Magical Targeting and Resistance

This is a sequel to an earlier post, “On Cursing and Being Cursed: a Hermetic Perspective.”  In that post, I talked about my vision (based on The Kybalion’s Hermetic “Principle of Mentalism) of how a curse can take root in the energy field (the aura) of a target:

[A] curse will function by creating its vibration in the target, who will then radiate that vibration (usually without knowing it) into various aspects of his life.  All retribution and judgment begins with the Self or, as The Kybalion puts it in “The Principle of Mentalism,” “All is Mind.”

If the target, truly in the deep core of himself, believes he doesn’t deserve to suffer, he will resist the curse vibration on some level.  But, of course, to resist something is also to have a relationship with it.  This is how an unjustified curse can make mischief in the life of an innocent.  Essentially, by resisting, the innocent (consciously or unconsciously) accepts the reality of having to resist a curse and is then struggling against it and feeling some of its effects.  But those effects are usually short-lived, if still upsetting.

Since I wrote this, two different readers have asked me the same question: if the target has to accept the curse vibration, why can’t a target just decide not to accept?  After all, nobody wants to be cursed, right?

My first response to this question is to refer the reader back to the quoted paragraphs above.  In my view, there has to be “acceptance” of the curse vibration in the target, but I’m suggesting that there is more to the mind than just our conscious everyday awareness.  When a curse is effective, such acceptance takes place on a very deep level. 

I believe we have many levels of “self.”  But, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s say that we at least have something called an “unconscious,” aka an “inner child” or “deep self.”  These terms are not perfectly synonymous, but they all point to an inner dimension in us which is alive and aware but which operates according to different rules than our everyday, responsible, rational minds.

Everything that seems true and authentic without us being fully able to explain why (“I have a good feeling about this”) resonates with this deep self.  Gut reactions, hunches, psychic experiences, déjà vu, all kinds of things that seem mysterious to our daily conscious awareness originate in this deep self (which I also believe is the location of magical link or energetic connection point to everything else in existence, but that is material for a different post).

The deep self doesn’t function as a responsible citizen of the world; it’s not socially acceptable.  It runs on urges, fear, lust, the Pleasure Principle.  It loves and hates.  And sometimes it passes judgement on the Self as a whole without the person even being aware of it.  We might be able to consciously rationalize why we did a certain thing, but the deep self may still feel a lot of self-blame, guilt, and shame about it.  Such self-judgement is how one accepts the vibration of a curse.  In some way, a person has already decided that they should be punished.  The curse vibration shows up at the edge of the aura and says, “Hello, I’m the essence of this punishment.”  And the deep self answers, “Come in.  I’ve been expecting you.”

Resistance comes when the deep self hasn’t passed this judgment.  The curse vibration shows up and the deep self answers, “I don’t deserve this punishment!”  Then a struggle ensues with the curse trying to convince the deep self to let it in and the deep self refusing.  This is what happens when an innocent is cursed.  Some of the curse effects will take place in a minor way because the curse is saying “You deserve to be punished!” and eventually the innocent deep self will ask, “Why?” which will let a little bit of the curse in past the outer barrier of the aura.  But if the deep self is truly convinced of its innocence, the majority of the curse will not get through.  There will be no acceptance of that vibration.

There is a way around this, however.  The aura can only withstand so much before it is overwhelmed.  Think of it this way: if you tie someone up in a basement and scream something in that person’s face every day for a long time, what you scream will eventually become the person’s reality.  In mundane life, this is called “brainwashing” and it is sadly real.  But it takes a long time to break a person’s resistance down to the point at which they accept an alternate vision of themselves and the world, maybe years.  It takes far less time with magic.

This is a darker application of what we call “duration work”—magic worked over a consistent period of time.  This is also why some practitioners, especially hoodoo workers and ATR professional sorcerers employed to curse and cross others, claim no one has ever resisted one of their workings.  It is simply because they set up long-term curses that they maintain every day.  So no matter what a person truly believes about themselves on a deep level, whether they feel they deserve the punishment or not, they will eventually let it in.*  You can only say “no” so many times before you say “yes.”

