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Magick or Magic: The Choice is Yours

Magick or Magic – what is the difference? By now, you have probably noticed there are two spellings used for "magic" on the Internet. You've also probably read some lively discussions over the difference between the two words, how they came to be, and whether any of it matters at all. There are several valid-sounding explanations that have been put forward in sincere efforts to differentiate between arts and define practices. Magick is claimed to represent on particular art or practice, while magic is claimed to be the label for another. Let's see if we can't put this issue to bed...

Magic(k) Madness

The reason for the two spellings is that computers require different spellings to be able to distinguish between two different files. In the early '90s, the use of the word-form magic, for stage magic and magick, for mystical-ritual-supernatural practices, was adopted primarily to help the search engines properly identify and categorize files of different subject matter. The simplest way to do this was to introduce the rather obscure and little-used spelling of the word magic as magick to create a separate label for a separate subject.

Magick is a spelling variation that has been around for a while, but was seldom used. The word magic when spelled magick, is supposed to denote the harnessing and utilization of the subtle energies of the world around us to bring about change. The spelling of magic on the other hand is supposedly stage magic, performed by an entertainer as entertainment in the form of tricks and illusions.

When asked about the difference in spellings, many people who claim to be knowledgeable on the subject of magic will ramble on about what they don't realize is an urban legend about the word magick and how Aleister Crowley appended the "k" to the word magic as a way of differentiating the supernatural form from the magic practiced by illusionists and stage magicians. However, as Crowley himself said: "I chose therefore the name 'MAGICK' as essentially the most sublime, and actually most discredited, of all the available terms. I swore to rehabilitate magick, to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated, and feared" (Crowley, 1994, p. 127). That's it. That's as involved and in-depth as he ever got or went with that subject. End of story.

The fact of the matter is, "magic is magic" and you can spell it however you like. Esoteric writings, spiritual references, books of spells and potions, Witches and Wiccans, and yes, even that funny, magician guy at your last birthday party are all involved in some way with some form of magic as we all understand the meaning of the word.

It is for the sake of the search engines that the spelling magick makes good sense, and there's certainly nothing wrong with using it for other reasons, but to read more into it than that, is frankly a waste of time.

The history of magick is the history of human beings. Many accepted and revered practices such as: drama, music, art, dance, philosophy and poetry, began as experiments in ritual and magick but are now labeled by modern-day society as "culture". Magick has played a role in many key moments of our history and can be a valuable and reputable activity to undertake. For example, during the fourteenth century, it was the philosophy of the Renaissance. In our own time, many modern art movements have been driven by magical ideas — it is this aspect of magic upon which we would be better off spending our time.

An Introduction to Magick