I do not normally write posts on personal issues or drama as I find the impulse to be, at the very least, distasteful. If someone would like release from your life, sincere and utter release, they simply walk away. Everything else is unadulterated “bad magic,” a concept that has too many newbies confounded and mislead. Personally, I did not go to high school–I was too busy living on the streets and exhibiting “bad behavior,” therefore I do not mesh well into the politics of an angry, jealous teenager and their Jersey Shore scripts. What I have decided this cold, December afternoon is that I have lain down on the alter of someone else’s beef for about a minute too long, about ten years too deep. I have had enough. It occurs to me that others out there may be suffering through a black cur dawg of their own, therefore, I have risen out of my passive position in the hopes that my words could end abusive, unhealthy paradigms of relations for someone else. Even Gandhi knew when to fight back, y’all.
Let’s have a little sit-down about the word “bad” as opposed to “black,” shall we? Any good Southerner (those of us who have actually been raised here rather than just have ancestors who hail Southern) knows the difference and how. For instance: would you eat a bad fish? Would you buy a bad car? Would you, if you had your “druthers,” marry a bad partner? Why, hell naw. Now. I would eat a black-finned fish, buy a black Lincoln Continental and (if I wasn’t already spoken for) marry a fine black man. Further, I have known a precious soul or two to practice black magic–and I’ve known my share of those who have enacted thebad variety. I prefer the former, every time. I’m gonna’ get a little Alabama on you here and tell you a story.
A farmer, let’s call her Seba Momma, has a hen house. Not just any hen house, laws this one is fine and all of the hens are cluckin’ and producin’ golden eggs. The farmer is happy, the fowl are content and growing and all sets well on this little piece of land.
Now, the neighboring Mr. Bad Farmer covets his neighbor’s relationship with those hens, regardless of his wealth and comfort. I ‘spect he doesn’t savor the same eggs, on account of his are all virtual ones on the internet. Mr. Bad Farmer has fine cyber hens, his land is paid for and all of his horizons are full and promising–but damn if that covetousness doesn’t eat his soul right up. So, as this is a Pagan fairy tale, Mr. Bad Farmer shape-shifts himself into a fox–a right showy one, smart and linguistically adept–and saunters his ass up to the hen house. Foxy gifts are dolled out to the hens, sweet words are whispered in their ears and even the protective Seba Momma of the land is swayed, just a bit, at the generosity and sharply educated words of the fox. All is fine, what with all the gift-giving and sweet talk and all, for a spell. Then one day . . .
One of the hens starts to cluck. Seems that she has gotten a whiff of something rank, something bad, but Seba Momma consoles the young hen. After all, that fox has shown only love for the hens and hasn’t once shat on the property that Seba’s taken note of . . . but damn if all the other hens don’t rev up and harp in on that foul, wry smell on the air. Now, the whole time Seba Momma has been begging her hens to trust this fox, even as it has sauntered in and out of the gate wearing a “bad fox” t-shirt. Gotta’ give it to the fox, it was forthright on that one. And Seba Momma loved the damnable thing in that It had found itself a podium one evening out in the back forty and spoken on trust, love and some such. Why, that fox is just wearing that t-shirt because it’s ironic, she said to herself, whilst her hens wailed and begged for protection. Mmm hmmm. Sometimes we should take someone’s rhetorical t-shirt at face value. Momma wasn’t doing her job.
I could go on here, but what matters is this: that fox, all shifted-up, demanded that Seba Momma make her hens love it–genius move for a hungry hound–but just at that moment (as Seba was a witch and had casted to find the truth only the night before) the fox bit the hand that had protected and caressed it. On account of it was bad. To really push this analogy, imagine the egg on Seba’s face? (Disgruntled hens have a mean arm, they do, and don’t hearken to a damn fox in their house. Still wiping that off.)
The moral of this story goes a little something like: damn. If only that fox had just been black.
Let’s try another one, shall we?
The Southern Kitchen Witch has a momma who knows everything about her spirituality. I don’t lie to my momma no more, as she will tear my butt up. One night, right after making a treaty with the Mr. Bad Farmer, my momma gave me some advice: be boring. Don’t be anything that It will covet, just go under the radar. Now, see, I had it in my mind that my momma was confused; after all, that fox loved me. Yes, it quoted all of my analogies in its blogs, it wrote about me incessantly in manipulative and negative ways (“why that’s just pseudo-fiction”), desperately Facebook-friended every last soul s/he had met in my yard, but y’all it had also nestled up against me all sugar and spice and told me to not pay attention to all of that. As smart as that fox was, I figured I was just being a bit ornery about the whole thing, so I gave It biscuits and kept It around the house. Still nursing that injured hand. Here’s the gist: It told me It was bad. It banged the bells, wore the shirt, had a hat with the word emblazoned across the rim, and still . . .
Wish the fox had just been black. I love the color. In the Craft, black means “return to sender,” divination and protection. We all could utilize a little of that ‘round the edges. But, bad? Well, if I have to explain that one, someone didn’t raise you right.
One more for the road, in everyday talk:
There may be someone out there like me, with too big of a heart and way too much patience for a wayward fox wearing an ironic t-shirt. If they are crafty, they will pull on old ghosts in your soul like guilt, loyalty and denial. Call their bluff. Refuse their contracts and conditions for your soul, your kin and your craft. If they waggle their tongues at you, no matter how poetically, listen to your blood and put that dog down.  Don’t hesitate and don’t leave any “shoulda woulda” for it to crawl back to your land. (See the movie Old Yeller, circa 1957.) If they turn and guard those things and folks you treasure, hackles all riled up in true perfect love and perfect trust, well then . . .
That wasn’t a fox. It was kin.
 Mr. Southern Kitchen Witch is fond of remembering his own grandma’s teachings on the subject of “bad magic,” which she constituted as twisted words, gossip and negative energy.
 I have paid dearly for my youth, as it should be. My grandma was fond of saying when she was good, she was so good, but laws when she was bad . . . And the sad thing is I have restrained, hard, in this post out of some misguided respect for the past.
 I turn to Southern sensibilities here.
 It occurs to me that all of my hankerin’ for scary movies taught me well. Don’t step over Jason, y’all. Burn that damn bridge and make sure he’s dead so as he doesn’t come back. As I have noted often, things don’t come back right from the dead, just ask Stephen King.
 Old Yeller. Dir. Robert Stevenson. Walt Disney Films, 1957. Burn Sanderson: “You can’t hardly tell at first, not till they get to the point of slobbering and staggering around. When you see a critter in that fix, you know for sure. But you want to watch for others that ain’t that far along. Now, you take a bobcat or a fox. You know they’ll run if you give ’em the chance. But when one don’t run, or maybe makes fight at you, why, you shoot him and shoot him quick. After he’s bitten you, it’s too late.”