"The first rule of magic is simple. Don't waste your
time waving your hands and hoping when a rock or a club will do."
-- McCloctnik the Lucid
Disclaimer: The author cannot be held culpable for the
use or misuse of any of the techniques and concepts discussed
in this chapter. I refuse to be responsible for the irresponsibility
of anyone stupid enough to make frivolous use of Combat Magic.
If you can't deal with the consequences of your actions, don't
do it. You have been warned.
Combat magic is defined as the use of enchantment techniques to bring harm to another person or persons. Love and war being the human animal's favorite pastimes, aggressive magic is probably second only to love spells in sheer popularity and interest.
It's likely that many of those with a previous background in magic will be quite upset that a chapter such as this is included in this book. To some, combat magic is an abomination, and should never be spoken of except when accompanied by a dire warning to avoid it at all costs. Clichés about giving loaded guns to children will be dutifully spouted. I don't agree with the analogy. It would be more accurate to describe it as giving a child a box full of the parts to construct a gun, along with gunpowder, lead and shell casings with a reloading machine to make the bullets. It's highly unlikely that a total novice will be able to assemble the parts into anything harmful, to themselves or anyone else. By the time they accumulate the knowledge necessary to construct something dangerous, they will also know how to avoid shooting themselves in the foot.
What remains are the ethical considerations of arming people with the weapons of magic. Personally, I consider it to be similar to teaching people any other kind of martial art. It's very rare to hear about a black belt holder in karate going around beating people up for no good reason or getting into bar fights.
Like martial artists, most magicians with sufficient power to actually bring harm to anyone else:
A) Have better things to do with their time.
B) Have come to know that there are usually more efficient ways to deal with potentially violent situations
C) Have achieved a centered mind and the self discipline that makes senseless violence unappealing.
There will always be exceptions to the rule, of course. But such psychopaths are very inventive , and will always find a way to inflict misery on their fellow humans whether they practice magic or not.
Aggression by means of magic must be approached with the same attitude of seriousness one should bring to any other form of aggravated assault. If one cannot conceive of doing physical violence against an enemy, then certainly one will be equally unable to do so psychically. Any coward can swagger about brandishing a gun, but be totally incapable of handling the consequences of pointing it at someone and blowing their head off.
Magical curses have been know not only to inflict grievous harm on their intended targets, but on any others in the target's proximity as well -- and quite often instead of the intended target. Magical violence (like any form of violence) is an extremely blunt instrument. The greatest disadvantage of magical attack is its maddeningly bad accuracy. All of these negative connotations are multiplied when two or more magicians attack each other. Peter Carroll aptly described it as fighting a duel with hand grenades.
I know a very powerful magician who once told me that his favorite combat spell was the "Greater Evocation of the .357 Magnum Bullet Between The Eyes." He said it never fails. Though spoken in jest, it would be wise to keep this anecdote in mind when considering the use of combat magic. If one cannot continence the use of my friend's type of "magic spell", then one has no business considering the use of any other type either.
Being forced into a situation where resorting to violence is the only option available is the height of bad planning and stupidity. Very often, this means the situation has gotten so out of control that it is already lost. Long before such a point is reached, the canny magician will have found means to exploit the adversary's weaknesses to his or her advantage, or as a last resort, manipulated their enemies in such a way as to render them unwilling or unable to press an attack. As Sun Tzu said in The Art Of War, "Supreme excellence in warfare is to defeat the enemy without engaging in battle."
Nevertheless, there are going to be times when aggression is a reasonable and prudent course of action. Often a counter-offensive or even a preemptive strike is called for, if only to keep one's enemies off balance. But keep in mind that it is to be approached with the same attitude as physical battery, assault with deadly weapons, and murder. To do otherwise is to risk the dreaded "boomerang effect" of legend and lore.
The "Karmic Boomerang" Effect
Contrary to popular belief, it is the opinion of the author that such effects are not due to some universal "moral injunction" against the use of aggressive magic. At least in my experience, such "karmic certainties" as the Wiccan's 'Law of Threefold Return', in which any harm done with magic will rebound on the perpetrator by a factor of three, rarely seem to function reliably. In fact, without including reincarnation as part of such a philosophy, it is painfully obvious that the evildoer goes unpunished by the gods as often as the good die young! The ancient pagans knew better than to leave human retribution and justice to the gods, unlike their modern imitators.
