A Rambling About Curses

As a witch who is (somewhat) active in the community, I’m always prepared to deal with being hexed or cursed. It’s inevitable that I say something that someone somewhere doesn’t like or just my mere existence annoys them.

By and large, curses do nothing to me. I set up active protections against them with various fail safes and often the curses don’t even touch me.

But sometimes I let them.

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Burn baby burn

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Why the hell would I do that? That’s easy. I want to see what they’ll do. I want to see how far someone is actually going to go. I want to see how my protections alter, break, or mutilate the curse from it’s original form to what it actually does. I want to test my skills and meet somewhat head-on the person who wants to ruin my life.

The most honest answer is because they usually aren’t worth my time. Why would I go out of my way to answer what is, essentially, a minor inconvenience? Annoying, sure, but not worth me devoting time and energy to. There are always assholes in the world and most of them aren’t worth the time they think they’re worth.

If a curse slips through one of the openings I leave then I usually notice in a day or two that the effects have started. The effects are usually very minimal – shit breaking randomly, inability to get anything done despite attempts otherwise, and so on. It’s the kind of day where you say fuck it and go back to bed. It’s the magical equivalent of having to drive someone to the airport on short notice. You’re not mad about having to drive said person but you’d rather stay in your sweats and watch the last three episodes of your Netflix marathon.

I do have lines that I don’t allow to be crossed. For example, a curse might be more insidious than expected – often because the caster is a malicious piece of shit rather than doing something they feel is right or just. If a curse begins to act in a more serious manner or begins to hurt other people in my family rather than simply mildly inconveniencing me, then I destroy them. Just bouncing the spells back at them isn’t enough. I might actually break out the cursing materials and give them a taste of their own spells. And my curses rarely miss.

Keep in mind this: I actually would do considerable mundane harm to an enemy if there weren’t legal restrictions otherwise. I’m not afraid to say that. So when the debate “you shouldn’t cast a spell to do something you wouldn’t do without magic” I can actually answer, “but I actually would.” I am aware of that less-attractive side of myself. I acknowledge it and use it as needed.

It’s something to consider though. Why are you being cursed and how would you deal with those curses without your protections? How would you deal with that person if they decided to use non-magical means to hurt you? Don’t you want to see what they attempted to do? Sure, you can use divination but curses can be written to not be divined.

Curses are most often weakest after they’ve taken effect. People don’t think to protect the curse from being dismantled. They assume the curse will cause enough damage without taking that step. It’s like sending out heavy artillery without having ground troops to protect it – foolish and once destroyed, you’re fucked because you’ve pulled out the big guns and lost.

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My payment for services rendered today. Iron and brass.

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Maybe I’m just not a nice person or maybe I’m more combat-willing than other practitioners. I’m willing to use my magic to harm as much as I am to heal. I know that goes against many people’s practices but I think it’s certainly an option and point of view people should be aware of. We’re not all nice here. And we need to protect ourselves with that in mind.

Aggression cleansed at the crossroads

I glance at my phone in surprise because the person calling can’t have left my house more than a minute ago, if that. I answer with a smile in my voice, thinking they had forgotten something. Instead I get this:

“When I was coming out of your house and passed through the gate is slammed a bunch of times and I heard footsteps follow behind me to my car. Then I saw a face in the mirror standing outside my car by the headlights.”

I pause, taking it in. “I’m sorry.” I say immediately because it is a serious issue for a guest to be harassed when leaving my home. I may live on the crossroads but my guests should always feel safe coming to my home.

“Don’t apologize. I just thought you should know.”

I swallow down a second apology and after a few more minutes we end the conversation. I glance towards my window and extended my senses. Yes, something was there, something new that hadn’t been there this afternoon when I dealt with a different, friendly spirit that afternoon. This new thing was aggressive, tumultuous and dark, filled with a confusion of emotions. Not one of mine.

