Black magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes. With respect to the left-hand path and right-hand path dichotomy, black magic is the malicious, left-hand counterpart of the benevolent white magic. In modern times, some find that the definition of “black magic” has been convoluted by people who define magic or ritualistic practices that they disapprove of as “black magic”.

The influence of popular culture has allowed other practices to be drawn in under the broad banner of “black magic”, including the concept of Satanism. While the invocation of demons or spirits is an accepted part of black magic, this practice is distinct from the worship or deification of such spiritual beings. The two are usually combined in medieval beliefs about witchcraft.