The idea of “Forces of Darkness” is purely a Christian paradigm. Some people on a magickal path like to use the term, either to describe those who are of the Left Hand Path, or by those LHPers to describe the oogy boogy forces and powers that they follow. This brings us to the idea of Light vs Dark.
The problem here is quite simple really. It just doesn’t matter. What you will want to work toward is to release yourself from the prison of being separated, and that includes using things like dark and light in your vocabulary. The separation this causes is still tied to that Christian Worldview that you want to step out of. However, to get to that, you need to have an understanding of both in order to know how to bring them into union.
So, if we take the concept of “Dark Forces” from the Christian perspective, this would be anything which is not Christian. That includes all Pagan, Magical, Heathen, and more paths. This even includes subtle practices such as Reiki, which some Christians still believe is “from the Devil”. Therefore, what can we, as Magick Users, consider to be “dark”?
This is going to depend on what path someone is following. If a person is a Neo-Pagan or Neo-Wiccan, then they may consider Traditional Witchcraft to be “dark”, because instead of calling the Lord and Lady which to many can be light and airy, a Trad Crafter might be calling the Devil and the Blood Mother. Just those terms alone might send a Neo-Wiccan into a frenzy, and they might start praying for the poor soul who is so lost in the dirt of the earth, with their stang, skull and cross bones. This imagery might remind you of something, i.e. the Christian praying for the soul of the damned person who has turned away from God, oh save our souls.
However, within the general Magickal community, the “Forces of Darkness” are usually in reference to the so-called Left Hand Path practices. Now this can possibly be viewed in two ways.
In many of the Left Hand Path practices, we find a focus on the entities and spirits of the Ancient Middle East. In some regards this is seen as being more powerful than any other areas of the world, largely because it is believed that these regions are where magic originated, i.e. Sumeria, Babylon, Persia, etc. and it is why so many people in the West are attracted to it. This creates two kinds of imagery. One is of the dark times when the people of antiquity were calling on spirits, and the second is simply the skin color of the people within those regions. This is a racist view mostly, and is just silly, however if you really think about it, this is some of the imagery that arises. When we are dealing with these ideologies, we are focused on the Ancient Middle East and that alone pulls up the visualizations of a dark continent, where dark people lived, and called upon dark spirits.
Then we have those of the Left Hand Path that like to make things edgy. The scarier and darker they can make things within their practice, the better they feel about themselves. This is usually a rebellion that is a reaction to the Christian ideology that they are trying to escape from. Unfortunately some don’t grow out of it, and it becomes their identity, trapping them again, in that separation, and no better than the Christian ideologies they were trying to escape from in the first place.
There are of course those that consider themselves to be “of the Light” and someone following Daemonolatry, Satanism, et al are therefore “of the Darkness”. This is purely a Christian idea which has been brought over to the Magickal and Pagan communities, and one I think needs to be strongly rejected. It speaks of a lack of understanding and a resistance to growth.
However, the Darkness holds Wisdom, and the Light shines brightest in the Dark. You cannot have one without the other.
There is the saying “knowledge is power”, but knowledge only becomes powerful when it is understood and becomes wisdom. Here we can look at three of the sephirah in the upper part of the Kabbalistic Tree, Da’at, Binah and Chockmah, or Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom. Da’at is the Abyss, and as we know, an abyss is darkness, a bottomless chasm. We have to move through this darkness in order to gain the Knowledge. We then have to move into Understanding in order to assimilate that Knowledge, and once that has been done, we can move into Wisdom. The union of this is the Crown, the Light, Kether.
So, what do I think this Darkness is? It is the Abyss. This Abyss is feared by many because it is unknown. Because it is feared, it is all things which are feared. It is the shadow side of our nature. It is the beast that lurks beneath the surface that we are told we must cage and never let out. It is the passion and lust that we feel that we are instructed to keep under wraps in order to be accepted. It is all things that we have been told are not allowed for one reason or another, usually because it is not proper or it is taboo. Power alone can be found in these places, simply by breaking them open, and when we dare to venture into the Abyss, we will find that comfort and warmth that has been kept from us as we float unhindered in the nothing which is everything.
The so-called “Forces of Darkness” are those powers and forces, entities, energies and spirits that are waiting for us to discover the extent of our true selves. The entirety of our being. We cannot be whole until we unite the light and dark within us and bring them into harmony. Until then we remain divided, separated, disconnected from that which we are.
Of course if we are going to talk about dark entities within the likes of Daemonolatry, I would say we are talking about astral parasites, lower energy beings that are not considered to be Divine Intelligences. These entities are around us all the time. A majority of them are thoughtforms created from fear, anxiety, anger, and they tend to feed off fear. In order to do that they will create fear so that they can grow more of their food, and these are the types of entities you want to stay away from.
Darkness is the spaces between the particles. The nothingness and void that is found between the atomic particles and sub-particles. Nothing can exist without the no-thing, and so Darkness is the everything.