I’ve been asked on several occasions as to why I use the term magick instead of magic when it’s concerning witchcraft, rituals, or spell work. It seems than many people view the two words as one in the same word, albeit with different spellings. Well, I’m both sorry and elated to say that they aren’t the same and should not be used interchangeably. One word defines a stage show, complete with a dazzling array of props, satin curtains, and top-hatted illusionists practicing sleight of hand tricks, for entertainment. The other defines actions and deeds of those who practice the ancient arts and rituals of summoning, conjuring, casting, and invoking. Those who practice magick aren’t on a stage and they certainly don’t have an audience, except on rare occasions such as Beltane.
By definition, magic is defined as the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand; entertainment with acts of jugglery and magic or an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. Additionally, some sources incorrectly define magic as the use of means, such as with charms or spells, believed to have supernatural power over natural forces. Anyone who has watched a magic act with a magician performing will recognize the truth. It’s a collection of illusion, trickery, sleight of hand, and staged theatrics assembled to provide entertainment to an audience. Even though people routinely disappear, fly, and are unhurt after being sawed in half, no one leaves with any physical damage. The magician is not empowered to make people actually levitate, they cannot conjure rabbits or birds from thin air, and they certainly can’t control another person or manipulate time and space. They are performing artists and are not connected to the supernatural world in any way, shape or form.
Magick, on the other hand, is something powerful and potentially dangerous when in the wrong hands. It is not used for entertainment purposes. There are no card tricks, magic rings, or coins that seem to hide-out in people’s ears. Real magick is difficult to define as it covers such a broad array of topics and practitioners; and before you ask, magick practitioners are not regularly called magickans. They are known as witches, sorcerers, wizards, Priestesses, occultists, sages, seekers, mystics, Mage, spellcasters, lightworkers, and more. Practitioners routinely connect with the sacred energies of Mother Earth, they may astral project, contact a deceased relative, or simply slide their fingers delicately along the fabric of the veil. They touch the salt of the earth and the ethers alike. They are students of history, often delving deep into arcane texts in ancient languages to divine supernatural direction. Some are good, others not so good, but they all are in touch with something amazing.
The word magick has strong connections to the Thelema, a religion founded in the early 1900’s by Aleister Crowley. Crowley was both a stage magician and an occultist among other endeavors, and is the founder and head prophet of Thelema. Crowley saw magick as the essential method for a person to reach true understanding of the self and to act according to one’s true will. Historically, the term is a early modern English spelling for the word magic dating back to the middle 1600’s. Crowley chose the ancient spelling to differentiate his practices and rituals from stage magic and the term was used to differentiate between the two. Since Crowley’s death in the 1940’s the term has evolved to encompass all types of non-traditional magic including Wicca, Paganism, Witchcraft, and many more.
Types of Magick
There are many different types of disciplines of magick and not all of them are completely considered pagan. There are good forms and bad forms of magick and despite what stereotypes exist, they can be practiced by both women and men alike. Some forms are earth-based such as Elemental Magick which is focused on utilizing the prime elements of air, water, fire, and earth to provide energy to intent. Another earth type is Herbal Magick (often called Green Magick) which is practiced by unlocking the magickal powers of herbs, plants, and other foliage in the right combinations to help, heal, or otherwise bring about change.
Other forms of magick such as Folk, Natural, and Practical magick are also connected to the earth, but not as specific. These forms have a strong relationship to the changing seasons, predicting the weather, “feeling” the rhythm of Mother Earth as she goes through changes both good and bad. Some forms of folk magick are voodoo, hoodoo, Santeria, Ozark, and Appalachian Granny Magick. These versions are mainly rooted with the common man or woman and variants can be found in every tiny mountain village and remote town across the world. The commonality across all is being in tune with nature.
Black, White or Grey
Magick can be used for good, for bad, or done neutrally. Each of the respective types is color-coded. Black magick is the negative approach, however it’s often mischaracterized by those who fear it. What’s most often assumed, but is incorrect, is that in order to perform it, you need to be a bad person. Any type of spell, prayer, or harmful intent falls into the Black category, even if its done by a Catholic Nun. Casting to cause intentional harm, death, trouble, or bad fortune is considered Black Magick. It’s quite powerful and has an intoxicating allure for many practitioners, but as noted earlier, it is very dangerous and can easily cause more harm to a novice spellcaster than their intended victim. It should be used with extreme caution and only by experienced and stable casters. I personally am against all forms of magick which are intended to cause harm.
On the opposite of the magickal spectrum is of course, White Magick. This form is focused on all things good with a pure intention. It is used in numerous ways, including healing spells and energies, charms and amulets of protection and safeguard, plus helping any living thing that is in need. This includes human health and prosperity, blessings on crops and livestock, and protection from weather, misfortune, and the effects of Black Magick. Many pagans, neo-pagans, and modern witches practice white magick, but refer to it simply as magick. It’s uncertain what the balance of white versus black are in the world.
As with everything today, there’s always a category which falls somewhere in the middle. In this case, it’s called Grey Magick, another term used quite often is Middle Path Magick. It’s a combination of both Black and White, but is not intentionally performed with malicious intent. It can be described as using negative energy for a good purpose. Because it’s usually performed with the end expectation of positive outcomes, many Witches (not Wiccans) who aren’t comfortable with the pure craft of White magick call themselves Grey. An older theory states that Grey’s are the types that people can’t figure out; they are purposefully mysterious and almost always keep their opinions close to the vest. Those who subscribe to this belief feel that by baffling, confusing, or bewildering those around them, that they gain power over them.
Other Types of Magick
Candle magick is a common practice of sympathetic magick, where the practitioner uses effigies, poppets, fetishes, or inanimate objects that have a relationship to a person or group. An easy to identify example would be a voodoo doll. In candle magick, the practitioner inscribes a colored candle with sigils, signs, or other magicakal markings. The candles can also be embedded with small stones, charms, or other items during the initial dipping. In this practice, the color and symbols represent the desired outcome.
Angel magick is a form that crosses all religions and belief systems. Practitioners work with angels and angelic power sources from Christian and non-Christian angels alike. Humankind has categorized the angles in different groups, but those who practice angel magick know better. Angels do not belong to any group nor do they belong to any religion. Everyone has a guardian angle whether you believe in them or not.
Faerie Magick is a belief system which is focused on the Sidhe and other hidden creatures of the world. This includes Faeries, Elves, Gnomes, Deva, household spirits, lake maidens, brownies, gwyllion, menehune, and nymphs, just to name a few. These creatures have lived hidden in plain sight with humankind for thousands of years. With practice, anyone can call upon a faerie they each have a personality, feelings, and considerable rights, especially when encountered in their natural environment. They are quite shy and value trust more than anything.
This piece just scratches the surface of magick and what it can be used for. It’s by no means conclusive nor is it finite. Magick is constantly evolving and growing stronger as each day passes. Our world circle is coming back to the points of origin as observed by the multitudes casting off the false religions of Christianity, Muslim, and Judaism. New connections with the earth are being formed each day and the old ways are once again taking their rightful place as the correct ways. The pathway is open…all you need to do is take the first step.
If you feel that you’d like to explore more, then I suggest reading these articles: