Wednesday, June 22, 2005


"Let's get this said first/I got my energies flowing/when curse comes to worst/I can get the curse going/but nature's law is karma/and I wanna keep growing/my revenge is living well/that's what I'm showing/to all enemies and haters/whose eyes and ears pass/a smile and a laugh/and a kiss my caramel ass..."

My best friend and former coven sister Maureen, also known as Yemaya O'Reilly, wrote that. Of all the explanations of how modern Witches approach cursing, I still like hers the best for its brevity and rhythm. I miss my coven sometimes. I'm looking for a new one, even though I'm a naughty Witch who treated the Summer Solstice more like Beltaine yesterday. I treat Independence Day more like my summer celebration. That will be a later post, maybe, if I feel like it.

I have mentioned in other venues that I think conservative Christian prayers for the "homosexual" to leave their lifestyle (or Witches, or atheists, or whatever), is akin to cursing, by almost any definition. Atheists and other Pagans found my comparison striking. I didn't mean it that way, but I knew I'd really hit upon something after it escaped from my fingers. This is the Merriam-Webster online dictionary's definition of the word:

Main Entry: 1curse
Pronunciation: 'k&rs
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English curs, from Old English
1 : a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one : IMPRECATION
2 : something that is cursed or accursed
3 : evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution

Anti-gay conservative Christians like to talk about love. Whenever they make any kind of undue effort to make queer peoples' lives more difficult, they call it loving. I just want to yell, "Love this, bitch!" It's an impasse, one that others have tried to cross, one that even I have tried to cross. But what they really want is to make it so difficult to do things our way that we have to do things their way. They compare their fellow adult citizens to naughty children who need their discipline. They talk about how sad they are for us. They want others to see us as childish, as diseased, as ignorant...anything but equals who have the right to self-determination, same as anyone else. Even people who claim to be all about God and not at all about self have at least made their choice to serve God, choose their home, choose their church, and choose their mate.

And their "love" leads to prayers like this one: Lord God, I just want to lift up the people who are caught up in the deception of homosexual behavior to you today. You love them so much that you sent your Son to die in their place for the remission of their sins, just as you did for mine. Thank you Lord Jesus for you mercy and grace! I pray that my witness about you, Jesus Christ, and all the witness of other Christians will in some way give them a change of heart and realize the need for their own personal repentance. We all need forgiveness for all of our sins, those we are willing to acknowledge as well as those we are not willing to acknowledge. I pray that their hearts will be quickened, even in the 11th hour of their lives, by your Holy Spirit that they need Jesus Christ in their lives and I pray that before their physical death they will repent of all their sins, even the one(s) they formerly were unwilling to acknowledge, and accept the gift of your mercy and grace, Lord Jesus, when they recognize your sacrifice for their sins on the cross. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever amen.

Let me offer a helpful interpretation.

What she is asking is for her God to make us want to leave homosexuality and bisexuality (that word doesn't come up, but they do mean us, too) behind. For many of us, that means leaving our mates, our families, our beloved stepchildren and pets, our homes, our communities, and our friends. It means leaving organizations. It may mean leaving a job. It means being confused about yourself; it means at least temporary loneliness.

If I used this space to ask my Gods to do all that to them, don't you know it would be held up as a case of a real live bad Witch cursing them, even if I coated it in all the rhetorical love-sugar I could find. It might even make it into fund-raising letters. And you know what? They'd be right. Absolutely and totally right. That's why I wouldn't do it. That and I truly don't hate anyone else that much, except for maybe Osama Bin Laden. I don't even pray for an end to ex-gay ministries or "pro-family" organizations, because that is praying for an end to someone's livelihood. (I can't say I wouldn't love to see a refocus, however, like the League of Women Voters morphing from a suffragette group to a very mainstream voting-education group.)

From Marion Weinstein's Positive Magic, my first NeoPagan book, I learned to understand that my words had meaning, all of them, and all of them contain a sort of magick. I may jokingly do things like "wish a yeast infection" onto someone, but I like to make it very clear that it's a joke for just that reason. Even when I was Christian (Assemblies of God, even!), I couldn't pray that someone leave something behind without adding, "if you have anything better for him or her, Jesus." Today, I use a magickal mentor's guideline--"you only curse in situations where you would use a gun or a knife." Thank the Gods, those situations come up very seldom in my life. I don't believe that simply being different merits any kind of metaphysical gun or knife.

