Since the 1960’s, magick (with a ‘k’) has seen a resurgence in popularity. It was during this time Gerald Gardner started publishing and teaching on his new faith “Wicca” and Doreen Valiente was becoming public with witchcraft, laws that had forbid the practice were being struck down or repealed all across the western world, even The Beatles got into the hype and included a picture of Edward Alexander Crowley (better known as Aleister Crowley) on the cover of their album “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, leading to rumors of the bands Satanic practices.
In modern types witches and magic (without a ‘k’) have become popular in popular culture. Some of the current bestselling books in the sci-fi/fantasy category involve a teen-age wizard fighting evil, or a wizard selling his services as a detective in Chicago. Rumors of a sequel to Disney’s Hocus Pocus have been circulating for years, and always get the film’s fans into an excitable state. One of the longest running shows involves the use of magic, and mockings of spirits, deamons, angels, etc. and even included a popular main character named after Aleister Crowley!
For many, this is a wonderful time, but a bigger question is why was a practice, that often times was, and still in in certain areas of the world, punishable by execution seeing a resurgence in popularity?
Well, in order to look into this fully, we need to examine a few things:
- What is magick?
- Is magick real?
- Why is it popular?
- Why do we fear it when it can help us?
For time and space, lets break this down into two parts, starting with the first points, and define what magick is and is it real.
What is Magick?
It is simply enforcing your will on/into the Universe in order to achieve your goals. I have done this for things ranging from jobs, to finding money, improving my health, to even attracting my wife (more on this last one later, because I got a point to make with this one).
Magick is not magic, they are different. Magc without the ‘k’ falls into one of two categories. The first is illusions, stage craft, as practiced by David Blane, David Copperfield to Penn & Teller and hundreds of others. Great to get popular at parties or conning dupes out of money, but it is mostly slight of head and good old fashion deception.
The other type of magic without the ‘k’ is fantasy. D&D fireball, I can control the weather with my mind bullshit. (Sorry to break it to you, it is easier to cast fireball with a can of hairspray and a lighter than with your will, so please don’t rub bat shit on your hands hoping to smote your enemies, cause you will be the kind of crazy names after what is on your hands.
Now wait, if magick is putting your will into the Universe to get what you want, isn’t that just prayer? The short answer is ‘no’. The full answer is “Not even close, and here is why…”
Prayer requires you to ask for a favor, to gain what you want, it is out of your hands. You start your wishes to otherworldly beings asking them to fulfill your wishes, but it is outside of your control other than doing what you think will please this otherworld being into granting your wish.
Magick is doing all of the hard work yourself. You put you intent out into the Universe, and you keep working until your will is fulfilled. Now, you may make deals with otherworldly beings (the aforementioned angels, daemons, spirits, gods (yes, plural, get over it), etc.), but these are deals, with you expected to fulfill your half of the bargain, and if your welch on your half, well, you get to deal with the consequences, which can be your magick failing to the stereotypical poetic justice.
It is not something to be taken lightly, nor used for frivolous needs. I know plenty of people who say that they say “I do everything with magick” when they first learn that it is real, and then in a few months, feel burnt out and see a diminishing return on the efforts. That is because when it becomes common place, it is just that, common. Magick is something to be in awe of, not something used to flip the light switch in your house. If you don’t want to manually turn on your lights, get a timer for your lamps or a ‘Clapper’.
Is Magick real?
On my gods, yes. Magick is everywhere, and has been for thousands of years. People used to turn to shamans and mystics for guidance, health, and protection. Many incorporated into their faith. You heard stories of the Celtic Druids being wizards and diviners, the shamans of the Norse religions, to even Jewish mystics, many of which are still active in the faith. Even the Christians practices magick until the inquisition, and they did everything to stop and bury magick after this point.
Cause it gave individuals power outside from their living god.
But hold on, don’t Exodus 22:18 have something specific about witches to say? (It is easy to guess, it is one of the more common phrases from the Bible that everyone knows, but you can always look it up as well).
What if I told you that it was not always that way. King James VI and I convened a conference in 1604 to address what they felt were stemming from earlier translations of the bible, as seen by the Puritans. This resulted in a drastically different version of the Bible from those that were printer earlier, and given that the Puritans were also the ones who start the European settlement of the American continent that would eventually become the United States of America, it is also why most Americans are unaware there are other versions of the Bible.
Prior to this, the bible forbade divination, necromancy, hexing and cursing, but was generally open to other forms of magic. Technically, many churches still practice magick, calling it miracles. Want proof? Go to a Catholic church and watch the priests perform the ceremony of Transubstantiation over their bread and wafers. It is a site to behold, but it is magick.
Want more proof magick is real? Do some yourself. Close your eyes, interlock your fingers and concentrate your attention to the space between your palms and will your energy into that space. Keep focusing, and eventually you will your palms push away from one another as you fill that space with energy. Now hold this ‘ball’ in one hand and try to push that hand flat against the wall.
Did you feel resistance?
I know you did, because you willed your energy there.
Now this will not land you that dream job or help your chances in winning the lottery, but it is a great meditative practice, and a way to work on your energy work. I have been practicing magic for almost 15 years, and I still end my nightly meditations with this exercise.
If you want to practice magick, then start small. No one is an expert overnight, much like any skills, you need to start small and work up. There are still things that I will not attempt because I know that I will quickly get in over my head, but there is a lot that I will do that I recommend that others do not do, or do on their own.
Try this exercise, it is something that I feel is fairly safe to do with the right precautions.
Get a few bay leaves or some sage, loose or in a bundle. Burn the bay or sage leaves in an enclosed space (SAFETY PEOPLE! Have a dish you can set the burning leaves in and a fire extinguisher nearby. My own sacred space has a disposable one by my altar and a chemical one hanging near my door. I am not responsible for any damages or health issues that arise), or get the sage bundle to smolder and let the smoke will the space (think of it like incense) and just sit in the room. After a while you will feel calmer, happier, and I am willing to bet a little better physically.
Why? Because bay and sage have properties in them that clear negative energy. Negative does not necessarily mean bad, but just that, negative. We need both positive and negative to survive, believe it or not, and without one, the other loses it own power.
Positive makes us feel better, so moving the negative out caused the positive to fill that space.
But without you lighting the incense or taking the active step to clear the space, nothing would have happened. You willed it to leave, and took the steps for it to happen.
Fun, isn’t it?
Now, magick is a double edge sword, so be careful, and study and practice.
In my next article I will address parts 3 and 4 from the above: Why is magick popular and why do we fear it when it can help us?