All spiritual practitioners are aware of the existence of the term “Black/Dark Magic” as opposed to “White Magic”. In this opposition, Black/Dark Magic is generally associated with evil, and White Magic is related to good. What we know as White Magic is also considered to be superior in some ways, and practitioners are hailed and accepted. This is not the case with the people whose practice is more related to what is called Black or Dark Magic. This practice is frowned upon and considered inferior. People tend to pass moral judgment on these practitioners.
We argue that the terms Black/Dark Magic and White Magic are too simplistic, as they rely on the division between good and evil. This dichotomy can be too inflexible and doesn’t consider all the things in between. Also, the energy of the Universe isn’t inherently good nor evil. As humans, we have created these terms because we need them to better organize our experience in the world.
Besides, we are against the use of the terms “Black”, “Dark” and “White” to refer to magic. They have a colonialist undertone and a racial connotation. Instead, we propose using the term “Baneful Magic” to refer to cursing, banishing or binding. Instead of saying “White Magic”, try using the more correct and specific term, such as Green Witchcraft, Glamour Magic, Chaos Magic, and so on.
“Good” and “Evil” in Witchcraft
The opposition of good and evil has been around for centuries. Western people tend to consider that “good” is synonymous with “right”, “correct”, and “desirable”. On the other hand, people link “evil” to concepts such as “wrong”, “incorrect”, and “undesirable”. This dichotomy correlates to different types of magic, but this is a fallacy.
Black or Dark Magic is incorrectly defined as the use of magic for evil and selfish purposes. It is also associated with the Devil or other “evil” spirits. This practice is considered malicious and is judged as being “wrong”. But White Magic is frequently linked to benevolence, as people consider that it is the use of magic for selfless purposes. Practitioners of what is known as White Magic have been given titles such as wise men or women and healers.
However, the distinction between Black or Dark Magic and White Magic relies on the contrast between good and evil. This dichotomy sometimes fails to account for reality. For instance, there are many situations in which the distinction between good and evil is blurry. Sometimes there is more than one right decision or one right answer. Besides, everyone has a different moral compass and what is right or wrong varies between people.
It is also important to note that, in Western society, there are some things which people unanimously agree are “right” or “wrong”. For example, we tend to believe that curses and hexes are bad, and that all types of practices that tamper with another person’s will are evil and wrong. However, these beliefs are not natural or inherent to humankind. In fact, they can be traced to colonialism and imperialism.
In short, we cannot say that what people call Black/Dark Magic is evil. In the same way, we cannot say that the practice known as White Magic is good. This is because good and evil are two concepts that are not always easy to describe. Also, not all practices in what is known as Dark/Black Magic are equal. There are a multiplicity of spells, hexes, and practices that differ greatly from each other. Besides, this practice can be used for selfless purposes, as it could seek to protect the community from a sexual predator or wrongdoer, for instance. The same thing happens with what is called White Magic. One could argue that casting an abundance spell is selfish, although not baneful. Also, love spells don’t often fall under the category of Dark Magic, even though they might interfere with someone’s will and desires.
Black Magic Meaning - Dark Magic and colonialism
We argue that the terms Black Magic, Dark Magic, and White Magic come from a colonialist perspective. In turn, colonialism and imperialism have their basis on racism. The age of colonialism started in the 1500s, after European vessels came to America, first from Spain and Portugal, and later on from Britain. The way in which the colonized people organized themselves here was different from the European way. The color of their skin was also different. The idea behind colonialism is that white Europeans had the right to claim land as theirs because its inhabitants were not “advanced” enough. This attitude is racist, and it enabled dehumanizing practices on indigenous people.
Why do we associate the term “black” with negative things, and “white” with positive things? Language is not innocent. This is even more notorious when we are discussing English, an imperialist language. Black and white are not only colors visible to the human eye, but also concepts that are racially charged. The truth is that many of the practices associated to Black or Dark Magic come from Native American or African customs. These peoples have a wide variety of different spiritual customs. Western society tends to associate them only with baneful practices. This is because white Europeans didn't recognize the value of the practices, customs, religions, and beliefs of the indigenous peoples.
In addition, much of the dichotomy between “good” and “evil” comes from European religious beliefs such as Christianity. These ideas were spread around the world by the colonizers, and have since become naturalized in the Western world.
Baneful Magic vs. Black Magic
As we have mentioned before, we propose using the term Baneful Magic instead of Black Magic or Dark Magic. The word “Baneful” describes the purposes of the practices that intend to hex, curse, bind or ban, no matter the origins of the practice. Every spell or hex that interferes with the will of another person falls under the category of Baneful Magic. The practices that fall outside this category are too broad to be categorized under one term. The category of “White Magic” is an umbrella term that does not actually describe anything but “good” intentions. Instead, we use the proper name of the practice –such as Green Witchcraft, Glamour Magic, and so on. Every practice can come from selfish or selfless intentions. In all types of magic we can find harmless and harmful spells.
In summary, the categories of Black/Dark Magic and White Magic should be set aside. This is because they rest upon a dichotomy that is inherently falce. Also, these terms do not exist in the Universe as such, but have been created by humankind. Besides, the binary good-evil can be traced back to colonialist and imperialist beliefs and thoughts.
It is important to note that every spiritual practitioner or witch is free to make their own decisions. We should refrain from passing judgment over people according to which kind of magic they practice. This is because our idea of “good” and “evil” can come from a colonialist and imperialist perspective. Reducing a spiritual practice to whether it’s right or wrong doesn’t make much sense. The energy of the Universe doesn’t follow these categories. So, they are irrelevant in the context of witchcraft and spiritual practices.
What kind of magic do you practice? Has this article been interesting for you? Tell us in the comments!