Ethics and magic Pt the one

Posted on June 9, 2009
Filed Under Ethics, Magic, social practice, Social Responsibility, Taylor Ellwood, Vince Stevens | 14 Comments

I’ve recently started work on another co-written book project, since the project with Bill W is temporarily at a lull and I’ve been meaning to get started on this new project for a while anyway. This new project is an interesting one for me as it deals primarily with ethics and magic. I’m working on the first chapter and poring over the very few books I know of that deal with questions of ethics and magic (including your work Gerald) to any degree of length.

It’s rather odd to realize just how few books there are on ethics and magic, and to note as well that most of what I have come across is rooted from a Wiccan perspective on ethics. I’ve found a couple other works that deal with ethics and magic from other perspectives, but the majority of western occult texts mainly seem to deal with practical applications of magic, with little concern as to the ethical ramifications of said practices. Chaos magic tends to take a fuck off attitude to ethics and magic, and a lot of ceremonial magic seems to be far more concerned with pomp and pageantry than examining the ethical underpinnings of what’s being done by who. Even where I have found some focus on ethics, it’s been written in a rather vague way, which speaks to a decision to abstract the issues, as opposed to dealing with them concretely.  It confirms quite a bit to me, in terms of some of the concerns I have about the occult subculture and where it is or rather isn’t going in terms of evolving.

Is there such a thing as ethical magic? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. I actually think there is such a thing as ethical magic…but how to define it or explain what it is…well that’s the subject of a co-written book I and Vince Stevens are working on. Stay tuned for more information, as I’m sure I’ll be posting more details and considerations as I continue this work.