Here’s where I’m going into the reason why I say no “Black magic/White magic”.
First off, as you read this I want to state one thing: I do not claim to be absolutely correct. These are just my ideas and bits of advice from what I’ve learned, feel free to debate them as you like, don’t take my word for it without thinking it over. I find one thing to be helpful when learning something: question everything.
I started off with getting acquainted with the energies around me, getting to know it, getting used to feeling it’s presence instead of blankly thinking “oh its just air or whatever”. I always have the idea that there’s a reason for everything, but never an excuse for anything.
When I found the time to get serious with my practices, I needed a place to start, so getting to simply know energy was a good idea.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit.
The first bit of energy work I did, was I had to do some work with just myself first, becoming acquainted with my own energy, my own “vibes”, all that fun stuff. One of the things I think an aspiring witch should learn, is that the first best key to any magical work is what you put into it: your energy, your physical effort, your will. You don’t need the greatest herb/incense collection, dramatically flammable robes, majestic wands and athames- even though they may help guide energy and create a suitable atmosphere for you (which is perfectly fine), but at the moment you realize that you can put your hands to more use than holding your Book of Shadows, these things will just be totally optional as a solitary.
After that task, the next goal was to become familiar with energies around me, ranging from stones, trees, other people- though at the very end of all this work I had to reach one specific inevitable goal: balance.
Going out into forests and other more natural spots worked very well for all of this. I had Earth beneath me, Air around me, Fire within me, and Water beside me (thankfully there is a river and plenty of streams nearby).
With Earth, I’ve warmed my hands in the dirt; I’ve felt the gentle energies of Air, felt the healing proprties of Fire, and the turbulent tides of Water.
Along with knowing the elements, I’ve also become familiar with their “correspondences”, the things they’re usually associated with. Over time, I became hooked on correspondences. When working a spell, whether simple or complex, or even a sabbat ritual, I find correspondences to be pretty important. You don’t have to know them like the back of your hand, but if you’ve simply got them handy, it helps- that way you can direct the properties of the energies you need besides your own according to your will. You’ll also find that neither of the four elements are solely positive or negative (unless we’re talking technical astrology), one can be just as lethal as the other.
For example, if you need protection, whether physical or metaphysical, you might go for the wall of fire that might toast manevolent energy that’s headed your direction or your attacker personally. Instead, you could go for that earthly wall packed tightly enough as if it were made of thick-gauged steel. With these two ideas, lets think more physical… Fire could be extinguished by water, yet dirt turns into mud when mixed with water- another bit you can use to your advantage. Your enemy won’t get assaulted by bucketloads of mud pies (lol), but in return for attempting to harm you, those “muddy” qualities might just slide right into their lives.
NOTE: The only reason I suggest this specific idea is in case of those situations where you either can’t help yourself and just need to do some damage, or you “harm when necessary”. I’m more of a “harm when necessary” person, I rarely ever use magic to harm another unless myself or something/someone I love is threatened and some action has been taken to back up the threat. Other than that, I do simple protections for myself, ones that won’t allow someone else’s plan to backfire, but just cease to exist while harming none. Overall, I let karma do it’s job- let karma be the judge of all judges for the sake of maintaining balance and fairness, and the reason why “bad things happen to good people”.
Another note: This is specifically for spellcasting. Please don’t cast a spell just to see if it will work- that isn’t a very good sense of will. In my definition, a spell is energy directed towards a goal according to your will (any bit of doubt could corrode your work). First, you should know what you want, let it not be too vague or too specific, something you can put some physical effort into obtaining, a goal beneficial to you (while possibly harming none if you’re interested).
For example: You cast a spell because you want a new Camaro, instead of your current Volkswagen beater (lol). You do this, and the next thing you know, your Volkswagen’s engine breaks down, along with other problems that takes time to fix- meanwhile, you miss four days of work (less money oh no) because of your broken car until you decide to junk it and buy that new Camaro. Then when you get your paycheck, you end up short 100 dollars leaving you much less money for food to last you until you get paid again. Not to mention your boss might be a little ticked at you for missing four days when they may have needed you most.
Anywho… think your spells through, think over long and short term effects, and take the path of least issues. There’s going to be an issue somewhere anyway, whether minor or major, don’t be paranoid of it, but don’t completely ignore it.
Well, to sum it up, back to the definition- magic is energy directed towards a goal according to your will. So what is energy? Energy is life, death, rebirth, stillness, above, below, everywhere, everything. Energy is neither good or bad, but everything in between. A person’s will can be good or bad.