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For other uses, see Black magic (disambiguation).

"Dark magic" redirects here. For other uses, see Dark magic (disambiguation).

John Dee and Edward Kelley using a magic circle ritual to invoke a spirit in a
church graveyard.
Black magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic
for evil and selfish purposes.[1] With respect to the left-hand path and right-hand
path dichotomy, black magic is the malicious, left-hand counterpart of the
benevolent white magic. In modern times, some find that the definition of "black
magic" has been convoluted by people who define magic or ritualistic practices that
they disapprove of as "black magic".[2]

1 History
2 Satanism and devil-worship
3 Chathan Seva in Hindusim
4 Shamanism
5 Voodoo
6 Black magic and religion
7 Practices and rituals
8 In popular culture and fiction
9 See also
10 References
Like its counterpart white magic, the origins of black magic can be traced to the
primitive, ritualistic worship of spirits as outlined in Robert M. Place's 2009
book, Magic and Alchemy.[3] Unlike white magic, in which Place sees parallels with
primitive shamanistic efforts to achieve closeness with spiritual beings, the
rituals that developed into modern "black magic" were designed to invoke those same
spirits to produce beneficial outcomes for the practitioner. Place also provides a
broad modern definition of both black and white magic, preferring instead to refer
to them as "high magic" (white) and "low magic" (black) based primarily on
intentions of the practitioner employing them. He acknowledges, though, that this
broader definition (of "high" and "low") suffers from prejudices because good-
intentioned folk magic may be considered "low" while ceremonial magic involving
expensive or exclusive components may be considered by some as "high magic",
regardless of intent.[3][4]

See also: Renaissance magic

Malleus Maleficarum, 1669 edition

During the Renaissance, many magical practices and rituals were considered evil or
irreligious and by extension, "black magic" in the broad sense. Witchcraft and non-
mainstream esoteric study were prohibited and targeted by the Inquisition.[5] As a
result, natural magic developed as a way for thinkers and intellectuals, like
Marsilio Ficino, abbot Johannes Trithemius and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, to
advance esoteric and ritualistic study (though still often in secret) without
significant persecution.[5]

While "natural magic" became popular among the educated and upper classes of the
16th and 17th century, ritualistic magic and folk magic remained subject to
persecution. 20th century author Montague Summers generally rejects the definitions
of "white" and "black" magic as "contradictory", though he highlights the extent to
which magic in general, regardless of intent, was considered "black" and cites
William Perkins posthumous 1608 instructions in that regard:[6]
All witches "convicted by the Magistrate" should be executed. He allows no
exception and under this condemnation fall "all Diviners, Charmers, Jugglers, all
Wizards, commonly called wise men or wise women". All those purported "good Witches
which do not hurt but good, which do not spoil and destroy, but save and deliver"
should come under the extreme sentence.

In particular, though, the term was most commonly reserved for those accused of
invoking demons and other evil spirits, those hexing or cursing their neighbours,
those using magic to destroy crops, and those capable of leaving their earthly
bodies and travelling great distances in spirit (to which the Malleus Maleficarum
"devotes one long and important chapter"), usually to engage in devil-worship.
Summers also highlights the etymological development of the term nigromancer, in
common use from 1200 to approximately 1500, (Latin: Niger, black; Greek: Manteia,
divination), broadly "one skilled in the black arts".[6]

In a modern context, the line between "white magic" and "black magic" is somewhat
clearer and most modern definitions focus on intent rather than practice.[3] There
is also an extent to which many modern Wicca and witchcraft practitioners have
sought to distance themselves from those intent on practising black magic. Those
who seek to do harm or evil are less likely to be accepted into mainstream Wiccan
circles or covens in an era where benevolent magic is increasingly associated with
new-age Gnosticism and self-help spiritualism.[7]

Satanism and devil-worship

Illustration by Martin van Ma�le, of a Witches' Sabbath, in the 1911 edition of La

Sorciere, by Jules Michelet.
Main article: Satanism
The influence of popular culture has allowed other practices to be drawn in under
the broad banner of "black magic", including the concept of Satanism. While the
invocation of demons or spirits is an accepted part of black magic, this practice
is distinct from the worship or deification of such spiritual beings.[7] The two
are usually combined in medieval beliefs about witchcraft.

