Attitudes Towards Potential Harmful Magical Practices in Contemporary Paganism - A Survey
Keywords:Ethics of magic, hexing, Contemporary Paganism, harmful magic, healing magic, stigma, community stigma, discrimination
In 2016, a group of witches organised a mass online hex against Brock Turner, the “Stanford Rapist,” in disgust toward his crime and unjust punishment. Responses to this event demonstrate the enormous diversity in Pagan’s opinions regarding the use of hexes, curses, or other forms of potentially “harmful” magic. The research outlined in this article consists of a qualitative survey which sought to identify these differences in opinion and the reasoning behind them. Results demonstrated that Pagans’ attitudes towards potentially harmful uses of magic fell into four distinct categories. It appears that fears of misjudgment and discrimination are very present amongst many within the community, which has led to some individuals attempting to conceal any practices that may be deemed harmful, or “evil,” by outsiders. Additionally, some choose to abstain from using harmful magic due to fears of harm returning to them. However, a significant proportion of Pagans today are in fact open to engaging with potentially harmful magical practices, as long as they can in some way be channeled to provide an outcome that can be deemed positive and/or healing.
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