Magick is an ancient practice which has proven itself applicable to all times and eras. The meaning of the word seems to change over time, to suit that era or culture's definitions of what is magickal. The Sumerian word magi and the Latin word magnus both seem to contribute to the meaning; each imply either "one that is wise," or "one that has power".
The relative meaning throughout the times seems to be consistant with "that which causes change, by means of the supernatural," or "causing change to occur by means that can not be physically understood." Although the definitions are fairly open-ended, those who practice it usually have specific rules as to how and why it works. These rules come together to create the many diverse paradigms and meta-paradigms that saturate magical societies and circles today.
- The letter K was added by Aleister Crowley in 1905, with the publication of his Collected Works. Though some speculation remains as to his actual intentions, it would appear that the letter was added in order to cause the word to align numerically with the Qaballistic value of "Thelema." Likewise, before the development of Thelema, Crowley wanted a name that seperated his own approach to magic from the dominant hermetic magic practiced by the Golden Dawn and Blavatsky's "Theosophy." In spite of the word's genesis, today the variation serves to distinguish the performance of stage "magic" with the definition Crowley used of "causing change to occur in conformity with Will."
Magick allows the student to overcome the apparent boundaries of the world, provided that they believe something supernatural is occuring. In time the magician learns that there is nothing supernatural about his abilities: he simply knows the dynamics of perfectly natural laws which had remained occult, or hidden from him and the world.
Models of Magick
The practise and art of magick can currently be divided into four catagories, based on how magick is believed to oporate. According to the thesies "Models of Magick" by Frater U.D., those catagories are as follows:
- The Spiritual Model is purportedly the oldest model of magic though it may very well have come into existence after or simultaneously with the energy model. We can find it worldwide in shamanic cultures as well as in many religions. Its basic premise is the existence of an otherworld inhabited by more or less autonomous entities such as spirits, angels, demons, gods etc. The shaman or magician is someone who can enter this otherworld at will, who has travelled widely in it, knows its language and customs and has made there. This is important as all magic is of these entities' making.
- The Energy Model In its pure form, however, the shaman or magician is not in need of spirits and other entities. The world is viewed as being "vitalized" by subtle forces or energies and his primary task consists in mastering the art of perceiving and manipulating them. As all phenomena are basically energetic in nature, the existence of an otherworld is not strictly required. Thus, the magician is more of an "energy dancer" than a "fence rider" or go-between. But even here the key to the perception, charging and general utilization of these forces is again the magical trance or, as Chaos Magic terms it, gnosis.
- The Psychological Model of magic does not purport to explain how magic works, its only premise is that the subconscious (or, as Carl Jung later retagged it, the unconscious) will do the job if it is properly addressed and/or conditioned. This again is achieved by magical trance, suggestion and the use of symbols (i.e. selective sensory input) as tools of association and as a means of communication between the magician's conscious will and his subconscious faculty responsible for putting it into effect.
- The Information Model of magic is being developed since about 1987 and there is still considerable debate about the direction it shall ultimately take. Its basic premises to date are as follows: a) Energy as such is "dumb": it needs information on what to do; this can be so called laws of nature or direct commands. b) Information does not have mass or energy. Thus, it is faster than light and not bound by the restrictions of the Einsteinian spacetime continuum. It can therefore be transmitted or tapped at all times and at all places. In analogy (but of course only as such!) it may be likened to quantum phenomena rather than relativistic mass-energy. It can, however, attach itself to a medium e.g. an organism or any other memory storage device."
Magick articles - An index of Veritas Articles on magick.