“Magic is prayer.”
“Divination is magic.”
“Meditation is magic.”
“Everything you do is magic.”
“Life is magic. Flowers are magic, and just living your life is magical!”
“I’m going to do magic by taking this sigil, and charging it by (censored).”
Magic, regardless of whether or not you spell it with a “k” at the end or not, is a term that is overused, abused, and so completely ubiquitous that people argue over its meaning all the time. The “witch aesthetic” on Tumblr has replaced actual spellcraft, and insisting that you do magic that is not purely psychological and not just for spiritual reasons has become novel and almost controversial to even state. It has gotten to the point where some people are turning to other terms to describe their practice, such as witchcraft or sorcery.
Magic is dead. RIP. Let us bow our heads in silence.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, what exactly IS magic? How have we been defining it up until this point? To be fair, it’s a very broad term. Crowley has described it as the “science and art of causing change to occur in conformity to will” while Jason Miller in his book Elements of Spellcrafting describes it as being more of influencing change. Miller’s definition for a good portion of magic is completely true and spot on, but even that doesn’t describe the entirety of magic. In my past I have described it as “poking at reality with a stick to see what kind of results you get, then using that for useful purposes”. You have magic that deals with communicating or invoking spirits, magic for spiritual purposes, commune with whatever form of deity you prefer, and personal growth/evolution better known as “theurgy”, magic to increase psychic skills and aid in scrying, divination, and what-have-you, magic to increase influence or influence over surrounding events or to make things happen, magic for healing, etc.
Magic as a term is too broad and covers too many things. It’s confusing. Some argue it’s purely psychological while others relish in the sorts of magic that has everything to do with things which aren’t purely psychological, and deal with forces, beings, and people outside of oneself. Some say it’s both or can be both. And the debates and even argument rage on. Do we honestly need to invoke anything to physical manifestation in order to be truly magically efficacious? Are we unfairly putting limits on what we can or can not do simply based on personal experience and current limitations?
I’ve found that the best discussions have come not from arguing over terminology but describing what we do. Because unfortunately the term magic has been co-opted and made so broad by so many people that the term is now meaningless.
Magic is dead, but what forms of occult sorcery are you working on and studying today? How are you engaging in the Craft?