A far more likely explanation, one that accounts for the unreliable nature of such karmic backlash, is that it is the aggressing magician's own subconscious fears and guilt complexes that set up a sympathetic two-way link with the intended victim of a magical attack. Accordingly, the magician ends up invoking his or her own nemesis as well as their enemy's. This means that in order to avoid being the victim of feedback from one's own magical attacks, one must find a way to divest oneself of all emotional sympathy with the target after the hex has been cast.
This psychosomatic whiplash effect is quite successfully exploited by many neo-pagan cults and "white magic" orders to inflict an arbitrary moral code on their followers, presumably to prevent the young and restless from usurping the power of the hierarchy. Virtually all of them will inform those who attain the "inner circle" of adepts that such injunctions as the Law of Threefold Return are merely blinds devised to keep the neophytes from "hurting somebody" -- that "somebody" being the entrenched leadership.
On the other side of the coin, some "black magic" practitioners or groups go about slinging curses hither and yon with utter disregard for the potential consequenses. Like the schoolyard bully, they often run up against somebody bigger and meaner than themselves. Or the magical links they forge in the process become chains of guilt and paranoia that sink them into the charnel pit of their own id. Death, extreme misfortune or uncontrollable insanity are the usual result.
That very often magical attacks are mounted for reasons of revenge may also account for the perception that combat magic cannot be used without it bringing destruction on oneself in the process. Revenge is the most emotionally charged of all possible motives for violence, and such emotion will always invoke it's dualistic opposite, sympathy, in the subconscious mind. If revenge is one's motive, it would be wise to explore other avenues of action such as spells of binding.
Practical Combat Magic
Combat magic can be subdivided into two basic categories, which we shall dub the Red and the Black; they could also be termed "war" magic and "death" magic respectively. The means of avoiding harmful backlash from each type is different, and suited to each style as detailed in the following sections.
The distinguishing factor of Red Magic is that it is not practiced covertly. In fact, it's effectiveness is in direct proportion to how brazenly obvious one is about performing it. The classic form is the "cursing in the public square" style of the old stories about evil witches; the hideous old hag places a curse upon the victim in public in front of many witnesses - sometimes from the gallows. In what is probably the most celebrated work of Red Magic in history, Jaques DeMolay, leader of the mystical Knights Templar, was sentenced to death in 1314 by Pope Clement V and King Phillip IV of France for sorcery and heresy. From the gallows he cursed them both, declaring they would die within a year. Both men were dead within six months.
However, it is not required that one expose oneself as an aggressor; the other classic form is when the victim is the recipient of a nasty looking sigil in the mail or finds a "voodoo doll" nailed to the door or a dead cat hanging from a tree in the front yard.
The common denominator is that the victim is quite certain he or she has been singled out for a magical attack. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that depending on the enemy's state of mind, the fear and paranoia generated by the certain knowledge that one is on a magician's shit list can be a very effective weapon all on it's own. In fact, psychologists accredit this psychosomatic effect with being the sum total of the effectiveness of magical attack. However, there are many recorded accounts of total skeptics sucumbing to curses. This is because it's quite doubtful that even the most materialistic unbeliever is totally free of all of the superstious baggage humans are heir to. This makes their situation even worse, for they will hesitate to take any prudent countermeasures, or seek help from someone who can.
The disadvantage is that an enemy forewarned is an enemy forearmed. As any citizen of Haiti can tell you, the way to deal with a witch doctor's curse is to go out and hire another witch doctor to counter it - which is usually only possible if one knows one is being cursed in the first place.
Red Magic is the magic of War, and the key to it's success is maniacal aggression and the raising of emotions of hatred to a point at which they invoke gnostic trance. The war dances of various primitive cultures are excellent examples of this technique. The ritual burning of effigies is another operative example, as is stabbing "voodoo dolls" with pins. While these may be effective modes of attaining the required gnosis, the direct identification of the enemy in the process is what opens up the magician to the risk of backlash. To those who would wreck war upon an enemy, this is a secondary consideration - a soldier always assumes that any mission may result in their own death as well as the enemy's. But for most who would use combat magic, it would be preferred to survive unharmed rather than to die as a martyr.
