“Neither white, nor black magic are what popular superstition understands by the terms.”
– H. P. Blavatsky, “What is Theosophy?”
For most of us, the term “black magic” immediately conjures up images of witches or devil worship or people using spells or rituals of various kinds in order to try to harm or control others. It’s true that this type of thing is indeed black magic but there are many other things which are black magic which we may not have realised are of such a nature.
In fact, tens of thousands of otherwise good decent people around the world today are black magicians without even realising it. Many popular spiritual teachings and practices today are almost entirely of the nature of black magic.
What do we mean?
This is the true definition of what black magic actually is: the definite use and application of spiritual force with a selfish or material aim.
White magic, on the other hand, is simply the definite use and application of spiritual force solely for the blessing and benefit of OTHERS.
This definition and understanding of black magic is not unique to Theosophy. It is how black magic has always been defined and viewed throughout the ages. Whenever any spiritual aspirant was found to be attempting to use spiritual or mental power to attract wealth, possessions, or material and personal fulfillment, he was expelled in disgrace from the temple, the monastery, the ashram, or the spiritual community.
It has always been understood that true progress in the spiritual life and the path of inner development and unfoldment of the soul are dependent upon selflessness, altruism, humility, and living solely to be of benefit to mankind, not to mention the noblest ethics and personal purity of life and conduct.
We find all this clearly expressed in the teachings of Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Hermes, Shankaracharya, Tsong-Kha-Pa, Lao Tzu, H. P. Blavatsky, and every great spiritual teacher and world reformer who has appeared on the scene throughout the ages.
For centuries, such teachings and practices as the “Law of Attraction” and “desire manifestation” were carried on secretly under cover of shame and darkness. Eventually, humanity having reached to the very zenith of selfishness and obsession with material gain, they began to gain public acceptance and popularity, beginning in the 19th century and spreading worldwide with great rapidity and enthusiasm as the 20th century progressed.
Because selfishness and the desire for power and possessions is such an ingrained facet of the Western psyche, it never occurs to the majority of spiritually inclined people that there may be anything questionable or wrong about trying to attract a big house or a beautiful partner or millionaire status through visualisation, affirmation, special mantras, “prosperity thinking” and “dream boards” and the like.
Yet there is something wrong and questionable about it – it is the very definition of what black magic is.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a person aspiring to great things in life but when they attempt to definitely apply spiritual and mental forces of a metaphysical kind in order to obtain and acquire those things it becomes black magic.
Let it not be thought that we are accusing the likes of Rhonda Byrne, her collaborators in “The Secret,” Bob Proctor, Catherine Ponder, Charles Fillmore, Wallace Wattles, Ernest Holmes, Joseph Murphy, “Abraham-Hicks,” the New Thought movement, and so forth, of being deliberately sinister or evil people. But what we are saying – on the authority of the Ancient Wisdom tradition – is that the teachings and practices they promote are nothing less than black magic, regardless of how much they may attempt to whitewash it into seeming like a perfectly harmless and innocent thing.
Even the slightest hint or faintest trace of self-seeking or personal desire turns any type of spiritual or occult exercise from white magic into black magic. An old Tibetan proverb related by Madame Blavatsky says that the line between the right-hand path (the path of white magic) and the left-hand path (the path of black magic) is as thin as a spider’s web.
As we can see, the whole matter hinges on the importance of the individual having reached a state of complete and absolute selflessness and desirelessness, for anything other than helping and serving humanity. And after all, this is what the spiritual life is all about!
All suffering is caused by desire. All desire is caused by ignorance. The death and sacrifice of personal desire is the goal of all true spiritual endeavour. This is the vitally important message so perfectly encapsulated by the Lord Buddha in his teachings and philosophy and by Krishna before him.
There is another area in which many people today are unwittingly running headlong into the abyss of black magic and that is the realm of sexual tantric practices.
Since tantra, like other forms of black magic, has been cleverly whitewashed by its leading proponents, many naïve Westerners have developed the idea that sexual tantra is a central, integral, and fundamental part of ancient Eastern religions such as Hinduism. They are thus often surprised to learn that it is viewed with distaste and even disgust by the vast majority of Hindus and that it is not in any way representative of that noble religion.
The average New Ager, for example, who claims interest in tantra, would no doubt recoil in horror if he or she were to know or be exposed to what certain of the tantric practices in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism actually are. The extreme disregard afford to tantrism by Hinduism as a whole is also represented in the fact that it is nowhere to be found in the list of the six darshanas, or six branches or schools or systems of Hindu philosophy.
H. P. Blavatsky merely echoed the great spiritual Masters and Teachers of all the ages when she taught that the so-called “spiritual” use of the physical body – or rather, the use of the physical body as an instrument and tool for achieving metaphysical purposes – belongs solely to black magic. The utilisation of the physical body is rightly viewed as totally unimportant by the white magicians, the adepts of the right-hand path, since they know that the physical body is nothing more than the outer material shell.
True Eastern Esotericism maintains that all the contents of the reproductive system have a direct spiritual connection with their cosmic antetypes and are therefore potent objects in black magic here on the physical plane and thus are considered unclean.
Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with two people seeking sexual union but when it is performed with the attempt and aim of utilising the sexual forces and/or fluids for “spiritual” purposes – whether called sexual tantra, sexual magic, sexual alchemy, or whatever else – it becomes black magic pure and simple.
This type of practice, according to HPB, is the most terrible of Karmic sins. Any type of “sexual magic” is automatically black magic.
Now the reader who has come to the end of this article may have formed the opinion that we are just being a “spiritual spoilsport.” This is not the case however. The article has been written out of genuine and heartfelt concern for humanity. Since the roots of desire, personal ambition, selfishness, and sensuality run deep, it would be unrealistic to expect many people to actually heed or even to just consider the things that have been said here. But if even only one soul is saved from unwitting black magic after reading, we will be satisfied that our efforts have been worthwhile.
This article may have raised more questions about various things. Please make use of the site search function (the magnifying glass symbol at the top of the page) and visit the Articles page to see the complete list of over 300 articles covering all aspects of Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement.