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Thread: Defining "Black Magic"

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    Defining "Black Magic"

    Well, how do you define Black Magic, Black Magick, Blaque Magique, Majic, etc.

    Ok I got a little bit carried away with some of the spellings, but you get my point. What makes magic "Black" or "Dark," in your opinion?

    (PS: This is not intended to be a debate. If you want to cite your sources for why and how you define the above question, you may do so, but it's not required in this case.)
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    Silver Member Caelia's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Personally I take Waite's definition, which is to the effect that it's anything for personal gain. Thing is he also puts protection spells under black magic.
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    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Personally I don't go with the whole 'white' and 'black' magic thing. For me there's intention and there's method. So if you are deliberately setting out to harm someone (for whatever reason, even a justifiable one) then that's a dark intention, and if you harm someone or something during the performance of that spell (e.g. animal sacrifice) then that's a dark method. It's possible to use a dark method for a good intention (though I can't imagine why anyone would want to) and a light method for a dark intention (which some people feel more comfortable with.)

    Spells intended for the 'whitest' of purposes have the potential to cause huge damage. While spells intended to harm just one person may do just that. So personally I believe the concept is highly misleading.

    Years ago, people who habitually used questionable methods for equally questionable purposes were described as taking the left hand path. This used to tickle (amuse) me because I'm left handed anyway!

    As for personal gain, I really don't class that as black magic. As the author David Rankine says, 'A poor magician is a poor magician.' There's no harm in performing magic for personal gain, provided you are ethical about it, and don't use it as the psychic equivalent of an armed robbery!
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Hmm. When I was into Satanic rituals and the ilk, I would call that black magic. It never occurred to me there could be black magic in Paganism. I mean, I know there is in Santeria and hoodoo and voodoo. Are there even those kind of spells in Pagan magic? Like 'death spells' etc?
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    Silver Member Caelia's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Hmm. When I was into Satanic rituals and the ilk, I would call that black magic. It never occurred to me there could be black magic in Paganism. I mean, I know there is in Santeria and hoodoo and voodoo. Are there even those kind of spells in Pagan magic? Like 'death spells' etc?
    Yep. I don't know if they worked, but I've seen folks make those type of spells.

    As for looking the issue of personal gain in magic. I agree in the vast scheme of things magic can't be associated with "good" or "bad", but I think having those labels sometimes help with perspective for an individual and keeps the balance on a personal scale.
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    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Hmm. When I was into Satanic rituals and the ilk, I would call that black magic. It never occurred to me there could be black magic in Paganism. I mean, I know there is in Santeria and hoodoo and voodoo. Are there even those kind of spells in Pagan magic? Like 'death spells' etc?
    Oh yes, there are all sorts of horrible things in any type of magic. And another point I like to make is that often people perform magic without really realising it - on a conscious level, anyway!
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    I'm in the 'intent' crowd.

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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    I think its two things--intent and methodology.

    Intent is pretty obvious--is your goal something maleficent? If yes, black magic.

    Methodology is a bit more ambiguous...but basically, is the *way* you are carrying out said magic. Does it involve something negative towards another person, that causes them harm or removes their will, even if the intent and end result of the magic is something positive?
    If yes, black magic...or if you prefer, "grey magic"

    BUT...the caveat is that (IMO) black magic is not inherently bad...its just magic. WE make it bad (or good), and sometimes that bad is carried out for good reasons (and sometimes that good is carried out for bad reasons). And beyond turning this into a conversation as to what "good" an "bad" mean...which is sort of rediculous, what that means, in terms of pragmatism, is that most magic really turns out to be some shade of grey.
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Actual 'Black Magic' instead of merely offensive craftwork?

    Spells that either through end result or quirk of methodology, I find inherently unethical no matter what I'm doing with them. This is a very small list and not all death curses are guaranteed to be on it.

    That or the LoK definition where it's a specific form of energy manipulation well suited to destruction but I don't deal with enough people using that paradigm these days for it to be a useful term so I'll stick to the prior definition.
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    Re: Defining "Black Magic"

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelia View Post
    Personally I take Waite's definition, which is to the effect that it's anything for personal gain. Thing is he also puts protection spells under black magic.
    I had always thought that black magic is when you use a spell to directly effect someone else without their consent, such as a love spell, binding spell, revenge spells.

    If Waite's definition is the truth then a vast majority of magic would be considered black magic. Even sweeping my floor (with the intent to cleanse my home for personal gain) would be considered black magic, taking a shower, drinking tea, meditation, and many other things.
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