To avoid this, it is better to sigilize the enemy into an abstract symbol, and raise the required emotions of hatred and malice by focusing on something other than the target itself. Then when gnosis is achieved, the sigil is ritually destroyed and the Will is sent forth without the conscious connection that can bring about psychic "retribution".
The Chaos Bolt: A Red Magic Operation
The following is a description of a form of Red Chaos Magic called "Chaos-Bolting". For those of you who harbor fantasies of magically casting bolts of lightning from your outstretched hands at your adversaries, this is as close as it gets (at least on this plane of existence.) Remember, this operation is not limited to use against individuals, but is also effective against such entities as corporations, governmental institutions and rival magical groups.
Dressing oneself in the raiment of a warrior is highly effective - the ceremonial battle dress, masks and war paint of the shamanistic tribal cultures are examples of how their warriors placed themselves into the gnostic trance state for combat, and it can be used by the magician with great effect. If wearing native American costumery or swords and shields do not invoke the martial spirit for you, consider using the fatigues, helmets, boots and firearms of the modern soldier. What matters is that it makes you feel like a warrior.
- Paper and pen (to make graphic sigil)
- Fire (either a small bonfire or a fireproof container to burn paper in),
- Red candles,
- "Mars" incense,
- A clean needle or similar device to draw blood from your finger.
Using the Graphic method, create a sigil out of the name of the enemy or enemies. After the sigil is drawn, it is charged by drawing blood from oneself and anointing it. Then, using the Mantric method, create a sigilized chant from a statement of intent that details the horrible fate that is to befall the enemy (see the chapter on Sigils elsewhere in this book.)
Arrange several red candles in a circle around your space and light them, along with copious quantities of incense. If one is outside and there is no danger of starting a brush fire, drawing a circle around oneself with flammable liquid and igniting it is a highly effective technique.
Now comes the hard part. You must whip yourself up into a violent frenzy, without thinking about your enemy at all. There are quite a few ways to do this, and all of them involve some unpleasantness. Here's where Emotional Memory comes into play. Try to recall a time when you were maniacally angry about something. Invoke in your mind the feelings you experienced. You might enlist the help of an assistant, who will deliberately mock you, insult you, or even strike you physically (those into S/M play can think of this as an extension of it and use the tools and techniques they already know.)
While all this continues, begin to chant the mantra and stare at or visualize the sigil of the enemy. Do not think about the enemy! Doing a personal variation on a Native American "war dance", even a Hollywood-cliché version of one, can be used to push one closer to the brink of the "red gnosis", where one is aflame with righteous anger. Pounding the ground or other objects (hopefully inanimate ones) with clubs or other weapons, or even the firing of guns or the setting off of explosive devices can be effective in attaining the proper mental state.
At the height of the anger trance, the sigil is visualized as being contained within an equal-sided triangle. Know this triangle to be the bottom surface of a three-sided pyramid, shaped like a long, sharp spike pointing directly away from you. This is the Chaos Bolt. As gnosis reaches it's climax, the triangle is visualized as rapidly shrinking in size and vanishing. Know this to be the result of the Chaos Bolt flying away from your point-of-view on it's way toward the target.
To conclude, burn the sigil paper, preserving the ashes. Package them up into a suitable container (i.e.. a small black box, or perhaps a bullet casing) to be delivered to the enemy somehow -- anonymous mail, nailed to their door in the dead of night, etc.
Now collapse in a heap and have someone throw cold water on you. For maximum effectiveness and safety from backlash, one must make whatever effort is required to not think about the enemy from that point on.
"There is nothing good nor evil, but that thinking makes it so."
- William Shakespeare
In Chaos Magic terms, Black Magic also can be called Death or Entropy magic. Entropy being the antithesis of Chaos, in a way it could be thought of as being antiethical to Chaos Magic itself. However, every tool has it's uses, and Chaos Magic recognizes no a priori moral force in the manifest universe. Fire can cook your food or destroy your house; morality has nothing to do with it.
Not all Black Magic is used for combat purposes. On occasion the magician may find it useful to perform what are known as "Chod" rites, or ritual enactment's of his or her own death (and the fear thereof) for initiations or for the purposes of banishment. When the fear of death (or a particular way of dying) becomes an obsession, the magician can perform a ritualized version of it and by confrontation conquer the fear. Chod rites, designed to emulate death and rebirth are also highly effective as initiation ceremonies.
