Magic of a dark nature, that harms or injures a victim, or perhaps requires a sacrifice to increase strength or some other attribute of the caster. Usually calls upon energy from evil or demonic beings. Primarily used by wizards and witches. Also known as the occult, and looked down upon by most religions.

I, however, believe that it is not the spell but the intent behind it that determines the ethics of the spell. I also do believe that it is entirely fictional. Contrast with White Magic.

Masamune Shirow's first entry into Manga, currently published as a trade paperback.

The back of it raves about how, having read it, you'll have no doubt of his power as a sci fi god. Blah blah.

Now, don't get me wrong. I thought that the manga of Ghost in the Shell was an incredible piece of work, and I'm in a mad hurry to pick up all 4 issues of Appleseed.

But even Shirow admits that he's embarassed when he goes back and reads Black Magic...he's advanced in writing skill a great deal since then. So it's just marketing on the back, and really, I pity somebody who picks that one up first and never goes back because they think it's a POS.

That said, the ideas in it are fantastic. The use of the name of Greek Gods, the main character taking on Prometheus' quest, not in terms of bringing man fire, but in showing the civilized universe that man can act and think for himself rather than having bioroids do everything...the concepts were great. And it's worth picking up, to see where he's gone from there.

But definitely read Ghost in the Shell, or Appleseed, or Dominion Tank Police first. Don't believe the hype. Believe me. Yeah!

black hole = B = Black Screen of Death

black magic n.

[common] A technique that works, though nobody really understands why. More obscure than voodoo programming, which may be done by cookbook. Compare also black art, deep magic, and magic number (sense 2).

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Apparantly black magic is Evil. Humans have a big thing about black things being evil, so a magic which is "evil" must be black magic. After the term black magic was coined, white magic was defined. Black magic is not evil. Not believing that evil exists kind of helps me say that of course, but evil infers that it does something negative to another person. Not all black magic is destructive, but it is selfish. Of course, many people see being selfless as being good, and selfish as being evil. Black and white. Yin and yang.

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling.
-William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

Black magic can be said to be the manifestation of one's desires. If you desire something, the act of reaching out and getting it is black magic, the act of giving something you already have is white magic. Most people perform black magic every single day they are in contact with another human being.

Black magic can be categorized into Lesser and Greater black magic.

Lesser Black Magic

Lesser black magic is at the very fabric of a capitalist, acquisitive society. LBM is at the heart of contracts (social as well as legal). LBM is animal psychology for humans. LBM is manipulation.

Some examples:

In fact, any altruistic act can be an act of black magic. If you do something for somebody, you get something in return. What you get in return may not be better on the face of things, but is more useful. Building a hospital in the Third World as an example - by building a hospital for people who cannot pay you back, this is altruistic, but think of how windswept and interesting this makes you. Not only is it a valuable life experience that you have learned from, but you gain the respect of anyone who finds out about it.

The Temple of Set, and Satanists have made an art form of LBM, some of the methods above are quite crude compared to some of the elegant workings of a Lesser Black Magician.

Some examples of "good" Lesser Black Magic:

  • A lot of people's self importance comes from them being "in the know" or more specifically, in giving away secrets. Reward these people by telling them how perceptive they are.
  • Body language. When communicating with somebody, their body language says a lot. Learning to read this is LBM, knowing that people tend to mirror the body language of someone they are speaking to, and that this can affect their attitude, is very good LBM
  • Confessing the truth at an unexpected moment. This can instantly garner respect from people. If you broke a vase, seeking its owner out and telling them straight away for example. Telling the truth when so many people lie, gives you the appearance of being "better than those other people". This impression lasts. Breaking the vase, purely so that you can do this, is very good LBM.
  • Arrive early for an interview, knock on the door, at exactly the correct time, and stand in the doorway for 5 seconds before advancing into the room (this gives you a "picture frame" so that you will be remembered).
  • If you wish to know if somebody is watching you, look at your watch, or yawn. Both these actions are contagious, and if that person follows suit, you can be sure they are watching you.
The more subtle the magic the more effective it is, other forms of lesser black magic include stage magic. Stage magic can gain a sense of wonder and awe from a person. This kind of respect can be played on.

Anton LaVey's very appearance and development of the Church of Satan, is Lesser Black Magic. A bald man with a goatee, this plays on his magic character archetype of wonderous and sexual. The goatee has satanic imagery associated with it, and baldness has a virility imagery association. The black clothes, the enigmatic smile. They are all part of the magic. Why call his church, the church of Satan? Many reasons, some being that his church is about adversary, and challenging the beliefs of society. But more than that. How much respect do you give to the guy that founded the Church of Satan? Not everyone respects it, but many were sickened, frightened, confused, or in wonderment of him, indeed they still are, after his death. This is magic. This is magic from a master. He made sure that people either loved him loathed him or were fiercly apathetic to him. If you had heard of him, you had to have an opinion. That is Lesser Black Magic.

Other masters of this art include David Blaine, Machiavelli and Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie in fact wrote what I consider an essential primer in Lesser Black Magic - How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Lesser Black Magic is an extensive and fascinating study, and any books on human behavioural studies is worth investigating, as well as many self-help books and books which assist communication skills e.g., Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus).

