Lesser Magic & Satanic EthicsPosted: April 3, 2014
In Satanism we make a distinction between Greater Magic and Lesser Magic. The titles can be misleading since in reality Lesser Magic is no “less” powerful than greater magic and is probably used more often and more widely. To summarise the difference, Greater Magic involves the use of intricate ritual, ornate spells and a lot of what we call “psycho-drama”, often performed in a group setting, to bring about a desired result. Lesser Magic involves less ritualistic magic, psychology and any other knowledge the witch has available to stack the odds in his or her favour. In particular it means using whatever knowledge and skills we have to manipulate other people and situations. This is probably the point at which those of us who follow a darker or left hand path part company with those who don’t and who are bound by some kind of moral code attached to their magical tradition. The “harm none” rule of Wicca would be an example of this.
There is no universally accepted moral or ethical law in Satanism so in effect we are free to make our own personal and subjective judgements. Individually Satanists can be immoral or amoral in relation to the prevailing standards, but in reality most of us do have an ethical code that we follow. For some this is based to a large degree on the Rules, Sins, and Statements set out by Anton LaVey; for others the moral code is much more eclectic and personal. I will be the first to admit that because of the lack of structure and uniformity in Satanic ethics, there is a potential for certain people to exploit and even abuse others without limit. Some Satanists could do very bad and cruel things to others for their own gain or just for pleasure or amusement. However, when you think about all the terrible crimes that happen in our world today and which have happened over time I would guess that 99.9% of them have in fact been committed by people of Right Hand Path religions which supposedly have a strict moral code. Despite the moral panic stirred by the media and other vested interests, Satanists seldom if ever actually do very terrible things.
The question remains however, where should we draw the line?
I do use Lesser Magic. I use it quite a lot. I use it quite instinctively and have probably been doing so since long before I adopted Satanism and even before I consciously started practicing magic of any sort. In my opinion to some degree all people do this occasionally. What woman has never occasionally used her looks, a winning smile, a flash of the eye, to help get what she wants from time to time? What man hasn’t sometimes used stature, speed or strength to nudge rivals out of the way? What person wouldn’t use their knowledge, skills and abilities to get a better deal, a better job, a better house or even a better lover or partner from time to time. All these things are in essence the basis of lesser magic, and in all these examples there are potential victims, the one who didn’t get the job or the house, the woman who didn’t get her man, the guy who is always left sitting in a corner of the dance floor.
In Satanism there is a focus or let’s just say an honesty about using guile and manipulation to get what you want. We practice these skills, refine and hone them, and add to the basics all we know about magic and life. It makes us quite good at getting ahead in life, at being successful in whatever project we choose.
Is this immoral or amoral? Some would say so. As I said, there can be victims. Every job I have ever got resulted in somebody else being disappointed; should I feel guilty about that? Well I don’t. In every situation where I have a choice, I choose to be the victor rather than the victim. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.
However… And it is a big however… As a matter of personal choice, out of personal ethics I choose not to manipulate or take of advantage of people who are disadvantaged by age, disability or circumstances beyond their control. Therefore I do not use Lesser Magic against children, old people, physically or mentally ill people or most people in conditions of poverty. To my way of thinking this would be wrong. Perhaps these prohibitions should be more codified in Satanism but that is not going to happen. In truth however we are no more or less moral than people of any other religion or philosophy. Unlike some others however we do not look to somebody else to tell us how to behave; we are fully and totally responsible for our own actions.
I have spoken in a previous post about the ugly side of Satanism; of people who have no moral boundaries at all and who use Satanism as an excuse for whatever perverse and wicked deeds they want to perform. Yet as I have said earlier in this post, the vast majority of the most heinous and disgusting acts and crimes anyone reading this can imagine were not carried out by Satanists. There are bad people in every religion, philosophy and part of the world. In my experience Satanism actually has fewer such people.
I will feel no guilt or shame for using what I know to live my life as fully and happily as possible UNLESS I cross my own personal boundaries. I think that is as moral a statement as you could make in any religion.
I cannot and would not oblige all Satanists to have the same morals and ethics as I do. There are some who would do some things that I wouldn’t. There are some who would not do some things that I would do. But in essence most of us are decent people who make a conscious effort to take responsibility for our own lives and actions. We don’t really have any knowledge or tricks up our sleeves that other people couldn’t master themselves if they had the will to.
And finally a true story which I will leave you to judge…
This happened some years ago before I considered myself a Satanist but while I was already a witch with Left Hand Path tendencies. I came home one day and found my mother was on the verge of signing away twenty thousand pounds of her life savings to an insurance salesman. It transpired that he had been in the house for over four hours using extreme hard sell tactics. My mother had been both bamboozled and intimidated by him. She was physically frail at the time, emotionally drained and already in the early but distinct stages of the dementia which has since consumed her. These facts were self evident and must have been obvious to the guy. For all he knew my mum was signing away everything she had for an insurance she didn’t need. To him it was just a lucrative sale and he was unconcerned what would have become of her afterwards. He was using (consciously or unconsciously) Lesser Magic against her.
Well before she could sign her savings away I chased the man away very aggressively and actually went on to cast a pretty nasty curse upon him.
What were the rights and wrongs of that episode?
No matter what our religious, spiritual or philosophical background, ethics are seldom black and white or simple.