Unlike Red Magic, where maniacal aggression is the key to success, entropy spells must be cast with a mental attitude of complete cold, impersonal emotionlessness. The thrill of battle is replaced with a desire for nothing more than a clean, quick and efficient kill. The greatest advantage to using Black Magic for combat purposes is that it is accomplished with complete stealth, and the targets have nothing but themselves and/or pure bad luck to blame for what befalls them.
Black Magic is insidious in it's nature, and so the precautions one must take against psychic rebound are very important. The use of servitors as "agents" designed to carry the entropic intention to the target is highly recommended, as it keeps the magician "one step removed" from the target. In keeping with this attitude, you might notice that the intended victim is herein referred to as the "target", rather than the "enemy" as in the section on Red Magic. This is to stress the detached attitude that must be maintained to work effectively and safely with Black Magic.
In it's essence, a Black Magic working is designed to carry subconscious information to the target, encouraging it to destroy itself. This can manifest as sheer recklessness that, sooner or later, will result in a serious or even fatal accident. It can also take form as neglect of the health or inattention to dangerous circumstances. In any case, the target will be totally unaware that there is a spell at work, unless they are magicians or extreme paranoids.
"It's Their Funeral": A Black Magic Operation
This is an operation that falls under the definition of "sympathetic magic". It is recommended to obtain some sort of object that is personally connected with the target -- Hair, nail parings, an article of clothing, etc. Otherwise, a photograph, drawing or if nothing else, a sigilized rendering of the target's name can be used.
The object is to conduct a symbolic funeral for the target. Of course, to hold a funeral a "body" is needed, so this operation is a variation on the "voodoo doll" idea.
The rite should be conducted in the middle of the night during a new moon, preferably in an underground basement. The entire room should be shrouded in black, and lit only by black candles. A dusky scented incense (i.e. myrrh or mugwort) should be burned in copious quantities so that the room is stifling with smoke.
- Modeling clay
- A small wooden box (with separate lid) roughly in the shape of a coffin, painted black;
Using modeling clay, construct a human looking doll. Leave a hollow section in the middle, into which is placed the personal object from the target. The hollow section is then filled with more clay and covered up. The sigil representing the target's name might also be inscribed onto the surface of the doll.
The basic theme of staging a funeral for the target allows for a wide range of procedures. In any case, the doll is placed in the coffin, a funeral is conducted over it (accompanied by dirge-like music, if possible), it is nailed into the coffin and buried. Get a copy of a Catholic liturgy from a bookstore or library, dress in black robes and conduct the ceremony of burial. You might also write your own -- the possibilities are many.
Once the doll is nailed into the coffin, you must than bring yourself into the "Black Gnosis". Deep meditation can accomplish this if you are sufficiently practiced at it -- Indian fakirs use it to stop their own hearts. For the rest of us, there are the many variations on the "Death Posture" discussed elsewhere in this book. Regardless of the technique, the goal is to still yourself to complete quiescence -- to "die", even for the briefest of moments.
You must do all of this operation with an attitude of cold impersonality -- this is absolutely essential to avoid backlash. You can be no more emotional about calling death upon the target than stepping on a cockroach. If you can't manage to be totally emotionless, you would most likely want to avoid this kind of operation altogether.
A note of caution: here is a particular instance where achieving gnosis by sexual exhaustion is probably not a good idea. Having a death spell subconsciously connected to your sexuality might result in undesired links that could be detrimental to your mental health.
What do you do if you find yourself on the receiving end of a magician's ire? Receiving a nasty-looking sigil in the morning mail or finding a voodoo doll nailed to your door can ruin your whole day. And what about those oh-so-dramatic "magical wars" between magicians or occult groups?
Magical warfare between magicians is generally waged for one of two reasons -- professional jealousy, or to serve as a graphic warning to others. But one rarely encounters an actual magical attack. In fact, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of all "magical wars" are nothing more than self-aggrandizment by people with far too rich of a fantasy life and a vastly overexaggerated sense of self-importance. After all, to be the victim of a magical attack means that one must be pretty damn important and/or powerful to have attracted such negative attention!
