Out of the Shadows
An Exoloration of Dark Paganism and Magick

Introduction

As a child I recall watching the movie Star Wars and thinking how much I wanted to join the "dark side." It wasn't that I wanted to be a "bad guy" but rather that the dark side was more interesting. The villains had the better outfits, better weapons and more interesting powers. Sure they always lost in the end, but until then they really kicked ass.

As the saga continued and I matured, the characters began to build depth and still the dark side always held my fascination. If it wasn't the evil that attracted me then what was it? Obviously there were more subtle connections being made... the dark side meant more than just the side of the villain.

The truth is the dark side empowered me. Sure a part of me yearned for power itself, especially during those awkward teen years when it seems the whole world was against me. But even now, after finding complacency in myself, the dark side still draws me. Whereas the light side is based on refrain the dark side says let go. It seemed to me the dark side was not bad in itself but simply easier to get carried away with. Give someone too much freedom and they either hurt themselves or learn to exist within certain self-defined boundaries. Many just lack the discipline and foresight to handle such freedom and need external rules to keep them in check. Others refuse to allow themselves to be confined by the ideals of others.

So then, it seemed to me the universe was not as easily divided into the good and the bad, the light side and the dark side. Perhaps, when properly handled, the dark side had much to offer once we learned to steer free of its pitfalls.

And so my exploration of darkness informally began.. thanks in part to George Lucas.

This book is a culmination of over 16 years of study and practice, being a combination of many traditions as well as my own personal adaptations and insight. It is in no way intended as an introduction of a new tradition, but merely a basic guide to what I have found effective and comfortable.

The goal of this book is to not only share with you my views on Dark Paganism and spirituality, but to encourage you - if not challenge you - to personalize your own belief system. Although sometimes written in a Wiccan context, many of my views may not agree with more traditional Wiccan or even Pagan views.

If some of the items in this book disturb you, then you have a wonderful opportunity to explore why you are disturbed. This can only bring you closer to solidifying your own belief system. If you find yourself trying to defend your own beliefs, or feel threatened by what you read here, then perhaps you have found a weakness in your own system.

I am by far not stating that my views are necessarily the correct or best views, but they work for me, and that is what matters. They are also not rigid and constantly evolve with me. My point is to show that darkness is not something to be cast away in Paganism. When religions such as Wicca were young, they were more balanced, recognizing the important role that both darkness and light played in the spiral dance called life. It is only recently, when Paganism became popular, if not trendy, that people began misinterpreting this polarity and separating them. (I'll go into this later in the book.)

The second part of this book discusses the nature and practice of magic by exploring the underlying principles at work. Originally these notes were to be part of a second book, which may still one day find its way into print. Since the misconceptions of darkness and magic are interwoven, I felt that this book would be incomplete without touching on the subject of magic.

You will find no spells or rituals in this book. There are more than enough books out there to fit that need. You will, however, gain a better understanding of what is happening behind those spells, and hopefully, after reading this book, you will no longer have the need for those silly compendiums of empty spells. The spell is just a prop - the real magic occurs within.

Your criticism is most welcome. However, please read with an open mind and try to understand the reasons behind why certain things are said or done. Keep in mind this book is an exploration into the many subjects of darkness and magick. I have tried to be as in depth as possible but each topic could easily fill a book of its own. I can only hope I have done each topic justice in such limited space.

Darkest of Blessings,

-John/Dark Wyccan


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