This works even when a person is so innocent that he or she doesn’t even understand the situation.  Consider what “innocence” actually is: it’s a combination of ignorance and sincerity.  When a person is sincere, she is not lying or pretending or otherwise being false.  When she is ignorant, she lacks experience and doesn’t possess the knowledge that comes from having taken part.  Both of these qualities can be altered through violent brainwashing (i.e. convincing someone that they’re actually a blameworthy imposter—actually very similar to “gaslighting”) and, on a magical level, keeping up a vibratory assault on a person’s aura over time.  When no becomes yes, even an innocent person will then say, “I deserve to be punished.”

Is this evil?  In many cases, it is certainly that.  But nothing is absolute.  Sometimes, even an innocent person will deserve to be targeted with hostile magic.  Consider the situation where a sociopathic teen is mocking and tormenting a disabled classmate on a regular basis (something I saw first-hand years ago when I was a high school teacher).  The bully has a messed-up home life and enjoys taking out his frustration by releasing it on a defenceless target.  This is abhorrent to most people, but this kid doesn’t understand how much suffering he’s causing.  All he can see is his own pain and how much better it feels to be the torturer instead of the tortured.

In this case, the bully is “innocent.”  He is ignorant of the significance of his actions and sincere in the sense that he doesn’t really know what’s going on.  He doesn’t have the knowledge and experience of choosing to be a bully; he’s just an snarling little animal striking out.  And this innocence might protect him the way it often protects children from magical creatures and harmful workings.  But let’s also say that the bullying is not stopping and the disabled kid is in now danger of taking his own life; none of the parents want to be involved; and the school is so poorly run that no one will do anything.  But something must be done.  In this situation, baneful magic (note: not lethal magic, but potent enough to stop someone from continuing a course of action) is indicated.  Even though the bully is relatively innocent, he needs strong medicine.

Obviously, the above example comes from my real-life observations.  I will add that I did use magic to solve the situation and protect the disabled student.  And it worked.  But it caused a lot of distress to the bully, which was appropriate and not pretty.  This is to say that nothing is open-and-shut, black-and-white.  There are no absolutes, only shades of gray.  It’s up to us to determine the highest good based on our subjective conditioning, values, and life experiences. 

So it’s good to know how to overwhelm magical resistance in others.  Although, this knowledge can be dangerous in the hands of an unethical person and it is not a license to go cursing others with impunity.  I don’t believe in new-age concepts of karma and Law of Return, but I do believe that what goes around comes around because what we do defines our character.  And character is destiny.


* A crafty sorcerer will also include elements that drain a person’s inner resistance to make the resistance collapse more quickly.

When it Looks Like a Curse, Don’t Go to a “Lightworker”

The only thing more pathetic than the term, “spiritual entrepreneur,” is the individual who describes him- or herself that way. It may seem a bit ironic that I’m saying this, given that I practice public sorcery and charge for such services. But there is definitely a difference between a “spiritual entrepreneur” and a “spiritual worker” as the terms are commonly understood and used.

A spiritual worker is a magical individual (rootdoctor, sorcerer, Reiki master, herbalist, card reader, etc.) who provides a set of spiritual services to a community. These days, that includes an online community. This person may work through various established spiritual traditions and usually tries to educate and counsel his or her clientele. For example, my Black Snake Conjure is not only dedicated to conjure, evocation, and Reiki. It’s also committed to fostering multiculturalism, tolerance, and sharing across ethnic and spiritual boundaries. I do this work not just for my own monetary benefit but also to teach the art of magic and, in the process, to make the world a better place.

Conversely, a spiritual entrepreneur may or may not be a magical individual but will try hard to seem like one (using the most trendy suburban Wiccan* or new age styles, keywords, and assumptions). This person promotes a spiritual technique, product, or service, relying heavily on e-marketing, focused spam via “newsletters,” usually a content-lite YouTube channel, and niche customer targeting to generate as much passive income as possible. A spiritual entrepreneur’s focus is on his or her multi-platform business first, then content, then the clients. For this person, it’s all about the “brand.” If you go to YouTube and type in one of the key words associated with spiritual entrepreneurialism, “witchy,” you will get a veritable phone book of unimaginative cliché examples. After watching one or two of those videos and looking at the linked websites, you wouldn’t be wrong to wonder whether we need another post entitled “Six Signs You Might Be a Witch” or “Crystals Dealing with Toxic Family Energy Over the Holidays” or “Working with Angels and Spirit Guides.”

