A common theme on Ask a Witch a Question is the morality behind performing magic on another person without their consent. A lot of people seem to worry that they will have magic cast on them against their will or without their knowledge.
So I thought I’d explore my own position on this a bit in today’s blog post.
My views have changed over the last couple of years. Initially I was very live and let live and quite conscious of not treading on the toes of other people. But the more I work with magic, the more strongly I feel that if I can use it to achieve a benefit in my life then why shouldn’t I do so? As a fundamentally selfish individual, I’m all about making my life as easy as possible. If I can eliminate a few obstacles here and there, I’m going to do it
Also, working with magic is an intrinsic part of what I do. It’s hard to define what is or isn’t magic. There is no clear demarcation in my day to day business anymore. The magical part of what I do is tightly woven into the other parts of what I do. There is little discernable boundary. Standing on my welcome desk at work earlier today and giving every one of my customers a smile that makes them leave the branch happy is working a little magic in itself. But few people would object to having this kind of magic worked on them.
Admittedly, of late, my views have become a bit less sympathetic to others. Put simply, a lot of people (actually, most people) annoy me. Some on purpose, some inadvertently. Even those who don’t go around annoying me often get in my way. And if somebody impacts my life negatively then I am becoming increasingly less concerned with taking direct action to push them out of the way or stop them doing whatever it is that I don’t like them doing. So when the behaviour of another person affects me I am quite likely these days to interfere. I don’t really have a moral problem with this. I’m proportionate - I don’t go flinging curses around just because somebody gets on my wick (Unlike some witches I could mention….). In fact, for me to take an aggressive stance, you’d have to really go out of your way to be a thorn in my side. But in terms of manipulative magic or defensive magic, I’m quite happy to employ them where needed. Not that I’d advertise the specifics of course! (Also, if you know someone practises witchcraft and you go out of your way to irritate them, you’re kind of asking for it, aren’t you?)
I’ll give you an example. If I felt someone was nagging me, I’d work a spell to shut them up. I wouldn’t hurt them, harm them or punish them but I would ensure that in relation to me, they shut up. I might do this proactively by shutting them up or I might do it reactively by changing the effect their nagging has on me. Either way, I’d bring about a situation where it would bother me no longer. This, in effect, is using magic on a person without their knowledge. Opinions will differ widely as to whether or not it is acceptable. For me, it is becoming a much more acceptable way of conducting myself. For others it is perhaps an unjustified action. (To be fair, I’d look at my own behaviour too, if I’m doing something so stupid that the nagging is justified, just stopping doing it might be the answer to my problem!)
Malice is a different game entirely. I can be pretty tolerant with people who annoy me and exceptionally tolerant of people who affect me negatively for positive reasons of their own. If my feelings happen to be the “fall out” I can understand that. I’d never do the whole woman scorned thing and I’d never blame someone for putting their choices/feelings in front of my own. That’s just how life works. However, if someone displayed deliberate intentional malice toward me, I’d take a very gloves off approach. I’d be deliciously vengeful and I’d enjoy it deeply.
I’m very hands off when someone makes poor life choices that don’t affect me. I’m still of the mind that it’s probably none of my business what other people get up to. Some people make what I consider to be astonishingly terrible life decisions, but I’ve always been a believer in personal responsibility and hold the view that a lot of situations are down to the person to sort for themselves. There are exceptions of course. If my little niece ever got bullied at school, I’d interfere magically like a shot. Equally if someone asked me to interfere then I probably would. But I don’t have either the extreme arrogance to believe I know all the answers or if I’m honest the effort it would take to go round the world being a moral crusader. Its very hard to make choices for other people. People are complex creatures. You don’t know enough about them to know what the right choice would be to make for them. I’d be really angry if someone assumed they knew what was best for me and I would therefore hesitate to do it to someone else. I suppose I can imagine extreme exceptions where I might intervene in someone else’s life, but generally I’ll let people get on with it unless they a) get in my way or b) ask me for help.
The only time I ever do go on a moral crusade and proactively get involved with something that has nothing to do with me is when I go through the papers and do the odd curse here and there for people who have hurt animals. (You are so going to regret what you did to that hamster James White ….. and I mean really regret it). Possibly a bit vicious of me but it’s my little way of fighting injustice in the world. I’ve worried about the morality on occasion, the possibility of getting the wrong person etc. etc. But my eventual conclusion was what the hell, just do it. It serves them right and it makes me happy.
So really, I have my own personal rules and I rarely stray beyond them. I put myself very much at the centre of what I do and so I think do most people if they are honest. I don’t have the fluffy viewpoint of making the world a blessed and sugary place for everyone I meet, I’m primarily concerned with making my own life work for me. I do try to conduct what I do within some confines of morality and I do try not to permit neither temper or personal dislike to cloud my judgement but ultimately, I use who I am and what I do to get what I want. I don’t think this makes me any less lovely than the next person, just perhaps a little more honest……
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1109760 (mc kenna 7 1)
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