Robert Anton Wilson
Don’t Be Afraid of Black Magick
They’re out there, moving stealthily in the darkness. The Black Magicians. The Occult Terrorists. Satanists. Mansonoids. Mindwarpers. Cattle Mutilators. “Night’s Black Agents,” as the Bard called them.
They’re calling down curses on their enemies. Sticking pins in Voodoo dolls. Summoning the mighty devil Choronzon to fall upon the Earth and afflict it with madness. Chanting to invoke the 777 servitors of Beelzebub and Set...
Well, yes. But let’s not lose our heads about it.
The first and most important thing to learn about evil is that it generally exists only in your own alarmed imagination. To a considerable portion of our fellow citizens, the acme of evil is pornography: Marilyn Chambers and Linda Lovelace parading their harmless sensuality and hedonistic technology on film.
Pagan readers presumably can see how silly that concept of evil is. It is worth asking how much of your own favorite fears and loathings are equally absurd, reflecting only the prejudices of your culture or subculture.
Virtually every occult lodge or order in the country has the dubious honor of being regarded us a group of crypto-Satanists or clandestine followers of the “forbidden left-hand path” by some other occult lodge or order. Orthodox Christians still dread the “witches” (followers of wicca, the cult of the great Mother Goddess). I know hundreds of witches around the country and they’re all fine people. The local leader of Crowley’s notorious Ordo Templi Orientis (denounced as a group of closet diabolists by scores of Christian occultists) is also a fine man, in my judgment. More than 75 percent of all occult prejudices are as bigoted as mainstream religious or political prejudices.
As P. E. I. Bonewits (the first student to ever graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in magic), has so wittily and accurately writen, “White magic is what my gang does. Black Magic is what the other gang over there does.”
Even the terminology of “white” and “black” magic is racist and redolent of bias.
I once read an intelligent Fundamentalist tract. (There are intelligent Fundamentalists, just as there are honest politicians. Every miracle happens at least once!) The author argued that Satanists and black magicians are responsible for spreading the ideas that all humans can learn to develop occult talents, that we can achieve physical immortality and migrate off this planet, and that there is no limit to the expansion of human intelligence. Since I believe all those things, and have devoted much energy to propagandizing for them, I am very definitely a Satan-ist and a black magician, by this gentleman’s standards.
It is well to keep in mind, then, that whenever you are horrified by somebody’s beliefs or (harmless) practices, you yourself are also a heathen, a wretch, and an infidel, by somebody else’s standards.
For the purpose of this article, evil refers to acts which definitely, measureably, harm others, physically or psychically. It doesn’t matter what kind of orgies they’re having down the street, what blends of dope they’re using, what entities they’re invoking with their chants or ceremonies. If they’re not hurting anybody, they’re not evil, just different.
The second fact to learn about evil, real evil, is that it is quite stupid, like all fetishes and compulsions.
Dr. Fu Manchu only exists in fiction. It requires no “evil genius” to use fear and threats to intimidate people and create an aura of diabolical power about yourself. Every juvenile hood knows as much about the neuropolitics of fear as Manson or Hitler ever learned.
The “bad” outlaw and the “good” citizen are both robots, as Max Stirner noted over a century ago. The “bad” robots are programmed to be “the baddest outlaw gang in town.” The “good” robots are programmed to be “nice,” “polite” and “reasonable.” There is very seldom anything fit to be called intelligence on either side.
In every cell-block in every penitentiary there, is a “King.” The baddest bad-guy of them all. The Rogue Male. The alpha-baboon. Power in any mammalian pack or human tribe is brokered in systematic ways, according to kinesic signals (body language). To see how robotic this imprinted role is, consider the opposite number. In every horde there is also a nebbish. A loser. Low man on the totem pole. While nobody can intimidate the alpha or rogue male, everybody can intimidate the nebbish.
These roles are imprinted quite as mechanically as the sex roles are imprinted.
Most of those who have mastered the politcs of fear on the “old-brain” circuits (mammalian intimidation) do not bother acquiring much “new-brain” hominid development. Symbolic constructs seem irrevelant to their concern with raw power.
