Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine earlier this week who said “I’m surrounded by witches. Good thing you guys are good witches, or I’d be doomed. What is a bad witch anyway?” This led to a series of text messages where I tried to explain what I knew, and I realized there’s a lot of “well, it depends.”
Each witch has their idea of good and bad. Some witches believe that hexes are forbidden and will come back to you times three. That is a very Wiccan view of hexing. However, not every witch is Wiccan. For example, some witches thoroughly believe that hexing is good either for the individual casting it or for the believed greater good. The witches that bind Trump every month most certainly believe that they are doing the right thing. I am sure that there are witches that hexed Brock Turner, and I’ve been tempted to send some bad juju this particular judge’s way. Just as there are witches that do cast curses, just as many think that it’s amoral. This was the first “well, it depends” I encountered when trying to explain good versus bad.
After that, I stumbled into the rabbit hole of “it comes down to types of magic used.” Should witch use a love spell to attract someone to her for dating or more? Love spells don’t fall under the umbrella of hexes, but there are many opinions on them. Some witches abhor the thought of using a love spell to attract a romantic partner. Some witches treat it as par the course. Just because I would never attempt to attract someone with a spell doesn’t make me any better than someone who has or will. Yet again, my answer to my friend was “well, it depends.”
I once had a woman tell me that the reason the store carried no books on shadow work was that she doesn’t practice it. Why doesn’t she practice it? Because it goes against the idea of being “love and light”. It falls outside the realm of so-called “white magic” and that’s scary to a lot of witches. Many witches consider magics that aren’t obvious “white magic” to be bad magic only done by bad witches. (Side note: Don’t let toxic positivity ruin your craft.)
By this point, I felt like I wasn’t being very useful at all. Especially since I fell further into the rabbit hole and started to explain how there are many different kinds of witches and paths. Even in our little magickal community, we have our own biases about each of these things.
Sometimes certain paths are regarded as more “bad” than others. Left-Hand Paths especially get a lot of flack for being darker. Many witches have been known to try to distance themselves from the Left-Hand Path despite it being no more evil or bad than the Right-Hand Path. Do bad witches worship demons and bad deities? Who decided that those particular deities are bad? What’s wrong with demons? As a Lilith follower, I am more LHP than RHP. By that alone, some would consider me a “bad witch” although I’ve never done anything to purposely harm anyone. I’m drawn to demonology and in that realm of research, I discovered Demonolatry. Demonolatry holds that hexes are 100% okay if you are 110% sure that what you’re doing is just. If you have just a little bit of doubt, it backfires on you, and you get the full effects of the curse. The Wiccan rede holds this idea unacceptable, other witches are offended by the use of so-called demons used on in the hexing process, and some witches just don’t like hexes and think they’re morally wrong. It’s quite a conundrum to figure out when trying to explain who is a good or a bad witch.
So what makes a good witch or a bad witch? Perhaps a bad witch is one that acts actively against their morals. If you believe hexes are wrong, don’t be convinced to do one. If you think that you’re doing the right thing by casting some kind of spell, then are you being bad? I argue no. Witches are human; who would have guessed? Like all humans, they are subject to their ideas of right and wrong and have to make choices that reflect those ideals. Sometimes we fail to live up to our ideals and often they change. Isn’t this thing called humanity great? A bad witch is someone who wants to be a bad witch. If you intend to be a bad witch, then you are a bad witch. But if you’re like the majority of us, you’re just human.