I’ve made points in many articles prior to this on the subject of black vs white magic. What the difference is, and why the names are (racist) misconceptions, etc etc.
In this post, my hope is to expound on the brief arguments I’ve made, really flush out and go into detail about this subject, which seems to be a pretty big deal in the witchcraft community at this time.
What is the Difference Between Black Magic and White Magic?
Much like cultural appropriation, the use of curses, and the Hoodoo vs Voodoo debate, the difference between black and white magic is something not a lot of people talk about.
But sure is something that really needs to be discussed so that future generations of witches do not make the same mistake of falling into the ignorant trap of racist witchcraft practices.
My hope is by the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of why the terms ‘black’ and ‘white’ magic are inappropriate. Perhaps other terms you can use in their place. And the misunderstanding about there only being a binary among types of witchcraft.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Black Magic Term
First, let’s tackle the subject of ‘black’ magick. To put it bluntly, this is a racist term.
Mainstream ‘black’ magic is known to be based off of magical practices that come from Africa.
‘Black’ magic refers to evil, bad and negative magic used to harm and destroy.
The association with ‘dark’ magic and African/African American people is racist, making ‘black’ and ‘dark’ magic racist terms that are highly offensive and inappropriate.
White Magic Term
The same applies to the term ‘white’ magic, but in a different way.
Mainstream ‘white’ magic is known for being good, positive, and healing magic associated with witchcraft practices that have their origins in Europe.
The comparison in these titles implies that ‘white/European’ is good and ‘black/African’ is evil.
The terms are racially charged. They come with a whole history of genocide, slavery and oppression. And as I said before, are incredibly offensive and inappropriate.
Black vs White Magic: Alternative Terms
Now that I have that part out of the way, let’s discuss alternative terms for these kinds of practices, and their misconceptions.
Witchcraft as an entity is neither good nor evil, positive nor negative.
Magic itself is a tool.
Like any tool, it can be used for good or evil. A curse can be used for good purposes.
A love spell can be used with bad intentions. The magic is not one way or the other.
The caster/user is the one who determines the emotion behind the magic.
That being established, we can safely assume there is no such thing as ‘black’ or ‘white’ magic.
So, what is there, then?
Think of sports.
You have part of the team playing offense, and part of the team playing defense. That’s how witchcraft can be, too.
Chaotic, or Baneful, magic that uses cursing and the like, is simply a style of magic that focuses on an attack strategy.
Protective, or Healing, magic is a style of the craft that concentrates on a defense strategy.
Think of Wards, if Wards are a protection magick, a witch’s shield, then it is safe to say that Cursing, an attack magic, could be considered a witch’s sword.
The difference is not that one is evil and one is good. But in that one is used for protection and one is used for attacking. Both can be used for noble purposes and intentions. It all depends on the user.
Magic Rituals Comparison
Let’s compare rituals.
In a defensive style ritual, for example, the simplest kind of protective spell is casting a Ward.
In Warding you are using energy to put up a barrier or force field to keep something. Usually a negative entity or bad energy, out.
If we compare this to the simplest kind of Cursing, which I call Striking, where one uses a burst of energy to hit or bombard their target, you will find the same underlying principle and technique.
That is the manipulation and complete control over energy. Energy, as we all know, is the driving force behind all spells and rituals in witchcraft.
Being in perfect alignment with your intentions and your purpose for performing any given spell can take a while to master. But it is necessary to a point in order to get your desired results.
To wrap up, I would just like to say that I am, in no way, perfect.
I have practiced witchcraft for over a decade and it has taken me all that time to learn what I have.
I enjoy sharing it, but I just want to make it clear that I have made mistakes, and that you will too.
Do not let mistakes discourage you.
If you catch yourself screwing up, committing cultural appropriation or subconscious racism, or lacking the motivation to properly channel energy for a spell, do not beat yourself up about it.
Learn from your mistakes, fix the problem, move on, and grow as a person and as a witch.