“Dark” Magic

Recently on an email list someone asked about “dark magic” and there was a good discussion that followed. I thought I’d share one of my posts here:

>> So many pagans shy away from “dark” aspects of magic, throwing out silly terms like “black magic” and “evil.” Magic is causing change through the force of your will…it can’t in and of itself be good or evil…and the line that determines whether your *will* is good or evil is wide and blurry and ever-changing and totally relative.<<

I guess this is why I haven’t been participating in this discussion… I don’t find this to be true amongst the Pagans I spend time with, so I didn’t feel I have much to say on the subject. I’ve never dealt directly with someone who has such an immature view of the shadow side, maybe because as soon as I hear that sort of rhetoric I stop listening. What’s more, I consider the sort of magic you’re talking about to be just part and parcel of being a Witch. I don’t think of it as dark, light or Techni-colored. It’s just part of what I do. I very seriously consider the consequences of what I do, and then base what happens next on that deliberation. I’m not comfortable with the underlying assumption that all — or even most — Wiccans are white-lighters; that’s just not been my experience. Perhaps that’s colored by my experience with British Traditional Wiccans… I don’t know.

I think what’s happening here is that a handful of (loud) people are self-taught and sort of unmotivated to go beyond one or two books (or points of view). (I think the following is true of all paths and all people, btw.} Call it a by-product of our instant society… People don’t want to know that spirituality requires work; that you don’t get it out of a book. The current multitude of immature Wiccans (read: Fluff Bunnies) speaks to the need for working with a qualified teacher, IMHO. The truth is, most people DON’T have the discipline and drive it takes to be fully self-taught (this is NOT meaning that no one can be completely self-taught and a mature Witch… just that those individuals who can truly do it without anyone else’s help are, in my opinion, rare). Everyone I know — and I’m speaking of accomplished Witches and Wiccans here — eventually reaches a point where they need to seek out someone who’s walked the Path longer. To the immature Witches, being self-taught just means no one can question them, even if what they’re saying is obviously not well-thought out and somewhat naive. (Sounds something like those Christians who get their “faith” from the Bible, rather than from a connection with God, hm?) They think being self-taught means they don’t have to answer to any sort of authority or challenge except those of the gods themselves… and that’s true, except that most of them are lacking the skills for objective introspection and self-assessment. But whatever, right? I mean, that’s part of being “Wiccan,” isn’t it? The right to “do your own thing” regardless of what anyone else thinks? Hmph. Methinks many, many people do the Wiccan religion a great disservice by not bothering to really learn about it before proclaiming it. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the surface, and that certainly includes the sacred words of Wicca.

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