MANLY P. HALL ON BLACK MAGIC

 

 

 

The black magician cannot use the symbols of white magic without bringing down upon himself the forces of white magic, which would be fatal to his schemes. He must therefore distort the hierograms so that they typify the occult fact that he himself is distorting the principles for which the symbols stand. Black magic is not a fundamental art; it is the misuse of an art. Therefore it has no symbols of its own. It merely takes the emblematic figures of white magic, and by inverting and reversing them signifies that it is left-handed. In symbolism, an inverted figure always signifies a perverted power.

The agreement set forth above is purely ceremonial magic. In the case of black magic, it is the magician and not the demon who must sign the pact. When the black magician binds an elemental to his service, a battle of wits ensues, which the demon eventually wins. With his own blood the magician signs the pact between himself and the demon, for in the arcanum of magic it is declared that “he controls the soul who controls the blood of another.” As long as the magician does not fail, the elemental will fulfill to the letter his obligation under the pact, but the demon will try in every possible way to prevent the magician from carrying out his part of the contract. When the conjurer, ensconced within his circle, has evoked the spirit he desires to control and has made known his intention, the spirit will answer somewhat as follows: “I cannot accede to your request nor fulfill it, unless after fifty years you give yourself to me, body and soul, to do with as I may please.”

If the magician refuses, other terms will be discussed. The spirit may say: “I will remain in your service as long as on every Friday morning you will go forth upon the public street giving alms in the name of Lucifer. The first time you fail in this you belong to me.”

If the magician still refuses, realizing that the demon will make it impossible for him to fulfill his contract, other terms will be discussed, until at last a pact is agreed upon. It may read as follows: “I hereby promise the Great Spirit Lucifuge, Prince of Demons, that each year I will bring unto him a human soul to do with as it may please him, and in return Lucifuge promises to bestow upon me the treasures of the earth and fulfill my every desire for the length of my natural life. If I fail to bring him each year the offering specified above, then my own soul shall be forfeit to him. Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . ” [Invocant signs pact with his own blood.]

While the black magician at the time of signing his pact with the elemental demon maybe fully convinced that he is strong enough to control indefinitely the powers placed at his disposal, he is speedily undeceived. Before many years elapse he must turn all his energies to the problem of self-preservation. A world of horrors to which he has attuned himself by his own covetousness looms nearer every day, until he exists upon the edge of a seething maelstrom, expecting momentarily to be sucked down into its turbid depths. Afraid to die–because he will become the servant of his own demon–the magician commits crime after crime to prolong his wretched earthly existence. Realizing that life is maintained by the aid of a mysterious universal life force which is the common property of all creatures, the black magician often becomes an occult vampire, stealing this energy from others. According to mediæval superstition, black magicians turned themselves into werewolves and roamed the earth at night, attacking defenseless victims for the life force contained in their blood.

Some understanding of the intricate theory and practice of ceremonial magic may be derived from a brief consideration of its underlying premises:

First. The visible universe has an invisible counterpart, the higher planes of which are peopled by good and beautiful spirits; the lower planes, dark and foreboding, are the habitation of evil spirits and demons under the leadership of the Fallen Angel and his ten Princes.

Second. By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but the evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy.

Third. It is possible to make contracts with spirits whereby the magician becomes for a stipulated time the master of an elemental being.

Fourth. True black magic is performed with the aid of a demoniacal spirit, who serves the sorcerer for the length of his earthly life, with the understanding that after death the magician shall become the servant of his own demon. For this reason a black magician will go to inconceivable ends to prolong his physical life, since there is nothing for him beyond the grave.

These sorcerers [in Egypt] then began the systematic destruction of all keys to the ancient wisdom, so that none might have access to the knowledge necessary to reach adeptship without first becoming one of their order. They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. The masses, deprived of their birthright of understanding and groveling in ignorance, eventually became the abject slaves of the spiritual impostors. Superstition universally prevailed and the black magicians completely dominated national affairs, with the result that humanity still suffers from the sophistries of the priestcrafts of Atlantis and Egypt.

Egypt, a great center of learning and the birthplace of many arts and sciences, furnished an ideal environment for transcendental experimentation. Here the black magicians of Atlantis continued to exercise their superhuman powers until they had completely undermined and corrupted the morals of the primitive Mysteries. By establishing a sacerdotal caste they usurped the position formerly occupied by the initiates, and seized the reins of spiritual government. Thus black magic dictated the state religion and paralyzed the intellectual and spiritual activities of the individual by demanding his complete and unhesitating acquiescence in the dogma formulated by the priestcraft. The Pharaoh became a puppet in the hands of the Scarlet Council–a committee of arch-sorcerers elevated to power by the priesthood.

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