I want to be what Russian people call "dushevnost", which my L'Ailee says I am in spades, at least when I'm not angry or completely depressed. It means having an open soul. Today, I looked up sites on Pagans and cursing. I found sites that contained so much hate. It's not just a Christian thing, I guarantee you that. It's a human thing--cursing comes from a soul that is tightly closed and clenched out of fear and hatred. It is something to fear for oneself and to pity in others. It is something to laugh at and ridicule, so that like any other ridiculous thing, it has no effect on you.

And I close this post on cursing with a blessing for all who are open to maintain their openness. I had a sudden vision of a dark, cramped sickroom, and a nurse throwing curtains wide open and unlocking the window. I can smell the breeze and feel the sweet kiss of Amon-Ra's sun on my face, even in the city--can you?


Nancy said...

I hope you never get mad at me or wish a yeast infection on me either! Yikes! LOL

Norm! said...

Although I find such Christian prayers regarding others to be patronizing at best and insincere at worst, I hadn't thought of them as a curse. However, it's easy to read between the lines to see what the true meaning really is.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

Blogzie said...

I have always considered it an insult when someone says they will pray for me.

When I am asked for my prayers, I always offer to send positive engery their way.

It's all I can really do...ya know?




Norm! said...

This reminds me of an incident last week at work. We used a new carpet installer at work. As we got to know him, my gay co-worker and I both noticed that he went out of his way to end each conversation with "God Bless!". Although I have to assume his blessings are well-intentioned, we both found it annoying, unprofessional, and even offensive. Afterall, what does carpet installation have to do with God's blessing?

What really bothers me is that I don't know the intention of his blessing. Does he "God Bless" everyone or just the hellbound folks (i.e. gays, Muslims, etc.)? Is he trying to win our Christian sympathy (i.e. a Christian carpet installer is better than a secular carpet installer)? Is he trying to evangelize to us (I don't know what religion he practices, but I would bet Evangelical Christian)?

I'm also trouble by my own offended reaction. Afterall, I really shouldn't be offended by someone "God Bless"-ing me at work. My reaction is obviously based on my own baggage and not on anything he did.

I wouldn't call his blessing a 'curse', but simply unprofessional and possibly rude for a work setting. Afterall, if everybody starts "God Bless"-ing at work than religious minorities may feel 'outed' by not "God Bless"-ing or using their own blessing "Allah Bless"; "Yahweh Bless", "Spirit of Live Bless", etc.

Somewhat ironically, actual curse (i.e. "G*d damn it", "F*ck you", etc.) usually have nothing to do with God and are intended as a person-to-person curse.

Just some thoughts,


scribble said...

I am often offended when people assume I can be asked if I am saved, or where I attend church.
This happens alot at work.
I wonder how they would react if I asked them private information about their lives.
They always, always say it with a slight smile. As if to say come one
tell me you don't go to church so I can be superior to you and offer my church as your salvation. I want so badly to ask if they would accept my spouse and children with open arms. I instead just say I work every weekend and can not attend church.
In the hospital setting we must remain pleasant.
But I would love to give them a piece of my mind.

What is this stuff about go and tell. Is it ok for me to come to your door and ask if you would consider my religion as yours?

Can I knock and ask if you are gay?
Can I ask if they would like a booklet on being lesbian?

CrackerLilo said...

Norm, I don't think the carpet installer's cursing, either, but I do think he's going out of his way to spark something.

Blogzie, I feel you on the insultedness. When people ask me to pray for them, I tend to pray what they ask.

Annie, you have reminded me of something I do *not* miss about the South! (Which is one reason why religious profiteers coming to NYC upsets me.)

And Nancy, there's really no need to worry.

Blessed be!

mamalicious said...

Off topic, I know, but I had to visit the site you posted at blogzie's (about Exodus and their reaching out to children of gay parents). I'm completely disgusted and just plain sad about it. What is this world coming to?

Children of gay parents are rejoicing! We're leaving for Rosie's cruise in a few weeks - went last year, too. If anyone ever wants to see hundreds of happy kids of gay parents, here's your chance. They're releasing the documentary shot on last year's cruise sometime soon, too. I know it will make public some very happy children's lives.


Sorry for being way off topic, once again.

mamalicious said...

Oh, and I mentioned this to Christine but I think it just pissed her off. When someone prays for me, I say thanks. I believe God knows what I need and takes the prayer - whatever it is - and uses it however God sees fit. I figure the more prayers the better. Hmph.

CrackerLilo said...

No problem, Mama!

I can't say I'm a Rosie fan, but I am glad she gives real support to gay parents and their (your!) children.

I grew up with "spiritual warfare", so that influence has stuck with me.

Blessed be!

mamalicious said...

You needn't be a Rosie fan to join her on her cruise. It's the most fabulous, all-accepting experience I've ever had. Can't wait to go back and be with my peeps.