If you’re new to the Wiccan belief system (or the esoteric belief system in general), then you’re probably wondering what the deal is with my spelling of the word magick. The explanation is found in history. In this article, we’ll discuss why many Wiccans and pagans spell magick with a “k.” Then, since we’re on the topic already, we’ll discuss what magick is, exactly.
Dude, Use Spell Check!
Dude, I do. But I’ve added magick to my dictionary, so I don’t see that annoying red underline when I type it.
But why do I spell it with a “k”? We owe the origins to this funky spelling ultimately to Early Modern English, where it appeared as an alternative to “magic.” However, it was Aleister Crowley, an English occultist who founded the religion of Thelema back around the turn of the 20th century, that brought a new meaning to the spelling of magick. According to Crowley, he wanted to differentiate “occult” magic(k) from the magic performed by stage magicians.
Crowley defined magick as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” And so it became that, for many pagans, when referring to the magick that is performed during any kind of pagan ritual, the alternate spelling was used. Bottom line, it’s more for clarification and distinction than anything.
So, What IS Magick?
Well, the definition provided by Crowley pretty well sums up the general meaning of the term. But what does that mean to a Wiccan? It simply means that, whenever you engage in the practice of the Craft, you are performing magick. This isn’t confined to just spells and rituals performed inside a circle, though that is certainly a good example of magick. No, the practice of magick can occur in your day-to-day life.
If we look at Crowley’s definition, any time you cause change to occur in conformity with your will, you are practicing the science and art of magick. One could argue that doing something as mundane as getting your hair did is an example of magick. You caused change to occur to conform to your will (well, hopefully you got your hair did because you wanted to).
But Crowley provides a clarification on the definition in his book “Magick in Theory and Practice”. He states “Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.” To be honest, unless you took a deep dive into the teachings and workings of Crowley, that clarification simply raises more questions than it answers.
If we go back to our example of getting one’s hair cut or styled, you may think “well, there’s nothing magickal about that!” And on the surface, that’s certainly true. But if you look at the act of getting your hair done in the context of something bigger, then it may make sense.
Consider this: it’s a typical night at home, and you decide that you want to do a love spell to begin to attract a suitable partner. As you meditate and perform your ritual, you decide that, in order to attract someone, you could use a makeover. So, the next day you call up your stylist and make an appointment to get a new hair style.
The act of getting your hair done just became MAGICKAL! Why? Because you’re taking action on the spell you performed. So while it’s true that not EVERYTHING you do that causes change is magickal, it IS true that anything you do CAN have magickal influences.
Magick and the Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction, popularized by Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, actually has ancient origins. It’s existed since the dawn of time, and its use has been promulgated throughout history.
I’ll give you an incredibly condensed summary of what the Law of Attraction is if you don’t know already: its the Law of the Universe that attracts energy to you that you put out. Positive energy gets returned with positive energy. Negative energy gets returned with negative energy.
Wiccans and pagans have known this for generations. And the practice of magick is essentially a means by which witches cause this to occur. Whenever you cast a spell and visualize the outcome you want, you’re using the Law of Attraction.
That job that you want, the money you need, the soulmate you desire… when you visualize these things and then perform a ritual to bring about those things, then you’re using the Law of Attraction.
Is There Good and Bad Magick?
The short answer is “yes.” Going back to the initial definition of the word, you could cause change to occur in conformity with your will and that change could be considered “good” or “bad.” It’s all a matter of perspective, and it ultimately comes down to one of the core concepts of spellcrafting: intent.
If your intent is to cause harm (either to yourself or someone else), then you’re effectively using magick for negative purposes. If you’re practicing magick in “perfect love and perfect trust” as the Wiccan Rede states, then you’re practicing magick for good and benevolent purposes.
There is some debate on whether performing a spell that has negative connotations is acceptable or not. Some believe that the work of “black magick” is an occult-style practice and that Wiccans should avoid doing this. Others have a yin-yang perception of good vs. bad magick; that is, positive cannot exist without negative, and vice versa. Such discussions are beyond the scope of this article, but it’s something I’ll feature in a future article.
Ultimately, you should follow your conscience and always remember the Law of Three: what you do, whether good or bad, will ultimately come back to you threefold. Karma is always at work.
That’s the skinny on why magick is spelled with a “k” and what magick is. Until next time, Blessed Be!