less effective, you should try them out. But the idea that you can't make even a little "mistake" without facing dire consequences gets in the way. In fact, if you're a beginning magician and you don't do a ritual right, odds are that nothing is going to happen. So feel free to experiment - that's the best way to learn.

As I find myself repeating often, we don't have a "grand unified theory" of magick. That means you can research rituals all you want, but every practitioner is different in ways that can't be easily quantified. Taking the LRP as an example again, one person might find that tracing while vibrating works better. Another might find that trace, then vibrate works better. That's a not a question that even an advanced practitioner can answer for you.

You have to try for yourself and see, which probably means doing it "wrong" or at least "suboptimally" a few times in the course of your testing. And worries about unleashing horror-movie consequences seem to be one of the reasons why people are unwilling to try things out different ways and compare results - because one of those ways could be "wrong" and result in all sorts of bad things happening.

Magick is actually not very dangerous when you're starting out because really effective practical magick is hard. You have to at least be competent at it before you're going to get significant results. The biggest danger I've seen is when somebody who's gotten good enough to get results formulates a charge as an injunction without a limitation. Since magick without limitations follows the path of least resistance, that can result in getting what you want, but not how you wanted to get it.

My basic point is this - you should experiment, even though it means doing something "wrong" or "dumb" or whatever, especially when you're just starting out. Because of a combination of different traditions and individual differences in practices you're going to get different "right answers" from different people. You can waste a lot of time discussing and trying to figure out the "right way" for you, but there's really no substitute for experience. Try the technology out, and see what gives you the results you want.

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