In the 1990s, more serious (or at least more style conscious) magical people coined the term “fluffy bunny” to describe Wiccans who pretend that they only work with love and light (with an equally pretentious subsequent reaction, “dark fluff”). And many spiritual entrepreneurs still believe that a generous helping of fluff will more easily part a certain type of customer from his or her money. But spiritual entrepreneurialism isn’t about love or “ascension” or, actually, anything at all beyond branding. It’s the most cynical commodification of spirituality available in the West and we see it everywhere. It’s the reason why occult publishers like Llewellyn and Weiser have taken so much criticism from real practitioners over the last 20-30 years, even though they’ve published quality work along with poorly researched, padded, repetitive trash.

Most of what I’m saying here is obvious and anyone who spends time looking through social media and reading Tumblr will quickly come to these conclusions.  As in all things Theodore Sturgeon’s “garbage theory” applies: 90% of a given set of things is crap to support the 10% that isn’t. All well and good. However, it’s not so good when we need spiritual services that actually work.

Uh-oh. Maybe you’ve been cursed. What then? If you think only members of certain ethnic communities worry about curses, you’re dead wrong. Every culture has them. And I can tell you confidently that if you haven’t been the target of a curse or some other form of psychic attack at least once, you will be someday. It’s part of life.

Now imagine you find yourself in a situation where a highly suspicious chain of nasty events is taking place in your life. Maybe you’ve also come down with a case of heavy depression and insomnia. You’re having reversals and problems at work and at home. And all of this happens to coincide with a falling-out you’ve recently had with someone or with some envy-inducing advancement, like a raise or a new relationship or a financial windfall. You say to yourself, why would anyone want to curse me? I haven’t done anything wrong! But curses don’t just work for justice. You can get crossed up by any individual who resents your happiness enough to do something about it.

Most of us, if we’re leading adult lives and not living in a cave, have a sprinkling of enemies who want to see us suffer. Often, a few of those people will either have some metaphysical aptitude or will be willing to go to a sorcerer-for-hire. And many times those people will be very close to us—ex-lovers, family, or coworkers. If you’re a decent person, like most people are, you won’t want to believe it. Jane from accounting?! She’s still bitter about me turning her down but, really, is that enough for her to pay a hoodoo worker to fuck up my life? Sure. Why not? You have no idea what’s going on in her head. She may just frown at you and avoid eye-contact when you pass her in the hallway, but maybe she’s lurking on your Facebook page, spending a lot of time fixating on why you turned her down, etc. With that in mind, do you think it’s so far-fetched that if she has a few books on magic, she might try something? Maybe she starts searching for “love spells” and comes across a professional’s website. And the rest is, as they say, academic.

In a situation like this, do you want to go to a spiritual entrepreneur who charges you $300 to change your vibration with a $10 quartz crystal and some essential oil? Do you want to go to a cute-as-a-button Wiccan girl on YouTube who says she can sage the bad juju away? Really? How about getting a reading from a teenager on Tumblr who snaps it out in just 20 minutes? Because I’ve been contacted by people who’ve taken that route at first. They nearly always write the following: I’ve gotten burned by workers before. Paid a lot of money and nothing happened. Or got a tarot reading and it made no sense / was totally vague. Or so-and-so cursed me and now my life is in tatters and Jenny the Lightworker told me my chakras were just out of balance. And then I have to clean up both the mess that their lives are in and whatever half-baked work the spiritual entrepreneur did (if anything).

All the new-age stuff, all the Wiccan stuff, all the watered-down pop-occult techniques and Law of Attraction and “abundance manifesting” can work. I don’t want to give the impression that “my way is the only way.” The problem is not actually with the techniques. It’s with the branding and the people who think they can make a living off of others by doing very little beyond curating their feeds and smiling into the camera. Most of the clients I get are desperate and sometimes locked in life-or-death circumstances. Many of them have been victims of baneful magic or a deep run of crossed-up luck or some force, whether human or otherwise, holding them down. They have been unjustly harmed and they feel like their options have become very limited. Understandably, they have no sense of humor about this stuff. They’re not playing. They need help and they need it yesterday.

My recommendation is that if you are one of those people in need, do not waste your time on someone surrounded by a lot of slick e-commerce because that’s where all the energy is going. Instead, look for three qualities in a worker: (1) reasonable rates; (2) professionalism (i.e. scheduling, doing a small diagnostic reading in the beginning, providing updates, not seeming money hungry, ethical); and (3) doing more than just protecting and curating their brand / internet presence. It’s important to keep these things in mind if you want to avoid throwing your time, money, and emotion away on someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.