My brother and I are both practitioners. Both of us are mediums and channel spirits at will, we both see them and sense them as naturally as breathing. I have always preferred the non-human spirits but my brother’s craft is that of a necromancer. He works almost exclusively with the dead. Our home is located at the top of hill between two crossroads, one of which is a corpse road. We live directly behind a funeral home and down the street from a swamp. Since we both share a household we split the duties of dual crossroad keepers. I care for the non-humans and tend to the cleansing of the crossroads and keeping the household wards, as well as serving as seer and vigil as needed. He keeps the human spirits, of which we have a great many passing through and serves as backup and exorcist when needed. It suits us and our practices.

Since this aggressive spirit wasn’t one of mine, I climbed up the stairs and tapped on his door. “Test the boundaries.”

“What?”

I repeated my friend’s story to him. He sighs and has me fetch out his equipment since I was closer. He shifts around his violin and murmurs to himself, checking. He sighs again.

“It’s one of yours, isn’t it?” I asked. “We can’t have it attacking guests. That’s just rude.”

“I don’t know. I think some of my friends could use a spiritual kick in the ass.”

I laugh, because he’s not wrong. We negotiate a price for him taking care of the problem I noticed (rather than me doing it myself) and he gets ready to go cleanse the crossroads and chase the spirit away while I set about doing the dishes. The spirit was being tricky. It kept moving between the front and back of the house, causing my brother to have to cross the house twice to find it. During that time, I dropped my active barriers, offering one room of my house as refuge for the spirits that would be cleansed from the crossroads.  I felt the house flood with new energy but the spirit my brother hunted was too distracted to take advantage. Other spirits didn’t take up the offer, including the one spirit I warned my brother against sending away.

Finally my brother stepped outside. I felt him issue a spiritual challenge of sorts followed by a dull response. Then two pulses of energy and the crossroads were cleared. My brother came in and announced it was done. I nodded, thanked him, and we set about making dinner.

A while later I returned to my flat downstairs. Many spirits had slipped back through the hole in the wards to return to the crossroads, to go about their business now that we’re not interrupting them. Others hid. I bent over and glanced under my bed where a small, fat spirit with a large face quivered, just under the blankets.

“Is he gone?” The spirit asks.

I smile kindly, voice soft, non-threatening, and very fond. “Yes he’s done. He’s not that scary. We just needed to get rid of that aggressive guy.”

The spirit understands and I straighten as the spirit comes out. Others move from corners and make their presence fully known. The room plunges into the cold but I ignore it and turn towards the affected crossroad.

“Hm, he did empty it, didn’t he?” I reached out and pushed my energy out towards the crossroad. The cold, empty feeling of the crossroad warms significantly and the spirits begin to move towards it, pleased. No one thanks me but the feeling of gratitude is there. I didn’t expect anything else. The crossroad’s reset and now it’s filled with energy and life, the way it should be.

“You really are a good [redacted].”

I whip around as a different spirit than I expected stood behind me. It was of the same class, so to speak, as the one from this afternoon and the one I told my brother not to cleanse. I drew myself up and nodded.

“I do my best.”

“It’s good enough.” It says and moves towards the busy crossroad. There was a finality to its voice, a hint that I was examined and passed a test, even if I didn’t personally cleanse the crossroads. This was going to be a new thing, clearly. This class of spirits has taken an interest in me. Internally I sighed and sit down to eat my pizza.

[Another episode of living at the crossroads. Commentary paraphrased and certain names and titles redacted but the events and essence of conversation was real.]

Snippet from the Demon Feast

I slip my arm through his and nudged him through the grand doors and into the moonlight balcony gardens. The roar of the sea under us was great and the wind whipped across my flesh, instantly cold and utterly satisfying. I sigh with contentment, abandon him, and step up to the very edge of the balcony, the pressed sand wall pushing into my knees. Annoyed, I concentrate for a moment and the sand parts at my will. I take a final step closer, toes curling over the edge as close to the ocean as I could get without being in the water. I take a cool, deep breath and suck in the sharp salt air. Distantly through the roaring of the sea, I hear the dock hands and sailors on the ships that have anchored on the newly built docks, still mostly under construction and barely heard of. Soon, they will be bustling but for now they are empty, dreams that have been birthed but not yet started to live.

