Druid cursing

A few days ago someone landed on the blog via google, searching for Druid curses, and no doubt directed to Community Cursing. If there’s an interest, that’s as good a reason to write, as any.

I’ve been pondering curses in the Druid tradition. There’s Arianrhod who curses her son Lleu with the fate that he shall have no name and bear no arms unless she gives them, and marry no woman of mortal race. There’s also the issue of geas, the taboos and rules inflicted on some mythic figures, which are not unlike curses, except that they require certain things to be done, or not done, to avoid incurring fate. The consequences of getting it wrong are grim enough for this to arguably count, as a curse. These are features from the mediaeval Celtic, so they may tell us something about the ancient Celts, and then again, maybe not.

For modern Druids, honour is a key issue. At first glance, honour and honourable relationship just do not go with cursing. Curses tending to be angry, vengeful, harmful things. However, there are ways, and I think it goes like this.

The first requirement in honourable cursing is that there should be no harm done where none is deserved. Sending back harm that has been done, or malevolence, seems entirely legitimate to me. The second requirement is that the curse should be good for the recipient. They might not like it, but that’s a whole other issue. Where someone really merits a metaphysical clip round the ear, I think these are wholly satisfying, and honourable things to hit them with…

May they have meaningful learning experiences.

May they have opportunity to grow, develop, and become better people.

May they come to understand how others see them.

May they come to understand the consequences of their actions.

May they have opportunity to learn what this is like from the other side, and so become more rounded and compassionate people.

May they have back everything they have given out.


You can carry on in this vein for some time. What I like best about this kind of wishing, is that it doesn’t feed your own bitterness, it enables letting go.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

13 responses to “Druid cursing

  • autumnbarlow

    “Empathy” is a wonderful one to wish on people.

    (As are haemorrhoids, but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.)

  • bish

    “May you live in interesting times” is about as bad as I’ve ever ventured. But then again, looking around at what’s going on out there, perhaps it’s less a curse and more an observation.

    Interesting is such an… interesting word, isn’t it? So many connotations… not all nice. But very interesting. 😉

  • Sandy Hay

    Very good. Now that is a very honorable answer to give that person who was asking about cursing. Anything other than the advice you gave would be a very scary tactic for sure. One that I would never consider sending out to anyone for fear of ultimately having it returned no matter what they did to deserve it. Good answer!

  • The Black Rose

    I do like the distinction between a curse and a geas. Both can shape you, but a geas can be more constructive, to my mind.

  • Jennifer Tavernier

    Well, as far as part and fabled history, you gotta admit it makes for great reading and adventure! Conflict and story arc and all that, plus lessons to be learned… but I do always laugh at the noble tagged “afterthoughts”, these days, (and yes, I indulge!) that go with ’em. (May be true, but there’s a bit of a pat on the back for being politically correct – lol!) It does help with the closure, especially if it makes one chuckle to themselves –
    I remember the first time I read the word geas, and looked it up. It has been one of my favorite concepts.

  • Mark Barnet

    Given today’s news, maybe it would be profitable to put a geas upon the ultra-rich 1% in America. Something along the line of “May you only experience a life like that you give those in your employment…” or to that effect.

  • Merlin Grey

    Without going into details, I will tell you that this approach to cursing was what I needed to hear at this moment, and it has helped me refrain from more sinister forms of retribution for a while longer.

  • Liam grace

    In my life I have a visous evil devious woman praying on my elderly uncle .she is trying to clean him out financially and maybe worse.it had made me sick and some of my family as well she has brain washed and manipulated him to the point that we can no longer c him . should I send her love or a curse.you might have one for me

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