* I actually love Wicca. I’m not putting it down. I’m putting down those who cynically use it to hook customers in support of a superficial brand.

Taking Money for Death Curses and Other Horrible Mistakes

Many people reading this are too young to have experienced the demented conversation around the film, Indecent Proposal, when it came out in 1993.  The basic premise of the movie is this: two idiots, husband (Woody Harrelson) and wife (Demi Moore) go broke in Vegas.  Suave billionaire (Robert Redford) offers them $1 million if Demi will sleep with him.  After a lot of bad noise, they go through with it and it messes up Demi and Woody’s marriage.  In the end, Redford reveals that he’s a swell guy after all and, using his smile and his holy billionaire bodhisattva powers, helps the husband and wife reconcile (just so the audience doesn’t weep themselves to death by the time the credits roll).  

That’s it.  It was one of those mediocre OMG. What would you do? movies Hollywood likes to put out when there are no big action films getting all the attention.  The movie sucked but it also sucked people in, especially those who get excited by saying cynical things like, “Everybody has their price,” and “You’d do it.  You know you’d do it.  It’s all about the money, baby.”  Right.  Back to Vegas with you and please close your mouth while boarding the plane.

Everyone wanted to say what they would do in the same circumstances.  It gave people an opportunity to either award themselves with a virginal Good Guy Badge or try to bring others down to their level of money-worshipping crudeness by saying that enough of it can ultimately control anyone. 

Even though the plot was very predictable and Demi / Woody / Robert Redford were like walking sock puppets stuffed with tinsel, the movie seemed to encourage a certain egotistical projection and a lot of hot air.  There were magazine articles about it.  The actors went on late night to talk about relationships and morality.  The daytime soaps that had been setting up situations like this for 40 years suddenly enjoyed a surge in popularity.

To us, in 2018, this seems adorable.  We have to deal with Donald Trump and inbred neo-Nazis burning crosses in our streets while our data gets harvested and our ability to freely exchange information gets taken away by corporations killing the planet.  But back in ‘93, Indecent Proposal seemed highly indecent and therefore highly compelling to people aroused by the fantasy of becoming a high-priced sex worker for all the right reasons.  It was stupid.  But that’s how people are sometimes.

Interestingly enough, this was also around the time I started requiring a small tarot reading before I would take magical work for a client.  I had my own “indecent proposal,” which was neither as sensational nor as tame the movie.  

Essentially, a client requested a death curse on her ex-boyfriend.  I’d never done a death curse for pay before.  But she offered me a lot of money.  I mean, it was enough to pay two years of my rent and then some.  I was young, in college, and always had some ongoing form of money magic in play to draw funds.  I got by, but those were lean years.  So getting such a proposal might have been just the thing I needed to keep me fed and keep the lights on.  In retrospect, I’m not sure that my money magic didn’t draw this potential client to me, as sometimes happens with prosperity work.  Like all magic, it takes the path of least resistance.

I said no just on principle, but she kept at me because I’d previously done some road opening work for her that had been very effective and she believed in my skill.  She was South African, very beautiful and charming, very rich, very persuasive.  Lots of “verys” applied to her.  But she was also insanely, murderously angry at her ex.  And even though I kept saying no, I was also powerfully attracted to her and sympathetic to her story.  It was long and convoluted but came down to: he was a bad mean man. I believed it and her.  So it was very tempting, all things considered.  But you can’t just walk around killing people.  Even if it’s at the behest of an exotic beauty with a suitcase full of money.

As a way to clear my head, I did a tarot reading and learned that such a working wouldn’t only be an immoral crime against the target.  It would also mushroom out into the lives of the people around this guy, causing tragedy and harm in people who were totally innocent.  I told the client this, thinking that it would dissuade her, but I should have known better.  She simply doubled the money and implied that she wouldn’t mind flying with me somewhere for a week.  

Quite a proposal, that.  But by then I was also having bad dreams.  My guides and spirits were already telling me not to do it.  I went down to a crossroads by my house at midnight and petitioned the Queen of the Witches for guidance.  She said only a fool would say yes.  And mama didn’t raise no fool.

