Currently I am reading Scott Cunningham’s The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews. I bought that book a few years ago because I wanted something that tells me what kind of incense would go with what purpose and also because it has a bit about herbs etc. A few days ago I was looking for something and the book came to my attention again and so I stated to read. I could say a lot about the book and its advantages and disadvantages but what strikes me most are the manifold general and special warnings it contains. One of those which is repeated several times throughout the book is: do not do black magic, anything you do will hit you back three times harder. – Is that so? I have some basic knowledge of Wicca and know the 3 fold rule (this is just to mention the concept. I do not claim to know the exact details how that rule works etc. according to Wiccan belief). I also know that “white” magicians claim that anything containing “black” magic will come back to the magician using these dark energies or powers. Apart from the definition regarding black and white magic (are there black and white screwdrivers, since you can use them as a tool to construct something good like a shelf – or stab someone in the eye with it?), the way this warning was repeatedly used annoyed me somehow. It made me think about the concept of good and bad and the question who decides upon it. I do believe in moral and ethics but seriously, is my standard the one for all? I am conditioned by our western culture and by Christianity, indeed. Thus, some of my moral and ethical views came by default – so to say. But what if someone does not believe in that – or anything? As a good magician I am allowed to defend. Let’s say I want to use some ritual for protection and defence, can it include a pre-emptive strike? How far can I go? In law, I am allowed to use any means which make sure that an (unjust) attack against me is stopped – for good. I do not have to try various things first. I have to be proportionate though as the only limit. Answering a slap and the treat of another slap with a machine gun may not be proportionate. But what if I am under a “black” magic attack and the usual defence rituals do not work? Can I use the grimoires to call upon forces to stop the aggressor? - By any means? Or do I just have to say make him/her stop by opening his/her mind, realizing that he/she does no good? If I am Jewish and I take the eye for an eye approach, does that make me a “black” magician?
Also, as I see it, a lot of the “do not do this or else a flash will struck you down immediately – or a bit later” comes from religion. It obviously makes sure that you do follow the rules. The concept then was incorporated into many other fields of life and activities and I tend to believe that this is where some of the believe behind the 3 fold rule and equivalent ideas in magic comes from. If I tell my son to not touch X, he may even more enjoy doing it. If I tell him that he may burn in hell afterwards in case he does not obey my rules, he may have second thoughts. Thus, we find that people who reject the “oppressive” element in religion and specifically in Christianity, use the very same concept to keep their folks reasonable. Do not get me wrong, out of my personal belief system I do indeed believe that it will hit me back sooner or later if I do or maybe even wish harm to someone else. It may depend on the situation though. I also believe that any “negative” energy (another term to define) raised, maintained, released, will start to rotten the one using it from within. If you are always angry and stressed out, chances you end up with serious stomach issues up to cancer may be higher than in the case you are a balanced person. There may be some additional effects from outside of course, I will not deny that indeed. But I think the “punishment” mainly comes from within.
On the other hand, if you believe that the 72 demons mentioned in The Lesser Key of Solomon are living within your brain representing different aspects of you and your psyche and that you need to balance and prepare yourself first, reach a psychic and physical stability and then be protected against any unwanted side effects when evoking these forces by opening regions of your brain you can not control otherwise, why shouldn’t you be able to prepare and protect against unwanted punishment in case you decide to work on the dark side?
Coming back to my personal background and belief system. Christianity initially was only a part of Judaism. Neither Jesus, nor his early disciples thought of splitting off Judaism and changing the rules. It seems clear that - according to what we can read in the relevant texts, Jesus obeyed the old traditional rules. This includes the rules referring to living kosher. Now, how come that Christians eat pig? Apparently the punishment for violating the old rules was significant. So are Christians doomed? In this case – as in many other cases, the Christians have to say thanks to St. Paul. He decided that the old rules are obsolete. A good question to ask is where he got the authority from. Christ himself made clear that the old rules are to be obeyed. So how come someone below the grade of “god” or “god like” can make such a significant change? We know the reasons: manifesting the separation from Judaism, political reasons, power, etc. He and his successors therefore created new rules which include burning eternally in hell etc. It seems that things can change though.
Apparently, people need a “do not…or else” kind of a concept – or that’s what other people believe they need. I’d like to make up my mind on my own responsibility. I know that any act I do and even any thought I may have, has consequences, either way….
How do you see the concept of what goes around comes around in magic?
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