“It is far better to learn to see in the dark than to shine a light and be blinded.”
The New Age movement has brought with it a flood of metaphysically inclined people that push for a love and light philosophy. There are very few mentions of the darker side of magick within the basic magick 101 books, and though that may be a good thing for many reasons, it also limits many people’s view of the people that do darker magick.
Dark magick, by my personal definition, is acknowledging and accessing the entire spectrum of possibilities in magick, even the dangerous and scary aspects such as demon evocation, sex magick and blood magick. This is probably not the most perfect of definitions, but it will work for my purposes.
Dark magick is not in opposition of the lighter sides of magick, and in fact works with them. They cohabitate every part of the world and cannot exist without the other side. The dark is the realm of difficulty, of temptation, and of possible failure. This is the place where strength is derived. Darkness is the natural state, and it is only through surviving and triumphing in darkness that light can be made. Therefore, every light comes from darkness and the aspiring healer must first face the darkness before he can bring the light to others.
The shamans of old were not shamans until they had faced the darkness and triumphed. They had to walk roads of shadows–deathly illnesses, “schizophrenia”, and physical trials–before they could ever do good for anyone else. Our society understands that darkness is the realm of creativity. It is more uncommon to have a true creative genius without any darkness in their life than one that is full of depression, hardship, and darkness. Women must go through the darkness of pregnancy and child birth before their bundle of light is brought into the world. The journey of bringing light to the world is always full of darkness.
The problem is not that darkness exists, or that people are unaware of it. The problem is that rather than respecting the darkness as a way to personal strength, they fear it and those that walk the darker roads. Not everyone chooses to embrace darkness, and it is understandable why people would not. It is the place of unknown, and humans by nature are fearful of the unknown. It is also the realm of danger, of destruction, of death, and of pain. All of these are necessary parts of the road to strength. It is not in comfort that we gain strength, just as the sword is not strengthened without the fires of the forge or the pounding of the hammer and anvil.
In closing this post, I must say that every magician must confront the darkness at some point. Do not be reckless when doing this, but do not be afraid to do it. It is a necessary road for all that wish to bring light to the world and to bring light to yourself.