PP Archives – White Witchcraft

A brief word: this article was written in 2004 when I was far more active online than I am these days.  Eight years later, and I had almost hoped that this article would no longer be relevant.  From what little I’ve seen of the Pagan Web of 2012, I think that there is still a need for what is said here.


I think that I am finally getting to the point where the mere mention of this phrase [white witchcraft] makes me want to run screaming from the room. But let me explain to you why…

I think that the concept of White Witchcraft is a hold over for people who are taking their first steps out of the structure of Christianity. They want to believe that there is some sort of universal punishment for those who commit misdeeds. To them, the concept of karma is much like the role of St. Peter, who tallies your sins to see if you get into heaven or not.

It is comforting to grasp the belief that God or Spirit or the All is on your side, and anything bad that happens to you will be dealt with. Many people can never accept that this is not always the case – that bad deeds go unpunished all the time. This belief in a sort of parental deity leads you to adjust your actions accordingly. If God or Spirit or the All is watching, then they are also watching you, and you’d best behave.

You can see confirmations of this belief everywhere if you look for it – ‘Mind ye ever the rule of three, whatever you send out comes back to thee’ and ‘An it harm none, do what thou wilt’. Taken out of context, it can appear that these are warnings against the Wiccan version of sin. From there it isn’t a giant leap to “Any spell with a selfish intent is black magick” and “Well, all spells are selfish to some extent, so why perform magick at all? We can just pray and avoid the karmic backlash”.

Congratulations, you have just come full circle and are right back where you started when you were first thinking of leaving Christianity – afraid. Afraid of angering God, afraid of going to hell, afraid to stand on your own two feet and make the tough decisions yourself. Fear is not what Witchcraft is about, and to some, the very idea that all ‘Real Witches’ are afraid of cosmic retribution is offensive.

One of the things that makes Witchcraft appealing is that is is empowering – your fate is in your own hands. You have the power to change the universe to conform with your will – that is what magick is. Why would you ever want to give that power away? Would you be willing to give back control of your every action to your parents? Willing to ask permission for every little thing again?

Part of being an adult is gaining freedom at the price of being personally responsible for your actions. It is the same with Witchcraft – you gain the power of magick at the expense of being responsible for the outcome of your spells. So, should you never work magick because something bad might happen? Of course not – do you avoid driving your car because you might have an accident?

Conversely, I am not saying that nothing bad will come to you if you are flinging hexes at anyone who pisses you off.* If something goes wrong, you fix it if you can, learn from your mistakes, and move on. Witchcraft is a skill like any other – you will mess up once in awhile as you learn. But, if you are so afraid of a mistake that you must negate every spell with a phrase like “With Harm to None”, then you have no business practicing magick in the first place.

Magick is colorblind, it is the intent behind it that decides the course a spell will take. To say that “I will never practice black magick” is to say that you will never practice magick at all. All spells are about getting what you want – imposing your will. The boundary of what you will and will not do is a choice that every Witch must decide for herself/himself.

*Hexes is covered in a separate article

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