"That old black magic has me in its spell That old black magic that you weave so well ..." ~ That Old Black Magic, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer
The differing spellings of "magick" vs. "magic" is sometimes used to differentiate between stage entertainments (magic) and the magick practiced for "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will." And although the terms themselvs are controversial, some differentiate between "black magic", "white magic" and even "grey magic"!
Historically, the distinction between ancient traditions, rituals, superstitions, and the practice of magic has been intertwined. Many practices and traditions that were common depended upon a belief in magic.
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived over 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1, a day marking the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
Witches have their origins in these ancient times and were believed to have special access to the mysteries of the spirit world, especially during the liminal times of the Samhain season. They were often healers with knowledge of the practices of natural medicines as well as the keepers of the community rituals.
However, over time the status of these healers deteriorated and their special knowledge and practices turned them into targets of suspicion and persecution. Deemed by the early Church to be cohorts of the devil, witches were said to employ spells and charms to bring harm to good men and women, a practice known as "black magic," the use of supernatural power or magic for evil and selfish purposes.
Designed by Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan combines the seasonal colors of harvest time with a dark overlay of an unseen magical menace for this Hallowe'en season.
Click the dark jack-o-lanterns for more depictions of magic in pre-Raphaelite art.