The so-called “black magician” is a “new brain” hominid fear-merchant who has somewhere learned that there are more powerful intimidations than physical assault. The dimensions of horror, terror and mindwarp are discovered. You can scare more people, and acquire greater power, by the exploitation of psychic assault.
When a human’s “mind” or reality-construct is threatened, the person virtually ceases to exist as human, and regresses to the status of a terrorized mammal in a trap.
Just as the physical bully feeds on fear and is thrown off stride by the appearance of real courage, the psychic terrorist feeds on gullibility and is baffled by intelligence.
When the bully confronts true courage, he automatically ceases to attack. Instead, he seeks to make the maverick into an ally, and often offers the position of second-in-command. If that is declined in a respectful (not churlish) manner, he will probably agree to recognize the other as a separate sovereign with a private turf.
The psychic terrorist, similarly, is only accustomed to bamboozling the credulous. Confronted with a self-disciplined independent mind, he hesitates. Eventually, like the physical bully, he laughs and offers comradeship. “You and me, we’re smart. We’re not like these other jerks.” A nudge and a conspiratorial wink.
The Power of Illusion
Jimmy Breslin, a tough Brooklyn boy who does the best Hemingway imitation in town, explains it this way: “[Minority Leader] Tip O’Neill at all times has one great political weapon at his disposal. He understands so well that all political power is an illusion. If people think you have power, then you have power. If people think you have no power, then you have no power... [As Hobbes wrote] ‘The reputation of power is power.’... Illusion. Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors, first a thin veil of blue smoke, then a thick cloud... If somebody tells you how to look, there can be seen in the smoke great, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms...” (From How the Good Guys Finally Won by Jimmy Breslin.)
Breslin may not seem to be writing about white and black magic but he is. Consider: there is no such thing as Minority Leader of the House in American law. The office exists only through “mirrors and blue smoke.” The Presidency, on the “ other hand, is sealed with seven seals and its incumbent possesses almost royal prerogatives. Breslin’s book demonstrated that while people like Peter Rodino and Judge Sirica and Senator Irwin were making headlines out of the Watergate investigations, “Minority Leader” Tip O’Neill with his “mirrors and smoke,” his casting of spells if you will, convinced everybody in high posts that impeachment was inescapable. When everybody else in Washington believed it, Nixon believed it, too, and resigned. The issue never did come to vote. O’Neill’s magic chased Tricky Dicky out of town.
If O’Neill had owned the official title of “shaman” instead of “politician,” he might have used the same methods to persuade Milhaus that a curse would kill him at 12 midnight on May 23. Nixon would obediently have laid down and died.
Mirrors and blue smoke...
Children play-act, and gradually, inevitably, the play becomes real. The parents call them home and the social reality is re-created. If the children remain in their own play-reality, a psychiatrist should eventually be called. If that fails, call the exorcist and get a good agent to start negotiating the movie rights.
Mirrors and blue smoke...
As Dr. John Lilly says, “In the province of the mind, what is believed true is true or becomes true within limits to be learned by experience and experiment. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind there are no limits.”
Stupidity of Black Magick
The hoodlum-occultist is “sociopathic” enough to, see through the conventional charade, the social mythology of his species. “They’re all sheep,” he thinks. “Marks. Suckers. Waiting to be fleeced.” He has enough contact with some more-or-less genuine occult tradition to know a few of the gimmicks by which “social consciousness,” normally conditioned consciousness, can be suspended. He is thus able to utilize mental brutality in place of the simple physical brutality of the ordinary hooligan.
He is quite powerless against those who realize that he is actually a stupid liar.
He is stupid because spending your life terrorizing and exploiting your inferiors is a dumb and boring existence for anyone with more than five billion brain cells. Can you imagine Beethoven ignoring the heavenly choirs his right lobe could hear just to pound on the wall and annoy the neighbors? Gödel pushing aside his sublime mathematics to go out and cheat at cards? Van Gogh deserting his easel to scrawl nasty caricatures in the men’s toilet? Mental evil is always the stupidest evil because the mind itself is not a weapon but a potential paradise.