He is silent, as always, but watching me. I spin and smile at him. “I miss the sea.”

He waves with his non-sword hand, barely a gesture before the hand returns to a fighting post. Always ready to fight, my warrior. “We’re right here.”

I shake my head and step closer to him. “I miss the sea in my physical form. It’s too far. I need to bring it closer.”

He tilts his head. “You have a plan then.”

My grin is wicked and razor sharp. “Don’t I always?”

The Spirits That Serve and Busy Times

Radio silence was brought about by the busyness of my schedule (which I’ve added to the right menu, I believe). For the moment, I have a reprieve as this is the week of my birthday (June 6th) so much of my time is visiting with friends and family as well as renewing personal protections and goals.

I’m not going to talk about that much. Instead, I’m going to introduce three sets of spirits that work with me. (Also, congrats to me for making 50 posts. For those who caught it this morning, I made and deleted a test post for something that was technically the 50th post. I had to write a real 50th quick post to make up for it).

First, quick information. These spirits work alongside me. They’re not guides in the traditional sense although I suppose they could technically be termed that. They work for me and they get something in return. It’s a pact, not something done because they like me. (Well, they wouldn’t hang around me if they didn’t like me but you get what I mean.) A lot of this is wrapped up in my position on the other side and complicated with secrets and spoilers but essentially, I’m in a position to get them what they want so they work both for me and alongside me for my goals, whichever those may be at the time. I call them allies, vassals, or when I’m being snarky minions (but only if one remember the original etymology of minion being “dear one” and combining it with the common usage of “lackey”).

The Maidens – I have the least control over these spirits. There’s four to five of them, agender although they tend to appear as beautiful maidens for the most part to me. They aren’t hived minded but they think similarly enough, I believe, to be able to know what each other is thinking which gives the appearance of sharing a mind. They’re matchmaking spirits. It’s their thing. They enjoy messing about in the realms of love and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to do it. Patient and impatient, they have an Agenda and Plans and those Plans tend to muck up everyone else’s plans. They’re more focused on romance than sex however and that should be remembered. (Not that they don’t also have influence over sex, it’s just not a focus.) They also influence beauty, which is so closely tied to romance. They truly get people which makes them fabulous in other areas of life, like fashion. Honestly, they’re a bit catty but I love them for it. They are fierce entities who champion romance above all else.

Serrah – Serrah’s snarky and is what I’d call a crossroad merchant spirit. This is a spirit that parks itself at the crossroad and either sells wares or gathers and/or sells information at crossroads. They derive their energy from these crossroads and the energy of those passing through the crossroads. Nearly ubiquitous, they have a tendency to come off as slimy car salesmen most of the time. Serrah’s not oozing yet but he can be very smug unnecessarily. Still, he’s (and that’s just the pronouns he picked, he sometimes appears as a woman) very good for folks who owns a business as he can offer advice – for a price. Be sure to check the fine print and watch your words as he’ll use loopholes and mistakes against you far quicker than most spirits that double as guides. You may also want to check for a knife in your back, just in case betrayal is a thing.

The Warrior – Probably the most mellow-tempered and reasonable, the Warrior is just as he sounds: a warrior. Highly skilled, he was originally a human spirit who became something else. These spirits are the best to deal with for beginners as they’re easier to understand. While they aren’t human any longer, they tend to retain enough of their humanity to make it easy to work with. The Warrior in particular beat out several dozen other warrior-eque spirits for his current position. He (definitely prefers male form and pronouns) tends to variate in appearance but is mostly ghostly, which is somewhat odd in my experience.

