Welcome back to our series on magic, magicians, and the world of illusion!
Our next installment focuses on one of the core elements of the more mysterious side of the realms.
Specifically, I’m talking about magick; no, that’s not a typo and I’m really just talking about “magic.”
There are actually two different versions of the word, with two very different meanings (though they are related in their own way).
So let’s dive in and take a look at exactly what “magick” is, what it entails, how it is different from “magic,” how to learn magick, and more!
What is Magic? Magick is about taking every aspect of yourself, and also the world around you, and using everything available – natural and supernatural – to help change the world around you to better suit your needs and desires.
Table of Contents
What Is “Magick” and How Is It Different From “Magic”?
So obviously, despite the letter “k” tacked on to the end of the world, there are quite a few differences between “magic” and “magick.””
“Magic,” as we’ve been discussing it in our series of articles so far, has numerous definitions.
The first one is that of the performer, the stage magician who wows a crowd or the more intimate close-up/parlor magician who performs for a smaller group of people.
The practitioner of this kind of magic, the magician, is one who doesn’t really do anything that is based on “real” magic; instead, the magician is a performer and uses tricks like sleight-of-hand, misdirection, implanting thoughts in people’s heads, that kind of thing.
But despite a desire on the part of some performers to keep the illusion of “true” magic alive, this magician is only a performer, someone who relies on tricks, theatricality, and psychology to put on a memorable show.
But of course, there is the other type of “magic,” which is the one in which a practitioner uses actual supernatural abilities and summons supernatural beings and forces (well, let’s not debate about whether magic is “real” or not, let’s just assume “yes” for the point of this article) to affect other people, events, and themselves.
Indeed, on a literal level the denotation of this type of “magic” – as noted by the Oxford dictionary – is “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.”
So, therefore, this type of “magic” is a set of beliefs, of practices, and rituals performed throughout history in order to attain the aforementioned purpose; the practitioners of this type of magic can be called sorcerers, psychics, oracles, soothsayers, witches… the list goes on.
Traditionally, as noted in one of my earlier articles, this type of magic – often associated with paganism – has been cast down or persecuted against by the traditional, Judeo-Christian worldview. Magic, then, has traditionally represented the “Other” in society.
Magic, as a concept in this case, is also a very broad category that encapsulates a lot of different ideas, many different practices, and essentially everything I’ve talked about so far in my series on magic, illusion, and the like.
There are many different subsets of this kind of more mystical magic – and in my previous articles I’ve talked about many such as Wicca, witchcraft, black magic, and mentalism – and in a sense, magick (with the “k”) falls into the larger subset.
But then we have to ask, what exactly is “magick” then?
In the larger category of “magic,” the term and concept of “magick” may seem quite similar to the supernatural “magic,” as it focuses on using the supernatural forces around you to affect change, influence their own lives and the lives of others… but it leaves out in generalities of “magic” as a concept and, specifically, purposefully eliminates the performative/trickery aspect that is associated with the magic of magicians and mentalists.
When it comes down to it, and you do some analysis and interpretation, given the goal of magick as a way to influence the lives of yourself and those around you, it can be surmised that magick is actually a subset of the black magic category that I have previously discussed (which also has the similar goal of changing the outcome of your life to better suit your goals and ends).
What are the Origins of Magick?
But “magick” is not just a subset of an alternate name for black magic. Specifically, “magick” was coined by famous black magic practitioner Aleister Crowley, who founded the religion of Thelema.
Indeed, while Crowley was not the first person to ever use “magick” as a word – this spelling dates back to 1651 and Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia (Three Books of Occult Philosophy, or of Magick) – he is the person to whom the word is most associated.
Crowley originally began using the spelling “magick” so that it could be most effectively differentiated from the aforementioned stage/theatrical magic, which relied on tricks and showmanship.
Crowley’s use of the word also was associated with – as noted in the previous link – the forces or actions, or really “anything that moves a person close to fulfilling their ultimate destiny,” a concept that is closely associated with the Left-Hand Path/Black Magic concepts of self-determination and promotion of the individual that so clearly influenced Crowley and his beliefs.
