Friday, March 4, 2011

Misuse of Magick

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know that most of the time when somebody claims this or that to be a misuse of magical powers I generally think they're full of it. I strongly believe that magick is a natural human ability, and that there's nothing wrong with using it for practical goals. The idea that using magick to achieve your goals somehow constitutes "cheating" is ridiculous, and I think it should generally be left up to individual magicians to decide which ethical system should guide their practices.

But then there's this.

A trio of Salem witches, offended by Hollywood hell-raiser Charlie Sheen’s proclamation that he is a “warlock,” are planning a spiritual housecleaning for the “Two and a Half Men” train wreck in the Witch City on Sunday.

“If he doesn’t get some spiritual help, he could end up dead,” said a witch who goes by the name of Lorelei. Just Lorelei. She’s hosting the Sheen-orcism at her witchcraft emporium Crow Haven Corner.

So what will you do Sunday, Loreliei?

“Sacrifice him,” deadpanned the witch, who was immediately chastised by her conjuring colleague Christian Day.

“We’re going to use high ritual and high magic to give him all the help he needs,” declared Christian.

I'm thinking that Loreliei's initial response there was the truth. Christian is just more media savvy and realized that it wouldn't play well in a news story. How do I know? Well, for one thing, "hexes" usually aren't considered "help" in modern parlance.

Now let me see - last I checked the word "warlock" was derived from "oathbreaker" and rings like nails on a chalkboard to actual witches. The term does not mean "male witch" as it is commonly used in Disney productions, paranormal television series, and Julian Sands movies. But apparently these three individuals have embraced the term. To me this suggests they're a bunch of publicity seekers with no magical powers at all - but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Apparently they think hexing somebody for using a term that most witches don't even identify with is completely reasonable.

Salem’s sorcerers have their cloaks in a twist ever since Sheen, in an interview with “Today,” said CBS had “picked a fight with a warlock.” Day, a self-proclaimed warlock and the owner of Hex, an “Olde World Witchery” shop, said Charlie seems to be confusing warlocks with warlords.

“Just because the word contains ‘war’ doesn’t mean a warlock is a warrior and that’s how Charlie Sheen used it,” Day told the Track. “I respect his passion to save his career, but don’t do it on the backs of witches.”

Or at least on the backs of TV and movie witches. Could these people possibly be serious? With all the other bizarre stuff Sheen said in the same interview there's no way anyone could possibly confuse him with a real witch. "Tiger blood?" "Adonis DNA?" Come on!

“We are not negative people,” added Day, whose Facebook friends went wild when they heard Sheen use the “W” word. “Witches and warlocks protect and bind people from harming other people and seek justice. We have nothing to do with battles over money and power.”

But apparently they're incredibly concerned with the word choices of a celebrity who could very well be battling mental illness, to the point that they think hexing him over it is a good idea. Nice. Maybe if they spent more time using their spells to amass money and power they wouldn't be doing stupid crap like this.

Aleister Crowley once wrote that a big part of "Do what thou wilt" meant "mind your own business." These folks could take a lesson there from the Beast 666, keeping in mind that he was considered the "wickedest man in the world." Until they do it seems to me that they have no business practicing magick of any sort.

UPDATE: Jack Faust has more. So does Morgan. Hilarious stuff! I'm left thinking that Christian Day's ridiculous eyeliner has done more damage to the reputation of "warlocks" than Charlie Sheen ever could.

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Jason Miller, said...

Hmmm. This whole thing is weird. Crow Haven Corner was owned by Lauri Cabot last I checked.

Warlock BTW is used by a lot of people that are non-wiccan and they dispute that etymology.

I will send some links when i get the time. Its a good word. Kick ass word.

Scott Stenwick said...

One wonders, then, if these folks are even who they claim to be. Maybe they just managed to misrepresent themselves into getting some free media attention. Given their statements that wouldn't surprise me one bit.

I'll freely admit that my knowledge of word etymology here is not that deep and I certainly could be wrong about it. But my point still stands - cursing somebody because they happened to use a particular word in a TV interview is just plain dumb, no matter how good the word itself might be.

Jack Faust said...

