My tongue has brought me great blessings and horrible curses. What a powerful weapon.
These questions often are not answered with proper context, so let’s clear this up: you must put 100% of your mindset back into the ancient people who used curses. This means no psychological studies, no scientific method, no placebo, no internet, nothing. Really. Put your mind into a traveling medicine person who gathers berries, sleeps under a thatched roof, and boils animals in cauldrons. Are we there now? Because this exercise does not work if you use your modern mind to answer an ancient question.
OK. So now you’ve put yourself into the body of the crazy, medicine person who lives on the outskirts of town. Fleas in your clothes, rotting teeth, haven’t bathed in weeks. Smoke is constantly coming up from your house, and people tell their children under NO CIRCUMSTANCES to play with you. You are the embodiment of taboo and societal rejection. But a desperate woman comes to you begging you to kill her husband who she has just found out killed her brother. You know what to do but you need elements of the husband’s flesh to make the curse. So, you ask her to bring hair, a sweaty shirt, a drawing of his face, etc. You, the medicine person, gather hemlock, poison ivy, dead rabbits and boil it all together and late at night around a fire, with the wife there, you pour the potion onto a piece of cloth and tell the wife to put it on her husband's chest while he sleeps. It’s your signature curse that the town is well aware of.
When the husband awakes, he sees the cloth. His heart races. So many people have died before from this curse. His wife found out about his murder! She has taken her things and their child. The husband has no magical training and goes to the witch, but she has begun reciting incantations with plumes of smoke wafting higher than ever and tells him if he takes another step closer, he will surely die. The whole world will know of his crime soon, now. Rumors go around the town saying that the man has received the curse, and people begin to panic They stop talking to him. He killed his wife’s brother for sure, they realize, but the rumors also say he ate the man’s body, burned it like the devil himself, no remorse, and no love for the fellow man. He is blacklisted from the local businesses. He has no one to talk to, and he at last runs into the forest where he suffers from starvation and becomes a lunch for a hungry bear.
I have not written anything here that is impossible, it all could happen, and did happen precisely like this. You can ask how curses work, but you can see plainly enough. Anger, hatred, revenge is bottled up into a symbolic item, here the cursed cloth, and thrown towards a target and the target is overcome with all that that means. Because we are not in our modern minds, we are not allowed to say “hey but none of this is real!” In fact, there in that time, it WAS real. And for those today who have escaped the pervasive scientific minds of academia it is still real as well. If you’re concerned about being cursed, you have two options: 1) you can fight back with black magic and send the curse elsewhere such as an animal or another person, or 2) you can use the sword of rationality to force yourself to believe none of it is real.
But there’s a downside for this second option: if you convince yourself that curses aren’t real, then unfortunately you convince yourself that blessings aren’t real, and that miracles and magic aren’t real too. It’s a bland life to live without magic and miracles, and so many today do so at their own peril.
Instead, call upon your spirit guides, your gods, your helpers to help you out through these tough times and surround yourself with protection. That’s the surest way to avoid curses while still living in the realm of the magical, unless of course, unless you do come across the perfect embodiment of the dark arts themselves!
“Bad cess on you. Devil take you. May you never prosper. The first drop of water to quench your thirst — may it boil in your bowels. May the flesh rot off your bones and fall away putrid before your eyes. May your limbs wither, and the stench of your rotten carcass be too horrible for hungry dogs. May you fade into nothing, like snow in summer. May you be accursed in the sight of Lucifer, Satan, Belial, Leviathan and hated by your fellow man. May you die in damnation. May this curse rest on you and your family in this lifetime and for generations to come"
Ain Soph Aur