The Ethics of Cursing

Written By: Rachael Stone

It may be best to start by talking about something called the Wiccan Rede. The Wiccan Rede is a set of rules – although it actually functions more as a guideline in today’s society (and admittedly, not every witch or Pagan follows the Rede). (Wigington, “The Wiccan Rede”)

Among those who do follow the Rede there is a lot of room for interpretation. For example, the Rede mentions following “the Threefold Law” (aka the Rule of Three). This is basically the idea that everything you do comes back to you threefold. If you put good things into the universe, then good things will come back to you – but if you put bad things into the universe, then bad things will come back to you.

This isn’t a bad concept, it can help make sure people stop and think before they act. After all, even if nobody is being turned into a frog it still isn’t fun to have people flinging around curses and hexes all the time.

However, as I said, there is room for interpretation and there are a good few various meanings different groups believe in. In some traditions the Threefold Law can be used to give back what you receive. “In other words, what other people do to you, you are permitted to return threefold, whether it's good or bad.” (Wigington, http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccaandpaganismbasics/a/Rule_of_Three.htm “The Rule of Three”)

Rule of Three aside, there are many conflicting views on whether cursing should be done at all. At the end of the Wiccan Rede it is said “An' it harm none, do what ye will”, so there are people who believe cursing should not be done at all because of this (some apply this not just to magic, but to everyday life, so are unwilling to even harm insects). In some practices cursing is “considered as routine as healing and protecting” (Wigington, http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccaandpaganismbasics/a/Rule_of_Three.htm “The Rule of Three”). Others, meanwhile, insist that cursing or hexing is only appropriate in certain circumstances.

Wigington, Patti. “The Wiccan Rede.” About Religion. About.com, n.d. Web.

Wigington, Patti. “The Rule of Three.” About Religion. About.com, n.d. Web.