Online Reference For Body, Mind & Spirit

Term: Black Arts

There are two beliefs as to the source of the term. The word root “necro-“ means “dead” or dead body.” Originally, “necromancy” was a term describing a form of divination using parts of dead bodies. By about 1300, it came to mean divination by communicating with the dead. Unfortunately, this became confused with the Middle Latin word root niger (pronounced nee-gair) meaning “black.” Thus, “nigromancy” or communicating with the dead became a “black art.” Alternatively, it was believed that magickal arts came from ancient Egypt. In ancient Egyptian, the word for the Egypt was Kemt, which means “The Black Land.” Thus, magick that comes from Egypt is the black art. Today, the “black arts” is an expression used to identify (often derogatorily) any magickal or spiritual practices that are outside of the mainstream.