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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


In its simplest terms, the conscious use of supernatural powers for the exercise of evil, the perversion of so-called 'white' magic.

In occult lore white magic is concerned with expanding consciousness and improving the common good.   Black magic is the selfish and squalid perversion of magical arts to destroy others, or for personal gain.

The black magician is, quite simply, a person who wants power for him/herself, or self-aggrandizement.   They want to be able to vent their spite on enemies and to satisfy all of their desires.   In occult theory a magician may summon an 'evil' spirit or Demon and remain a white magician, so long as the purpose for the summoning is benevolent.

Lewis Spence wrote, in his Encyclopædia of Occultism:
"In Black Magic human perversity found the means of ministering to its most terrible demands and the possible attainment of its darkest imaginings.   To gain limitless power over god, Demon and man; for personal aggrandizement and glorification; to cheat, trick and mock; to gratify base appetites; to aid religious bigotry and jealousies; to satisfy public and private enmities; to further political intrigue; to encompass disease, calamity and death - these were the ends and aims of Black Magic and its followers."


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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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