What Is Black Magic?

Karen Frazier
Voodoo doll

Many people believe all magic is black magic, but this isn't true. As its name implies, black magic is used for much darker reasons, often expressly for the purpose of causing harm.

Defining Black Magic

Black magic and white magic are two sides of the same coin. Magic is used in many religious traditions as an attempt to influence the physical world via supernatural means.

Magic may be achieved via many methods including:

  • Potions
  • Spells
  • Incantation
  • Symbols
  • Poppets and voodoo dolls
  • Hexes and curses
  • Rituals and ceremonies

While white magic seeks to influence the physical world in positive ways, black magic intends to do so negatively.

Applications of Black Magic

Black magic may have many applications, such as:

  • Seeking to influence another without his or her consent or against his or her will
  • Placing a curse or hex on a person, place, object, or group of people
  • Summoning demons or Satan
  • Attempting to raise the dead through necromancy
  • Seeking immortality


A number of spiritual, religious, and mystical traditions utilize magic as part of their practices. Individual practitioners of magic may draw from multiple traditions, including black magic, in practicing their craft.


Wicca is a pagan witchcraft religion. While practitioners do engage in magical practices, Wiccan laws strongly discourage the use of Black Magic. For example, the Wiccan Rede, which is the guiding principle of Wicca, states, "An it harm none, do what ye will." Though the language is archaic, the meaning strongly discourages Wiccans from doing harm to others. Likewise, the Wiccan Rule of Three suggests that what one does is returned to him or her threefold. Therefore, if harm is intended through Black Magic, the practitioner will receive three times the harm in return.

In spite of this, a few Wiccan practitioners may practice Black Magic, although these practitioners are the exception rather than the rule. This magic is primarily accomplished through spells, potions, and incantations.


Santería is an Old World religion originating in the Caribbean and West Africa. The religion has magical practices but also follows some of the beliefs of Roman Catholicism. With its Catholic roots, Santería practitioners believe in the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." (Luke 6:31) However, practitioners can return what has been given to them in Santería, so if someone harms them it is considered acceptable to return the harm via black magic without expecting further harm.

While many Santería practitioners focus on "good" or white magic, some practitioners also use "evil" or black magic. In Santería, such magic may be accomplished through use of wax figures similar to Voodoo dolls. Practitioners also use contact magic, which involves using an object the subject has had physical contact with or ownership of.


The form of Voodoo practiced in the United States is called Louisiana Voodoo or New Orleans Voodoo. It is also closely related to, but not the same as, Hoodoo, Vodou, and Vodun. All include folk magic practices. While many of Voodoo's magical practices involve white magic such as healing and love potions, some practitioners engage in black magic directed at causing harm to others. For example, many people are familiar with the practice of placing pins in Voodoo dolls to bring harm to another. Potions, herbs, and spells may also be used.

Devil Worship

Many people are surprised to learn that not all Satanism is about Devil worship. In some forms, it is a philosophical movement focused on hedonistic and humanistic pursuits. However, some followers believe that worshiping Satan will bring them great power on the earthly plain. They may attempt to summon Satan or demons via black magic rituals, incantations, and ceremonies.

Practical Magic

While some people do practice black magic, others practitioners prefer to use magic with care. The intent of the spell, hex, or other ritual is always in the hands of the one casting it, and only he or she can decide if it is being cast to do good or harm.

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What Is Black Magic?