Magick is what gives ability to humans to control the natural world, events, objects, people, and physical phenomena. It is made possible through mystical, paranormal, or supernatural means. It has been a part of age long battles with scientific and religious arguments and systems because they all contradict themselves. People who practice magick have very different beliefs and look at the world differently than religious and scientific prophets.
Magick has been used since the earliest days of human existence for a host of different reasons ranging from healing or harming others, to influence the weather or crops, and as part of religious practices like shamanism and paganism. It has been feared, disliked and condemned by people with different religious systems, it has been questioned and degraded by scientists and it has been not taken seriously by common folk.
Despite all the obstacles the practitioners will continue to use it. Some hide themselves, while other are very vocal about it. These practitioners can use magick for good or evil, as magic itself is neither, it is what you make it. There is a lot of suspicion when it comes to the efficacy of magick or whether it is real or if it works. That is because religious people, scientists and common folk find the idea of the source of such power, or the power itself, hard to grasp.
One of the fundamentals of magick is the unseen connections whereby things act on one another at a distance through invisible links. This is where magick distinguishes from both religion and science. What distinguishes it from science is the lack of empirical justifications, or simply put, proof, that what is happening is real. The only thing close to a “proof” is the symbolic aspect of it and simply following your clear instinct and feelings. What differentiates it from religion is that magic invokes spiritual powers without attaching to, or dedicating oneself, to any personal relationship with spiritual or divine beings, merely an ability or power to bring about particular results. This does not mean that practitioners of magick do not dedicate themselves to certain Gods, but not the way religion mandates one to do. While some people continue to deny any form of magic as authentic or real, practitioners regard the influencing of events, objects, people, and physical phenomena through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means as real.
The word magic derives from Magus (Old Persian maguš), one of the Zoroastrian astrologer priests of the Medes. In the Hellenistic period, Greek μάγος (magos) could be used as an adjective, but an adjective μαγικός (magikos) is also attested from the first century typically appearing in the feminine, in μαγική τέχνη (magike techne). The word entered the English language in the late fourteenth century from Old French magique.
Likewise, sorcery was taken in c. 1300 from Old French sorcerie, which is from Vulgar Latin sortiarius, from sors "fate," apparently meaning "one who influences fate." Sorceress appears also in the late fourteenth century, while sorcerer is attested only from 1526. The Indo-European root of the word means “to be able, to have power”—really a verb of basic action and agency. The "k" in Magick was adopted by Aleister Crowley, a 20th century occultist, in order to differentiate from the word magic as applied to stage magic or prestidigitation which was quite popular at the time. The "k" existed in older writings, but was not considered proper modern spelling then, or now.
I personally find it quite unnecessary to have magick defined, since to define is to limit. By limiting magick we contradict some of the vital parts magick stands for. In the infinitum of magick - lies the secret to it. Infinity is probably one of the hardest things for man to grasp or imagine, and that is why we limit and we define things. That is exactly why for humans to feel comfortable with it the term magick has been defined as well.
According to Aleister Crowley, Magick is "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will.” By this definition the act of boiling water, planting a seed and painting a wall may all be magical acts, if you are doing them according to your will and indeed Crowley asserted that any intentional act is a magickal act. Many are not prepared to accept this and limit the definition of magic to those acts which bring about change in a way science cannot explain. Others believe that the definition holds if we specify that any act toward that change be an act of intention while others insist that subtle energies must be mentioned.
Donald Michael Kraig was the one who elaborated on Crowley's definition and defined magick as "the science and art of causing change (in consciousness) to occur in conformity with will, using means not currently understood by traditional Western science". Scott Cunningham went in a slightly different direction to and defined it as "The movement of natural (but little understood) energies from the human body and from natural objects to manifest change." The difference in these definitions, I believe is an illustration of the differences between Ceremonial Magick and Folk Magick.
But these definitions cannot really satisfy any argument if we take the fact that divination is a form of magick, it seems as if divination is the most applicable and closest to what magick is if we consider the etymology of the word ‘magic’ and its origins. However, time and time again there are people who do not consider divination to be magick. Not only divination, but some people also deny that dream work, energy work, astral projection and anything similar is magick. Of course, there are many people who credit these activities as magick, but this is an argument that probably cannot be won by any side.
Overall as you can see that magick is such a unique phenomenon that it is not understood by most groups of people and those who do have different subjective interpretations of it. As a practitioner of magic since multiple decades I can tell you that I deeply believe in its power and have helped thousands of people by leveraging magick in the right way. Feel free to check out some of the magic work I consistently perform here for multiple folks who reach out for help.
In next post we explore the history of magic all the way from pre-historic era to the modern world.