In keeping with the "room for extended discussion" topics, I thought I'd start this thread. I'm not going to do what Hobo did, and cross compare some religious views on cursing/hexing/malediction/illwishing/whatever-term-your-system-of-belief-uses-here. Quite frankly I'm not sure I could do justice to anything other than the Roman Catholic Church, which would involve a copy-pasta from the Catechism.
Irish speakers have a cursing culture. Where English has invective, "go ******** yourself", the Irish language has casual malediction. "Go bpléascacht do chác thú", meaning "may your s**t explode you", being my personal favourite. This is casual illwishing. I don't believe that the casual maledictor believes that any ill will come of the declaration, but the malediction is a declaration of violent thought. Admittedly, some of them have been shortened so that they are part of a shared language where the literal translation of something like "éirí ort" which is literally "you rise"*, but is short for "titim gan éirí ort" "may you fall without rising".
Satire (glam dichenn), on the other hand, was an art reputed to be able to raise boils or raze homes (c wut I did dar?). It is presented in our histories in an amoral light, being neither inherently evil nor shunned, but as something that was done even in Christian times. Whether this is down to cultural conditioning combined with a psychosomatic placebo effect or some power the file (pronounced, roughly, filla) held is kind of irrelevant. It was a done thing, like lawyers (let's face it, try explaining a laywer to someone with no concept of a court, and you get into "it must be magic" especially if the concept of "court" dissappears due to cultural warfare)
*Ok, it's not literally "you rise" because that's not how pronouns work in Irish. Irish has prepositional pronouns. So it's literally "rise on you".
Interesting thread! There are a few curses I can think of in my dialect of English (Mississippi Delta). The most common these days being "I hope you die in a fire." There is some superstition around power ascribed to the written and spoken word, so you're not supposed wish harm on someone for fear it could happen. Of course most people don't believe in the old superstitions, but there's usually one or two people in a group that will chastise their friends for idle curses.
Much more common is the "sarcastic blessing," ie, "That boy just don't have sense to come in out [of] the rain, God bless his little heart." The idea being that you can say what you want to about a person, and so long as you follow up with a blessing you cancel out any malice in your statement.
I am guessing that I am of Romani heritage (although it is hard to nail down real genealogy pf wanderers when Nazis wipe out your family) and my grandmother had a number of curses. Many of them were startlingly polite, as Polish and Ukrainian are very polite languages, so curses were given with please and thank-you. She had a child-size version of a curse to teach me. She told me to call people toads, and said that the idea of calling people toads when angry as a curse was the origin of witches "turning people into toads." She had some pretty bad dementia, so I'm not claiming this is legit, but it is a good story nonetheless. I had a much hated nemesis in early childhood that I remember calling a "two-headed wart-faced toad" nearly every day. I still call people toads when they cut me off in traffic.
Defixio/katadesmosemotion_dowant Curse tablets, basically. The Roman version was lead, on which your message was written. Then roll it up, pierce it through with a nail and hide it somewhere in your victim's house. Sit back and wait. Repeat if needed.
A cursing gesture is basically the metal horns done with the left hand, either held behind the back or out in front depending on if you want to be obnoxiously blatant about it.