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Comparisons of Magic Types

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Comparisons of Magic Types (was Repercussions ...)
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 17:51:26 GMT

Joseph wrote:
> Coyote Lokison wrote:
> > Speaking of the idea of what is commonly called "black" 
> > magick......I have always hated the idea of calling it by my 
> > favorite color. 
> >
> > And I have always hated the idea of the dichotomy/dualism of 
> > "light/white magick=good" and "dark/black magick=bad". 

As if everything in the universe could be shovelled into two piles. 
Giving magic colour-names is giving magic metaphors, and metaphors are
useful, in their place. 

But if you look too long at the metaphor you can destroy your capacity
to see the thing itself. 

An imposed dualistic either/or metaphor is more quickly destructive of
our ability to distinguish things than any other kind. 

Imagine that magic were as common as dinner and someone told you, "It's
either Pizza or it's Tacos. Nothing else." You'd laugh and eat Chinese.  

Imagine that magic were as common as vehicles and someone told you,
"It's either a truck or it's a boat. Nothing else." You'd laugh and
drive a bicycle.  

Imagine that magic were as common as plants and someone told you, "It's
either a pine tree or its a rose. Nothing else." You'd laugh and pick a

Why, when the subject is magic, do people even LISTEN to the dualists?
Why do we not laugh and offer them alternatives?

> > Does anybody have a way they like of denoting that
> > which is called "black magick" in the popular media, that doesn't 
> > denegrate various colors?

One way to approach the issue is to 


Consider the prism, consioder the chromatic colours. Instead of a
limited film noir version of magic, merely black magic versus white
magic, you can also have red magic, orange magic, yellow magic, green
magic, blue magic, and purple magic!  

Since each of these colours already has certain correspondences with
astrological, herbal, and deific symbols, it is fairly easy to assign to
the colours different objectives in magic:

Purple magic might be Jupiterian power and rulership, for expansion and
asssumption of greatness.

Red magic might be Martian lust and blood, in which all is fair, they

Try it out. It may appeal to you. 

For a sample of how it works, see this web page, where it was
deliberately engaged as a teaching style:

Another idea, which can be used at the same time as the above, is to
"call a spade a spade" and not let colour-fashions dictate your


When someone does magic to gain money, call it "wealth magic." When
someone does magic to see a demon, call it "demon-summoning magic." When
someone does magic to know God, call it "theo-gnostic magic." When
someone does magic to find a rare book, call it "book finding magic."
When someone does magic to get laid, call it lust magic. 

These descriptive names need not be consistently applied. That is, there
is no need for you to taxonomize every corner of magic, name it, and
memorize the name-scheme. Rather, you may consider these names to be
ad-hoc descriptions, although some of them will probably settle on you
as time goes by. 

Abjuring colour symbolism and using precise names for the various types
of magic on a regular basis, both when speaking with others and when
thinking internally, can become a mental discipline for you. I know i
find it such. 

After about a year, this form of speech became so natural to me that i
would notice how weird it sounded when people spoke of white magic or
black magic. 


So i asked them. The answers were quite revealing of THEIR mental
states, and i learned a lot about their prejudices, their hopes and
fears, and even their religious biases. 

Although i have used the precise-name scheme in conversation for 25
years, and the chromatic colour scheme as a teaching tool for about 5
years, i find that i am still asked dualistic questions by people who
have been over-trained in dualistic thought. This provides me with an
opportunity to 


For instance, someone may engage mne in a general conversation about sex
magic. I may list a few common sub-types of sex magic (e.g. using the
moment of orgasm to focus the will for some non-sexual objective, using
magic to meet a sex-partner, using sexual fluids as a magical link to
someone, etc.). I may even give these forms of magic ad hoc direct-name
titles (e.g. orgasm-magic, partner-drawing magic, sex-juice link-magic)
-- but eventually, my conversational partner may jump the track and ask
me, "Is that white magic or black magic?" 

What do i do then? 

Do i say, "No, it's red magic" and start them off on a long train of
thought about chromatics? 

Or do i tell them that they are victims of rigid dualism who can grow
beyond an artificially two-valued system and start them off on a long
train of thought about the doctrine of the excluded middle? 

Well, i might do either (and i have), but i also allow myself another
avenue of expression: I reflect the question back: 

"Well, you tell me, does orgasm magic seem like white magic or black
magic to you?" 

This usually opens the way to a deeper discussion about what they think
of magic, what they want from magic, and what they think about life in

> the colours conotate certain concepts, colloquially, that is to say, 
> the terms, black and white refer to states of being or concepts 
> rather than hues,tones, tints, or visible light wavelength. 

This is the doctrine of the excluded middle, for in it there are not
even shades of grey :-)

> imo a black magician is just a failed white magician who refuses 
> to accept that they have failed, not every one who attempts to 
> attain and fails become "black" only those who refuse to
> admit they have failed in their attempt. 

Is coal a "failed diamond that refuses to admit it has failed?" And what
about sapphires and rubies? What did they attempt? How did their
failures affect them? 

Is magic a subject like math in which we pass or fail when our sums are
judged against a library of previous results?

Or is it a subject like art in which we may receive guidance regarding
historical theories and the uses of our tools, but the only real passing
grades are those of pleasure and self-satisfaction?

> if you wish to swim against the current of popular and traditional 
> usage you are welcome to the attempt i dont think you'll make much 
> headway in changing the vocabulary and to bring in or play the race 
> card in the argument about it is just silly enough for me at
> least to give up on any attempt at communication, it being so far 
> removed from the race question as to indicate that any one who would 
> claim such isn't worth the energy to educate. 

Coyote did not "bring in or play the race card" so your attempt to
forestall discussion on that factor was premature, i believe. 

But imagine, just for a moment, that you, Joseph, were an
African-American magician... commonly called "black" :-) 

How sad that just for me to ask you to *imagine* that makes me not
"worth the energy to educate" in your eyes. 

> at least mystically, black is absence of everything
> evan god which is often times configured as "light" sometimes 
> invisible light but most often then as now and especially with the 
> despised (and that's a whole nother post i haven't got to yet, my 
> defence of the "new agers") new age nomenclature, the "white light" 
> being inclusive and all force and fire and life, the metaphysical 
> opposite of black.

Imagine a religion of migraineurs to whom "white light" is PAIN, sheer,
stabbing torture, the demonic source of horror. Imagine these
migraineurs living comfortably in dim-lit rooms, happy and content,
blessing the dark quietude that keeps at bay the EVIL WHITE LIGHT. 

Imagine that humans were descended not from diurnal apes but from mice
or brown-eyed, darling crepuscular voles. Imagine the gods we would
create then, the gods of dawn and dusk, Great Shadow in his Infinite
Wisdom, and lovely Twilight, in her Flowing Robes. 

Imagine that humans were all artists, that instead of a few garish cyans
and magentas, their printing presses flowed with a thousand fountains of
ink, each one specially compounded, and that their monitors coruscated
in Adobe Tru-Tone, not just R and G and B. Imagine that the whole of
humanity, not just a few crabbed printer's devils, saw the splendour of
hue and saturation and then, when you said "black magic" they turned
their wise and smiling faces toward you and asked, "Which black --
100K40C rich black or 100K20C20M full black -- or do you want Special
Carbon Oil-Based Black with Pearlescent Undertones?" 

Oh, there is MUCH more possible to imagine than the high-contrast world
of pass and fail, good and evil. Much more. And if in imagination we may
cast aside the limits of dualistic metaphor, then we may also do so in
daily life. 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

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