Those lines, though, continue to be blurred by the inclusion of spirit rituals from
otherwise "white magicians" in compilations of work related to Satanism. John Dee's
sixteenth century rituals, for example, were included in Anton LaVey's The Satanic
Bible (1969) and so some of his practises, otherwise considered white magic, have
since been associated with black magic. Dee's rituals themselves were designed to
contact spirits in general and angels in particular, which he claimed to have been
able to do with the assistance of colleague Edward Kelley. LaVey's Bible, however,
is a "complete contradiction" of Dee's intentions but offers the same rituals as a
means of contact with evil spirits and demons.[8] LaVey's Church of Satan (with
LaVey's Bible at its centre), "officially denies the efficacy of occult ritual" but
"affirms the subjective, psychological value of ritual practice", drawing a clear
distinction between.[8] LaVey himself was more specific:

White magic is supposedly utilised only for good or unselfish purposes, and black
magic, we are told, is used only for selfish or "evil" reasons. Satanism draws no
such dividing line. Magic is magic, be it used to help or hinder. The Satanist,
being the magician, should have the ability to decide what is just, and then apply
the powers of magic to attain his goals.

Satanism is not a white light religion; it is a religion of the flesh, the mundane,
the carnal - all of which are ruled by Satan, the personification of the Left Hand

The latter quote, though, seems to have been directed toward the growing trends of
Wiccanism and neo-paganism at the time.[8]
Chathan Seva in Hindusim
Chathan is actually a negative spirit of Lord Shiva. Chathan or vishnumaya is a
deity worshipped by Hindus in Kerala. He is said to be the son of Lord Shiva, who
took birth to kill the demon Jalandhara. In one such battle a demon was lead to a
spilling of chathan's blood and there arose many �kuttichathans� or child chathans.
There are many famous and not so famous temples where Chathan is being worshipped
in kerala as the main or secondary deity.

Chathan seva is a kind of black magic done to satisfy Chathan for fulfilling some
personal benefits of the person in whose name or expense the pooja is performed. It
is said to bring wishes true and Its also done to bring destruction to enemies.

Peringottukara Devasthanam in Thrissur is one of the most famous Vishnumaya

Kuttichathan Seva Temple and often considered as one of the biggest centers for
black magic and occult.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real
shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans
believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one's energy and/or power, of
which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[9]


A Voodoo doll.
Main article: Louisiana Voodoo
Voodoo has been associated with modern "black magic"; drawn together in popular
culture and fiction. However, while hexing or cursing may be accepted black magic
practices, Voodoo has its own distinct history and traditions that have little to
do with the traditions of modern witchcraft that developed with European
practitioners like Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley.[7][10][11]

Voodoo tradition makes its own distinction between black and white magic, with
sorcerers like the Bokor known for using magic and rituals of both. But their
penchant for magic associated with curses, poisons and zombies means they, and
Voodoo in general, are regularly associated with black magic in particular.[12]

Black magic and religion

The links and interaction between black magic and religion are many and varied.
Beyond black magic's links to organised Satanism or its historical persecution by
Christianity and its inquisitions, there are links between religious and black
magic rituals. The Black Mass, for example, is a sacrilegious parody of the
Catholic Mass. Likewise, a saining, though primarily a practice of white magic, is
a Wiccan ritual analogous to a christening or baptism for an infant.[13][14].

Seventeenth century priest, �tienne Guibourg, is said to have performed a series of

black mass rituals with alleged witch Catherine Monvoisin for Madame de Montespan.

In Islam, al-Fatiha, al-Falaq, al-Nas, al-Ikhlas and other Surahs are recited to
protect against sorcery.