I gave my client my absolute, definitive “no” answer and I’ve never seen someone go ballistic the way she did.  In the end (because after months of working with her on other matters, I’d taught her enough magic to be a problem all on her own), I had to do things to take her power away and separate myself from her.  It broke my heart, too, because even though she finally revealed herself as a murderous crazy woman, I did consider her a friend.

The moral of this story is not me telling you what kind of magic to do or what is or isn’t ethical.  It’s saying, do a reading, inquire of your oracles, of your gods, spirits, helpers, and protectors.  Ask a mentor when you’re not sure about a certain magical project.  Because the last thing you want to do is misuse this miraculous divine gift for something as stupid as a bucket of money.  

Make your own money in honest and kind ways.  And if that includes honest magic, then all the better.  It’s not all about the money, as much as people like to believe when they’re daydreaming about being Demi or Robert Redford.  Sometimes, maybe most times, it’s about being the only grownup in the room.

On Cursing and Being Cursed: a Hermetic Perspective

Unjustified curses are never as powerful as when they are justified.  This is because in order for a curse to work, the object of the curse has to resonate in sympathy with the curse on some level, usually subconsciously.  But when that person truly believes they do not deserve the curse, they will resist its vibration and the effect will usually be much weaker.

It works like this: the person performing the curse creates that vibration in her subjective universe as in any magical working (which I have at times referred to as “raising energy and putting it into a container”).  The vibration is sent through the Magical Link into the objective universe, where it waits at the periphery of the target’s aura, looking for a way to affect his subjective universe—the sum of all of his inner selves.  As with any type of magic done to influence another, the curse will vibrate in a certain way and attempt to cause a corresponding vibration in the target.

The third Hermetic Principle—that of “Vibration”—given in The Kybalion notes that:

All manifestation of thought, emotion, reason, will or desire, or any mental state or condition, are accompanied by vibrations, a portion of which are thrown off and which tend to affect the minds of other persons by “induction.” This is the principle which produces the phenomena of “telepathy”; mental influence, and other forms of the action and power of mind over mind, with which the general public is rapidly becoming acquainted, owing to the wide dissemination of occult knowledge by the various schools, cults and teachers along these lines at this time.  Every thought, emotion or mental state has its corresponding rate and mode of vibration. And by an effort of the will of the person, or of other persons, these mental states may be reproduced, just as a musical tone may be reproduced by causing an instrument to vibrate at a certain rate.  (http://www.sacred–

In this way, a curse will function by creating its vibration in the target, who will then radiate that vibration (usually without knowing it) into various aspects of his life.  All retribution and judgment begins with the Self or, as The Kybalion puts it in “The Principle of Mentalism,” “All is Mind.”

If the target, truly in the deep core of himself, believes he doesn’t deserve to suffer, he will resist the curse vibration on some level.  But, of course, to resist something is also to have a relationship with it.  This is how an unjustified curse can make mischief in the life of an innocent.  Essentially, by resisting, the innocent (consciously or unconsciously) accepts the reality of having to resist a curse and is then struggling against it and feeling some of its effects.  But those effects are usually short-lived, if still upsetting.

When the target has a damaged aura—i.e. a personality defect, a mental illness, a negative attachment, or an inner weakness—a curse will try to use that as a way to influence the target’s vibration, working through the place in his aura where it is harder for him to resist.  Magical workings (and curses are not exceptions to this) have a kind of intelligence to them—a guidance system that has caused some magicians to conclude that workings bring spirits to bear (whether the spirits are created, as with servitors and egregores  or simply attached to the work).

If a target has an unusually strong, resistant aura, a curse can be held at bay for a long time, sometimes even for decades, depending on the longevity of the curse and that of the target.  In the end, however, most curses will have to be dealt with somehow as only the weakest “blow over” on their own.  Legitimate curses (i.e. those not formed inadvertently through the psychic capacity of someone feeling extreme anger or hatred for another) can be complex works of magic with many contingencies and resources involved.  Like all magic, cursing is an art and should be taken seriously by those who feel they have been cursed.

The best way I know to deal with a curse is to have a competent spiritual worker cleanse and protect you.  Using our Hermetic model, this would amount to a magician, sorcerer, conjure doctor, shaman, priest, or other practitioner performing work that raises your vibration above that of the curse, causing you to radiate a beneficial energy and heal yourself.  Just as someone can be influenced to vibrate negatively, he can be influenced in the opposite.

