Blasphemy is the first and worst form of censorship. Not being allowed to criticize your leader is the most obvious symptom of tyranny. “Thou shalt not take the lord’s name in vain” is the crudest possible method of disconnecting that lord from your critical thought processes. If you’re not even allowed to say something, it becomes very hard to discuss it, or what a terrible job it’s doing. Luckily the human brain’s very first response to such a command is “Jesus Christ, what a load of bullshit”, and everything sacred suddenly does double-duty as a curse.
I was raised Catholic for the first half of my life, and I spent the second half stripping out all the resulting malware. Going through puberty believing masturbation to be a sin is a worse curse than anything vodou can throw at you. Now I’m almost fixed: I enjoy sex, and living, and generally not existing under a constant weight of guilt and fear. The only remaining side-effects are suspectibility to joining the Borg-voice of a church in prayer, having to consciously resist mouthing along the neuro-engraved responses, and Christian blasphemy.
An Irish upbringing structures my sentences around blasphemy like a city around sewage mains – not the prettiest part, but without those drains for all the inevitable negative consequences of living, the place would fill with backed-up shit. But why limit yourself to Roman Catholic curses, when the world has so many gods to blame for your misery? With thousands of choices on offer, you can express any displeasure with deities, tuning your blasphemy to the specific flavor of bullshit you’re cursing against.
Best blasphemy for: Pure undirected rage against the world
A Celtic god of war and destruction so badass some Britons still worshipped him after Roman soldiers dominated their island, along with some of those soldiers. When you’re so good at war that some of the culture who beat you at it switch to your side, that’s power. Fantastically polysyllabic for those days when a simple swear just isn’t enough to vent your feelings. This isn’t an exclamation, you really get to build up a head of steam across the clunky syllabic gear-shifts, punching with a real Fuck-you style CAD-ros. Excellent for bonus multiplication of combo compounded curse words.
Translates as “Beautiful/shining in death”, but not the passive death that happens to people: the active death you bring to people. He was named in a language with words to differentiate between natural and violent murderous deaths, and he was named after the latter and how brilliant he was at it. Divinely and literally suitable for rage-blasphemy.
Best blasphemy for: Misfortune, or overly verbose people ahead of you in the queue
Short, sharp, nice hard K-sound at the start. Quite fuck-like in both sound and attitude. Drinks rum mixed with gunpowder, and if you’ve never felt like that you’ve never really needed to blaspheme. The closest things Haitian vodou has to a Satan, he stands at the crossroads between the living and the dead and allows misfortune to pass like an evil crossing guard. Everyone must be silent in his presence or risk evil spirits, making him excellent for mutterings to the effect of some asshole shutting up.
Best blasphemy for: Targeted hatred
Other gods can smite and and punish, but when you absolutely have to wreak bloody murder on everyone in the culture, you gotta go Aztec. Itzli was the god of stone, ritual knives, and sacrificing people to the gods with stone ritual knives. The divine equivalent of a pyramid scheme – his only powers were helping you sacrifice more to his powers. For when you don’t just want to stab someone, but want to travel back to before metal just to do it with a more brutal instrument on top of a pyramid for everyone to see.
For more divine intercession in everyday life, behold The Pope’s Last Day of Work.