There is often a great debate surrounding the idea of magick. What it is, what it isn't and how it works can be a source of contention for many practitioners. Perhaps exploring and explaining the nature of magick, at least from a Wiccan perspective, is best done by first defining what it is not.
What Magick is Not
Magick is not a stage trick. It is not an illusion. It is not seen at the local nightclub, performed by stage magicians in long black cloaks and assistant-girls in their little sequined outfits. Magick is also not ‘supernatural’ in any way, for practitioners believe that it is a part of nature, not above it. It is simply that magick is a less-understood aspect of nature.
Wiccan magick does not involve a pact with the Devil, for Wiccans do not believe in the Devil. One cannot make a pact with something that one doesn't exist, according to their belief system. Magick is not a good way to gain revenge or act unethically, for the ethics and rules of magick are strict and the consequences for misuse are swift.
Magick is not reserved for only a few special people, those who have been ‘gifted’ with its use. Anyone can learn to use magick with enough dedication, and given enough time to practice and study. Magick does not reside in tools such as athames, wands, or cauldrons. It's said that true magick lies within the practitioner, and tools only serve to enhance the practice of magick, but they are not the source of it.
In general, magick does not result in ‘special effects’ in the material world. There are no showers of golden sparks, no glowing blue balls of light, no walls of fire, and no bolts of energy flying from the ends of wands. True magick manifests itself in much less spectacular ways.
Finally, magick is not easy to learn. It requires hard work and disciple to be of any use. While magick certainly is a method for inner growth and spiritual development, using it for more mundane purposes is more complex. Magick is not a substitute for common sense or practicality.
What is Magick?
Defining magick in a spiritual context can be a little difficult. Since its definition changes over time, the problem is only compounded. A popular definition was put forth by the magician Aleister Crowley: “Magick is the art and science of causing changes to occur in conformity with will.” This is probably the most accepted spiritual definition of magick in Wiccan circles.
Though there are many kinds of magick, they can be categorized into two main types: theurgy and thaumaturgy. These two forms of magick are quite different and distinct. Essentially, theurgy involves the use of magick for religious purposes or personal development. This is generally regarded as the highest use of magick.
Theurgy is, first and foremost, serves as a method of spiritual development for the practitioner. It exists as a method of change. The end goal of this change is a heightened state of awareness, and a fuller range of possibilities. The idea of change frightens many practitioners early on, simply because they cannot predict the evolution of this practice.
Theurgy allows the practitioner to experience being a part of all that is. It is the goal of many spiritual paths to reestablish a connection with the greater universe, and theurgy is one method by which this can be accomplished.
Thaumaturgy is magick for non-religious purposes. It can be described as magick that's performed in an effort change things on the physical plane. This might include magick to heal a physical ailment, a spell to gain a job or promotion, or perhaps a spell for safe travel. This type of magick, as long as it brings harm to none, is said to be just as valid, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Does Magick Work?
Practitioners believe that magick does, indeed, work, but it isn’t miracle-working; it won’t just happen. When a spell or ritual is performed with the intention of producing a certain result, the individual must act in accord. This means that if one were to cast a spell to get a better job, then he or she must actively apply for better positions. Casting a healing spell, without doing anything in the physical realm to assist the effort, will likely lead to failure. It's believed that magick only works through true belief and desire, combined with common sense and practicality.
Understanding what magick is, and what it is not, is an important step to being able to use it. Magick, in its many forms, is regarded as a powerful tool for the practitioner who walks a magickal path.
Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.