"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
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?