Popular false moral You should never attempt manipulative magick

All acts of magick are acts of manipulation. Consider what you have previously heard or read about "manipulative magick" elsewhere. Most Wiccan literature claims that manipulative magick is bad. Our social ethics tend to agree, but only to a point.

It is typically illegal to use subliminal messages to increase sales, but it is legal to use the same delivery method to prevent shoplifting. Far be it for me (a shop owner) to encourage shoplifting, but I have to wonder who decided this makes sense. As theft is an issue of ethics and shopping is an issue of commerce, I wonder who decided it was okay to bombard our senses with someone else's code of ethics. The very people who are trying to instill ethics are conducting themselves in a manner that many would consider unethical. What's next, subliminal messages that tell us to be fruitful and multiply?

The leaders of the Wiccan community have given us very mixed signals on the issue of magickal ethics. In his book Incense, Oils, and Brews, Scott Cunningham lists business incense. The instructions tell the reader to burn the incense in a window to attract customers. Knowing how directly connected the sense of smell is to the brain, this does seem awfully manipulative. Isn't this subliminal advertising, or do subliminal suggestions only count if sight or sound is used? Is there that much difference between the customer attracting incense that Wiccans rarely feel is unethical and the infamous subliminal advertising corporations have been accused of using against unknowing customers? Once you recognize the spell is real and question how it functions, you begin to see how manipulative magick has been a part of Wicca from the very beginning.

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