Practices and rituals

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The lowest depths of black mysticism are well-nigh
as difficult to plumb as it is arduous to scale
the heights of sanctity. The Grand Masters of
the witch covens are men of genius - a foul genius,
crooked, distorted, disturbed, and diseased.
Montague Summers
Witchcraft and Black Magic
During his period of scholarship, A. E. Waite provided a comprehensive account of
black magic practices, rituals and traditions in The Book of Black Magic and
Ceremonial Magic.[16] Other practitioners have expanded on these ideas and offered
their own comprehensive lists of rituals and concepts. Black magic practices and
rituals include:

True name spells - the theory that knowing a person's true name allows control over
that person, making this wrong for the same reason. This can also be used as a
connection to the other person, or to free them from another's compulsion, so it is
in the grey area.
Immortality rituals - from a Taoist perspective, life is finite, and wishing to
live beyond one's natural span is not with the flow of nature. Beyond this, there
is a major issue with immortality. Because of the need to test the results, the
subjects must be killed. Even a spell to extend life may not be entirely good,
especially if it draws life energy from another to sustain the spell.[17]
Necromancy - for purposes of usage, this is defined not as general black magic, but
as any magic having to do with death itself, either through divination of entrails,
or the act of raising the dead body, as opposed to resurrection or CPR.[18]
Curses and hexes - a curse can be as simple as wishing something bad would happen
to someone, or as complicated as performing a complex ritual to ensure that someone
In popular culture and fiction
Concepts related to black magic or described, even inaccurately, as "black magic"
are a regular feature of books, films and other popular culture. Examples include:

"Black Magic" � track off the Slayer album Show No Mercy 1983[20]
"Black Magic" � Lead single by British girl-group Little Mix released in May 2015,
for their third studio album "Get Weird".
The Devil Rides Out � a 1934 novel by Dennis Wheatley � made into a famous film by
Hammer Studios in 1968.
Rosemary's Baby � a 1968 horror novel in which black magic is a central theme.
The Craft � a 1996 film featuring four friends who become involved in white
witchcraft but turn to black magic rituals for personal gain.
The Harry Potter series � black magic, including various spells and curses, is
referred to as "the dark arts" against which students are taught to defend
Final Fantasy � a video game in which white and black magic are simply used to
distinguish between healing/defensive spells (such as a "cure") and
offensive/elemental spells (such as "fire") and do not carry an inherent good or
evil connotation.
Charmed � a television series in which black magic is also known as "the black
arts", "dark arts", "dark magic" or even "evil magic", and is used by demons and
other evil beings.
The Secret Circle � A short-lived television series featuring witches, in which
there are two kinds of magic. While traditional magic helps you to connect to the
energy around you, more lethal and dangerous dark magic is rooted in the anger,
fear and negativity inside you. Only a few born with it can access dark magic and
some are inherently stronger than others.
The Power of Five is an entire series by Anthony Horowitz about black magic and
evil sorcerers. The antagonists are all black sorcerers and are all practitioners
of black magic; black magic is a means of summoning the Old Ones from their prison,
Hell. Black magic often takes the form of mass murder and animation of inanimate
Night Watch � In the Night Watch book (and movie) series the magicians are grouped
into two sides "Light Others" and "Dark Others". The dark magicians are more
motivated by selfish desires.
Supernatural (U.S. TV series) � The television series Supernatural features many
events and characters that feature and participate in black magic.
Sherlock Holmes (2009 film) � The first of the two Sherlock Holmes films directed
by Guy Ritchie includes elements of black magic although they are later discovered
to be false.
Versailles (band) released a short film in 2009 which depicted zombies that were
resurrected by Jasmine You through black magic.
Pizza II: Villa � An Indian Tamil suspense supernatural thriller film, written and
directed by debutant Deepan Chakravarthy.
The Necromancers: The Best of Black Magic And Witchcraft � A collection of
folklores and stories about black magic edited by Peter Haining.
Odiyan � An upcoming 2018 Indian Malayalam language film starring Mohanlal. It is
based on the legend of Odiyan, who in Kerala folklore are men possessing shape-
shifting ability, who can assume animal form and were used to assassinate or scare
people in the dark during the pre-electricity period.
See also
Occult portal
Gray magic
Left-hand path and right-hand path
Maleficium (sorcery)
Ya sang
J. Gordon Melton, ed. (2001). "Black Magic". Encyclopedia of Occultism &
Parapsychology. Vol 1: A�L (Fifth ed.). Gale Research Inc. ISBN 0-8103-9488-X.
Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2009). Contemporary religious Satanism: A Critical
Anthology. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 220. ISBN 0-7546-5286-6.
Magic and Alchemy by Robert M. Place (Infobase Publishing, 2009)
Evans-Pritchard. "Sorcery and Native Opinion". Africa: Journal of the
International African Institute Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan., 1931) , pp. 22-55.
White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance by Paola Zambelli (BRILL,
Witchcraft and Black Magic by Montague Summers (1946; reprint Courier Dover
Publications, 2000)
Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft by James R. Lewis (SUNY Press, 1996)
Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture by Chris Mathews (Greenwood
Publishing Group, 2009)
Campos, Don Jose (2011). The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms.
"Voodoo 2.0." Newsweek Global 163.9 (2014): 92-98. Academic Search Complete. Web.
19 February 2015.
Long, Carolyn Morrow. "Perceptions of New Orleans Voodoo: Sin, Fraud,
Entertainment, and Religion". Nova Religion: The Journal of Alternative and
Emergent Religions, Vol. 6, No. 1 (October 2002), pp. 86-101
Voodoo Rituals: A User's Guide by Heike Owusu (Sterling Publishing Company, 2002)
"Black Mass." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014): 1p. 1. Funk &
Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 11 February 2015.
Macmullen, Ramsay, and Eugene Lane. "From Black Magic To Mystical Awe." Christian
History 17.1 (1998): 37. History Reference Center. Web. 19 February 2016.
Geography of Witchcraft by Montague Summers (1927; reprint Kessinger Publishing,
The Book of Black Magic and Ceremonial Magic by Arthur Edward Waite (1911; reprint
"Immortality." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014): 1p. 1. Funk &
Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 11 February 2015.
"necromancy". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield, MA:
Merriam-Webster. April 2008.
"Hex." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2013): 1. Literary
Reference Center. Web. 11 February 2015.
"Slayer � Show No Mercy". Discogs. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
Witchcraft and magic
African witchcraft Vodun Witch smeller Asian witchcraft Kulam Onmyodo Australasian
witchcraft Makutu European witchcraft Akelarre Benandanti Brujer�a Chaos magic
Cunning folk Sei�r V�lva White witch Witch-cult hypothesis North American
witchcraft 21 Divisiones Granny woman Hoodoo Huna Pow-wow Santer�a Vodou Voodoo
South American witchcraft Candombl� Wicca
Animism Black magic Coven Demon Divination Entheogen Evocation Familiar spirit
Flying ointment Jinn Magic circle Necromancy Occultism Poppet Potions Shamanism
Sigils Spiritism Spiritualism Witch ball Witch's ladder Witches' Sabbath White
Amulet Broom Cloak of invisibility Magic carpet Magic ring Magical weapons Magic
sword Talisman Wand
Folklore and mythology
Agamede Aradia Baba Yaga Daayan Drude Elbow witch Huld Kalku Hecate Circe Medea
Morgan le Fay Muma Padurii Nine sorceresses Obayifo Sea witch Sebile Sorginak
Spearfinger Three Witches Witch of Endor
Major historic treatises
Formicarius (1475) Summis desiderantes affectibus (1484) Malleus Maleficarum (1487)
The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) Daemonologie (1597) Compendium Maleficarum
(1608) A Guide to Grand-Jury Men (1627) The Discovery of Witches (1647) Treatise on
the Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires or Revenants (1751)
Categories: Magic (paranormal)Left-Hand PathMysticism
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