Most of the witches I've encountered that use the term "Warlock" to identify themselves note that the oath which has been broken is the sacred covenant with God in a Christian society; not oaths as might be entailed in the practice of witchery.

Day is... interesting. I'll be watching him and some of his comments in days to come, as he appears to be trying to make a name for himself in the media.

Jack Faust said...

Another comment regarding the etymology:
From Etymonline:
O.E. wærloga "traitor, liar, enemy," from wær "faith, a compact" (cf. O.H.G. wara "truth," O.N. varar "solemn promise, vow;" see very; cf. also Varangian) + agent noun related to leogan "to lie" (see lie (v.1)). Original primary sense seems to have been "oath-breaker;" given special application to the devil (c.1000), but also used of giants and cannibals. Meaning "one in league with the devil" is recorded from c.1300. Ending in -ck and meaning "male equivalent of witch" (1560s) are from Scottish.

I've seen a lot of folks focus on the Scottish definition from the 1560s; others accept the "oath-breaking" but keep it in the context of the oath to society/God. Really, there's more people concerned about the use of the word than there ought to be. It's a perfectly legitimate label in my mind, especially if the individual identifies as a non-Wiccan practitioner (thereby nullifying the Wiccan use of the term as commonly thought of).

The curse threats are hysterical and dubious to my mind. Sheen's clearly imploding already. Who would bother?

Nevermind. Question answered. I declare this a matter of media hungry newbs.

Rob said...

We apparently believe in a different connotation of the term cheating, which explains a misunderstanding we had a while back.

As Mr Miller pointed out, the etymology of the term Warlock is in contention. I actually have some books that were published prior to Wicca on Pagan reconstructions that use the term Warlock either as a general title for a practitioner of magic or to refer to one who binds spirits.

It seems like its been the Wiccans who have been promoting the whole Warlock = bad idea, and that seems to have more to do with promoting Witch as a term for a male practitioner than anything else. They really shouldn't be trying to make an appeal to etymologies though considering the fact that Pagan originally meant something similar to hick.

Anyways in regard to the three practitioners I pretty much agree with you, except I'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they're anything more than telephone psychics. I also think they're calling themselves warlocks just to stir up controversy in the community and draw attention to themselves.

Scott Stenwick said...

@Jack - thanks for the references on the etymology.

@Rob - We apparently believe in a different connotation of the term cheating, which explains a misunderstanding we had a while back.

How do you mean? I can't say that I recall that particular discussion.

Anyways in regard to the three practitioners I pretty much agree with you, except I'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Based on Jason's comment the benefit of the doubt I previously was willing to grant them is fading fast, if they indeed are not even associated with the establishment that they claim to represent.

Rob said...

I don't really remember much of the conversation either, or even where we had it, just that I used the term cheating in one of the ways I usually do, I think maybe in regards to doing some ritual differently in order to make it easier, I'm not sure though. And you said something like anything that can be done with magic isn't cheating or something like that. It seemed to me you took the word to have a negative connotation in the way I used it when I meant it in a completely neutral way. I honestly just dropped the whole thing then because I didn't really care and totally forgot about it until I was reading this post.

I just saw the Sheen interview where he says warlock, finally, and he might actually be referring to himself as a legitimate magical practitioner. The way he talks about dealing with his addictions is the same way I dealt with my own smoking addiction and alcoholism in my early twenties, and I did that spiritually and for spiritual reasons after I had met my first spiritual teacher. Sheen's method is really, IMO, the way a magician should deal with addiction, by being completely in control of themselves and having the willpower to just stop. In any case I think so long as Sheen's remains sober he's proved himself a stronger magician, or warlock, than these Salem yokels.

Even if Sheen is just mentally unstable, a mentally unstable person is the sort that might try to magically counterattack a bunch of fake witches who made public threats to bind them with a hex, and it wouldn't be unjustified either. I'd attack these folks if they tried to bind me, regardless of whether or not they could, and if it comes down to a witch war between Sheen and these Salem witches, my money's on Sheen. He's already proven himself the better magician based on acts, and in his current state of mind I think the energies would be interesting.

BTW I've been having some trouble posting with my wordpress open ID on your blog.

Unknown said...

It amazes me that some people have the free time to spend attacking Sheen. Or putting on that much eyeliner.