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Wiccan Magic

Wiccans believe in magic that can be manipulated through the form of witchcraft or sorcery. Some spell it as "magick", a term coined by occultist Aleister Crowley, though this spelling is more commonly associated with the religion of Thelema than Wicca. Wiccans cast spells during ritual practices inside a sacred circle, in an attempt to bring about real changes. Common Wiccan spells include those used for healing, for love, for fertility, or to banish negative influences.

Many Wiccans agree with the definition of magic offered by ceremonial magicians. Aleister Crowley, for instance, declared that magic was "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will", and MacGregor Mathers stated that it was "the science of the control of the secret forces of nature". Wiccans believe magic to be a law of nature, as yet misunderstood by contemporary science. Other Wiccans do not claim to know how magic works, merely believing that it does because they have seen it work for them.

Many early Wiccans, such as Alex Sanders and Doreen Valiente, referred to their own magic as "white magic", which contrasted with "black magic", which they associated with evil and Satanism. Some modern Wiccans however have stopped using this terminology, disagreeing that the colour black should have any associations with evil.

The scholars of religion, Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge, claimed, in 1985, that Wicca had "reacted to secularization by a headlong plunge back into magic" and that it was a reactionary religion which would soon die out. This view was heavily criticised in 1999 by the historian Ronald Hutton, who claimed that the evidence displayed the very opposite, that "a large number of Wiccans were in jobs at the cutting edge of scientific culture, such as computer technology."

Notes on Magic

Other definitions of Magic: Magic, sometimes known as sorcery, is a conceptual system that asserts human ability to control or predict the natural world (including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena) through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means. The term can also refer to the practices employed by a person asserting this ability, and to beliefs that explain various events and phenomena in such terms. In many cultures the concept of magic is under pressure from, and in competition with, scientific and religious conceptual systems. This is particularly the case in the Christian West and the Muslim Middle East where the practice of magic is generally regarded as blasphemous or forbidden by orthodox leadership.

Notes on Etymology

Through late 14th century Old French magique, the word "magic" derives via Latin magicus from the Greek adjective magikos used in reference to the "magical" arts  in particular divination  of the Magians (Greek: magoi, singular mágos), the Zoroastrian astrologer priests. Greek mágos is first attested in Heraclitus (6th century BC, apud. Clement Protrepticus 12) who curses the Magians and others for their "impious rites." Greek magikos is attested from the 1st century Plutarch, typically appearing in the feminine(magike techne, Latin ars magica) "magical art." Likewise, sorcery was taken in ca. 1300 from Old French sorcerie, which is from Vulgar Latin *sortiarius, from sors "fate", apparently meaning "one who influences fate." Sorceress appears also in the late 14th century, while sorcerer is attested only from 1526.

Notes on Crowley

Notes on Alistair Crowley and Magick:
(Not specifically related to Wicca)
Magick, in the broadest sense, is any act designed to cause intentional change.[1] The spelling with the terminal "k" was repopularized in the first half of the 20th century by Aleister Crowley when he introduced it as a core component of Thelema. "The Anglo-Saxon k in Magick, like most of Crowley's conceits, is a means of indicating the kind of magic which he performed. K is the eleventh letter of several alphabets, and eleven is the principal number of magick, because it is the number attributed to the Qliphoth - the underworld of demonic and chaotic forces that have to be conquered before magick can be performed. K has other magical implications: it corresponds to the power or shakti aspect of creative energy, for k is the ancient Egyptian khu, the magical power. Specifically, it stands for kteis (vagina), the complement to the wand (or phallus) which is used by the Magician in certain aspects of the Great Work.

For Crowley, the alternate spelling was used to differentiate it from other practices, such as stage magic. Magick is not capable of producing "miracles" or violating the physical laws of the universe (e.g., it cannot cause a solar eclipse), although "it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature". Crowley preferred the spelling magick, defining it as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will." By this, he included "mundane" acts of will as well as ritual magic. In Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter XIV, Crowley says: What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose.

Crowley saw magick as the essential method for a person to reach true understanding of the self and to act according to one's True Will, which he saw as the reconciliation "between freewill and destiny." Crowley describes this process: One must find out for oneself, and make sure beyond doubt, who one is, what one is, why one is...Being thus conscious of the proper course to pursue, the next thing is to understand the conditions necessary to following it out. After that, one must eliminate from oneself every element alien or hostile to success, and develop those parts of oneself which are specially needed to control the aforesaid conditions.

Since the time of Crowley's writing about magick, many different spiritual and occult traditions have adopted the spelling with the terminal -k, but have redefined what it means to some degree. For many modern occultists, it refers strictly to paranormal magic, which involves influencing events and physical phenomena by supernatural, mystical, or paranormal means.

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