Magical Curses

Magical Curses.

Is it even possible to have a fairy tale without one?

Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White…

Gorgeous rendition of Snow White by artist Krishnakhi Hazarika. Check out more of her art on Instagram @krishnakhi_h14

It seems that nearly every fairy tale has at least one cursed person (usually a princess) and that there’s always another person (usually a prince) that must come, break the curse, save the princess, then rule the kingdom with justice and wisdom.  But where did the idea of the curse come from?

The Cambridge dictionary defines cursing (paraphrased) either as saying rather naughty things to someone else, or, “to say magic words intended to bring bad luck to someone.”  The idea of the malevolent curse is ancient.  Egyptian tombs had curses chiseled into their entryways and on tablets scattered throughout their winding passageways (www.ancient-origins.net).  When Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, of all the original excavators, Carter was the only survivor.  Everyone else bit the dust.  Even Lord Caernarvon, the benefactor of the dig, perished at the hands of mysterious ailments after visiting Tut’s resting place.  Many chalked it up to the Curse of the Mummy.

Many cultures world-wide have beliefs in magic—both good and bad.  Sometimes it’s the same magic and it’s the wielder who causes the good or the bad, other times it’s the magic itself.  Even the Bible mentions curses.  In Exodus (chapter 20), it talks about generational curses—that the LORD will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children for multiple generations.  But the next verse also offers the way to “break the curse.”  Repentance and turning to the same LORD breaks the curse and brings restoration (www.bible.net).

On an excavated 1,600-year-old Italian lead tablet, an inscribed curse was found wishing for the destruction of a man and his wife.  The curse specifically asked for their hearts, livers, and buttocks to be destroyed.  Yes, please destroy the rear ends of my enemies.  That will show them (www.ancient-origins.net). 

Curses seem to have changed over time (and really, don’t most things?). They’ve gone through the changes of the medieval-type fairy tale, enacted by vengeful stepmothers or nasty witches.  Today they’re still most closely associated with witchcraft or superstition.

What do you think?  Are curses real then and/or now?  Pop up to the grey “comments” button and let me know what you think.  Also, make sure no one gives you the evil eye!

Book Recommendations

Midnight for a Curse by E. J. Kitchens

Anwen of Primewood (Book 2 of a series—can be read alone, but better if you read Book 1 first) by Shari L. Tapscott 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (awesome protagonist with cerebral palsy)

Creative Writing Prompts

The curse fell upon me, heavy, stifling, suffocating.  I was going to die before the enchantress finished her work.

Are you kidding me?  It’s the twenty-first century.  People don’t get cursed.  Do they?

Unicorn poop.  I had been cursed to shovel unicorn poop until I found a way to break this horrid spell.

The Quintessential Curse…
Such a great, under appreciated song! From the movie, RIgoletto
One of my very favorite fairy tales.

Skinwalkers

“Yee naaldlooshii.”  “With it, he goes on all fours.”  (www.legendsofamerica.com)

These are the Navajo words used to describe a most feared and dangerous witch.  The Skinwalker (Seriously.  Cue the shudders as I’m typing this).

Skinwalkers are prevalent in Navajo legends as a form of dark witchcraft.  For the Navajo, good and evil powers merely are—it’s the same power, but with two sides.  The way a man harnesses the power depends upon the man.  There are other tribes that have legends of Skinwalkers, and all of them includes a nasty witch capable of taking on the form of an animal (www.legendsofamerica.com).

The permeance of these dreaded creatures runs so deep that many refuse to speak of them today (yes, in 2020!) for fear a Skinwalker may come after them or a loved one.  It is believed that these terrifying beings walk among the tribe during the day but secretly transform into the beast of their choosing once the moon is up and the skin is donned (creepy, much?).

According to Navajo legends, most Skinwalkers were once medicine men who achieved the ultimate level of spiritual power.  And then chose to use those powers for evil (www.navajolegends.org).  A lot like Star Wars, the Jedi, and the Sith.  One power, but two sides:  good and evil (I know I’m not the only Star Wars fan here…).

It’s reported that Navajo men only wear sheepskin or buckskin, and only for special ceremonies.  This is one reason the Navajo have become famous for such intricate textiles (and they are stunning—I own a set of Navajo-made clothes). They believe the Skinwalkers must don the pelt of the animal they wish to transform into—so the wearing of hides is taboo (www.navajolegends.org).

There’s nothing nice that can be said for these creatures of the night.  According to tribal legend, they must kill a sibling or family member to become a Skinwalker.  They wreak havoc.  Make people sick.  Commit murder.  They rob graves and are necrophiliacs (ahem, doing naughty things with dead people).  Even so recently as the mid-70’s, legal proceedings were brought against a nameless witch (reported to be of the spiritual level of the Skinwalkers) by attorney, Michael Stuhff (www.rense.com).  Skinwalkers are very real in the minds of many from the cultures who hold tales of these evil men who twist themselves to evil’s desires.  I’m certain I never want to meet one.

What do you think?  Are Skinwalkers real?  Or are they only legends?  Pop up to the grey Comments button at the top and let me know!

Book Recommendations

Shadow of Time: Dark Dreams  by Jen Minkman (intended for mature readers)

How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend  by Jerrie Oughton

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez

Creative Writing Prompts

“Shhh!” My mother shushed me with more vehemence than normal.  “Never speak that word.”  Chills tingled down my spine at the fear in her eyes.

The moon rose and with it, the hairs on the back of my neck.

Something moved in the shadows.  Malevolent eyes glittered red.  My blood froze. 

The video clip below contains some mature content. Viewer discretion is advised. It’s creepy and dark, but very interesting.