The Good and Bad of Magic
“True magic is neither black nor white. It is both because Nature is both; loving and cruel.” – Lirio in The Craft 1996
Magic, the reason most people are drawn to the study of witchcraft, is the act of using the conscious mind and will power to actively control the all-pervasive energy that makes up the universe and focus it on one task.
The question of how to use this power and the ethics involved in making this decision has been a debate since mankind learned that they could harness this ability and use it for their individual purposes.
Good Magic vs. Bad Magic
Whether magic, or the act of doing magic, is good or bad is a question of morals and ethics that will change from person to person depending on his or her upbringing, culture, and background teachings and decisions.
In my opinion, the term Good Magic refers to the act of doing magic for the purpose of bettering the self and/or the world in general. Bad Magic, on the other hand, is the act of doing magic to harm others or the self. Harm is the key word in most definitions that differentiate good and bad magic.
The idea of harm and magic is where the magical practices and beliefs of the Wiccan faith refer to the Wiccan Rede, which states “Do what thou will and Harm none.” This is explained in Witch School Lesson 1 of the First Degree in that Wicca isn’t worried so much about who a person is sleeping with or if they are gambling, drinking or smoking so long as that person is not harming anyone.
The Gray Area
The gray area comes about in magic when practitioners begin to question whether their actions are indeed harmful.
The answer to this question is obvious to some when it comes to the idea of murder, however, it becomes gray area when a person is killing in order to protect family, property or the ideals of nation and religion.
Many agree love spells that force the emotions of another are wrong but do not question the ethics of spells that keep a man or wife faithful. One must ask if it is just as unethical as that man or woman having an affair.
Spells for prosperity are normally considered good magic. However, what if the spell that wins a witch a promotion at work causes another person more deserving to not reach their goal or, worse, get fired?
Then, there is the question of whether or not creating a commissioned spell or doing magic for a customer or friend that is harmful for another person reflects badly on the witch or the person commissioning the magic?
For many making these decisions, the question is not whether magic itself is good or bad but the intent of the witch, which cannot be easily judged by outsiders.
The Law of Karma
Many witches believe that when someone acts through harmful intent, magically or not, they receive their punishment through the Divine. Some witches call this reaction Karma while others refer to the Law of Three.
Karma is, in the Indian belief, an action that causes the cycle of cause and effect. This concept is that whatever person puts out into the universe with their actions, magical or mundane, there will be an effect on that person. This is the same for good magic or bad so that anyone doing bad magic will have something bad happen to them.
The Law of Three is a Wiccan belief that many witches take to literally mean that whatever a witch puts out into the universe will come back to them either in multiples of three or three times as forceful. However, many others, including the Correllian tradition, believe that three is simply a number of balance and that the actions of the witch will come back to them as many times as it takes for them to learn their lesson.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Magic is a blessing given by the Divine to people so that they can co-create the world around them. Whether the witch chooses to use this power for good or bad effects his or her reality, so that it is up to the witch to decide whether he or she would like live in a world wherein bad things continuously happen to him or her and those around them or if they will persist in using their abilities and practice to create good.
*** This essay was written for my first lesson in my course to becoming a First Degree clergy of the Correllian Church***