In over twenty years as a fortune teller, practitioner of magick, and researcher on the occult, there’s one anxiety that never fades. The phone rings and on the other end someone speaks in a quivering voice. They’re clearly frightened, but hesitant to share the source of their worry. After coaxing them into revealing what troubles them, they confess to fearing they’ve been hexed. Bad luck has descended on them in the form of car accidents, a chaotic break-up or a business opportunity suddenly turned to ash. Furthermore, they know a jealous lover or rival has enough bad blood with them to resort to turning to the dark arts.
Hexes, curses or jinxes are essentially an intention of harm directed to another through spiritual or energetic means. A hex can be carried out by placing a cursed object in the target’s path, done remotely through candle burning practices or simply take place through an evil look (“ojo malo” as it’s known in Spanish-speaking cultures or the “evil eye” in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, for example.) A hex, or even just fear of a hex, carries with it the experience of dread. That very fear adds fuel to the source of our psychological torment. For as miserable as this sounds, there is a silver-lining: You are likely not hexed, even if you have valid reasons to suspect someone may not wish you well.
That can leave us in a very ambiguous place when sniffing out when harmful magick is genuinely at work. There are some things we can do to discern, though. These actions also give us opportunities for self-evaluation and introspection. By beginning this way, we’re already in the process of transmuting a hex, or alleged hex, into something fruitful and wisdom-giving. First, let’s challenge ourselves to think about our assumptions surrounding witchcraft and the practice of magick.
Depictions of witches have deeply embedded stereotypes surrounding them. Anna Kowlcze-Pawlik wrote in her essay “Vengeful Witches/ Angry Whores: Representations of Revenge in Popular Culture'', the sorceress has long been depicted as the “monstrosized Other, whose objectionable morality is expressed in transgressive desires and actions.” (54) A large part of our fears that vengeance is a motivation for witchcraft stems from ideas we inherited from religious dogma across many faiths. As Pawlik points out, the witch is associated with the “Other”; the person unlike us, whom we designate as evil.
Furthermore, Christian colonialists were anxious about retaliation from Indigenous populations implementing their spiritual traditions for protection on occupied land. This political history coupled the notions of revenge and witchcraft together very concretely. Regardless of our background, we may become imprinted with these biases. Let’s unpack whether we’re unfairly projecting any anxieties that come with baggage surrounding race, sexual orientation, gender or any other particular of identity. Feel pretty confident that you’re hexed still? Let’s move a step closer to the nitty gritty of witchcraft damage control.
Are we sure that the person suspected of cursing us is actually jealous of us, or do we kind of just wish they were? If you’re anything like me, you could stand to get over yourself just a little. Even reflecting on the practice of magick gives us plenty of room for growth, including balancing our ego. We are in that practice now by having an honest heart-to-heart with ourselves. Is it a sure thing that our rival is focused enough on us to hex? If the answer is “Yes, they’re obsessed”, then let’s move forward.
In my experience, one of the tell-tale signs that a legit hex is at work is when the target attempts to light candles only to find the wick is resistant to staying ignited. If this happens twice or more (double check that your candle isn’t just being finicky) you might have a curse on your hands. Experiencing dreams in which an unwanted presence–either of the person who hexed you or a spirit which feels tense–is another strong indicator that genuine magick is in motion. You may also be feeling that everything is simply going wrong. Sometimes the negative events may even be traumatic. Don’t worry, it’s possible to stop this chaos.
The best offense is a strong defense. There are lots of available resources on protective work to accommodate your belief system. Listed are both practices and tools, such as the ones Sage and Salt carries. My favorite listings are the Witches Salt and Evil Eye Candle, crafted using traditional folk magick techniques for efficacy. For those comfortable with religious texts from the Christian and Jewish faith, reciting Psalm 93 of the Bible has been historically used to vanquish the work of enemies. Psalm 9 is also used, along with the burning of red and white candles. For an in depth ritual that’s clear and concise, I recommend Raymond Buckland’s classic “Practical Candleburning Rituals.” Verses 51-52 of Surah Al-Qalam in The Quran are also used to vanquish jealousy and evil in the Muslim faith.
If you decide you’d rather not take matters into your own hands, visit a reputable metaphysical retailer or botánica with knowledgeable staff. If any personnel makes you feel worse, or like a spell reversal is going to be a major financial commitment, they’re not dealing with you honestly. Head for the door. Although spell reversal work takes labor, at no point should it break the bank.
Last but not least, the mechanics of a hex rely mainly on the victim's own faith in it to stay active. Our consciousness is strong enough to empower a hex–which is why the more anxious and fearful we are of it, the more it consumes us. The less we fixate on the ill intent placed on us, the more it shrivels into nothingness. Never underestimate the potency of your own mind. Use that power to serve you, not sustain the ill will against you. You have the capacity to determine your own fate. You are the magick and strength, always.