Friday, April 12, 2013

Black Magic

"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right." -- Ani DiFranco

Any discussion about magic ("the art and science of creating change in conformity with Will," as Crowley defined it)  is a discussion about power and the ways we wield it -- a discussion that cannot be separated from the social, political, cultural, and economic realities people inhabit.

The popular conception of "white magic," guided by the ethic "do what tho wilt, an' it harm none" feeds and is fed by the illusions of privilege that obscure the fact that that the lives we live are lived at others' expense.   In a society where the messier aspects of securing survival are shunted off to armed forces that do their work out of sight and far away, rougher edged magics are not as relevant in the lives of those who have social and economic capital as they are to those who live at the edges and in the shadows.    But magic has long been a means by which people have done what they need to do feed and heal and clothe and house and protect themselves and their communities.    The magic that has historically been the magic of the poor and the oppressed is labeled "black magic" by those who do not need it to survive and would rather not face the realities it entails.

Victor Anderson famously said "White magic is poetry, black magic is whatever works."

White magic is reverent and celebratory.  It is the right hand magic that gives thanks for the blessing and abundance that rain down from the universe.

Black magic is done with urgency, when children are starving and need food,  when someone is coming to harm your family, when someone is halfway through death's door and a witch needs to tear through the veil to pull her back into this world.     It is the left handed magic that takes what is needed and does not apologize for that need.

But ultimately, there is no white magic or black magic, there is only magic, wild and transgressive and resisting description.   To heal and to hex, to bless and to curse, are not just  identical powers that flow from the same source, they are the same action seen from different points of view.

Magic is neutral.  Its application is not.   Its our right and responsibility to wield it with precision and intention, knowing and choosing the blessings and the curses we enact as we do.   


John Klovt said...
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Baba Shivanandji said...

Great Article!!
It is giving nice comparison between white & black magic.
Everybody should read this at least once.
Thanks for sharing:)

Baba Shivanand Ji

Zhang San said...
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