Magic or Magick?
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
I often get asked why World of Magick has a ‘k’ on the end, or whether I realise I’ve made a spelling mistake (I haven’t by the way, it was intentional!).
The noun ‘Magic’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “The power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” However, it then goes on to give the example: “Mysterious tricks, such as making things disappear and reappear, performed as entertainment.”
Understandably, those who practice witchcraft do not consider their work to be a performance of tricks for the amusement of others.
The word 'Magick' was first created by controversial occultist Aleister Crowley - the founder of the religion of Thelema (from the Greek word meaning “Will”) and leader of the British occult movement and spiritual practice that became known as Wicca. He added the ‘K’ to the end of the word for several reasons - one being to separate his craft from that of magicians and illusionists, who performed stage tricks for entertainment.
Some believe the unique spelling is unnecessary, especially when talking about the religious aspects or ancient deities, as the distinction is obvious. However, Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema meant that he also used the word magick to describe any act that brings someone closer to what he called their ‘True Will’; their purpose in life.
Our ‘will’ is different to our ‘wants’. You may want a bigger house, or more money, or for someone to stop gossiping about you, but these things are related to the now, and they pass in time. Society, religion, work colleagues, friends and family might tell you what they want you to do, or what you should do but, according to Crowley’s philosophy, you should not pursue the wills and wants of others either.
According to the law of Thelema, casting a spell to get the guy you fancy to notice you is not magick. Making a charm because your car keeps breaking down is not magick. True Will is your ultimate destiny and any magick that is performed should be in line with that.
Magick doesn't have to be supernatural. Anything you do that leads toward your True Will, no matter how mundane, is magick.
Why is your car always breaking down? Rather than casting spells to stop it from happening, try looking deeper into the reason why. Is the journey you’re on taking you down the road of your true potential? Are you travelling to a job you hate? Are you meeting up with friends rather than focussing on your studies? Perhaps rather than creating a safe travel charm, magick would be better spent helping you discover where you really should be going. I’d recommend reading a book by Christopher Penczak called The Casting of Spells: Creating a Magickal Life Through the Words of True Will to learn more about casting spells for True Will.
Destiny and fate
Destiny and fate are often confused. Fate is what happens when you don’t put any effort in. It's the direction your life will take if you just ‘go with it’.
I strongly believe in fate. Sometimes, when I’m driving, I’ll end up taking a route I didn’t expect. My mind sometimes wanders off and instead of turning left at the junction I’ll miss it by accident and carry straight on. My partner often laughs that I always seem to end up taking the long route but every time I reply “I obviously wasn’t meant to go that way”. If you’ve ever watched the film “Sliding Doors” you’ll understand what I mean.
Destiny, or True Will, is your purpose, your true potential. It is the ultimate possibility of what could happen if your dreams came true and you strive for the extraordinary, rather than living life ordinarily. It usually involves taking risks and stepping miles outside of your comfort zone but, as Crowley wrote in Magick Without Tears:
“What is necessary is not to seek after some fantastic ideal, utterly unsuited to our real needs, but to discover the true nature of those needs, to fulfill them, and rejoice therein.”
Why spell magic with an extra ‘k’
Crowley’s parents were devout Christians, his father a preacher in the church. Sadly, when Crowley was just 11 years old, his father passed away.
Crowley, a formerly devoted follower of Christianity out of respect for his father, began to turn his back on the Christian religion, pointing out irregularities in the Bible during his classes at school and taking up smoking, drugs and prostitutes.
His mother began to call him ‘the Beast’.
When Crowley created the word ‘magick’ he lengthened a five letter word to six letters, the number six being sacred in many beliefs. Interestingly, according to Genesis, God created man on the 6th day. In the Bible, Revelation 13:18, God assigned the number 666 to man and to the Beast.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
The letter K is also the 11th number of the alphabet. This number has huge significance to Crowley and he often wrote about its importance: "Firstly", 11 is the number of Magick in itself” along with his well-known phrase "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law" which has eleven words and eleven syllables.
Many people who have heard of Crowley believe in his reputation as being "The Wickedest Man in the World" – a name the press branded him with in the early 20th century. He was considered a black magician and a Satanist by those who listened to the dark stories about him. Like when his mother called him The Beast, he seemed to enjoy being accused of these things but according to Lon Milo Duquette, author of THE MAGICK OF THELEMA - A Handbook of the Rituals of Aleister Crowley, he was none of the above:
“True, there is much in the imagery of his writings that is dark and at first glance very frightening. But, when viewed objectively, no more so than that found throughout any number of traditional religious texts, Eastern or Western. It is clear, even in his earliest works, that he often overestimated the level of sophistication and education of his readers, and that he took fiendish delight in terrifying those who were either too lazy or too slow-witted to understand him.”
Bearing in mind Crowley’s reputation, it is understandable why many people avoid using the word magick, especially considering some of the outlandish stories and mysteries surrounding him. Others feel it is unnecessary as the word is described in the context with which it is used. You may find there are other variations of the spelling, such as ‘magik’ or ‘majick’ but there are no specific reasons for those.
Whether or not you agree with Crowley’s concept of magick, or the reasons why he added a ‘k’ to the end, the most wonderful thing about being a witch, in my opinion, is that there is no right or wrong. This doesn’t just apply to the word, but to all aspects of witchcraft.
When is comes to magick, the only right way is your way.