For those who know what they’re doing spiritually (and / or who many not want to pay someone else), here are some texts on magical protection: Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune, Protection and Reversal Magick by Jason Miller, Magickal Protection by Damon Brand, The Witch’s Shield by Christopher Penczack, and Practical Protection Magick by Ellen Dugan   I am a bit skeptical of the last two texts on this list, but everyone has a different experience with magical books and you might find any of these helpful.

Friends & Enemies

In his excellent, Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, Don Webb writes:

Curse your real enemies.  Look over the year.  If you do have people who are really and truly threatening you, your family, your School let that energy fly before New Year’s Day.  Look over the year.  If you find that certain people have been a great help to you Initiation, send them your magical blessings.  This isn’t altruism, this is paying back, which is a Left Hand Path virtue.

A magician spends his entire life walking the line between virtue and vice.  A magician is a scholar, always seeking out the curious link between the arcana of the Self and the arcana of the world.  And a magician is a natural philosopher, as in, a philosopher by nature and a philosopher of what is natural.  This is why magic is one of the highest and hardest arts to understand.  This is also why it is one of the most dangerous.

Being able to reach across the magical link between subjective and objective paradigms gives the mature, responsible sorcerer an immense ability for causing change.  Unfortunately, it gives reactionary immature magicians—who may often have highly developed minds, the ability to focus, and a healthy respect for magical research while remaining underdeveloped emotionally and interpersonally—the ability to soil the lives of anyone with whom they come into contact.Consequently, when someone skilled in the magical art decides to take an innocent out of commission, it’s an unquestionable travesty.  It seems even worse when an experienced magician is put under the table by an amateur.  If this can happen, the victim almost deserves it.  And it shouldn’t happen.

If you practice the magical arts for any length of time, you come across a wealth of uncrossing and protection spells.  Maintaining good magical defenses is one of the classic preoccupations of all spellcrafters, from the bone-chewing dirt-in-the-hair shaman to the ascot-wearing pipe-smoking-in-the-drawing room ceremonial magician.  

Personally, having practiced the magical arts most of my life and having operated under the auspices of several magical groups, I can say without a doubt that I must have learned ten (that I can think of at the moment) different methods for uncrossing, banishing, reversing, avoiding, and otherwise subverting malefic metaphysical assaults.  And I have read about many more in my various grimoires and studies of magic. So it made no sense when recently I found myself wondering what was going on.  

For the last week, things seemed upside down.  My significant other’s temper was on a hair-trigger.  A number of people at work seemed suddenly very irritated around me for no reason.  Things started breaking.  I would catch myself feeling deeply depressed or thinking very unkind thoughts about people.  I began to develop health problems I’ve never had before.  Problems at work.  

Problems with bureaucracies.  Problems everywhere.I could have attributed all of this to the chaotic vicissitudes of life had one other thing not fallen into place: it suddenly became impossible for me to observe my daily spiritual exercises and meditations.  The daily rituals I have practiced for the last sixteen years are an indispensable cornerstone of my life.  I believe they have kept me from any number of negative situations and behaviors over the years.  In short, being mindful is what keeps me healthy, happy, and sane.  Sure, I’ve burned out before and sometimes I’m too tired or I have to be somewhere or whatever.  I will upscale or downscale my practices and periodically modify my daily work to include some new technique and delete some other.  But the core curriculum is always the same.  The only time this core gets disrupted is when something or someone external to me is interfering.  

I know this like I know myself, which is to say, pretty damn well.Naturally, when I began blanking out in the middle of my rituals, getting interrupted, finding it nearly impossible to concentrate on visualizations I mastered long years ago, I got suspicious.  Just to be sure, I performed a divination, which indicated that I was indeed being fucked with.  I summoned a friendly spirit and asked for corroboration.  The spirit confirmed what I suspected: someone was using witchcraft to ruin my life.I am not a paranoiac.  And the fact that I had no idea who this could be only made the situation worse.  

It’s very easy to neutralize an amateur if you know who it is and the heavy-hitters are usually mature enough to know better.  But not knowing the whowhy, and exactly what added an additional layer of complexity to the problem.  I asked the spirit who it was and the answer shocked me.  I couldn’t believe this person—who I knew only in passing and with whom I have only ever been polite—could be a magical person at all, much less using witchcraft to attack me.  I decided to engage in some minor protection / banishing magic and wait in order to be absolutely sure while I performed a working to see the inner side of the person in question.

