They’re out there, moving stealthily in the darkness. The Black Magicians. The Occult Terrorists. Satanists. Mansonoids. Mindwarpers. Cattle Mutilators. “Night’s Black Agents,” as the Bard called them.
They’re calling down curses on their enemies. Sticking pins in Voodoo dolls. Summoning the mighty devil Choronzon to fall upon the Earth and afflict it with madness. Chanting to invoke the 777 servitors of Beelzebub and Set…
Well, yes. But let’s not lose our heads about it.
The first and most important thing to learn about evil is that it generally exists only in your own alarmed imagination. To a considerable portion of our fellow citizens, the acme of evil is pornography: Marilyn Chambers and Linda Lovelace parading their harmless sensuality and hedonistic technology on film.
Pagan readers presumably can see how silly that concept of evil is. It is worth asking how much of your own favorite fears and loathings are equally absurd, reflecting only the prejudices of your culture or subculture.
Virtually every occult lodge or order in the country has the dubious honor of being regarded us a group of crypto-Satanists or clandestine followers of the “forbidden left-hand path” by some other occult lodge or order. Orthodox Christians still dread the “witches” (followers of wicca, the cult of the great Mother Goddess). I know hundreds of witches around the country and they’re all fine people. The local leader of Crowley’s notorious Ordo Templi Orientis (denounced as a group of closet diabolists by scores of Christian occultists) is also a fine man, in my judgment. More than 75 percent of all occult prejudices are as bigoted as mainstream religious or political prejudices.
As P. E. I. Bonewits (the first student to ever graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in magic), has so wittily and accurately writen, “White magic is what my gang does. Black Magic is what the other gang over there does.”
Even the terminology of “white” and “black” magic is racist and redolent of bias.
I once read an intelligent Fundamentalist tract. (There are intelligent Fundamentalists, just as there are honest politicians. Every miracle happens at least once!) The author argued that Satanists and black magicians are responsible for spreading the ideas that all humans can learn to develop occult talents, that we can achieve physical immortality and migrate off this planet, and that there is no limit to the expansion of human intelligence. Since I believe all those things, and have devoted much energy to propagandizing for them, I am very definitely a Satan-ist and a black magician, by this gentleman’s standards.
It is well to keep in mind, then, that whenever you are horrified by somebody’s beliefs or (harmless) practices, you yourself are also a heathen, a wretch, and an infidel, by somebody else’s standards.