“Am I cursed?” Because I am (I guess) sort of a professional Witch these days, I get this question from time to time. Because of the ubiquity of “white” (i.e., benevolent) witchcraft—and the efforts of modern Witches to clear the air—you might think that Witch paranoia was a thing of the past.
However, my blog’s comments and email inbox tell a different story. Lots of people believe they may be under a curse or enchantment cast by a Witch. And they’d like to get to the bottom of it.
I Googled it real quick to check up on the collective internet wisdom. Surprisingly, the answers to “How do I know if someone is doing witchcraft on me?” seem to fall into two categories:
- Witches aren’t real. Don’t be silly.
- Oh yes, there’s a great and evil curse upon you. Give me $500 and I’ll fix it.
I feel like this topic deserves better. As Witches, we believe certain things are observably true—like, that magick gives us a degree of influence over the world. If you have the power to affect others through magick, then it’s only logical that other people have that power, too. And maybe sometimes they choose to exercise it. Maybe even on you.
It’s certainly reasonable to want to know when you’re the subject of a magick spell, especially a negative or coercive one. If you don’t know about it, you can’t counter it. (At least, not specifically.) Pre-warned is pre-armed, as they say.
It’s a legitimate question. It’s just not an easy one to answer. There is no psychic litmus test that will give you a result of “magick present/not present.” The best I can do is offer a list of signs that manipulative magick may be at work in your life.
The last thing I want to do is incite witch hunts, so I’ll throw in one last word of caution. My answer to the question, “Am I cursed?” is usually “Probably not.” I could go into a lot of boring details about why that is, but it really comes down to the following three counter-hexing principles:
- Real magick is hard.
- Your own will is powerful.
- Nobody really cares enough to curse you (probably).
Still, that’s no consolation if you really feel that you’re being peeped at by the evil eye. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may indeed be crossed, jinxed, hexed, spellbound, or bewitched:
You have a lot of Witches as friends (or enemies).
In certain locations and age groups, there may be dozens. The more magickal people you have in your social circle, the more the probability approaches certainty that someone has, at some time, done some kind of spell involving you. It’s not a big deal. You just accept it, the way you accept that someone’s probably talked trash about you at a party, or masturbated about you.
Remember: Just because someone is a Witch (or claims to be) doesn’t mean they have the skill or motivation to influence you in a negative way. (See counter-hexing principle #1.) Also, the Witch who is adept enough to do harmful magick is also usually adept enough to know better.
You’re on a string of bad luck that just won’t end.
In Hoodoo, it’s referred to as being “crossed.” It’s not just about having a bad day—it’s one bad day after another. No matter what you do, nothing seems to be going your way. Underlying all the frustration is a nagging feeling that someone (or something) is out to get you. Traditional “uncrossing” rituals are designed to shake off the bad juju and get you back on your feet.
Bad luck is not, in and of itself, a sign that you’re under a curse. It could just be that Fortuna is pissed at you at the moment. It could be a mundane group of events outside your control that are causing your current misery. It could also be that you’ve been sabotaging yourself—with or without outside help.
Signs and synchronicity suggest that a curse is at work.
Magickally charged bad luck can be difficult to distinguish from regular bad luck. But sometimes, little things happen that will clue you in. If you pay attention to these omens, you may receive clues about the nature of the spell and the direction it’s coming from.
You see, while some cowardly Witch may be able to hex you without your knowledge, nothing is secret to the Universe. One observable fact is that truth, like the bubbles in champagne, always tries to reach the surface. Another observable fact is that Big Mama Universe has a mighty sense of humor about magick.
Let’s say you get splashed by a speeding car on a rainy day. That’s just crappy luck. But if you get splashed by a speeding car with a license plate that contains your enemy’s initials, then your dog picks a voodoo-doll chew toy up from the wet curb and hands it to you, then you grab a magazine to dry off your boots and the first page you see has a mummy movie poster that says “CURSE!” in drippy letters…well, I wouldn’t rule it out.
Your photos and personal stuff have gone missing.
Negative spells often hinge on having access to the spell’s intended target (or their property). A photograph, a piece of jewelry, a bit of hair or clothing or bodily fluids—all of these are classic ingredients in spells both good and bad. But they are even more critical in enemy work, when the spellcaster needs to make absolutely certain their bad juju sticks to the right target. The Witch may use these items to link a poppet or candle to the target. Alternatively, they may bury or hide spell components at the target’s home or workplace.