Greater Black Magic

When you think of black magic, this is probably what you are thinking of. Greater black magic is ritualistic and detached from intellect. Where LBM is intellectual, GBM is emotional. GBM tends to include an altar, candles, robes, incantations, ancient spirits of evil and so on. There are many reasons for these things. My personal view is that they help shift the mindset from the rational to the irrational, or from intellect to emotion. The trappings set the mood.

The realms of Greater Black Magic are massive, and there are many versions, and reasons and explanations. For the sake of succinctness, I will describe Laveyan, or Church of Satan Black Magic.

The first thing you need is desire. Desire is the driving force here. You have to really really want something to happen, to attempt to use pure will to bring it about. This of course, is the first step, and many are needed, but without desire, nothing can work.

Timing is important. If you wish to influence somebody's subconscious, then the time to do it, is when they are asleep. The best time in fact, is when the target is dreaming, so around two hours before they are due to awake is good time for such rituals. Another time to consider is during the menstrual cycle, when the woman is emotionally charged, and often emotianally exhausted. If paranoia is something you wish to create, try just before the period, especially if that woman has a problam with pre-menstrual stress.

Imagery, is important to LBM, and is important to GBM too. Imagination, drawing pictures, voodoo dolls, play acting, sculptures, any sense that can be drawn into it should be. Tear the object of your hate to pieces, scribble or defecate on their photographs. If you want physical items, use a lodestone and surround it with pictures, sounds, tastes and smells of material wealth. Use your imagination, whatever works for you is important here, be childish.

Direction - throw everything you feel about the subject into the ritual, all the emotion, hate, love, desire or whatever, pile it all in. Do not let up. Thinking about the rituals results afterwards is wasting energy that could have been spent during the ritual, and kind of spreads it out over time. Make it intense, make it now, and do not think on it again.

Balance is important and often overlooked. Some things simply will not be. If you are ugly, deal with it. Apply your will elsewhere where it is useful. Hopefully, a satanist will honest enough with themselves to know how attractive they are. Trying to attract a celebrity using GBM when you look like you've been hit by an ugly stick, just won't happen. You won't suddenly become a talented piano player with a "so mote it be" and a flick of a wand. Sorry. Balance is knowing that you can shift the balance to your favour, subtly. Enough to give you an edge. If you want somebody dead, and you use GBM, it depends on balance if this will work. If the person is reckless and drives too fast, then it may work, tipping the balance of fate towards a car crash. If they are a hate figure, perhaps they will be assasinated. If you want somebody's desire, it may tip the balance so that you meet, or that you finally get to be alone with that girl at the print shop and she happens to be free that week. GBM may be blatant in its desire, but it works in mysterious and subtle ways. As it says in The Satanic Bible - "MAGIC IS LIKE NATURE ITSELF, AND SUCCESS IN MAGIC REQUIRES WORKING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE, NOT AGAINST IT."

Greater Black Magic can also be seen as not producing effects in itself, but as a medative exercise that sets within you the resolve to carry out the actions you desire. It can make you more receptive to the golden opportunity when it strikes and so on.

Famous practitioners of GBM include Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey and John Dee.

Greater Black Magic is a hard subject to grasp, purely on the basis that it tends to reject the intellect, this of course does not appeal to a society where intellect is idolised. Its use of invocating demons, and saying crazy things like "Hail Satan" and so on, is rejected by many as ancient superstition. Even many Satanists feel this way, I am certainly one of them. At some point in the future I intend to experiment with GBM, for the sake of completeness. Books that are interesting read are The Satanic Bible and The Black Arts.

Black Magic is also a party trick that needs two (or more) people in on it to accomplish.

In a nutshell, Person A (who knows the trick) leaves the room, while someone/everyone else in the room picks a secret object. When all the picking and choosing is done, Person A gets called back in. Person B (who also knows the trick) then proceeds to name off various objects in the room, eventually picking the secret object. Person A, if ey has been paying attention, sucessfully picks out the item

You see, the trick is to have Person B say the name of something that is black before the secret object.

Example:
Person A leaves the room.
Random People: Ah-ha, let's pick this cup!
Person B: Person A, come back in!
Per. A enters the room, stage left.
Per. B: Is it...this microwave?
Per. A: No.
Per. B: Is it...this monkey?
Per. A: No.
Per. B: Is it...this pot(this pot is black)?
Per. A: No.
Per. B: Is it...this cup?
Per. A: Yes!

Hopefully, this will make people irritated and confused.

Note: you should not tell people how to do this trick. They should figure it out themselves.

It was a late night infomercial that got me started on Black Magic. "Incredible shine GUARANTEED ... one step, wet shine." My kids laughed at me when I said I was going to buy it. What do they know about "long lasting" anything? They're 18 and 21; I'm probably the most long lasting thing they know. It was something about the hour and the promise of shining tires on my old, blue Miata convertible that gave me some glimpse of the free feeling of hot summer drives, with my Black Magic guaranteed-to-shine tires, and my hair blowing in a Bob Dylan wind along an ocean boulevard, with slow, appreciative stares from ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages. All for $5.99 in an aerosol can, plus tax.

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