Witchy Healing: How Black Magic Has Helped Me Recover From Trauma
Im a witch. No, I don’t wear a black pointy hat and stir a bubbling cauldron. Being a witch is a little like a religion in that there are a million ways to practice and no one witch works their craft in the same way. So what do I mean when I say “witch” in this modern day? Glad you asked. Though there are variations, witchcraft can encompass many paths, including but not limited to, Wicca, Santeria, Conjure, Paganism, Druidism, green magic, white magic and black magic or Magick, as Aleister Crowley falls it. This is by no means comprehensive and many practitioners may combine and borrow elements from several traditions. Magic is like people; it can be evil, bad, kind of bad or good, great and everything in between. Magic can be both bad and good at the same time. But the potential for witchcraft to venture into dark realms, or for certain deities to be more charged and hence more dangerous to work with does not mean witchcraft is just bad or evil. In Santeria and Hoodoo/Voodoo traditions, it is believed that there must be variation in magic because magic is just like life force itself; sometimes it is positive, sometimes negative. Witchcraft only mimics the real energies of the world that already exist in abundance. Even Christianity gives power and reverence to the darker side of life with the prescience of the devil in Christian tradition.
I have been a practicing witch since age 14. And this was no accident. At the time, I had experienced a lot of trauma and abuse at the hands of adults. As a child, I was disempowered. I wasn’t listened to and my reality was questioned. The way I was treated for my trauma was, in and of itself, traumatizing. I was always a bookworm as a kid (and still am). So my first intro to magic was through a book I found at the local bookstore. Children are naturally more open to believing than adults, so as I read this book I had a deep awakening inside of myself. This practice just resonated so strongly with me as a disempowered youth at the hands of powerful adults.
My first magic spell- technically more magick than magic (meaning more negative than positive) was a crossing spell against someone who had abused me. I bought a live catfish from the local grocery store and proceeded to work the spell:
- Roast catfish whiskers over open fire.
- Grind catfish whiskers together with cayenne pepper.
- Sprinkle mixture on paper with targets name written down and stuff into catfish’s mouth.
- Bury in targets yard.
I struggled with a lot of mental health issues and PTSD at this time and had this HUGE rage burning inside me. As a kid, there was little I could do to influence circumstances. But magic gave me that outlet. Whether the spell worked or not was not as important as the process of being able to express my anger in a real, cathartic, physical way.
The thing with magic is that it gives the practitioner the power, whereas many other more traditional religions and religious practices are about surrendering your power to god (a concept I never liked as an abuse victim who felt powerless anyways).
Though I want to make it clear, I’m not necessarily advocating negative magick, I do want to demystify the practice of black magick. The only time I have conducted a spell to harm someone was that one time against my abuser, and in conjure tradition these sorts of spells aren’t looked at as bad as long as the practitioner is justified in their actions ( i.e. you’re not crossing or cursing someone just because they cut you off on the freeway). And all other ethical options of retribution or making things right must be exhausted first. Really, fear of these traditions is a fear of “savage” traditions that the colonizers looked down upon and tried to exterminate.
So I advocate for magic as a practice in taking one’s power back; especially for abuse and trauma survivors. Whether you choose the path of Santeria, Voodoo, Hoodoo, green magic, Wicca or black magick, just know that these all reflect real and valid energies that exist in our daily lives. So if you need me, I’ll be charging my crystals under the full moon.