I believe that people use magick in the same ways they approach non-magickal life. For instance, we say that you shouldn't cast love spells, and yes, I believe you shouldn't. But these same girls that cast love spells on the hotties they're crushing on . . . they also try the makeup hints, the low-cut blouses, the flirting secrets they think will function as shortcuts to getting their way. These ultimately do not work except as an attention-getter. The same way cleavage will not attract and ensnare every man (only the ones with an unreal zest for titties), a love spell cannot hold potential lovers against their will unless they are particularly mentally prone to such influences, in which cases they are weak-willed in many areas and may also be held in a relationship as a submissive by aspects of the partner's personality. I feel that all these ways to attract a lover are unacceptable, because they are tricks, based on nothing but manipulation. But some people are like that, and will act with magick in accordance with their personalities if they are so inclined.

I do believe somewhat in karmic retribution, in some cases. For instance, one of my very first magickal workings was a big mistake. In my mind, I was trying to help someone escape a potentially dangerous situation, but looking back on it, I know I only saw the situation as dangerous because I was prejudiced against it being "happiness" for the involved person just because it would not be "happiness" for me. In this working I attempted to lead my subject away from something that made her happy just because I didn't like it; I tried to enforce my will on another person, and not twenty-four hours later I got food poisoning after eating the same thing my sister did, yet she didn't get sick, and my body was rejecting the food just like my spell's subject ended up rejecting my intended "protection." I got the point, of course. And scientifically speaking, this could have been a coincidence, or a nervous reaction to subconsciously knowing I did something wrong. But speaking of karma . . .

It is very likely that karma is less mysterious than we imagine. Say a magick user tends to work spells that meddle in her friends' lives for the worse. Someone who would do something like that is also likely to gossip and talk behind people's backs, and is not likely to be trusted or held close by many people. It seems that there may be a third variable causing karma to bite this woman's ass: she is a bitch. And bitches who meddle in their friends' lives are often bitches outside the magick circle too, and their bitchiness will end up burning them more than once. In short:

These people are their own worst punishment.

I agree that manipulative magick is dangerous, mostly because trying to manipulate anyone against their will is dangerous. It's not necessarily dangerous because you will be smitten for it (you might not be, especially if you don't know what you're doing), but more because it is dangerous to hold the desire to dominate other people under your power. People who abuse power like this can become terrorists, whose lives are never happy. And they deserve it if they act on these impulses to get others cowering under their thumbs.

Addressing some other points in the above writeups:

I do think that in some cases it's all right to work magick for people without their express permission. This is okay in my opinion if you either have their general permission (just not for a particular working) or just want to send some energy their way. Or if the person is truly out of control and is a danger to him/herself and others, a binding may be necessary, but that is best left to very experienced people. I think that if someone is known to be opposed to the magickal equivalent of praying, it is best not to do it, or to just give the person a "good luck" charm to aid their needs rather than actually casting a spell on the person. (That way the person can subconsciously invoke what he/she needs from the inspiration of the charm, when/if the person chooses to.)

On the subject of love spells involving a particular person: I think that trying to evoke the desired impulses in a mate is not an unwholesome thing to do; as Wuukiee said, it is all in how ya do it. Just like dressing nice and being groomed might get your dream lover to look your way, a push in the right direction is nothing shameful. Wearing too much perfume and wearing a push-up bra right in his face, however, is not only tacky but ultimately ineffective for staying in a relationship. And as you might have guessed, the dressing nice and being groomed is just like casting a "make me attractive to people who might love me" spell, while the tacky flaunting I mentioned is similar to a "make HIM fall in love with me" spell.

On the subject of teen girl magazines suggesting love spells: Yes. Totally irresponsible. And equated to the levels of Mystery Date and the MASH game so many of us played as giggling adolescents. I frown on their practice of publishing what is essentially a magickal prayer as if it were just fun and games, but I can only hope that these might awaken a few new pagans with every issue.

All magick is in some way manipulative; that's what it's all about, or why use it? But a "curse" is a hell of a lot different than a healing spell, even if both manipulate whatever energy you envision. And if you begin studying magick so that you can get revenge on the teachers who flunked you or the boss who fired you, you're already in the negative energy up to your neck before you even pick up your wand. You don't even have to cast the spell because you're already a bitch. And you deserve yourself.