Fox Guard House – An entire family clan of a spirits. Rather fox-like (hence the name), they are golden and are very similar to light or fire. They appear as bipedal foxes, a little shorter than five feet tall, and nearly identical to one another. Incredibly cunning. Take extreme caution when dealing with them. For a personal example, we made a deal and they were planning, as a whole, to murder me to get a better position, so to speak. I outmaneuvered them, reminded them why I am who I am on the other side, and then raised my original offer alongside the original pact. I fully expect them to attempt assassination again but it’s not a huge priority for them right now. Other lives to destroy elsewhere, for the moment.

So what do I do with these spirits? Since they’re in my employ, they do what I hired them to do. Serrah’s busy building up a port town in the astral, for example. The Warrior checks over battlements and ensures that the Fox Guard House doesn’t put their original plans of murdering me into effect. The Maidens just sit around and cause havoc in the name of love which is actually what I hired them to do. (Yeah, on purpose. It’s a long story) The Fox Guard House does what they can to connive others and be a general pain in the ass for other spirits. (Yes, this was also planned.)

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The storm clouds tonight are lovely.

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The thing with working alongside spirits is they have plans and agenda to see to. They have desires and goals and because they have those things, they can be worked with like any other being. Just be very careful because cultures are different and that can, of course, cause issue. When making a deal or pact with a spirit, be certain of the terms of exchange. Know what you’re expected to give up and what you’re getting. Know what ways that spirit can backstab you and take off with whatever you were to trade and what you came to get.  Working with spirits is absolute fascination and a lot of fun – there’s so many different things to see, learn, and talk about. I know I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Closing and the Leaving Festivals

Last night was the closing festival for my Demon festivals. It was the final Court day. And today marks the start of the Leaving. Well, until next year. Last night began a mass exodus for the next two days while spirits leave my area and festivities to return from whence they came. Some will be returning to their patches of the spirit realms, whatever those may be, and others will be returning to locales they’re from.

I feel like I should post a “Spirit Crossing” sign somewhere. Perhaps one day I will.

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Might need to touch up the sign a bit, hm?

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The last three and a half months have been amazing. The spiritual activity has been vibrant and full of import. Occasionally ridiculous and fun, mischievous and devilish. Other times it’s been sad, depressing, or inciting rage and soberness. These are all things I expect when working with spirits. I keep my doors open to all spirits, all demons, all fae. Everyone’s welcome, even the marked enemies. This is a time for celebration, for striking deals, for making plans, for avoiding and even waging war.

And deals have been struck. One new alliance has been founded, an assassination has been avoided, and another alliance and acquisition is in the talks and will likely be concluded before winter season truly begins. I’m grateful for what’s occur during this time and I’m fascinated, as always, by the political and social mechanisms of spirits.

The last few nights have been interesting around here personally. A lot of things have fallen over or been moved. Dials have been turned that haven’t been touched in years (like on the sewing machine), items placed at the bottom of the trash have mysterious been taken out of the trash, twice, once the trash can was knocked over, an empty drink can tossed across the room, and a towel thrown. Gravity could be to blame, certainly, but it is suspect. Additionally, the giggling and conversations that have been occurring around here when there is no one to be having said conversations is worth noting. The goblins are preparing to ride out, to bring their chaos and deviltry to others. You’ve been warned.

Other spirits, stronger, older, wiser, more politically strong or personally powerful spirits are preparing their appropriate entourages and preparing for their own journeys home. I wish them the best, sincerely, and hope to hear from many of them soon. (And, well, maybe I’m sort-of looking forward to the gifts I’m always given at the end of the season. Maybe.)

Most notably, because of this mass movement, those who are looking to work with spirits may wish to put out offerings for them. Just remember, because I work with all sorts, be sure to give a few days trial before setting but anything long-term. Just because they seem sweet in the beginning does not mean they always are. For example, those trash-throwing goblins also broke no less than four drinking glasses this season. In two days.

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Burn baby burn

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Seasonally, it’s starting to feel like the middle of fall. Jackets and coats are needed and sandals have been tucked away. Scarves are out in full force and whispers of snow tipple from the lips of news reporters. While we wait for the snow, pedestrians get their final warm days in, their shoes crunching in the brightly fallen leaves, taking in the beauty of the decay around them.

