Magick

From Academic Kids

Magik is also the name of two fictional characters, superheroines in the Marvel Comics universe who are associated with the X-Men.

Magick is an alternate spelling of magic, coined by Aleister Crowley to differentiate 'the true science of the Magi from all its counterfeits'. In the broadest sense, Magick is any act designed to cause intentional change. This term is often spelled with a terminal "k" to differentiate it from other practices, such as "stage magic". 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. His definition treats magic in the context of the paranormal and magic in the context of religion as special cases.

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. 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] (http://www.totse.com/en/religion/pagans_and_wiccans/mtp_2.html)

Some in the Neopagan and occult communities have amended this definition, using the word "magick" exclusively in a paranormal sense. However, Crowley still wields significant influence in these circles.

Concentration or meditation plays an important role in Crowley's 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 said 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 said god.

Aleister Crowley wrote:

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, so to speak, 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. In the Book of the Thirty Aethyrs, commonly called "The Vision and the Voice", it becomes progressively difficult to penetrate each Aethyr. In fact, the penetration was only attained by the initiations which were conferred by the Angel of each Aethyr in its turn. There was this further identification with Yoga practices recorded in this book. At times the concentration necessary to dwell in the Aethyr became so intense that definitely Samadhic results were obtained. We see then that the exaltation of the mind by means of magical practices leads (as one may say, in spite of itself) to the same results as occur in straightforward Yoga.

(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 attainment as "black magic".

Systems of Magick and Divination

Modern occult studies began in the nineteenth century as the interest in the paranormal and esoteric became a popular subject various men and scholars began to form magickal lodges; much like the influential Freemason and Mason lodges many of them once belonged to. Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, often called out as S.L. McGregor Mathers alongside Arthur Edward Waite, Israel Regardie, and Aleister Crowley were the pioneers of the movement. S.L. McGregor Mathers was a founding member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as well as an occult scholar who translated the Clavicula Salomonis (see the Lesser Key of Solomon) from its original Latin form. This was a time when students of the occult were usually purists, preferring a single system of law and governances to their practice, often Ceremonial Magick.

The interest in the occult eventually died down, but it gave rise to later generations who once again became interested in various Hermetic and esoteric ways of life. During the 1960s in the United States a sub culture began to develop. It was a time of social unrest and frought with desire for the social iniquities to be dissolved. A war was raging in Vietnam, one that many citizens felt should not have been carried on. D.T. Suzuki brought Zen Buddhism to the United States. An Oriental philosophy introduced into an Occidental civilization, and the impact continues to reverberate through the "American" subconcious. Through time, sub cultural development and a yearning for more, Judith Plaskow & Carol P. Christ began publishing well researched scholarly work on matriarchal societies and religions. Carol Christ was working on her Doctorate in Religious Studies at Yale in the late '60s, she was one of a few outstanding women who had dedicated their academic careers in the study of womyn's mysteries. Among her peers in the public arena were women like Z. Budapest (born Zsuzsanna Emese Budapest on January 30, 1940, in Budapest in Hungary), and Miriam Simos, also known as Starhawk, the author of Spiral Dance and founder of Reclaiming.org.

It is through their collective works and the persistence of the many magickal lodges like the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O) that the modern Neopagan movement has survived and continued to grow in unparalleled rates. With the dissemination of occult philosophies from a breadth of cultures and the incredible interest of alternative spirituality from a mass of disenchanted peoples the Neopagan and New Age movements experimented with their practices. This experimentation gave way to the various traditions that are really amalgams of pre-Christian mythologies and religions. Gerald Gardner (founder of Gardnerian Wicca), Alex Sanders (founder of Alexandrian Wicca), and Aiden Kelly (the founder of N.R.O.O.G.D.) also contributed to the growth and development of modern magick.

Modern practitioners of magick vary from the religiously intent to students of the occult who utilize a fusion of various traditions to create their system of magick. These systems include but are not limited to Ceremonial magick, Chaos magick, Enochian magick, Goetic magick, Qabalah, Sympathetic magick, Thelema, Voodoun, and Wicca. Some of the common tools and items used during their studies or practices are Grimoires, Athame, Boline, candles, etc.. For the use of Divination many practitioners use tools of Astrology, I Ching, and the Tarot. These magickal systems often intersect, and modern magicians are fond of drawing from, and creating correspondences between, different systems.

Fantasy

The spelling magick is also used in several fantasy novels and role-playing games, but this is purely a matter of preference on the author's part. Magic is a more common spelling.

The use of the ending "k" is also used by many practitioners of the arts to differentiate between metaphysics and stage "magic". This "k" is described by Aleister Crowley to be related to 'ktis', which in ancient Greek refers to the vagina.

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