When do you need defences?

John Canard

 “Truly the entrance of assurance into the mind of man is difficult and hindered by jealousy.”[1]

It is often said, with the occasional patronising smile of indulgence, that behind the most civilised veneer lurks the soul of a primitive.  Such superficial statements fill gaps in conversations, usually in an attempt to appear profound or knowing.  And yet, as may often be the case, there is more truth in this declaration of professed kinship than the speaker usually intends.

Whether the metempsychosis of the soul is from Egypt to Cornwall, or from the Amazon rain forest to London, scratch at the surface of humanity and the thin top layer of ‘civilization’ soon peels away.  Stories told by grandparents or favourite aunts, urban legends from the playground and older local myths of shadowy creatures from the distant past, these were the canvas of childhood as society continued to move from soil to sand, hiding from nature to stare at screens and play with gadgets.

When we find ourselves away from our comfort zone, in unfamiliar surroundings, with unfamiliar noises and smells, the superstitions of a thousand childhoods flood back into our minds. When we are nervous and ill at ease we shift our perceptions and start looking at the minutiae that surrounds us.  Doing this is actually a way of looking through a door into the invisible realms, though usually entirely unintentionally.  The heightened awareness, increased suggestibility and sensitivity brought on by the unfamiliar, or more scarily by a moment of shifted perception where the familiar suddenly seems unfamiliar, can trigger all of our senses, including the hidden or psychic senses.  Because we are not used to our senses being so productive, and do not normally deal with a barrage of subtle signals from the psychic faculties, this can lead to an even greater sense of disturbance or wrongness.

How do you deal with a situation where you are overloaded with more sensory information than you can cope with at one time?  The usual answer is a trance state.  The same is sometimes true of when your senses are clouded by alcohol or drugs.  This can lead to a paranoid state if you are not used to the sudden inner silence.  On occasions when I have been in London late at night it never ceases to amaze me how people allow themselves to become so vulnerable through overindulgence and then scurry like terrified rabbits through the tunnels of the underground, nervously looking over their shoulders and around them any time they cannot see any other humans in range, picking up mixed signals from what is essentially an unnatural environment.


So what relevance do childhood and situations that make you paranoid have on cursing?  Well the fact is that paranoia is the root of many perceived curses.  I say perceived because this book is not written to encourage paranoia or make you think you are a victim, and so I encourage you to read this section, and appreciate that it can be an easy trap to fall into.

When one little thing goes wrong you grumble and let it go.  When the second thing goes wrong shortly afterwards you say you are having a bad day.  But if a third and a fourth thing go wrong, you might start to attribute more sinister reasons to your catalogue of misfortune.  This is particularly true if you start the day badly, through having slept badly or having experienced nightmares.  Such a jarring start to the day always seems to leave the door open to the real or perceived peccadilloes of the invisible realms.

How you react to a string of bad events will immediately affect the outcome of that string.  If you laugh it off and behave positively, you are short-circuiting any negative contribution you are unconsciously making to the events.  If however you complain and blame the universe, or other people for all your woes, you are reinforcing the negativity and effectively inviting more into your life.  It is a clear case of like attracts like.  Sometimes there are random strings of negative events, hence the old cliché of “it never rains but it pours”.

Once you allow yourself to become paranoid and feel that someone is out to get you, every little mishap will seem to be the result of the malefic curse, and this will just become a vicious circle you build around yourself.  This is basically a process of self-disempowerment, where you disclaim personal responsibility and allow yourself to become a victim.

In such a circumstance, whether there is a curse or not, you should immediately perform a simple curse-breaking technique, even if it is no more than laughing at the notion that you thought you were cursed.  You cannot allow your mind to either attract negativity, or in the case of someone actually cursing you, to do their work for them.  By removing the distracting idea or mentally putting a barrier in place you are taking control of a situation and not letting go of your power, which is what you relinquish the moment you become paranoid.

Remember that accepted paranoia becomes belief, and like ingrained dirt is harder to shift.  Do not allow yourself to accept your paranoia, and especially do not allow yourself to accept other people’s paranoia.  When people get into a group the level of common sense is not the sum total of the group, rather it is that of the group member with the lowest level of common sense.  People whip themselves up into a frenzy and allow themselves to be manipulated extremely easily when it comes to belief or attitude.  This can be seen in extreme levels in large groups from football matches to political rallies (remember Nuremberg).

A friend told me the story of a woman who was a priestess, and was convinced that she was being cursed.  Every Sunday evening, she insisted, her nemesis would curse her using the voodoo techniques she had studied.  Every Sunday evening she felt bad and this was why.  As my friend pointed out, this priestess would drink heavily on Friday, Saturday and often Sunday too, so it was no wonder she felt bad by Sunday evening.  The only spirits involved were the ones she was consuming, not ones that had been sent by her voodoo nemesis to get her!  But this priestess could not be convinced that it was the result of anything but the cursing.  She had reached a point where she was actually defining herself through this imagined rivalry, which obviously made her feel better about herself.  After all she was obviously important enough to be the victim of such a sustained campaign of cursing, and this blocked out any thoughts that might arise through the haze of alcohol fumes that reminded her she was wasting her life.

A person who reaches this point has clearly made themselves a victim, and will interpret everything that goes wrong in their life as the result of negative influence.  Conversely when things go right they are ignored and the pleasure of good events, which could help boost their mind body and spirit into a positive state, is wasted, because it would demand change.  Such people can be very draining, as they may demand your unswerving loyalty (to ensure you are on ‘their side’) and will define their relationships in terms of this state.  In such an instance you should consider whether the best policy is honesty, or distance.  Both of these may destroy the friendship, but sometimes you have to put yourself first.

