Pointing is in Magic and Sorcery, the ability to harm or kill others with a Curse or a Hex directed at them by pointing a finger, stick, bone, or other magical implement. Pointing magic exists in many cultures and in European Witchcraft lore. In tribal societies, it is used to mete out justice. The power of pointing is based on the belief that certain magically empowered persons can direct natural forces to affect other living things. North American Indian tribes have legends of the killing of animals by pointing. Pointing may have to be done repeatedly during a certain period of time before the curse takes effect.

Australian Aborigines have a custom of “pointing the bone” or “boning” as punishment for wrongdoing. In one case cited by anthropologist Ronald Rose, a man convicted of raping two girls was executed by boning. The tribal wise man hammered a point onto a wire and drew it through the flames of a fire while he recited curses. The wire was then pointed at the man. The wise man did this every night for a week. The victim grew progressively weaker, took to bed, and died on the final night of the Ritual.

Pointing a finger while uttering a curse is considered to be especially malevolent. Deadly, magical energy streams from the finger toward the victim. Thus hatred and intent to harm or kill is “sent” into the victim. The only way to nullify a pointing curse is to prevail upon the sorcerer to lift it or to seek out another and more powerful sorcerer to make a counterspell.

One explanation of how pointing works is that the victim, who knows he or she has been pointed at, may help to bring about the curse by strongly believing in the power of the witch or the sorcerer.

Pointing itself is neither negative nor positive, but in magic and sorcery it is usually associated with cursing. A benevolent form of pointing is found in mystical and spiritual traditions, in which a teacher or a holy person sends spiritual power into an initiate for the purposes of advancing enlightenment. In yoga, shaktipat refers to a transmission of power (shakti) via pointing, looking, and even through the breath.


  • Gordon, Stuart. The Book of Curses: True Tales of Voodoo, Hoodoo and Hex. London: Brockhampton Press, 1994.
  • Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Dreamwork for the Soul. New York: Berkley Books, 1998.
  • Robins, Joyce. The World’s Greatest Mysteries. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., 1989.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.

Witches and sorcerers (see sorcery) are believed to have a fatal power to kill by pointing. The malaysian pawang, or magician, points his kris, a type of dagger with wavy blade, which begins to drip with blood. many North American Indian tribes have legends of the killing of animals by pointing.

The underlying principle of pointing is the belief that magicians have the power to use their will as a weapon and direct it against others. The deadly, magical energy streams out of their fingers toward the victim. If they send hatred and death, that energy attracts the necessary dark forces to accomplish the goal. If a victim knows he has been pointed at, and believes in the power of the sorcerer, he may bring about his own demise as self-fulfilling prophecy.

See Curse.


The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.