What is magick? Forget all the fallacies and stereotypical
pre-conceptions taught to you out of fear and ignorance and
approach this question with an open mind. You will probably find
it is not what you have been taught to think. Magick has been
defined as "The art and science of causing change to occur in
conformity with will *1" which could be put more simply as making
desired change happen; or as "energy tending to change"; a
definition I use is "magick is conscious evolution through
directing energy". This does not really explain magick though, so
I will try to elaborate on these phrases without jargon.
An aim of magick is to train the mind by harnessing and making
more consciously accessible such higher faculties as intuition,
inspiration and the creative imagination, and by drawing on the
power of the unconscious - to try and use more than the 10% of our
brain's capacity that we do.
Magick assumes belief in, or rather experience of, subtle
energies. We can only see about one seventieth of the light
spectrum, yet what we cannot see still affects us - such as x-rays
and ultraviolet light. Similarly, magick is about focusing more
subtle, non-physical energies, and directing them to create
change. To go about this requires experience, and training to
improve the power of the mind, and specifically, the will.
Acts such as meditation, breath control, voice work, body work,
visualization, drama, ritual, and others, are all designed to
improve our body and mind, to better sharpen us and balance us,
and to enable us to perceive and wield more subtle energies.
In the same way, an individual is as strong as their will, and the
more balanced and integrated a person is, the stronger their will
(note, this is probably one of the main reasons why so many
magicians have experience of counselling and/or psychology,
recognising the help these processes can give, both through
training and experiencing them. This also acts as a removal of
farcical social stigma often attached to these processes).
Practising magick tends to act as a deconditioning mechanism and
can be a subtle process, the longer you practice, the more you
change and the unnecessary inhibitions, stigmas, guilts and sin
complexes that society builds in are removed. This has the effect
of releasing their energy into the psyche, where it can strengthen
The more physical side, such as yoga, bodywork, dance and massage,
also removes the tension held in the body as body armour, and
releases this and removes energy blockages which impair full
efficiency and may result in illness.
Possibly the major difference between magick and many of the
religious paths to spiritual growth is that magick is more
dynamic, and places the emphasis on you to work for change - there
are no gurus in magick, rather there are fellow students with
different perspectives and experiences - we learn from each other,
as in other areas of life.
Magick tends to work a lot with symbols, as these are the language
of the unconscious, and this is an area of tremendous power to
tap. Symbols have many functions, and one of these, released
through magick, can be the ability to confound the ego and the
censor mechanisms, and enabling us to perceive more subtle truths,
or experience direct revelations. Although we may not be able to
fully explain how symbols work, we know from experience that
certain symbols seem harmonious with certain types of energy.
For example a magician may tell you that if you want to attract
love you should wear green, and rose perfume, perhaps wear copper,
like a bracelet or necklace, etc. These are all things attributed
with Venus, who is associated with love, and so the principal is
one of contagion - sympathetic magick, or making something happen
by working with items linked to it. This is one of the oldest and
most commonly practised forms of magick. Working with the symbols
of a type of energy does seem to attract that energy.
A cautionary word here, magick is often seen as a way to hidden
powers, and entered for the wrong reason, the "I want sex, power
and lots of money" syndrome. Now there is nothing wrong with these
things in themselves, but when you do magick you will discover
that you tend to get what you need rather than necessarily what
When you do magick you generally use techniques to alter your
state of consciousness and raise energy, and then direct that
energy to create a desired result. The channel that energy takes
as directed by your altered state of consciousness is not
necessarily the path you might expect in your normal everyday
state. Magick does bring you power, yes, but it is power over
yourself, not other people. It is the power that is important, to
grow and to create positive change.
This does not mean there is anything wrong with using magick to
gain more physical things, there is nothing wrong with doing a
ritual or spell to get a job, whereas trying to make a specific
individual go to bed with you would be wrong. Magick is very much
about intent, and if your intent is to get work, you are not
imposing on people, whereas if you were trying to make somebody do
something that they would not naturally do, you are imposing on
If you did a ritual to attract love without specifying a person,
but opening yourself to the opportunity to meet someone where love
may arise, and to feel more attractive and better about yourself,
you are not imposing, you are trying to create positive change.
Magick is a commitment to yourself, and it requires determination,
perseverance, strength, openness to change and absence of
rigidity, a love of life (including yourself), and a desire to
grow and fulfil your potential. It may be that you already have
all these qualities and do this already without calling it magick
- magick is not about labels, and those who think and talk as if
it is unfortunately put some people off. Magick is learning about
the natural flows of energy in the universe, and working in
harmony with them to effect positive change, both in yourself and
in your environment.
Some people ask why magick is spelt with a 'k' on the end. This is
to distinguish it from magic, associated in the popular mind with
illusionism and prestidigitation, stage magic. Magick is not about
illusion, it is about creating real change, and the 'k' signifies
this. K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet, i.e. the one
beyond ten. Symbolically this is very powerful, as we work in base
ten, and eleven represents the unseen, or hidden energies - the
subtle energies of magick, eleven is considered to be the number
Magickal training and experience bring forth the energies of the
unconscious, and so it is no surprise to see that symbols become
more important as you develop, providing not only the language of
dream and the unconscious, but also helping create a more flexible
perception grid of the universe. To grow spiritually, it is vital
that you remain flexible and do not become dogmatic, rather that
you are open to experience and willing to question your ideas and
beliefs as a result of those experiences.
Magick can be a painful process. It is not easy to maintain the
discipline and honest self-critical approach all the time. It can
also be hard work dealing with the energy released without being
knocked off balance sometimes. The important thing in these cases
is to remain honest and keep at it. Nobody said magick was easy!
It takes a lot of practice and hard work and pain, but the rewards
are spiritual and mental growth, the joy of life and the beauty of
unconditional love. Beyond the limits there are no limits!