In college, I was hexed by a student witch. I can’t say I didn’t deserve it. As an editor of the student paper, I took my power too seriously, and I refused to remove her name from an article about pagans on campus. After I denied her request, mutual friends said, she cursed me.
A few weeks ago, I came down with a sudden cold, the intensity of which I hadn’t experienced since my days of living in a moldy frat house. While downing my fifth glass of orange Emergen-C, I learned the witch who hexed me was in New York visiting a friend. Her spell had, I assume, increased its potency with every mile closer she became. It’s wrapped around my chest like a too-tight American Apparel tee.
It’s been over two years since she hexed me. It’s time to end this curse.
Research tells me there are several different ways to break a hex, rom letting a cut lemon dry out to calling upon Archangel Michael while holding a celestite crystal. Who knows which spells actually work and which are wasting my Key Foods produce?
For help, I reached out to pagan witch, high priestess and author Patti Wigington.
My first question: What’s the difference between a hex and a curse? They’re mostly interchangeable, Wigington says, but they can have different lifespans. Both are “magical actions designed to really screw up someone’s life. A curse can mess your life up big-time for years, while a hex is typically just a series of inconveniences that cause you problems,” Wigington says.
What about a binding spell? That one’s a little different. A binding spell is a preventative measure, like securing the hands of someone who may cause harm. To bind someone, you wrap cords around a poppet of that person. “A lot of people seem to like binding magic as a response to a curse or hex because it feels more like self-defense than an offensive attack,” Wigington says.
One of the most popular solutions is a mirror spell. Take an identifier of the person who cursed you, like a printed Instagram photo (witches are online now, of course), or even their name on a piece of paper, and place it into a box lined with mirrors. You can also tape the token to a hand mirror, facing the glass. If you really want to feel like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, smash the mirror with a hammer after the spell is concluded and the hex is broken.
Another solution is to create a decoy: a poppet — or even an egg — that represents you and will house the curse in your place. Put the decoy in a box, drive to an open area, light it on fire and shout, “The curse will be consumed with the flames!” (This spell is for only responsible witches and warlocks who won’t get the police called.)
If all fails, try Hoodo magic, a folk tradition of herbal healing. Bathe in hyssop, rue and protective herbs or burn the Uncrossing incense blend of salt, sage, frankincense and other magical goodness. Whatever you do, be direct. “The key here — as in all spellwork — is to say what you want as an order, rather than a request,” Wigington instructs.
But the real trick to losing the hex, Wigington says, is to look within yourself, release some positive vibes and — this is important — stop resenting the person who cursed you. Then, have faith and assume the negative energy you’re experiencing will stop.
How do you know if it’s worked? “If you don’t see a difference in anything within 28 days (a full lunar cycle), it might be time to hit it again harder,” Wigington says.
After all this, I learned I can’t be upset with the classmate who hexed me. I’ve been looking at it all wrong. It was the student witch who was trying to correct an injustice, fearing, perhaps, that her Google results would give a potential employer pause. By hexing me, she was regaining the control over her name that I’d taken.
Pam Grossman, host of The Witch Wave podcast, recently told the New York Times that modern witches don’t get power from others. “She has power on her own terms. And because of that, she is, I believe, the ultimate feminist icon.”
So, student witch whose name I won’t mention again to gain clout, I’m taking Halloween as an opportunity to apologize. I shouldn’t have dismissed your concerns or taken your search results lightly. Please forgive me, and pizza is on me the next time you’re in town.