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That Old Black Magick (Baneful Magick)

I think the time has finally arrived to retire the phrase "black magick.” A cliché just wears out; it loses meaning or, worse still, begins to say things we never meant in the first place.

Saying "black" when we mean "evil" is nonsense. It reinforces the racist stereotypes that corrupt our society. And that's not all. Whenever we say "black" instead of "bad," we repeat again the big lie that darkness is wrong. It isn't, as people who profess to love Nature should know.

Darkness can mean the inside of the womb, and the seed germinating within the Earth, and the chaos that gives rise to all truly new beginnings. In our myths, the one who goes down to the underworld returns with the treasure. Even death is well-earned rest and comfort, and a preparation for a new birth.

But even if we no longer speak of magick as "black" or "white," we still need to think and speak about the ethics of magick. Although black is not evil, some actions are evil. It simply is not true that anything a person is strong enough or skilled enough to do is OK, nor should doing what we WILL ever be the whole of the law. We need a clear and specific vocabulary that enables us to choose wisely what we will do.

Quite clearly, magick that may affect other people is magick that can harm. This forms the basis of the proverb "a Witch who can't hex can't heal." either you can raise or direct power, or you can't. Your strength and skill can be used for blessing or for bane. The choice — and the karma — are yours.

The consequences of baneful magick are simply logical, natural, and inevitable psychological effects. Even in that rare and extreme situation when you may decide you really do have to use baneful magick, it means you are choosing by the same choice to accept the act's karma. Magickal attack hurts the attacker first.

One way I know how to do magick is by use of my imagination, by visualizing or otherwise actively imagining the end I want, and then projecting that goal with the energy of emotional/physiological arousal. All the techniques I know either help me to imagine more specifically or to project more strongly. So the only way I can send out harm is by first experiencing that harm within my own imagination. That’s instant and absolute karma - the natural, logical and inevitable outcome of our own choices.

So, baneful magick, besides being painful in the short run and crippling in the long run, is not always necessary. That isn't the only way an incomplete view of the situation can backfire.

There's a traditional saying that goes: "Be careful about what you ask for because that's exactly what you will get”. The more specifically targeted your magick is, the more you limit yourself to a life of tautology and missed chances. And beyond all the scenario spinning, lies the instant karma, the natural, logical and inevitable consequence of the act

Every time you treat another human being as a thing to be pushed and pulled around for your convenience and pleasure, you are reinforcing your own alienation. The attitude of being removed from and superior to other people takes you out of the community. As the attitude strengthens, so will the behavior it engenders. The long-term result of coercive magick, as with mundane forms of coercion, is isolation and loneliness.

Work on yourself and your own needs and desires without unnecessarily targeting other people. Then feel free! Ask for what you want. Visualize it and raise power for it and act in accordance with the material plane.

No life situation ever looks the same from outside as it does to the person who is experiencing it.

In baneful magick, the magician intends to harm the target. In coercive magick, the intent toward the target is neutral. In manipulative magick, the magician actually means the target well. But no matter how different the intent may be, in all three cases, magick is done to affect another person without that person's permission.

Magick can be used for dominance, just the same as muscle or money. There is no difference, ethically, between the magical and the mundane.

As within, so without: our karma is our choice.

ii-wy em Hotep - Patrick Gaffiero


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