Over the past few days I've been caught engrossed with debate which began after Frater RO's excellent post on "Enlightenment Bombing" wherein he details his successful experiment to remove (or supress) unpleasant qualities in an otherwise valued relation. This, however, is not the topic of this post, just the starting point from whence the inspiration for it originated. Following RO's post and follow up, the Golden Dawn's own Sincerus Renatus chimed in simultaneously recognizing RO's accomplishments and lauding him as one of the more knowledgeable and proficient Magicians out here and yet criticizing him as one who practices Black Magick.
While I do hold strong opinions with regard to this exchange, which I have expressed ad nauseum on the good Frater's Facebook wall and blog comments, it is not this issue of which I am writing. This evening's post is one I've been meaning to write for some time now, and springs from an essay I began years ago but put aside. It has been kicked to the front of the queue by the following statement by Sincerus Renatus;
But heaven being a professed Christian, it makes me wonder if Rufus Opus ever Considered The Ethics Involved in this kind of "black" magic? What about the Free Will of Man? And who is he to Actually know what is best for a human being? That Is not the prerogative of God? Is it right to use magic to Initiate person Against Their Will?
The operative portion of the above quote is "it makes me wonder if Rufus Opus speed ever Considered The Ethics Involved in this kind of "black" magic?"
Those who know me outside of my blog know that in the past two years I've taken on a handful of students (offline, not on), all of whom live within 90 minutes of me, and in whom I have seen a good deal of unrealized potential. I work with each of them individually, cultivating their specific strengths and minimizing their weaknesses, teaching them as I taught myself. One, whom has displayed an absolutely awe-inspiring affinity for work of a destructive nature, asked me "What exactly ARE the ethics of black magick, and for that matter what the fuck does this guy consider black magick anyway?"
Defining Black Magick
Before endeavoring to address "ethics", it behooves me to explain that to myself and those I work with such as he, Black, Gray and White Magick simply do not exist. There is no "good" Magick, no "Evil" Magick. They do not exist. This assertion, I know, will draw the ire of some, and yet I care nothing about that.
Magick is Magick. It has many faces, many forms and its magnitude is beyond the human scope of comprehension. The power we wield when we harness the forces of nature, the planets, the elements and even moreso the spirits is something that exists wholly independent of such man-made concepts as good and evil. Like anything else in the universe, Magick can be used for evil, but it cannot BE evil. It is believed by many that rites of magick with the ability to destroy or kill are inherently evil, and yet this is folly. Is a pencil evil because in the wrong hands it can be pushed through flesh and sinew to puncture the carotid artery? No, it simple "is." It can be used to build or to destroy; To write a tome of great wisdom which can change the world, or to blind a victim when stabbed with it in the eye. Likewise, no act of Magick in and of itself can be called evil. It is magus who determines how the power of Magick is applied and to what end.
Let us examine a few situations;
Take, for example, a Magickal ritual wherein the Magus calls on a spirit widely known as a demon, one of the worst and more malefic thereof, makes offerings of incense and even his own blood, makes supplication unto this "devil", this embodiment of evil, and beseeches him to end the life of another man. Is this an evil act? SR and others would respond with an emphatic yes, and no justification or mitigation would suffice to convince them otherwise.
What if the target were a murderer of children and innocents? What if the target were the bloodthirtsy dictator of a region engaged in genocide, Darfur or Sudan? Hell, what if the target were Adolf Hitler? Would it still be evil? Would it still be "black" Magick?
Take for example a spell wherein the Magus entreats the "Holy Angels of God", taps the forces and powers of beautiful Aphrodite and the planet of her rule for the express purpose of attracting love for himself or another. Surely THIS is a "good" or "white" Magick.
But what if the love that is attracted is in the form of a married mother of 2, who leaves her family for the Magus? And what of HER free will? Have we not influenced her "destiny" and potentially altered her fate?
Magick is but a tool and like any tool it can be used to build or to destroy. Magickal killing is no less valuable to us than Magick designed to cultivate love, nor is it any more evil. Therefore the terms Black and White Magick are oxymoron. There is only Magick, what you choose to do with it may make YOU evil or good by human standards and using societal norms, but the Magick is just the Magick. Therefore in my practice Magick of a destructive nature, whether to an obstacle or a man, is as relevant as its more socially acceptable counterpart.
That being true, and having made my case for why "harmful" magick is, to me, quite acceptable under the right circumstances, the question again becomes "What are the ethics of Black Magick?"
That question, however, will have to wait until tomorrow.