April 2, 2014

Blogging From A to Z Day 2: B is for Black Magic

For the month of April I will be participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Learn more about the challenge by clicking here. Each day (except Sundays) I will be posting a theme based on each letter of the alphabet. This blog is covering paranormal topics for the month. To read my automotive blog posts for the challenge, click here

We use the term "black magic" all the time, but do we really know what it means? Like many terms, it can take on a number of meanings, depending on who is using the term. Since I study the occult and the paranormal at large, I have my own set of criteria for what I consider to be black magic.

To get the big elephant out of the room, there are some people who think that any magical practices performed by a religion or culture other than their own is "black magic." The Puritans certainly took to this viewpoint, particularly with the ritualistic practices of the Native American tribes in New England. I grew up in New Mexico and knew people there who thought any of the old native practices and beliefs were black magic.

I subscribe to the belief that there are two kinds of magic: black and white. It is pretty archetypal, but the white is good while the black is evil. Why do I think that? It's from firsthand experience, coupled with deep study of the subject. If you want details, send me a message and we can converse.

I grew up hearing the old Native American saying that there are two dogs that live in each person, one good and one bad. The thing that determines which wins the fight is which dog is fed by us the most. Thoughts, actions, intentions, etc. is how we feed one or the other.

Black magic is defined as magic that is used to harm others or to get selfish gain. This includes putting hexes on other people because you dislike them, trying to satisfy ones gluttonous desires such as seducing a person or obtaining vast amounts of wealth for entirely selfish reasons. White magic, on the other hand, involves using magic to enrich your life and those who surround you. Sure, there are binding spells and rituals, but those are used to keep someone from harming others or even himself, sometimes even countering black magic.


Robin said...

I love that Native American saying about the wolves. It is true. We all have good and bad inside us... and what determines our lives is the one we feed.

I also agree about white magic vs. black magic. All magic is not the same....

Lexa Cain said...

In Egypt, they don't admit they believe in black magic -- but they do. If things go wrong, it's because someone hexed them. Easy to blame everyone and everything but yourself. (Although not everyone's like that.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While I believe there is no good magic, I don't believe what Native Americans do is bad magic. I'm sure that's a contradiction, but even as a Christian, I think a lot of that harkens back to one's culture. It's part of who they are. That, and I was not put here to judge.

randi lee said...

Don't really have anything to say because Alex said it all for me! Completely agree. And I, too, am certainly no one who's in any position to judge.

Cecilia said...

an interesting topic to blog about. have fun A2Z'ing :)

Steven said...

Robin, glad you like the saying. It's one I still think about constantly.

Lexa, sounds like there's some cognitive dissonance going on there. The collision of culture and the paranormal can be quite revealing.

Alex, it's very much a cultural thing.

Randi, glad you stopped by!

Cecilia, thanks for commenting!

VR Barkowski said...

The term magic itself is subjective. For example, at the risk of offending many, I see little difference between the idea of magic as energy sent out in the word to effect change and prayer. I agree that black magic is that which is intended to do harm, but I also believe magic can have unanticipated consequences and what is meant for good may have intended dark repercussions. Does that make it black magic or does the nature of the magic lie with the wielder's intent?

VR Barkowski

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I'm so intrigued by your post and the comments afterward. I loved reading about your beliefs of white vs black magic. I wish I had an opinion to offer. I don't - instead, I just really enjoyed reading yours and everyone else's thoughts. Very cool Native American saying - I hadn't heard that before.

Steven said...

VR, quite a bit about the paranormal is quite subjective. What some people considering a "myth" or "paranormal" or even "magical" varies from individual to individual. You ask an important question about black magic, and I would say there is value in the old saying "the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions." Sometimes in our ignorance and over-exuberance, we seek to do good and instead unleash evil, so I would say that would be "unintentional" black magic.

Kimberly, thank you for the compliment -- I really aim to capture people's imagination and engage their minds.

mshatch said...

Love the Native American belief about our true natures.

In my (fictional) worlds I tend to have magic be a tool which can be used to good or bad, depending on the person using it and the ritual. For example, the ritual of sacrifice an be used to promote good (Christ, for example) or bad.

One of my favorite examples of this in fiction is CF Friedman's The Coldfire Trilogy.