If you catch someone trying to obtain your personal effects on the sly…well, that person is either a klepto, a weird fetishist—or perhaps, a scheming sorcerer. There are areas of the South that are still steeped in Voodoo/Hoodoo. Some people there are reluctant to have their photo taken or leave their hair clippings at the barber shop, for fear that they may fall into the wrong hands.
Do you have enemies with hex-casting skills? If your things have gone missing from your office desk—or worse yet, your gym bag—it might be time to get worried.
You’re interacting with a person who does witchcraft all the time.
Yes, it’s true. Some people use witchcraft every waking moment in order to get their way. Rather than candles and oils and whatnot, they use powerful personal energy—which is a lot more subtle. So subtle, in fact, that they do it right in front of you. The occult term is enthrallment. Non-occultists might describe it as charisma or persuasion.
Enthrallers work their magick by either sapping you of your energy so that you feel bad, or infusing you with bursts of their own so that you feel good. (Sometimes both.) They are energy workers of a sort—though “serious” energy workers don’t like to give them that designation. Not all of them are Witches. Many become performers. Many become salespeople. Some enthrallers act like narcissistic or manipulative people, but they can also be quite pleasant. At least, until you realize you’ve been had.
I bring them up because interacting with enthrallers can make you feel like you’ve been put under a spell. Psychically sensitive folks may even feel violated—like the enthraller has literally been inside your head or slimed you with their energy. Fortunately, unless the psychic manipulator is a true badass, their power is usually limited to their immediate presence. Once you leave, they will move on to the next target.
You’re having thoughts, visions, and emotions that aren’t your own.
I have to be soooooo careful with this one—because many of these same experiences are signs of mental illness. If your thoughts or visions are telling you to hurt people or yourself, please put the candles down and get some professional help.
However, there are forms of magick (and empathy/telepathy) that can have strange mental effects. Sudden thoughts, unusual urges, intense feelings out of nowhere? If you’re normally a pretty level person, they can be a clue that someone is magickally messing with your head. It helps to take stock of your energy levels and emotions on a regular basis. That way, you’ll know when you’re off your baseline.
Negative magick can leave you feeling physically drained and miserable. But so can a bunch of other, more mundane ailments. It’s best to rule out other causes before settling on psychic attack.
You sense the presence of someone else’s magick.
It’s the most obvious, but probably the most effective way to tell if you’re caught up in an active spell: You just feel it. Magickal energy has its own particular smell and taste. With a bit of experience, you can often tell when a foreign energy is swirling about. It could manifest as a feeling of being watched, or a sudden odor, or a nasty feeling hanging in the air. If you’re psychically skilled, you may even be able to see or feel who’s responsible in your mind’s eye and/or energetic body.
Dreaming about a person can be a clue that their energy is tangled up with yours. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ve cast a spell on you. Dreams can be triggered by anxiety, worry, attraction, or just random thoughts. But they can also be a cue from your psychic mind that someone is intruding on your headspace.
There are all different ways that people work invasive or coercive magick. But they necessarily leave energetic snail trails back to their source. If you suspect foul play, try scanning your body for energetic cords and other attachments that shouldn’t be there. You can use divination or scrying to sniff out the origin of the disturbance. If all else fails, try doing a revealing spell and ask for the truth to come to light.
Final thoughts on detecting magick
As I’ve already pointed out, negative magick is extremely rare in real life. Although it’s not impossible that you’re dealing with a curse or hex, it is unlikely.
Before you let fear or anger take over, calmly consider the answers to the follow questions: Is there someone with a reason to cast a spell on me? Do they have the occult interest/ability to do so? And, is it actually affecting me? Make sure your assessment is motivated by information (the logical kind and the psychic kind), and not by paranoia or distrust.
If you determine that you are being affected by someone else’s magick, you do have options. You have the ability to cut off intrusive energy and reclaim your power. Protection, reversal, and binding magick are all ways that Witches can counter aggressive spells. Each of these types of spells have subtlely different aims and results, so consider carefully what it is you want before retaliating. You can also take comfort in the knowledge that harmful magick brings negative consequences to the sender sooner or later.
Image from Wellcome Trust Limited (GB) via Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons license (some rights reserved).