Hexing and the anger box

So, when ‘s stinky employer laid him off very suddenly last week — after only four months of employment — after they courted him very aggressively and got him to quit the job he already had — I thought, as one does, of invoking mystical vengeance through sympathetic magic.

After all, my usual problem with curses is that they are intentionally doing a bad thing to a person. So doing a bad thing to a giant corporate entity doesn’t present quite the same ethical problem. Wanting a company to die a horrible, painful, and humiliating death is not the same as wanting a person to die a horrible, painful, and humiliating death. Yes, if the company dies, good people will lose their jobs. But that happens anyway, without any hexical assistance from me.

So I thought about how to do it. I made jokes about sticking pins in voodoo dolls, but we all know that kind of voodoo doll doesn’t do anything, it’s just a joke. I would have to create some sort of representation of the entity to be hexed, perhaps some kind of witch-bottle or poppet. Then I would have to focus my energies on exactly what misfortune I wanted to befall the entity (indictments. Daily Show mockings) and keep the representation frequently in my attention, while focusing on the misfortunes I wanted to bring about.

And that was the point where I realized it wasn’t going to happen. Did I really want to focus hard every day on my own anger and resentment? A person only has so much mojo, after all. If I focus on revenge I won’t be focusing on success. And really, if gets a fantastic job in the future, I won’t care what happens to his stupid dummy-head ex employer anyway.

So I rediscovered the pointlessness of revenge. Ethics aside, there’s no way to hurt others the way they hurt you. Not people, not enormous corporate entities. And even if you could, what would you get out of it? A little schadenfreude, a little malicious satisfaction, the chance to point and go "hah-hah!" It’s not worth it.

But still. When I ran into a mug with his ex employer’s logo on it, there was that surge of helpless anger with no good outlet, no reasonable target. What to do?

What I did was, I made an anger box. The anger box is not a hexing tool, because the purpose of an anger box is to put my own anger in the box and leave it there. So rest assured, those who still punch the clock for the evil one. Your employer is not being hexed.

Not by me, anyway.


  1. Yeah, my take on sympathetic magic is that you do it by exploiting the microcosm within the macrocosm that is you. Therefore you find the focal point of your desire within yourself and act upon it (I prefer the tree of life projected upon the physical body metaphor). So in order to curse someone, you have to hurt yourself, metaphorically or physically, to do it. No thanks.
    I like the anger box idea. I once found a dead crow, and took its head home with me, hoping to get the skull. I put it in an old pot on the porch, then covered it with dirt and mud. Occasionally I’d throw other things in there–hair trimmings, whatever, and it became my alchemy pot. Whenever I felt like crap, I’d visualize dumping all the crap in the pot, where it would get composted.

    1. Author

      So in order to curse someone, you have to hurt yourself, metaphorically or physically, to do it.

      Absolutely. I like the compost pot idea as well. My anger box is made of styrofoam and contains things that won’t compost, so I’m not sure what will eventually happen to it.

  2. There’s something I really like about the anger box. It sounds kind of like the anger dome.

    “If you need that coffee mug, it’ll be in the anger box.”

  3. You have come up with something quite similar to a device I’ve run across in AA/NA/recovery/therapy and it sounds like a great thing. The people who emphasize having a Higher Power tend to call it a god box, but I like anger box better. And yeah, you take whatever is bugging you that you can’t do anything about, that you either want to turn over to your higher power, or quit worrying about, and put it (or some representation of it, or a note about it on a piece of paper) in the box, and leave it there/let it go. I think I am so enamored of the Anger box idea right now because a lot of my depression at the moment stems from anger issues I’ve been dealing with, so if I can let go of or set aside some of the anger… a box like that sounds like a good place to put it.

    I am not at all trying to diminish your idea, if only because I like it better and because you got to it down what seems to me to be a totally different path, anyway. Independent evolution :) If you can really have such a thing in a closed system, but that is a discussion for a different day.

    Thank you for sharing your process, because this is really helpful to me right now & I don’t think I would/could have taken the thought as far as that yet. Giving away my emotions? Even to a box? On my own all I can think of is that fairy tale about the girl who tells her troubles to the stove while somebody eavesdrops, but your idea seems safer, if only because you already did it.

    1. Author

      I’m glad it struck a chord.

      What I was trying to cope with was my knowledge that focusing on the positive was the most helpful thing to do, but… damn. I was angry. I feel like for me anger has to go somewhere or it just festers like a pus-filled boil. And some people get relief from, say, writing about their anger, but for me putting that kind of attention to it just generates more anger.

      1. That’s often what I find too. Too much of an angry essay and I’ll never be able to let go of it. For the same reason I’ve never been able to keep a private diary: within a month it’s nothing but self-perpetuating venom and pestilence, and I spend my days glaring at everyone around me.

        What I’m currently learning to do (as witness last night’s angry post) is to vent my anger in a few public sentences, which both claims it as mine and gets it out of my head, so that I can participate in a rational & constructive discussion of the subject instead. I’m not yet sure how I feel, on an ethical level, about involving my friends in my outrage, but I seem to be on the track of a useful skill.

        But short pissy LJ posts can only work sometimes. For anger that’s directed inward, or outward anger that I know is misplaced, I’m not at all ambivalent: I know quite well that it would be poisonous to involve my friends. I think perhaps an anger box might come in awfully handy.

        Especially one that composts. But I wouldn’t want to put too many restrictions on it, or I just know one day I’d stand there thinking, “I hate this object, person or situation! And I’ve got styrofoam! But it’s too abiotic for my anger box! Now I can’t decide what to do! Augh, it’s no fair!”

        1. Author

          For the same reason I’ve never been able to keep a private diary: within a month it’s nothing but self-perpetuating venom and pestilence

          Heh. I tried doing “morning pages” for a while when I was going through a particularly low period and having trouble writing, and it’s pretty much the exact same thing. I started out with my perfectly legitimate complaints about George W. Bush and my job, and moved on from there to the fact that everything and everyone in the entire world is horrible beyond redemption.

          1. Goodness yes. Morning pages were by far the worst offender. In a stunningly short time, they transformed me from a blocked writer into a blocked misanthrope. The Artist’s Way ought to come with one of those medical side effect warning labels.

  4. Good post. But I don’t understand why they would fire someone so soon after trying to hire them so aggressively. Go figure.

    Didn’t know you were into casting or magic (magick?) though. You learn something every day.

    1. Author

      But I don’t understand why they would fire someone so soon after trying to hire them so aggressively

      My guess is it comes from different departments making the decisions.

      Didn’t know you were into casting or magic (magick?)

      Well… I do what I do. I try to keep my magic separate from my science. And I would never put a “k” on the end. That would make me feel like a complete doink.

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