Depression can result in a worldview which automatically takes the most negative approach, so be aware that if a person has been through a difficult time, or is prone to depression, that they may be more susceptible to the idea of being cursed.  Obviously you would not want to abandon someone who is going through difficulties, but ultimately you cannot help a person who is not willing to help themselves, they will become parasitic if they take no positive action and instead choose to perpetuate their negative condition.

Too Many Coincidences

So you have considered events and you know that you are not being paranoid, and there have just been too many coincidences and things going wrong.  There comes a point when even a skeptic starts to get nervous and look over their shoulder!  So what should you look for to ascertain whether you have been cursed?   Beyond the obvious signs seen in horror movies but not usually in real life, of grisly animal parts left on your doorstep, the signs are likely to be a bit more subtle.

If you have been cursed or magickally attacked by someone who has not left a physical sign or told you that they have done so, you must consider the subtle signs.  The following are possible indicators of this:

Nagging health issues – if you suddenly find yourself being constantly at low ebb, catching every cold and flu that goes around and being generally susceptible.  This may also extend to other people living in the same space, and to any pets you may have.

Sleep problems – nightmares and/or insomnia may both be indicators, particularly if you always seem to wake up around 3am, the time when you are at your lowest ebb psychically, commonly called “the hour of the wolf” for this reason.

Bizarre pet behaviour – do not underestimate the ability of animals to pick up on subtle energies.  If someone is cursing you, then your cat or dog is going to suddenly be very keen to spend more time outdoors, and may hiss or bark at times in what seems a completely random manner at things you can’t see.

Mechanical breakdowns – the number of items breaking suddenly rises sharply.  This might include car problems, household goods such as computers, washing machines, fridges or cookers, light bulbs, fuses, etc.

Communication problems – suddenly you miss important calls, the answer phone goes wrong, your mobile starts playing up or dies, your computer starts playing up or your emails start disappearing in cyberspace.

Missing items – money goes missing, or important documents you need such as passports, driving licenses, bills you need to pay, credit cards etc.

Spikiness – if someone is cursing you and it is having an effect, you may well notice a change in behaviour in your friends and colleagues.  This will be because they unconsciously pick up that something is wrong but do not consciously register it.  As a result they may well behave in a negative way towards you that results in impatience, lack of tolerance and general spikiness.

This may seem like a horrendous catalogue of events to experience, and indeed if everything on the list happened it would be rather grim.  However this list is meant as a guideline to possible indicators, so it would be extremely unlikely that all the events described would happen at the same time.  If they did it would be very likely that you were being cursed.  However the number of these that apply can be taken as an indicator of likelihood – the more that apply, the greater the chance you have been cursed.

So you have read the signs and decided that you have been cursed.  Now come the questions of who has cursed you, and why?  Almost inevitably it will be a person (or rarely persons) you know.  People curse for a reason, whether real or imagined, and this involves interaction with the person whose perceived or real behaviour has caused the person to feel they need to resort to cursing.  You should also consider the possibility that it is not a conscious curse, but rather a general wave of negativity being projected from the unconscious of the person.  Resentments that simmer under the surface for years, which may even have trivial roots, can build into a whole torrent of resentment, like a grain of sand becomes a pearl through being an irritant.

Curses can thus come from one of two sources – a conscious and deliberate attack or an unconscious attack.  The former will either be a curse that the person tells you about as a specific act of malice, or a curse that they hint at or you have good grounds for believing they have performed.  If a person has cursed you, to try and get a psychological advantage on you, they will probably only tell you about it when you are alone, as witnesses would be likely to support you and shift the balance of power, and also could verify your story.  Of course in the case of a poison pen, i.e. someone who communicates with you by letter or email or some other medium and tells you they have cursed you but is too cowardly to admit their identity, it can be harder to work out who the culprit is, though you can resort to mundane methods and so this approach may be less likely as it leaves a traceable trail.  Remember though it is almost always somebody you are in contact with, if only peripherally.

Effectively the process of dealing with a curse comprises three or four stages.  These can be summed up as Detection, Protection, Disconnection and Reflection.  These stages can be likened to the elements as described by Empedocles.  Starting in the south with Air there is Detection, then in the west you have Water for Protection, in the north you have Earth for Disconnection (walking away), and in the east you have Fire for Reflection (light is attributed to Fire).  These attributions may seem slightly unusual if you are used to modern magickal attributions.  However until the nineteenth century the common elemental attributions were Fire in the east, Air in the south, Water in the west and Earth in the north.


Further Reading

Defences Against the Witches’ Craft (Avalonia, 2008).


About John Canard

English Root Magician John Canard’s first book Defences of the Witches Craft was published by Avalonia in 2008. Having misspent most of his youth in the Cambridgeshire fens, John met the woman of his dreams, who he still believes to be only part human and moved with her to Somerset (UK) to live the wild life.  They live on a small farm where John spends his time tending a menagerie of animals and growing organic produce. Defences of the Witches’ Craft is his first book, and he is also working on a number of other projects related to traditional magick, witchcraft and root cunning.

Contact details

e-mail – jcherbalist@gmail.com

web – www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

post – John Canard, c/o BM Avalonia, London, WC1N 3XX, UK

[1] On Purifications, Empedocles.


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