Normally, I do not intrude in people’s minds—mostly because the average human being is not that interesting.  Nine out of ten people one meets in life will be hiding a few sexual fetishes, will suffer from self-doubt and a certain degree of insecurity left over from their formative years, and will feel angry and frustrated about at least some aspect of marriage, job, and extended family.  We might call this the “medial level” of the average personality—what people mask with politeness and other social conformities.  It doesn’t take a mind reading spell, highly developed empathy, or other psychic sensitivity to know about these things.

The deeper “inner child level” in people is much nicer.  It’s the part that never grows up, the part that wants to love and be loved.  When you see a kitten or a puppy, you see something analogous to the human inner child—an innocent.  

But that gets old, too.  And the more superficial layers tend to banish compassion when you are able to see the disparity between who they are and who they could have been.However, there was something I needed to know.  I was on a mission because there is nothing worse than retaliating against someone who doesn’t deserve it because you were too lazy to do the magical spadework.  So I performed the working to reveal the thoughts of this person and I went to work the next day.  Sure enough, I could sense an “envelope” of tension around her that I had never noticed before.Without getting too specific, I work in a very competitive industry with a lot of creative, driven people.  I am that way and so is she.  

But there are certain lines one doesn’t cross.  Even though this woman was in direct competition with me for a promotion, and probably deserves it just as much as I do, I’m good.  I know I’m good at what I do.  In fact, without bragging, I can say I am downright formidable even without magic to augment my skill set.  I also know how good she is.  She often makes mistakes.  She’s competent, even inspired at times, but she can trip up.  I’ve seen it and so have others.  Knowing this, a picture started to form.As the day went on, my divinatory working began to simultaneously clarify her mind, emotions, and overall energy in my eyes such that I paid even closer attention to her (subtly, from a distance).  Whenever she passed by or had any interaction with me, I got a burst of frustration from her, negativity, and anger that eventually resolved into a crystal-clear understanding of how she felt.  

She is a single mother and could have probably used the forthcoming promotion not only in an upwardly mobile careerist sense but simply for practical reasons. More money means more security in an industry that doesn’t offer benefits or any other kind of extras.  Moreover, she felt intimidated by me and decided it was unfair that we had to be in competition with each other for the position.I had never paid attention to her enough to notice that she gave off a weak hint of magical energy—some kind of development which was minimal enough to go unnoticed yet which was unmistakably there when I focused on it.  Why, I asked myself, wouldn’t she use her developing awareness of magic to attract what she needed instead of trying to take out the competition?  Hadn’t she learned that the world is as abundant as we need it to be and that everything a person desires can manifest if one only allows it?  Maybe she couldn’t see how such a thing could be possible in her situation.  

I don’t know.  The principle of limited resources seems a touchstone for this new century, and it is certainly easy to understand how even witches could inherit a combative mentality.In any case, I arrived back home with work to do.  I didn’t (and still don’t) blame her completely for doing what she did.  Further divinations revealed poppet work, some kind of watered-down Wiccan adaptation of a hoodoo path-closing ritual.  While my scrying is not so perfect that it can always provide a photorealistic vision, my efforts this time seemed fairly specific.

Moreover, it’s not that she botched her working.  It’s simply that she was not strong enough to punch through the defenses I maintain on a regular basis.  This tells me that (1) she didn’t know or care that other people could be more magically advanced than she was (or perhaps she didn’t fully believe in magic deep down); (2) she had no appreciation for divination, which would have warned her away from screwing with me; (3) she had no idea that her magic could be traced; and (4) she was not advanced enough to see the utility in drawing good things toward her instead of causing bad things to happen to her competitor.

While I don’t want to discuss the exact countermeasures I put into play, I can say that my life is now back to normal.  I did pay her back, but not in a lethal or negatively life-altering way.  Rather, I neutralized her work and set her something just nasty enough to give her an idea of what she was actually doing. 

Then I performed distance healing on her.  In fact, I hope she makes it through these hard times, and if I can help her, I will—not out of a misplaced sense of altruism but because she provided an occasion for me to think about these issues and write about them.  No real harm was done, and we’re both wiser as a result.  So I am paying back in a very real sense.  It is important and necessary in these unforgiving times.