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Secrets of Black Art

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick,alt.christnet.demonology,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick
From: (nagasiva yronwode)
Subject: Re: Secrets of Black Art
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 07:02:07 GMT

50001024 Vom
>>  I know I brought up the subject of Black Arts oil in a past post 

the exact coincidence and relation between Black Arts formula in 
hoodoo tradition and the books featuring old witches or satanic 
characters as well as those of stage magic is quite interesting to me.

sri catyanada has a book which is similar in name and content to that
which you describe. where this particular book is concerned I don't 
see that it says much about what 'Black Art' or 'Black Arts' mean,
though the singular seems to relate to spiritualism and demonology
while the latter is not mentioned at all. in the chapter on "Black or 
Diabolic Magic", someone named Ricard's text "Analysis of General and 
Particular Councils" is quoted, defining black magic as:

	the art of performing things which surpass the powers
	of nature, and which are ordinarily bad, in consequence
	of a compact, express or implied, with demons.
	"Herrman's Book on Black Art or the Sciences of Magic, 
	 Witchcraft, Alchemy, Necromancy, Mesmerism, Etc.", 
	 published by Wehman Bros., 1898; p. 89 

the book's title page bears a slight difference: "Herrman's Black 
Art: A Treatise on Magical Sciences, Witchcraft Alchemy, Necromancy, 
Mesmerism, Etc.", and not all of its contents relate specifically to
spiritualist practices (for example, "How to Perform the Davenport 
Brothers 'Spirit Mysteries'" is a tell-all Houdini-like description 
of how to conduct sham-spiritualism complete with glow-in-the-dark
floating instruments and 'spirit arms' extending out of the ether).

my impression is that hoodoo tradition is variable on the exact nature
and morality of 'Black Arts' spells and formulae. on the one hand the
summoning of spirits, demons, the Devil, etc., are part of these Black
Arts, and on the other Black Arts is occasionally also associated with
the intensification of antagonistic spells.

>> this time I need help from Cat if you can to get the date on a book I 
>> recently obtained through a bid at Ebay.  This is a small booklet it 
>> appears to be very old thin paper back pamphlet. Titled : Secrets of 
>> Black Art published by the Johnson Smith & company Detroit Michigan.
>> The thing is it has no date of publishing on it but based on the kind 
>> of language used in the book I feel it may be from the 1930s though I 
>> can be wrong.

difficult to tell if this is the same book, but it might be. it did
contain information mesmerism but I didn't see 'Diabolical Sciences'.

>> The book has many subjects among them Witchcraft, Mesmerism, Animal 
>> Magnetism, Diabolic sciences, spiritualistic seances.  As you can see 
>> some of the occult terminology is older variety. I wonder what date 
>> this book was published, anyway I got it asuming it may be a part of 
>> urban Hoodoo history. (Gnome d Plume):
> ...neither you or cat have clarified just what "Black Art" means in 
> this context. According to my Magic Castle friends, in stage magic 
> "Black Art" refers to illusions done on a dark stage with various 
> ultraviolet and infrared lighting effects. Because of the dark, and 
> "spooky" nature of these illusions (similar too some of the tricks 
> used by phoney spiritualists) they are often presented with an occult 
> or black magic glamour, hence the references to "Witchcraft", etc., etc. 

there is something to this in the book which I was above quoting, what
with the description of spiritualist activities in a stage magic-like
manner, plus its description of all manner of demonological incidents
and reference to 'natural magic' (witchcraft) in dismissive ways seems
to imply a healthy skepticism, yet the cover sports a Frenchman in a
Mephistophelean outfit (implying infernal contents).

> There is some confusion of terms here because the "The Black 
> Arts" (as in Richard Cavendish's book of that title) refer to Western 
> occult practices (Black in this case is said to refer to the dark 
> soil of Egypt/Khem = The Black Land) -- so we can say that the stage 
> magicians sometimes practice "Black Art", whereas occult magicians 
> practice "The Black Arts".

where does this Egyptian connection enter into the history of 
the phrase? in Crowley, maybe in Levi before them I remember seeing
the assertion, but I'm not aware when it started if before them,
and I'd be surprised if a moral ascription didn't precede this.
obviously Alchemy may have always sported it by its professors,
but when was this expanded to include other occult activities
such as magic and divination, spirit-summoning, and pact-making?

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