In the case of an actual attack, the usual situation is that someone is so pissed off at you for real or imaginary reasons that they decide to try to curse you magically. Such a decision is usually prompted by their inability to attack you in any other way (usually for reasons of basic cowardice) and a desire to remain anonymous to avoid retribution. Rarely does the attacker continue to wage battle over any length of time -- such attacks are almost always a "one shot" affair.
There are a few things to remember to help keep paranoia in check. It's damn hard to perform effective combat magic, and one has to be very strongly motivated to make it work. Even for those who have the requisite skill, it's an extremely energy draining process.
The first and most important line of defense is the magician's innate poise and control of the subconscious. Perfoming a banishing rite, such as the Gnostic Thunderbolt, on a regular basis can be very effective in keeping oneself free of unwanted magical energy, real or imagined. Regular meditation practice keeps one in touch with one's own psyche and better able to detect any outward influence before it has a chance to manifest itself.
Servitors can be evoked as personal "guardians"; most Chaos Magicians I know keep a few around for this purpose. The exact design parameters of defensive servitors can range from "watchers" that serve as early warning systems, to decoys designed to deflect untoward influences and prevent them from "finding" their intended target.
An excellent example of this is the "deflection" doll, a variation on the voodoo doll concept. A doll is created (much like the one in the "funeral" rite above), but it is endowed with personal objects from yourself, rather than an enemy. A ritual is devised to charge it with absorbing any magical force directed from the outside at it's creator. The doll is then hidden in a location where you would normally be found, such as your home, car or place of work. Occasionally you recover the doll and "cleanse" it by ritual means; for example, by holding under clean running water. However, extreme care must be taken to keep it from falling into the wrong hands!
But what if one finds a nasty looking sigil, or something as grotesque as an animal ritually killed, on one's doorstep with the afternoon mail?
First of all, don't panic! Disorganized and paranoid thinking is the wedge that can allow the spell take hold all the more easily.
The first step is to neutralize it as quickly as possible. It must be removed, but contact with the skin is not advisable. Here's a suggested countermeasure:
Drop a black cloth over it and wrap it around it as you pick the gnarly thing up. Take some black ribbon or thread and tie it many times around the whole bundle. Traditionally, a triangle has been used by many cultures as a "container" for demons, evil spirits and the like; take a large piece of paper or cloth, draw a triangle on it and place the offending object in the middle. (I keep a pre-prepared "Triangle Of Art" image on a piece of large posterboard around for times like this.) Exercise your meta-belief that this triangle keep it bound up and neutralized at least temporarily, and give you a chance to work out how to deal with the problem.
What to do next depends on discovering the nature of the curse. Divinitory methods, such as the I Ching, can be used to try to determine what the object represents and why it was sent. Sometimes a real or imagined offense against someone else can be rectified or atoned for in a way that will drain the curse of it's power.
Sometimes the physical nature of the object gives valuable clues as to how to counteract it's effects. For example, if the object consists of an animal or animal parts (especially chickens or goats) and accompianied by blood or tobacco ashes, it's likely you've offended a voodoo practitioner somewhere along the line. (How in the world did you let that happen?) Then it's off to the library or occult bookstore for a book on Vodoun practices and countermeasures used by the witch doctors and mambos of Haiti. You might even be able to find a professional who can help you neutralize the curse -- for a price...
For another example, say it's a sigil that includes the symbol of Mars (which would be appropo for a working of Red magic.) There's a good chance that the perpetrator used archtypical Martian imagery in devising the sigil. One could then devise an invocation of Mars that calls forth the Martian godform in it's purely "positive" aspect of protection and self-defense, which when performed over the object, tends to neutralize the purely negative Martian side of attack and destruction.
In any case, the final step is to dispose of the object by burning it, cloth and all, or tossing the whole mess into a lake or ocean -- or both. You might conjure up a sigil of your own designed to bind the curse harmlessly and add it to the mass to be destroyed.
Then perform your banishings and keep your imagination from running wild. And consider seriously whether or not you wish to escalate the conflict. Merely appearing to have suffered no ill effects from the curse, or to have not even noticed it at all, is the most maddening thing you can do to your adversary. As the sage said, "Living well is the best revenge."
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