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What is a Curse: Types, Protection, Breaking One

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

A curse is a general term for negative energy attached to an individual, item or location that causes misfortune to surround the target. A curse is almost always associated with retaliation for wrongdoing and/or fueled by the negative emotions of the curser in response to the actions of the cursed.

In the case of an individual, a curse may be a specific type of misfortune, such as infertility or poverty or a more generalized misfortune such as ill health and bad luck. In the case of an item, a curse may cause the person who possesses the item to suffer any number of specific or generalized misfortunes or the item may effect the locality in which it resides.

A locational curse generally results from a terrible thing happening at that location. The curse may manifest as specific or generalized misfortune or odd and destructive behavior on the part of individuals residing in the location or it may manifest upon the location itself, causing, for example, the barrenness of the land or a binding of angry spirits to a place.

A curse is usually used within a religious or spiritual context as the answer to a prayer or appeal to a spirit for intervention, or, in some cases, as the actions of a ghostly spirit in response to its own mistreatment, which may ultimately have been the cause of its untimely demise.

There are several types of curses described in lore.


Curses come in various forms, from hexes to jinxes, and understanding their differences is crucial for protection.

Safeguarding yourself from curses involves using tools like crystals, herbs, and protective rituals to create a shield against negative energy.

Breaking a curse requires a blend of spiritual practices, such as cleansing, reversing, and seeking the help of experienced practitioners.

Did you know that curses often have historical and cultural roots, with some dating back centuries, making them a fascinating aspect of witchcraft?

Types of Curses

Your typical, everyday curse may be specific or general. A specific curse may cause infertility, impotence, stuttering, hair loss, weight gain or loss, etc. It is usually something poetically suited to the crime that earned the curse. A general curse causes general misfortune and ill health. These curses may run the life of the cursed but usually wear off after a while if the original crime is not repeated and as the rage and pain of the person who initially cast the curse fades. A curse like this may vanish in the face of atonement and forgiveness, but it usually wears off gradually.

A situational curse may be specific or general, but is set with an off switch. The curse may be cast for a while or until specific criteria have been met. For example, someone might curse an annoying co-worker with ill health until that worker quits his job. A famous example of this curse is the Beauty and the Beast curse. According to the tale, a handsome Prince violated the law of hospitality and mocked the ugliness of an old woman who cursed him with ugliness until someone should fall in love with him despite it.

The multi-generational curse is often the result of some terrible violation of natural or divine law by an individual or a group of people related by blood. These curses continue to affect the offspring of the people who brought them down upon themselves in the first place. These may be open-ended or may continue until some criteria have been met. For example, until seven generations have passed, until a certain piece of property has left the family’s possession, until a woman rules the clan. Etc. These sorts of curses take a lot of energy. Generally, a single magic-user isn’t going to be able to bring it down alone, so, these folks will either have had to cause a lot of people pain, or done something heinous enough that the spirit world took note.

The evil eye is an interesting type of curse that causes general misfortune that is the result of jealousy and other negative feelings on the part of the caster. In many cases, the caster may not even be aware that he or she has cast the curse.

Protecting Yourself

The old stories say that a curse can be broken by true love’s first kiss and they aren’t far off the mark. The truth is, positive energy and maintaining a positive attitude are the best ways to protect yourself from attack. The energy you project has a lot to do with the sort of emotions you entertain and love is a very powerful positive emotion.

This doesn’t mean that you need a significant other to be safe from curses but it does help to surround yourself with love. Make frequent contact with family and friends, volunteer with a population that makes you feel happy and fulfilled and who will give you love in return for your time- seniors, children, the homeless. If people aren’t your thing, volunteer at an animal shelter or join a community gardening project. Animals and plants can project loving energy too!

Humility also helps, as it prevents people from wanting to curse you in the first place. Many cultures have a taboo against publically praising children or talking about finances. This is to protect against jealousy which is the leading source of the evil eye curse. Humility also helps us to recognize our shortcomings. Curses can be broken with counter curses and uncrossing spells, but many will also be broken by apologizing and making amends.

In addition to these common-sense practices, certain spells, rituals and objects are uses for protection from curses and other negative energies. These include evil eye amulets, the hamsa, a red thread worn about the wrist, a Witch’s Bottle and more.

Breaking a Curse

Breaking a curse usually involves a multi-faceted approach. First, divination is often used to determine the nature of the curse and the best course of action. Next, the connection between the person sending the energy and the victim is broken, if possible. Some spells send the energy back to the sender.

The victim must then be cleansed of the negative energy and then provided some protection from repeated attack. Divination may be repeated at the end to determine the success of the uncrossing. If a location or object is cursed, it is treated much the same way.

If an object was created to generate the curse, the object should be dismantled, cleansed and disposed of.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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