My next festival isn’t until the Feasting at the end of the month, where I bake up a storm to celebrate the United States’ holiday of Thanksgiving, but also invite friends, both human and not, to join in on new recipes, home brews, and delicious food. To celebrate our friendships, gossip and talk trash about since we’ve last seen each other. Some of the spirits that have been here for my Demon Festivals will be there was the Feasting and this further ties out alliances closer together. It’s also a great time to enchant food consumed by loved ones for their prosperity, wealth, and good health.

I love celebrating with spirits. I love enjoying their company without ever requiring them to give me something in return. And I love giving them the chance to interact and ask questions about humans that’s in a no-pressure sort of way. Sometimes spirits don’t want to be worshiped. They don’t want to help us, guide us, or even be offered something. Sometimes they just want to do the spirit equivalent of running to the store for milk. And my festivals, although sounds highly ritualistic, are actually just giant parties where spirits can let down their not-always-metaphorical hair and breathe.

But at the same time I’m very glad for the festivals to be over. Some things I’ve let slid since the festivals started, partially because I’m only partially here; there’s always some bit of me there, traveling and riding in the wild hunts, celebrating and raising a glass.

It’s been a good run. Now to start thinking about buckling down for winter.

Let’s talk servitors

I have a wide variety of spirits and beings that attend to me. I don’t work with them or for them. They work for me. Some run messages and collect gossip, others protect various things, a few have specific roles, and others still run business for me on the Other Side while I’m away. I have a small army of folks working for me. In trade for their services, I grant them various things according to our arrangements and, most importantly, protection.

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Reading ♡ Halloween Oracle

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I’m gathering from what I’ve seen on the internet this is somewhat unusual. Frankly, on the other side I have a huge tract of territory and people inside that territory. Mostly, they do their thing and keep what few laws I have and I leave them alone. They need help I help them. They don’t then I don’t. Simple.

Now, I tend to group things together. All spirits are spirits. They could also be demons, fae, ghosts, local deities, etc but I call them a spirit unless they have a specific title they want me to use. Most don’t bother defining themselves so I don’t bother defining them. I might have suspicions on “what they are” (whatever that means) but it doesn’t usually factor into anything for me.

Yes, all this is important for this discussion.

I also group all servitors, constructs, thoughtforms, egregores, and even some familiars together. If they are a being created by a person, they get dumped into this category. I actually use thoughtform, egregore, construct, and servitor interchangeably. But I also personally define them as separate things. Thoughtforms, for example, are creatures made of thought, usually for specific purposes. Egregore is a group thoughtform. Servitor is a created creature that serves while a construct is just a created creature without that desire to serve built in. Thoughtforms and egregores are purely non-corporeal and totally reside in the realm outside the physical (although they may exist in this physical realm.) Servitors may, but not always, be connected to an object or have a body whereas constructs, for me, will always have a body it cannot go far from.

These beings can evolve or go from one title to another. A construct can develop into a servitor and extend itself from its body far more than it should. A thoughtform or egregore can become servitor or construct. It’s all really fluid.

For example, I may make a construct for a spell. I might put together a clay poppet or something and place it at a crossroad to become a guardian of that place. I might make a construct to ruin someone’s life, literally creating a spirit who will torment a person. (Hey, I warned you all I’m not a nice person.) I might make a construct to protect someone.

Now I have a construct that is attached to some jewelry. I developed it so it would eventually work as a weapon and, with any luck, activate itself if I was in danger and didn’t know it or was unconscious. At first, I needed to be aware of its existence and truly activate it to get it to work. Over the last year or so, it has slowly but surely become more active, more self-aware, and more self-sufficient. It can now extend itself out of the body and home and it can be about a hundred feet from its body with no trouble so long as it remains on my body. I’m thinking that it could now ride storms if we had such storms at the moment.

Anyway, it has begun to develop its skills and has branched out from its original purpose to new ones – which is super awesome and exactly what I want. I’m totally OK with my servitors becoming self aware and eventually leaving my service if it so wants. Most people who work with servitors don’t like that because 1) that servitors know all your shit 2) it can become unruly and destructive if not properly cared for or malformed.