Another reason for Crowley utilizing the term “magick” is because it is a six-letter word, and the number six had great significance for Crowley and his philosophies.
Specifically, it linked to the important concept of the hexagram that is central to many religions and philosophies, especially to Crowley and Thelema.
It is most associated with the union of opposite forces in the universe, and specifically in the type of hexagram used by Crowley is represents that all different forces are intertwined and related, and all are necessary to determine one’s ultimate destiny.
It is, then, “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will,” and it is “the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions.
It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.” In essence, to Crowley, Magick is all about taking every aspect of yourself, and the world around you, and using everything available – natural and supernatural – to help change the world around you to better suit your needs and desires.
True Will: The Core of All Magick
A few times now I have mentioned ideas like “ultimate destiny,” the end result of one’s growth as a person, and the sum total of all changes and improvements, as it were.
Crowley actually had a very specific term for this concept: he called it True Will, and it is one the most important elements of magick and the Thelema religion.
True Will is, in a nutshell, one’s true purpose for living, for existing in the world.
As noted in the previous link, True Will is not a thing, or a career, or how you eat or anything specific or tangible. It is the overall “purpose for existing at all” as noted.
It is also what drives a Thelemite – or any who adheres to the concept of True Will – to make the decisions they do in life; once a person is in touch with their True Will and knows what their ultimate purpose and path are, it will allow them to determine what actions, desires, and habits they should have and follow, as well as which ones they should avoid as they would make them deviate from the path they are on with their True Will.
So how does one get to their True Will and, once they find it, how do they stay on task and determine what they need to do, say, and believe in order to continue their achievements?
There are many ways to do this. As noted in the previously linked article, some of the main tools used to achieve and maintain True Will are the yoga and meditation, two practices that are based upon principles of training your mind and helping you get in touch with your true desires, feelings, and thoughts.
Also, these practices are recommended over many others because yoga and meditation – unlike some more modern and less reputable practices – have been around for thousands of years and have a proven track record of success when it comes to training body, mind, and spirit.
Now, achieving and figuring out your True Will is not easy; otherwise, as noted in this article, everyone would know their true purpose in life and be satisfied. You have to keep working at it in order to achieve it.
Also, it is noted that True Will is not necessarily the things you want – i.e. you want to make a lot of money and buy fancy cars and houses, so you think your True Will is to become something that makes a lot of money.
Therefore, people who practice magick too, say, cast a spell on someone in line for the same promotion as them to make them sick/injured/mess up the interview is not a proper practice that goes in line with True Will, because that is only about getting something you want, not what is your destiny.
Indeed, as noted in the article, trying to cast a spell to, say, jinx someone who going for the same promotion, you might want to look instead at why someone gets a promotion you want instead of you.
Yes, it will make you unhappy, but does that perhaps mean that you were never meant to get that job and that your destiny – your True Will – is actually in another area that you are meant to find?
The law of True Will says yes, that is what it all means! Don’t try to cast a spell to hurt the other person; instead, try to find what is meant to help you!
The Practices and Techniques of Magick
So, to pivot off that last point, what are some of the practices and techniques that are associated with magick?
Before we talk about the charms/spells and such, it is clear that one cannot practice magick until one knows why they are doing it.
To do this, you have to train using meditation and yoga, which as noted previously are core to the beliefs of magick and the development of True Will.
Just like going to the gym and lifting weights will improve your strength, practicing meditation and yoga on a consistent basis will help improve your spirit, your soul, and help you find your True Will.
Practitioners of magick are specifically focused on Raja Yoga, which combines yoga and meditation, in essence, the most traditional and “difficult” form of yoga that is used to most effectively train the mind, body, and soul, so that a person can truly get in touch with his or her feelings and beliefs, and therefore find his or her destiny or True Will.
