This post was originally something I wrote for tumblr.
I’ve been seeing a lot of this topic on the witch side of tumblr, and I thought I would talk about it to clear up some misinformation, and maybe add some stuff to the discussion. This is coming from my experiences, understandings, teachings and my research I’ve done on this subject. What we are here today to figure out is if the terms “black magick”, and as a extension “white magick” are racist in nature, or in any other form of its original meaning, and usage. I personally do not use these terms, because they exist to categorize magick in a specific way that I do not feel works well, but today we will be talking about the terms themselves, and what they mean in reference to magick along with how they have been used in the past.
Defining “black, and white magick”:
“White magick” is magick that is used for a selfless, “good”, light, and positive purpose. This is usually said to be things such as healing, cleansing, banishing, granting good luck, granting success, and, granting favor, along with many other things. This is also usually associated with a positive connotation. “Black magick” is magick that is used for a selfish, “evil”, dark, and negative purpose. This is usually such things as cursing, hexing, jinxing, binding, crossing, manipulation, and summoning, along with many other things. This is also usually associated with a negative connotation.
Explaining “black magick”:
“Black magick” is named “black magick” because of the dark negativity that those workings promote, or were seen to promote. The words black, and white in “black magick”, and “white magick” come from what the person perceiving them defines as “good”, and light, or “evil”, and dark. “Black magick” has also been a term that has been used for any practice that someone has not approved of according to their perception, understanding, and/or religion. “Black magick” was not built on the ideals of race. The practices that were considered to be “black magick’ were from all walks of life. It had less to do with the type of races practicing the practices, and had to do more with religion, perception, understandings, and metaphysics. Some people even consider “black, and white magick” to be the same as high, and low magick. With high magic being white, and low magic being black this again is not done because of the races, but is done because of what the colors represent. The metaphysical properties of the color white is highly associated with the heavens, while black is very highly associated with the earth. Its connection to higher, and low magick is not to say one is better than the other, but just like in the concept of high, and low Magic is to show what the practitioner is choosing to affect. With high magick working a lot with enlightenment, spiritual knowledge, deities, and higher entities, and in the case of low magick the magick works to affect, and manifest certain constructs.
In history all forms of occultism eventually, became seen as “black magick” due to Christian influences. Any practice that was not given to a practitioner by the will of God was seen to be heresy, and “black magick”, and is still very much seen that way today. The occult is a very odd subject in Christianity, and a lot of unnecessary things get lumped into a the occult, and all of this would be considered “black magick” to a lot of Christians. It had less to do with the type of races practicing the practices, and had to do more with perception, religion, and understandings. White is a very holy color, and it reflects the light which is very important to practitioners of Christianity, because it symbolizes God. In metaphysics the color white is even associated with the god, the masculine aspect, and the yang, with the color black representing the goddess, the feminine aspect, and the yin. One is not “evil”, and one is not “good”. One is not better than the other, but both make up equal parts of the whole on a polarity spectrum, that can be used, and worked with in different ways. The black and the white in “black, and white magick” comes from the metaphysical understandings of the colors black and white, and has nothing to do with race, or skin color. It was created to show the differences between to practices, one that was considered to be benevolent, and the other considered to be malevolent, but this idea was based upon certain duality understandings.
On the magickal practitioner side of things a lot of practitioners have actually stopped using the terms “white magick”, and “black magick”. Many practitioners feel that “black, and white magick” are not a good way to categorize magickal knowledge, because it depends a lot on how the magick is being used, the understandings of the practitioner, and perception of those who experience the magick. “Black, and white magick” also holds on very strongly to the whole “Good”, and “Evil” mentality. Which is a philosophy a lot of practitioners have let go of because it does not work for them, and it relies very heavily on perception. These terms usually when used by practitioners are to separate out cursing, and things like it, from other forms of magick, that would be seen as much more positive. It is also sometimes used to separate practices from the right-hand path from practices from the left-hand path. There have also been a lot of magick practitioners that have been considered “black magicians” over the years by certain people. These would be such people as Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey, and Austin Osman Spare, along with many others. A good number of these practitioners are Caucasian practitioners, but would still be known by some people as “black magicians”. The practitioner’s race has no effect upon what they would be considered with these terms.
A lot of African, and African American practices were seen to be “black magick” primarily labeled by Christians, and other religious officials that did not understand their practices. It did not have to do with the fact that they were black, but much rather the fact that they did not understand their practices. So they ended up being labeled as evil, but this also happened to a majority of other cultures of various practices from Tantra in India, to practically every form of shamanism to Alchemy, forms of philosophy, and even science itself have at some point been labeled “black magick”. Not because they were “black magick”, but because people did not understand those practices, and because of this lack of understanding they feared them, and called them “evil”. These terms have also become very famous in media, and constantly used in movies, TV shows, and books. These forms of media have made a lot of people think of magick in this form of way, which has further the use of these terms throughout the ages.
Magick is a very beautiful thing, and we shouldn’t be labeling that in such an archaic form. It comes in so many different forms, and variances. “Black, and white magick” just truly does not do magick justice, along with this being too much of a fluid dynamic system, if you are to categorize something it should be a lot more concrete, and static in its approach to labeling. So as I conclude “black magick” was never meant to be racist, and I am sorry if you took it that way, but there is a hole deeper meaning to where this actually started. It was meant to categorize certain magical practices that were seen as malevolent, and maybe even in some earlier cases that were seen as the feminine, or the yin aspect, but in the case of being seen as malevolent it was mostly based on a specific person’s point of view. I believe there are much better terms that can be used, and we should stick to those more prevalently.
So what do you guys think, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as long as they are logical, and respectful. Thank you for reading, I appreciate it.