Every kind of malice is a stupidity, but occult malice is stupidest of all. To the extent that the mindwarper is not 100 percent charlatan through-and-through (and most of them are), to the extent that he has picked up some real occult lore somewhere, his use of it for malicious purposes is like using Shakespeare’s sonnets for toilet tissue or picking up a Picasso miniature to drive nails. Everybody who has advanced beyond the barbarian stage of evolution can see how pre-human such acts are, except the person doing them.
Genuine occult initiation confers “the philosopher’s stone,” “the gold of the wise” and “the elixir of life,” all of which are metaphors for the capacity to greet life with the bravery and love and gusto that it deserves. By throwing this away to indulge in spite, malice and the small pleasure of bullying the credulous, the mindwarper proves himself a fool and a dolt.
And the psychic terrorist, besides being a jerk, is always a liar and a fraud. Healing is easier (and more fun) than cursing, to begin with, and cursing usually backfires or misfires. The mindwarper doesn’t want you to know that. He wants you to think he’s omnipotent.
The Big Lie
The old theological cliché that the Devil is the “Father of Lies” contains an important neuropolitical truth. Occult knowledge beings with the realization that the ordinary reality of the conditioned citizen is somewhere around 99.97 percent mythology. Mindwarping, brainwashing, demonology, the hurling of curses, etc., begin with the barefaced lie that the mindwarper’s alternate reality is not mythology at all but “really” “real.”
The Satanist’s reality is real. So is Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s. And the nudist reality. The snake-worshipper’s reality. The Methodist reality. The Republican reality. The SLA reality. The Buddhist reality. The vegetarian reality. The scientific reality.
Every one of these realities is “real” to the nervous system programmed to convert all incoming energy-signals into the coding (language categories) of that “reality,” and to exclude as background noise all signals not fitting the code.
The Biggest Lie in the World is the idea that there is one “true” reality. That is the lie which keeps the conditioned citizen trapped in the one static reality imprinted by parents and schools in childhood. It is the lie which the Black Magician exploits in making the demons of his reality in your reality.
America is the greatest country in the world, to the conditioned American. Fernando Poo is the greatest country in the world, to the conditioned Pooan. Catholicism is the one true religion, to the Catholic. Voodoo is the one true religion, to the Voodooist.
Mirrors and blue smoke.
There are dozens of meta-programming rituals in occult manuals, showing how to insulate your reality from attacking demonic forces out of some black magician’s separate reality. Some of the best and most commonsensical are in Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self Defense.
Personally, I regard such rituals as unnecessary, since they take the terrorist too seriously.
The Power of Love
Preferable is a simple meditation of forgiveness. Realize what a fool the mindwarper is to be wasting his time on barbarian terrorism when the occult planes contain so much glory and wonder for those with loving hearts. There are realms comparable to Beethoven’s Ninth, and the terrorist is barred from these by his sullen viciousness. Feel sorry for the poor fool, and forgive him.
Blessed Juliana of Norwich, an “illiterate servant girl,” used to get so possessed by the Divine Rapture that she could do no more than giggle and say, “All is well, and all shall be well; and all manner of things shall be well.” This may not have so much to contribute to philosophy as the realms explored by Paracelsus or Aldous Huxley, or as much scientific interest as the sci-fi heavens of Dr. John Lilly and Dr. Timothy Leary, but it shows that even the simplest of us, with love, can enter realities far more amusing and hedonistic than the nasty bog in which the Satanist lives.
The Power of Humor
Second, have a good laugh. I mean this literally. The practice of lila yoga is recommended by many Tantrists (and by Alan W. Watts) and is good for all occasions, but especially good for exorcising “bum trips” of all sorts. You form a magic circle with about a half-dozen friends and just laugh for 45 mintues. This is a much happier experience than those dreary Gestalt sessions where you program yourself into rage and spite for 45 minutes, and it is just as easy to induce. (If you have trouble getting started, pass around some magic herb before beginning.) When using this ritual to remove a curse, keep a photo of the mindwarper in the middle of the circle and remember that you are laughing at him. At the end, tear up the photo and forget about him entirely.
It’s that simple. Just as courage protects one from the physical bully, joy and laughter protect one from the psychic bully.
As Meher Baba used to say, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
Those four words contain all the wisdom of the ages.