We’ve already had this question, but I’m going to let that slide on a technicality.
Because I think there is a different. Sure, I generally just use the k when I’m trying to look more interesting than I am (do it more often with the words panick/panicking, it just looks much better, and generally soothes me a little about whatever I’m panicking about), but actually, I think it makes magic into something different.
Or maybe lots of different things.
My first thought is to a friend of mine with a fondness for Crowley and Tarot and the such. That’s definitely a kind of magick (distinct from the romanticism of magic, or the absurdity and liecraft of stage magic). Whilst being a very specific and confusing type of agnostic, I still find a lot of respect for this friends beliefs and understanding of the world. His magick is all about learning about the world around him, the effects he has on it, and questioning assumptions about what it is based on.
I have plenty of time for that sort of magick.
Perhaps we could define magick as the sort of stuff that magic used to be thought of. Stuff that exists, but we don’t understand. Or perhaps just the awareness that their might be stuff we don’t understand that does exist.
I can already hear the scientific readers wincing at that (which you wouldn’t expect to be so loud) and kind of understand that, I’m immediately treading on quite spongy ground. But in fact, one of the things that strikes me most about Crowley and the like, is that down at brass tacks, it’s about empiricism. These rituals and meditations and experiments are all based on the idea of taking action, noting the effects and applying that to other situations.
It’s about increasing awareness. Increasing your observational skills.
That’s a kind of magick. (I can’t even type that without listening to Queen. I love being me.)
So magick can be the willingness to listen to stories about the world (last time did I say magic was about making stories about the world?)? Looking for other explanations? A certain fluidity?
I’m not sure. (I’m never sure, by the way, I sometimes think the conciseness with which I have to answer questions leads to a certain illusion of certainty that I don’t really think is appropriate).
Magick is a particular understanding of the world, or at least it is to some.
As a fudged definition, I think I like magick as the word to describe the attitude to religious thought that I’m more willing to agree with. A belief in something more that isn’t fueled with rigidity and claims of impossible knowledge. Not to mention aggression and hatred (or rather the sense of difference from which it stems).
There’s a follow up question that I have no answer to. Do I believe in magick?
I have no idea. But I’m listening and watching.
Just in case.
Illustration by Anna-Kaisa.