The basics of black magic
What is black magic?
The term "black magic" refers to the belief in, and practice of, calling upon supernatural powers, through various means (such as spells and incantations), often with the intention of producing and inflicting evil. Black magic is commonly viewed as an expression of The Occult.
Why would a person want to use black magic?
The motivation for using black magic is often malicious in nature, as the user is frequently driven by ill-will like a grudge, revenge, or resentment against another person.
What is the purpose of black magic?
The intention of black magic is to bring about a specific hardship upon the targeted person; examples of this would include poor health (e.g. disease, blindness), the loss of a relationship (e.g. a lover), financial or material poverty (e.g. bankruptcy), or demotion from a position of prestige (e.g. losing a job).
Black magic in-depth
The spiritual side of black magic
Does black magic always involve evil spirits?
No. Black magic doesn't necessarily include calling upon personal spirit beings such as fallen angels. Even when it is, black magic is only sometimes associated with the Judeo-Christian devil (i.e. Satan) and demons. More often black magic attempts to call upon "forces" of evil, sometimes attempting to manipulate them by means of sacrifices and offerings, seeking to buy their favor and activity.
Why is this practice called "black magic"?
Historically, black magic has been contrasted with so-called "white magic," which is used when the user is motivated by good will in relation to the recipient of the spells, incantations, or other forms of magic. Some modern-day practitioners dislike the term "black magic", prefering a different label because of the perceived negative connotations of the term "black" magic.
What are spells exactly?
Spells often taken the form of a spoken word, phrase, or specific verbal formula, which is believed to produce an event in the spiritual realm, in a cause-and-effect relationship. Other rituals may accompany the spoken aspect of spell-casting.
What are incantations exactly?
Incantations are similar to spells in that they take the form of verbal communication, which is thought to cause some spiritual activity. Incantations, however, are sometimes expressed as chants, which are repeated, rhythmic spoken utterances.
What are charms exactly?
Charms are physical items that are worn, held, or in some other way utilized in black magic rituals. Examples of charms are jewelry, relics (i.e. items related to a deceased person - i.e. clothing, finger nails, hair), animal parts, or certain ritualistic clothing.
Connections to black magic
How has black magic influenced Satanism?
Only in recent history have various expressions of black magic influenced Satanism. As the linked-to article teaches, modern Satanism has theistic as well as atheistic forms. Anton LaVey included passages on magic in his book, The Satanic Bible.
Was black magic to blame for the Salem Witchcraft Trials?
Many people in Salem Village were accused of withcraft, which included forms of black magic. There was little evidence that this was the case. Please read more about the accusations and evidence in the feature article on The Salem Witchcraft Trials.
What other religions, spiritualities, and worldviews contain black magic?
Certain expressions of paganism have been influenced by black magic, yet contrary to the belief of some, Wiccan isn't believed to have been influenced by it significantly. One religious expression that is thought to have been impacted by black magic is voodoo, which has many overlapping ideas and practices with the practice. Historically, some have considered alchemy black magic.
Do the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings series encourage or teach black magic?
While black magic is found in the story lines of these novels, it is cast in a negative light in each. In the Harry Potter series, black magic is referred to as "the dark arts" and students are taught to protect themselves from its manifestations. In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron, the chief antagonist, practices black magic. In The Silmarillion, he is called "the dark lord" and in The Hobbit he is called "The Necromancer." Sauron uses black magic to create "the One Ring," which the protagonists in the series are trying to destroy so that it's not used maliciously against free people.