"Dabbled"? That's like saying Einstein dabbled in physics or Tiger Woods plays a little golf. Dabbling is what children do in muddy puddles.
But the words have become glued together, joined at the hip. If it's magic you're a dabbler. Even if, like Spare, you're the world's number one. The ready made phrase, besides displaying a lack of thought in its user, suggests middlebrow distaste, a waving of the proverbial barge-pole, a nervous refusal to take the subject quite seriously. "Eugh, look at the naughty man, he's dabbling. Children, avert your eyes."
And while we're being prissy, "black magic" is another no-brainer. You might as well talk about white science and black science. Or white shop-keeping and black shop-keeping. Magic is magic. It's a discipline. A profession. No more or less disreputable in itself than any other. Like most things people do it can be done with bad intent. Spare practised magic. He was a magician. He was the magician's magician. Even Crowley deferred to him. It was widely acknowledged that if you wanted results- as opposed to lots of pretty theorising- then Spare was your man.
Much of Spare's writing is available on line. I tried to read some of it last night. And got choked off pretty quickly. Humourless, self-pitying, phallocentric are words that come to mind. Spare was- and I'm weighing my words carefully here- a complete wanker.
But he was also- incidentally, as it happens- a quite brilliant artist. I wish I had a Spare in my attic.