To many who are first beginning a study of Wicca, the “k” at the end of “magick” is unnecessarily silly and pretentious. And indeed, there were those who cried “elitist” when Aleistar Crowley first began using the “k.” However, Crowley desired a differentiation between “magic” as used to describe stage tricks, and what a Wiccan does. (Yes, I am aware that Crowley coined the term well before Gardener created the religion of Wicca in the 60’s, but you get the idea.)
Coincidentally, the best definition I’ve seen to date of what magick is, also comes from Aleistar Crowley. From “Magick in Theory and Practice,” he says: Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will. (Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magickal weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations"---these sentences---in the "magickal language" ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.) In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.
“Now wait just one minute,” some might say. “Doesn’t magick have to be something more metaphysical? Something that requires Deity, or Faeries, or something outside ourselves? And this is the interesting part. Magick is all around us at all times. It is created within ourselves, and outside ourselves. Magick is everywhere that change is facilitated through Will.
So what is Will? That’s a question that has been debated by many over the ages. To me, a simple definition of Will is clear intent. Intent is the state of one’s mind at the time one carries out an action. So Magick is the Science and Art of changing something according to your intentions, i.e not by accident, like changing the order of a pile of books by tripping over them regardless of attempting to act like a feline afterwards by saying, “I meant to do that.”
Disappointed that Magick can be so mundane? Don’t be. How do you think we can cause change? There are many different ways, from physically picking up and object and moving it to another position, to Drawing Down the Moon and asking the Goddess to heal your pet goldfish. The key, again, is intent. Sometimes the easiest way of completing your goal is the mundane way. Other times, or if the goal is more ethereal, the best way is a Magickal working. Most often, it is by using a combination of the two.
So let’s talk about Metaphysical workings of Magick. There are basically two main types of workings – general and ceremonial. In ceremonial magick, the general methods are highly evolved, specific, and complex. Ceremonial magicians often deal with entities that they need or desire protection from. You’ve probably seen movies or television shows like Dark Shadows where the entity is evoked, and everyone must stay within the protective circle or pentagram else they will be changed into a pile of powdery ashes. Ceremonial magicians often call upon “Watchtowers” in order to have warning in case one of these entities’ friends decides to crash their party. Within ceremonial magic, there are many styles, such as Golden Dawn, Thelemic, etc. with many variations. It is a fascinating and complicated subject. Many Wiccans practice ceremonial magick and have wonderful results from it. However, it is not within the scope of this course. Ask your Mentor if you are interested in this and he or she will point you towards other methods of learning, booklists, and like.
General magickal workings do not invoke or evoke entities, but rather invoke or evoke Divinity by using intentions and energy from the humans involved. As such, there is no need for protection. If the Gods or Goddesses wished to smite you, they wouldn’t need to attend your Circle to do so. Magickal workings can be done by many different means, according to what types you prefer, and what you are good at. These include use of crystals, herbs, prayers, rituals, spells, chanting, drumming, tarot cards, and thousands of other possibilities. Use of each is both similar and different in that they all are used to focus energy and intent, but some might be more appealing to the individual than others. You do not need to master all forms, or even any forms in order to be Wiccan. They are listed for reference only.
If you decide you wish to practice magick in the metaphysical sense, keep in mind that no one is born with the ability to put together a fantastic ritual from scratch and perform it in front of a circle of their closest friends and family without a hitch. You needn’t worry that you might have stumbled over a word or two, or tripped over your robe or whatever. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become with it.