Now, once the process of finding one’s True Will is in process, it is made clear in the law of Thelema that all magick spells and such are supposed to be practiced in pursuit of your True Will and not for other reasons (i.e. the previous example of trying to sabotage someone else’s job interview because you want that job to bring you fancy things).
But indeed, once you determine your True Will you can begin to practice magick as the “ritual enactment of Will.” Magick is, as noted, a set of tools that help you progress towards the enactment of your destiny.
One of the “tools” that is used in magick is banishing: in this, a practitioner creates the circle in which they stand (often associated with a pentagram or hexagram of some sort) and performs a ritual to get rid of a non-physical influence (i.e. spirits) that may be harming you.
Essentially, banishing is a way to purge yourself of evil or negative spirits that are holding you back, from getting to your true will. It is purging your mind and the world around you of negativity in order to cleanse you and keep you more focused and to prevent you from becoming discouraged.
Another tool is that of purification, where one prepares himself for the tasks to come (of self-improvement, achieving one’s True Will) by cleansing himself of all negative influences before practicing magick.
This is not a concept unique to Crowley’s Thelema or magick; for thousands of years, prophets and seers and religious leaders have “purified” themselves physically (i.e. by bathing, changing diet/fasting, or even self-flagellation) as well as mentally before beginning rituals, often while wearing a ceremonial robe of some sort.
Similar to purification is consecration, which is the preparation of an object, instrument, or location that is sacred to a ceremony and therefore holds significance to the ritual; this is much like in more traditional religious ceremonies that would take place in a church, temple, or other location.
There are also the practices of invocation and evocation, which involve inviting a god/spirit/astral being into your ceremony for an expressed purpose (i.e. to help you attain the knowledge for your True Will), which tie into the magick under the guise of summoning and demonology.
Of course, these summonings and invocations/evocations are not supposed to necessarily be for the purpose of harming others; like everything associated with this topic, it is more about helping you become what you are destined to be, and utilizing these forces to help you attain your goals.
Sometimes, yes, helping yourself achieve your True Will may harm someone else, but since the goal of Thelema and the practice of magick is self-improvement, sometimes that is an unpleasant side effect (and part of where black magic/magick gets a bad reputation in society).
Of course, there are too many practices of magick to delve into here without this becoming a novel.
There are resources to look at that can go into more detail about each practice of magick, but the main point is that all magick practices, rituals, and ceremonies are meant to use the powers around us (invocation, demonology, etc.) and inside of us (meditation, yoga) to help us achieve our goals.
How To Learn Magick Step By Step
During my research for this article, I stumbled upon an interesting online course that is teaching Magick step by step.
It will teach you how exactly you can make full control and power over your life, without performing any rituals or worships.
This is, in fact, the ultimate guide to Magick that will teach you everything from scratch so even a complete beginner can learn it step by step.
It’s the best and most detailed resource I found during my research and I’m sure that you’ll absolutely love it too if you’re interested in learning true Magick!
The Benefits of Practicing Magick, How It Can Improve Your Life
Obviously I’ve been pointing out the many benefits of practicing magick as I’ve gone along in this article, but to summarize everything in a neat package:
The whole point of magick – like its relatives in black magic and Thelema and Wicca and other religions/practices – is to help you tap into your own power, your own worth, and to help you determine what your True Will, what your destiny, truly is.
As such, the benefits of practicing magick, and how it can improve your life, come in the form of self-actualization and increasing your happiness.
When you practice magick, it helps train your mind, body, and spirit to finally come to grips with what you are meant to be in life, what is truly your life’s mission and goal.
Once you determine that, the practicing of magick will help you achieve these goals, get what you really need (not what you want, necessarily!), and become a better, happier, and more successful person.
You aren’t just summoning demons to be evil or create chaos (though obviously there are some people who may do that…but there are people who give a bad name to all religions and practices, not just magick).
You are using these powers to help you, to better yourself, and to create a life that is worth living and that has meaning, rather than just what you are “told” to do.