Magick is an alternate spelling of magic, coined by Aleister Crowley to differentiate 'the true science of the Magi from all its counterfeits'. Crowley defined magick as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will." By this, he included "mundane" acts of will as well as ritual magic.

Reasons for the alternative spelling[]

This term is spelled with a terminal "k" to differentiate it from the practice of "stage magic," illusions produced for entertainment. Crowley's "magick" is not capable of producing miracles or violating the physical laws of the universe (i.e. it cannot cause a solar eclipse), although "it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature." Crowley got the inspiration for the spelling from its usage by the famous English magician John Dee.

"K" is also the eleventh letter of the alphabet. In numerology, the number 11 represents hidden energies. To add a "k" to magic makes the word itself more magical.

Definitions and usage of magick[]

In Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter XIV, Crowley says:

What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose.[1]

However, some in the Neopagan and occult communities have amended this definition, using the word "magick" exclusively in a paranormal sense.

Crowley still wields significant influence in these circles. Concentration or meditation plays an important role in his system. A certain amount of restricting the mind to some imagined object, according to this theory, produces mystical attainment or "an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object." (Book Four, Part 1: Mysticism)

Magick, as defined previously, seeks to aid concentration by constantly recalling the attention to the chosen object (or Will), thereby producing that attainment. For example, if one wishes to concentrate on a god, one might memorize a system of correspondences (perhaps chosen arbitrarily, as this would not affect its usefulness for mystical purposes) and then make every object that one sees "correspond" to this god.

In another writing of his, Aleister Crowley states:

Now what is all this but to do in a partial (and if I may say so, romantic) way what the Yogi does in his more scientifically complete yet more austerely difficult methods? And here the advantage of Magick is that the process of initiation is spontaneous and ... automatic. You may begin in the most modest way with the evocation of some simple elemental spirit; but in the course of the operation you are compelled, in order to attain success, to deal with higher entities. Your ambition grows, like every other organism, by what it feeds on. You are very soon led to the Great Work itself; you are led to aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and this ambition in turn arouses automatically further difficulties the conquest of which confers new powers.

(Crowley, Yoga for Yellowbellies)

Crowley also made claims for the paranormal effects of magick. However, he defined any attempt to use this power for a purpose other than aiding spiritual maturity and development as "black magic."

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