I Curse Your Name: the Blackest of Magicks

Theatrical photo by arbron; creative commons license

I have a house full of company this summer, but it’s oh-so-pleasant and has settled into a nice pattern of incense wafting upward from the countertop, couscous on the stove, wine in my glass, Brian playing the piano or guitar, Amy singing, Robert drumming on the table over sushi, Aislinn fetching strawberry-chocolate shakes, Shannon playing with Grendel, and regular midnight marathons of Buffy.  Yes, a wonderful season for us with lots of blessings. 

While other people are having their names cursed.  I didn’t realize this until half-way through one of our hang-out-on-the-purple-carpet-with-pillows-and-watch-Buffy fun moments.  (As Maggie Shayne and I have agreed on many occasions, Joss Whedon is a god.)

The scene is from the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.    Willow, now becoming much more powerful in her own TV brand of witchcraft, is stunned by her reunion with Oz, her former boyfriend and favorite werewolf. They’re talking about their feelings, the separation they’ve endured.

Willow:  Some of it, you know, was me telling myself I hated you, and cursing your name…. Well, not literally.

Oz:  Well, thanks for that.

Witches would be heavily criticized for “cursing” someone’s name, right?  If they’re Wiccan, they’d probably be called unethical and accused of magickal harm.  Karma, the threefold law, and all sorts of spiritual rules and regulations would be hastily invoked, I suppose.

And yet, cursing someone’s name is exactly what gossip and scandal are. 

A friend of mine who lives at the beach has been in some trouble recently, which is why this hit me so hard. He hasn’t hurt anyone but he did manage to become the brunt of scandal.  Bottom line is that it’s always a bad idea to email pictures of yourself wearing nothing but a leash, high-heeled boots, and a wicked smile.  Doubly bad if you’re in a highly visible career with the public.  I saw the pictures long before they became public, and no, I didn’t let anyone else see them.  Shoot, it’s taken me this long just to close my mouth.  The guy is adorable, no matter what he wears.

I did him no harm.  I didn’t, in fact, point my finger as surely as an athame and curse his name by declaring him bad, insane, perverted, ridiculous, unworthy of his career, or any of those things that have happened so crazily this summer just because he has some interesting fetishes and forgot to be discreet just once. 

His career and reputation are now ruined.  To continue in his profession–if the ethics committees allow it–will likely mean he’ll have to move across the State to where his name isn’t a household joke.  He’ll have to start over.  He’ll have to leave his friends and community behind.  He’ll have to pray that all the Google caches disappear faster than usual.  I’ve been the subject of gossip myself, and I know first hand how hurtful it can be–not just emotionally and psychologically, but financially, too.

When I was a child, I remember a story about gossip being released like feathers into the wind and the only way to make amends to the injured party was to gather all the scattered feathers–which could never be done 100%.  It’s now too late for my friend.  His life has been interrupted and his career possibly dealt a death blow.  Only time will tell if he’ll recover.   

Meanwhile, thousands of people have snickered and speculated and embellished until they’ve destroyed his good reputation.  They have, very much so, cursed his name.  And it didn’t take a witch, a spell, or any magickal tool to do it.

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