So why a servitor? It depends on the person themselves. I like having a servitor to watch my back. Often, my servitors remember shit way better than me and can remind me of shit I need to do. It’s companionship and someone to talk to. My servitors also are required to have some sort of attack. I like them to be able to defend themselves and me if necessary. If they are body-less and more free-moving thoughtforms, I send them on missions for certain things. To check the status of this herb in the wild or to find someone to serve my needs for something. They’re useful as shit – if you’re willing to do the work. Much like a pet or child, you have to train them, care for them properly, or they can become very destructive and unruly. And it really, truly sucks having to destroy what you’ve created like that.

It’s a pretty classic magician sort of thing. Familiars work similarly but I tend to find that familiars are spirits that find you not beings you create. Do you need one? Hell no. You don’t need a guide, familiar, servitor, or any damn thing if you don’t want it. It is a being that is useful but takes a lot of time and energy to make and create and if you don’t consistently care for it and forget it (which is super fucking common) terrible things like hauntings and nightmares can occur.

Spirit Kings

Spirit Kings

[UPG Alert! My opinions and UPG]

The other side has a hierarchy. Some places has courts as elaborate as you can imagine. Others are more territories where a being rules over their territory as they like.

Quick terminology is this: when I say king, I’m drawing up mental images for you. I use the word king specifically to relate to the exact mental image I want you to have. I’m not saying ruler. I’m not saying emperor. I’m not saying queen. I’m saying king. Specifically. There is no gender or sex for this term in this specific context, most because spirits rarely may any heed to gender or sex constructs.

Generally speaking, the more power the larger the size of the territory. Reasons for this power varies. Someone the power is all about how dangerous the spirit is. Other times it’s they’ve made enough of a reputation to not be messed with. Most often, they’ve killed, bartered, or manipulated their way there. Rarely, a spirit king takes up residence that has a skill or talent that makes them worth listening to and respecting. Fucking with that person annoys other spirits and can even cause wars.

Being the ruler of a territory is a perilous and precarious position. Once a territory is claimed or made, the mood of that territory changes, shifts to match the laws made and the king’s personality and moods. Very Fisher King like except not usually as dramatic (this isn’t entirely true, sometimes it is JUST as literal as that)

These are not beings to be fucked with. These are not beings to cross. Paid proper respect and all is (usually) well. But enrage a king in their kingdom? The very land itself will rise up against you

Why are there so many wars then? Because it’s easy? It should be noted that as well networked and liked as a king is, as many subjects they have or folk attend their court, there is only ONE person who fights for their throne. Them. The king has to defend their own kingdom with their own hands from a usurper. Sure, anyone can pick a side and join ranks to fight, many will be called upon to do just that because, hell, the point in war is to damage enough of the other side to make them submit. A territory vs. territory battle? Free-for-all. Half the times the rulers aren’t even fucking involved.

Spirit kings don’t tend to remain in one place either. They wander, rambling, and travel throughout their territory and visit friends elsewhere. You literally will never know who might be a king. There sometimes isn’t a way to tell. Despite being rooted in their territory, the itch to move and travel is often another cause for wars in my opinion and certainly is why they like to fuck with humans and travelers.

Sometimes those beings can make territories here, and connect their spirit territories with a physical location on this side. I’ll repeat that. They can be so powerful that they can make their presence and kingdoms known here. On this side. In this plane. You know when you think you’ve crossed into something’s territory but it’s so much huger than when you do it normally to other spirits and you feel eyes watching you, judging you? Yeah.

I’ve more to say on this subject but I don’t want to ramble on more than I have to.

Just something to think about when you travel about.

This is a tumblr repost that is really on point considering what’s coming up for me. And, because I don’t have as many people here as I do on tumblr, I’ll answer questions on this topic. Not every question may be answered as it might shift into personal and/or secrets and spoilers area.