I have been studying magic for about ten years now. I’ve successfully been practicing it for probably half that. And when you get down to it, I’ve only really gotten good at it in the last 3 or so months.
I got into magic because I liked it. It was cool, like what you read in books, and to this day I still think you might be able to cast a real fire ball if you worked at it hard enough, and figured out the secret. I’m not there yet, though. The reason I’ve only gotten to where I am in all that time, however, is because I didn’t really have a teacher. I mentioned this a while back, and it was something that got me and my now ex in a fight back then. Back then she felt she was my teacher, but in the end she taught me a lot, but not much of it magic. However, she was a knowledgeable witch, with long years of practice. The man she ended up leaving me for is also a witch, with something like seventeen years of practice.
And there was something I learned about her, and him, along the way.
Some people, are elitist about their magic.
Well, perhaps that isn’t the most correct way to put it, however accurate I and others might feel about some of those we’ve run into while practicing. One could argue it’s the right hand path vs the left hand path, since much of the elitism was about methods as it was anything else.
I’ll give a couple of examples.
My ex suffered from a curse that would send her into agonized seizures. There were many night where I would wake up and hold her, rub her back, and try and comfort her through them as she endured pain beyond imagining. I tried everything I could think of to ease them. Runes, prayers, spells, anything. She wanted them to end. So one day I thought perhaps a signal was being sent to activate them, not unlike you see done with voodoo dolls on tv. It just so happened that I had read of a European spell that would work perfectly to block such a thing, and prevent other curses from making their way to her.
It’s called a witch bottle.
Witch bottles are typically the purview of hedge witches like Juniper the Hedge Witch. It’s down and dirty magic, and by that I mean half the time you’re getting into actual dirt. How you make a witch bottle is simple. You take a bottle, put some of your hair and your spit in it, maybe a little blood, throw in some iron nails, a couple other things depending on what you need protection from, and then you urinate in it, cap it off, and bury it. Nasty, but highly effective from what I’m told, and it might have been able to block the curse from hitting her.
She refused, because peeing in a bottle was disgusting. She later got the curse removed when her new boyfriend reached inside her head, grasped it, and ripped it out of her with all the subtly of a Mortal Combat Fatality, ripping who knows what else out with it. Certainly, her personality changed drastically afterwards, and not in a good way.
The second example also involves my ex’s new boyfriend. He has a curse as well, though this one is far more virulent and stubborn than what was in my ex. And rather than being focused in her head, this one is in his chest. He has tried everything to get rid of it for something like three years, but it always comes back. At this point in time I was trying to make the poly thing work, and hating to see the woman I love upset and hurt whenever the other guy was in pain, once more sought a cure. And I found it, in the form of a co-worker I’ve come to know and trust who is a chaotician, or however you say what they are. This was mostly because the night before I had tried to use a unique skill of mine to remove the curse, and ended up catching it in turn.
Let it never said that no good deed goes unpunished.
So through the day I’m suffering the agony of this curse. (to this day I can sometimes feel the after effects of it and of what followed. Mystical wounds take time to heal). But between me an Hel, I was beating it back. But I agreed with my co-worker that we could use what had happened to me and get the curse out of both of us. The ritual was simple. A few drops of blood from my ex, her bf, and me, a candle, and a blast of chaotic energy to catch the curse, throw it out of both of us, and into the fire to be cleansed. We had a chance to cure both of us in one shot.
They refused to take it because it used blood.
Now, blood is not something you want to use a lot of in magic. If someone has your blood, they have a hold on you. In fact, the curse on my ex’s bf probably got put on him by someone who drank his blood. But blood magic is powerful, and it can be useful if you’re careful. But to hear the ex and her bf go on about it, blood was the most evil kind of magic you could use and they weren’t going to have anything to do with it, all the while treating the man I had invited over to try and save this other guy’s ass like shit because of the type of magic he used and how he wanted to do things, despite the fact his spell had worked very well in the past.
By the end of the night a workable solution was found. I, in the meantime, had cleansed myself of all but the last dregs of the curse. I didn’t need the ritual to get it out of me. I’d done in a day what the other guy, with sixteen years of magical experience, couldn’t do in three years. But I allowed myself to be used as the receptor of my friend’s magical blast so we could then combine our power to push it out of him. We did it, with the end result being that the curse still remained in her bf, I had a gaping wound in my spiritual chest (that i’ve still got the scar from and am finally healing, if very slowly at times). And a couple of self satisfied people who told us it wouldn’t work. (But me and my friend learned why it didn’t).
Do I think it could have worked if we had done the spell the original way? My friend got a good look at the curse, and doesn’t believe so. I don’t think it would have hurt to, though. It did teach me that I’m still that same self sacrificing kid from my youth who will do anything, including let myself get hurt, in order to help those I love. It also taught me that just because you love someone, and want to help those they care about at great personal cost to yourself, doesn’t mean that they won’t be an asshole to you and the one you got to help them if they don’t like their methods or think that theirs are better, however ineffective those methods have so far been. To this day, I believe he still suffers from that curse. Probably will all the way until it kills him
When it comes to magic, I’m all about results. I don’t care what method you have to use, if it gets the job done, I’m willing to try it. Perhaps it’s a layover from when I was/became Evil. Perhaps the merc in me. Maybe it’s just the kind of man I am, willing to do anything for those I care about. Some people, however, aren’t like that. My ex and her bf aren’t the only ones out there. We’ve all met them. The people who insist their magical path is the best one, that those who practice something else are fools or deranged, or don’t know what they’re doing. Sometimes they will even claim that those they don’t like do not have any magic to their name. My friend had it said of him. I’ve had it said about me. “You don’t have the power, you don’t have the gift, I can’t feel it in you.” Hurtful words meant to steal away one’s ability to practice, sometimes even to live.
Magic is a dangerous field. A lot can go wrong, and a lot of bad things can be done. Do not cast a spell carelessly. But if you have a chance to save someone, shouldn’t you do everything in your power to do so, regardless of the risk, if you have the power?
Elitism is one of those tricky things. I do believe there are those that are better than others. We’ve all got a skill out there that we can do better than everyone else. But don’t let it blind you to the skills of others, or to tools out there that might save your ass.