(H) Hexes

So… the other day, after about 40 years of allowing it to be used freely among the Pagan community, Z. Budapest decided to reclaim her chant “We All Come From The Goddess”, and request that others refrain from infringing on her copyright and more importantly stop altering it, especially in ways that add any sort of “men”/”God” related words to it.

On the surface while it seems a bit silly to be worrying about it at this late date,  it can be understandable that an artist doesn’t want their work to be used without their permission especially for monetary gain. What takes this from mere silliness, to the realm of downright crazy, is the following statement that she made… “You steal my song from now will have consequences. You put men into the song, like God,a hex will be activated.

I actually find it rather ironic in a way, because the Wiki page for Dianic  Witchcraft (which I know, Wiki isn’t always the greatest source) states the following… “Dianic… as “positive path” practitioners do neither manipulative spellwork nor hexing because it goes against the Wiccan Rede; other Dianic witches (notably Zsuzsanna Budapest) do not consider hexing or binding of those who attack women to be wrong.”  So, taking into consideration that the Rede is often misunderstood, and that not everyone follows it anyways (especially Witchcraft Traditions which don’t actually have anything to do with Wicca, despite often being misnamed as such), I really have to ask… was a hex really the first thing that sprang to mind in this case? Did she really feel that adding masculine energies, or adding a verse about the God was an “attack on women”?

To be fair, she has since recanted, stating that the original post was “tongue in cheek”, which I have to admit I sort of doubt, and the general consensus seems to be that at this point she’s just trying to do a bit of damage control after all the backlash from her original statement. In general, I don’t think it matters much what she says anymore, as she’s probably lost what little (if any) respect anyone had left for her, considering all the other messes she’s been stepping into the last couple years. However the story did give me a good starting point to this week’s topics – Hexes.

On a personal level, I’m more or less neutral when it comes to the idea of hexing. Even though I’ve been in some pretty rough situations, I’ve not (as of yet) ever felt the need to put a hex on anyone, but I don’t really have any issue with someone who might do so, if there was proper justification for it. There seems to be this huge… “OMG you can’t do that!!” mentality that is pervasive in Neo-Pagan Traditions, particularly amongst those who believe in some form of the Rede. However as mentioned above, the Rede is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts that has been appropriated from Wicca (I’ll go into much more on that when we get to “R”), and despite many claims to the contrary, it does not actually prohibit hexing, or any other potentially “harmful” actions at all.

It still sort of begs the question though – what actions might justify resorting to hexing? In any magical endeavor (no matter what the purpose), it’s generally advised to do quite a bit of careful consideration before proceeding, and it seems rather clear that Ms Budapest may have missed a step or two in that process before issuing her original statement. Of all the potential ways of resolving that issue (or any issue really), I would think that a hex would be a last resort. The sort of thing, where you’ve maybe tried everything else you can think of – mundane and magical, and nothing else has worked. Especially if one believes in the TFL (Three-Fold Law), or some other form of “what comes around, goes around” – I hesitate to use the word Karma, because it too, is a word that has been very much misappropriated, and really doesn’t quite mean what most people think it means, at least not in the contexts they tend to use it in. Anyways… the point is that if you are wishing ill on someone else, even if it’s for a good reason (or what you might perceive as a good reason), you need to be prepared for, and be willing to take responsibility for the potential consequences of doing so.

Thankfully, Ms Budapest was just joking around (or so she says), but really it’s almost mind boggling to contemplate the consequences if she wasn’t. Assuming that she could have effectively invoked a hex in that way (and there seems to be plenty who doubt that she actually could), can you imagine the accidental harm that could have been done? A song that has been more or less in the public domain (whether it was meant to be or not) for 40 years, that has been regularly added to and altered to suit; a song that many Neo-Pagans probably teach to their children, or that they sing at gatherings, not even knowing who originally sang it, who have potentially never even heard of Z. Budapest, all suddenly hexed because of someone who was having a bit of a rant. What sort of consequences do you think she might have faced, if such a thing had occurred, and do you think she would have accepted any responsibility for her actions? I shudder to think.


(G) Gardens… of the Magical Kind

My mother was a true genius in the art of gardening. She could literally take a barren patch of dirt, and make it come alive – bursting forth with colorful blooms and greenery. A welcoming sanctuary for friends and family who often made their way to her door for a bit of that wonderful southern hospitality which she was also so well known (and loved) for. That her green thumb was not passed on to me, is lamentable, for no matter how many times I’ve tried, it’s clear that I really have no aptitude for gardening.

At this point you might be wondering why I would choose this particular topic, and the truth is, despite my obvious “black thumb”, I’ve always had a fervent desire to dig in the dirt and to make things grow. So if I can’t do it (not that it ever stops me from trying from time to time), at least I can offer up some tips to others, with the hope that they will have much more success at it, than I ever have.

Something to keep in mind, is that even if you don’t have a large yard (or a yard at all), it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have your own garden. It’s very easy to buy a couple of large containers, or even plastic tubs from Walmart will do in a pinch. In any case you first need to a little planning before starting out, so take some time to consider the following –

  • where are you putting your garden… will it be indoors or outdoors, large or small?
  • what’s your climate zone… is it warm and sunny for most of the year, or do you have all 4 seasons?
  • what sort of sunlight does the area get…do you have a really sunny spot, or will there be partial shade?
  • what’s the purpose of your garden… are you needing ritual herbs, or looking for more culinary delights?

Once you’d figured out your basics you can look to the buying of seeds and dirt (if needed), and to the actual digging and preparing the earth. If you are creating an outdoor garden and have plenty of space, you may also want to consider how you are going to design your garden – will it be a basic square, a circle, or maybe crescent shaped, or any combination that suits you. Will it be simply a functional garden, or will it be a sanctuary of sorts as well? Maybe with a few decorative areas where one can sit in quiet contemplation, or even a bit of space for a small solitary ritual.

Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Gardening is a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding as well – not only seeing the physical results of one’s work, but on a spiritual level as well.  Clearly not Pagan, but the following speaks true I think, and seemed fitting words to end this on…

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,–
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

Excepted from “God’s Garden” by Dorothy Frances Gurney