The Man in Black is, in the old stories, the one who meets the man or woman at the start of their journey, offering solutions to hardships. He is a psychopomp—a guide for the lost soul—exchanging magic beans for lean cows. A shape changer, he may present himself in his sable attire as a creature of either sex and any age, or in one of his many animal forms: a black cat or dog, a goat, or a raven. Regardless of how he chooses to present himself, the Man in Black–sometimes we call him the Devil–is the figure we meet when we first set foot upon this crooked path, and he has much to teach us, although we may resist his insistent charms.
Jeffrey Albaugh, and independent scholar, who holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre and a Master’s in Depth Psychology. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Cherry Hill Seminary and Program Manager for the Conference on Current Pagan Studies.