Saturday, February 23, 2008

Engaging In Black Magic On A Daily Basis

In 1971, Isaac Bonewits a mere 22 years old at the time, published Real Magic and changed the world.

Discussing the difference between white magic and black magic, Bonewits noted that:

Members of both groups eventually destroy themselves with their own negativism, simply because skill in magic requires a sane and well-balanced personality powered by a mature and intelligent mind. To become an "adept," to develop your talents to the fullest, you must have a positive attitude to life. Remember that it is your physical body, modulated and controlled by your personality, that is responsible for your talents. If you hate your body and mind, if you are unbalanced, and without self discipline, if you are unable to retain sanity and flexibility, if you cannot adapt to sudden changes, you will kill yourself. . . . Morals and magic do not mix. Magic is a science and an art and, as such, has nothing to do with morals or ethics.

Victor Anderson made much the same point when he said that "White magic is poetry. Black magic is anything that actually works."

Bonewits, BTW, has a blog and a CafePress store.


Anonymous said...

OT...although not by as much as I expected to be...but I just saw your question at Atrios' joint and by the time I caught up you were leaving.

Yes I got a response back from Stephen du Rose and it was amazing. I am trying to figure out how to phrase a response, asking how much of this I have his permission to make into an article for my Historic Cooking site. If he makes a living by writing about this sort of thing this may be awkward as I am not in a position to pay him anything, but damn, this was good stuff and I don't know anybody else who has it. Not in the cooking community anyway.

Thank you so much for your help in making the connection. Blessed be...


Hecate said...


He's published a number of books. Maybe if you hyped one along with your article? He does have an amazingly encyclopedic knowledge about roses.

Isaac Bonewits said...

I'm a little older and wiser now. :)

I now say that ethics are needed for magic users just like they are for doctors, plumbers, farmers, or just plain folks. The kicker is that the ethical rules followed by most Neopagans don't make a lot of philosophical sense. That's because they are based in a Christian Dualist frame that separates matter from spirit.

It was that sort of dualism I was protesting back in the early 70s. The rule of thumb I use now is that something is ethical to do with magic if it would be ethical to do the same thing physically.

bright blessings,