What is magick?

What Is Magick

What Is Magick

David Rankine

 copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 David Rankine

What is magick? Forget all the fallacies and 
stereotypical pre-conceptions
taught to you out of fear and ignorance and 
approach this question with an
open mind. You will probably find it is not what 
you have been taught to
think. Magick has been defined as "The art and 
science of causing change to
occur in conformity with will *1"   which could 
be put more simply as making
desired change happen; or as "energy tending to 
change"; a definition I use
is "magick is conscious evolution through 
directing energy". This does not
really explain magick though, so I will try to 
elaborate on these phrases
without jargon.

An aim of magick is to train the mind by 
harnessing and making more
consciously accessible such higher faculties as 
intuition, inspiration and
the creative imagination, and by drawing on the 
power of the unconscious -
to try and use more than the 10% of our brain's 
capacity that we do.

Magick assumes belief in, or rather experience 
of, subtle energies. We can
only see about one seventieth of the light 
spectrum, yet what we cannot see
still affects us - such as x-rays and ultraviolet 
light. Similarly, magick
is about focusing more subtle, non-physical 
energies, and directing them to
create change. To go about this requires 
experience, and training to improve
the power of the mind, and specifically, the 

Acts such as meditation, breath control, voice 
work, body work,
visualization, drama, ritual, and others, are all 
designed to improve our
body and mind, to better sharpen us and balance 
us, and to enable us to
perceive and wield more subtle energies.

In the same way, an individual is as strong as 
their will, and the more
balanced and integrated a person is, the stronger 
their will (note, this is
probably one of the main reasons why so many 
magicians have experience of
counselling and/or psychology, recognising the 
help these processes can
give, both through training and experiencing 
them. This also acts as a
removal of farcical social stigma often attached 
to these processes).

Practising magick tends to act as a 
deconditioning mechanism and can be a
subtle process, the longer you practice, the more 
you change and the
unnecessary inhibitions, stigmas, guilts and sin 
complexes that society
builds in are removed. This has the effect of 
releasing their energy into
the psyche, where it can strengthen the 

The more physical side, such as yoga, bodywork, 
dance and massage, also
removes the tension held in the body as body 
armour, and releases this and
removes energy blockages which impair full 
efficiency and may result in

Possibly the major difference between magick and 
many of the religious paths
to spiritual growth is that magick is more 
dynamic, and places the emphasis
on you to work for change - there are no gurus in 
magick, rather there are
fellow students with different perspectives and 
experiences - we learn from
each other, as in other areas of life.

Magick tends to work a lot with symbols, as these 
are the language of the
unconscious, and this is an area of tremendous 
power to tap. Symbols have
many functions, and one of these, released 
through magick, can be the
ability to confound the ego and the censor 
mechanisms, and enabling us to
perceive more subtle truths, or experience direct 
revelations. Although we
may not be able to fully explain how symbols 
work, we know from experience
that certain symbols seem harmonious with certain 
types of energy.

For example a magician may tell you that if you 
want to attract love you
should wear green, and rose perfume, perhaps wear 
copper, like a bracelet or
necklace, etc. These are all things attributed 
with Venus, who is associated
with love, and so the principal is one of 
contagion - sympathetic magick, or
making something happen by working with items 
linked to it. This is one of
the oldest and most commonly practised forms of 
magick. Working with the
symbols of a type of energy does seem to attract 
that energy.

A cautionary word here, magick is often seen as a 
way to hidden powers, and
entered for the wrong reason, the "I want sex, 
power and lots of money"
syndrome. Now there is nothing wrong with these 
things in themselves, but
when you do magick you will discover that you 
tend to get what you need
rather than necessarily what you want.

When you do magick you generally use techniques 
to alter your state of
consciousness and raise energy, and then direct 
that energy to create a
desired result. The channel that energy takes as 
directed by your altered
state of consciousness is not necessarily the 
path you might expect in your
normal everyday state. Magick does bring you 
power, yes, but it is power
over yourself, not other people. It is the power 
that is important, to grow
and to create positive change.

This does not mean there is anything wrong with 
using magick to gain more
physical things, there is nothing wrong with 
doing a ritual or spell to get
a job, whereas trying to make a specific 
individual go to bed with you would
be wrong. Magick is very much about intent, and 
if your intent is to get
work, you are not imposing on people, whereas if 
you were trying to make
somebody do something that they would not 
naturally do, you are imposing on
their will.

If you did a ritual to attract love without 
specifying a person, but opening
yourself to the opportunity to meet someone where 
love may arise, and to
feel more attractive and better about yourself, 
you are not imposing, you
are trying to create positive change.

Magick is a commitment to yourself, and it 
requires determination,
perseverance, strength, openness to change and 
absence of rigidity, a love
of life (including yourself), and a desire to 
grow and fulfil your
potential. It may be that you already have all 
these qualities and do this
already without calling it magick - magick is not 
about labels, and those
who think and talk as if it is unfortunately put 
some people off. Magick is
learning about the natural flows of energy in the 
universe, and working in
harmony with them to effect positive change, both 
in yourself and in your

Some people ask why magick is spelt with a 'k' on 
the end. This is to
distinguish it from magic, associated in the 
popular mind with illusionism
and prestidigitation, stage magic. Magick is not 
about illusion, it is about
creating real change, and the 'k' signifies this. 
K is the eleventh letter
of the alphabet, i.e. the one beyond ten. 
Symbolically this is very
powerful, as we work in base ten, and eleven 
represents the unseen, or
hidden energies - the subtle energies of magick, 
eleven is considered to be
the number of magick.

Magickal training and experience bring forth the 
energies of the
unconscious, and so it is no surprise to see that 
symbols become more
important as you develop, providing not only the 
language of dream and the
unconscious, but also helping create a more 
flexible perception grid of the
universe. To grow spiritually, it is vital that 
you remain flexible and do
not become dogmatic, rather that you are open to 
experience and willing to
question your ideas and beliefs as a result of 
those experiences.

Magick can be a painful process. It is not easy 
to maintain the discipline
and honest self-critical approach all the time. 
It can also be hard work
dealing with the energy released without being 
knocked off balance
sometimes. The important thing in these cases is 
to remain honest and keep
at it. Nobody said magick was easy! It takes a 
lot of practice and hard work
and pain, but the rewards are spiritual and 
mental growth, the joy of life
and the beauty of unconditional love. Beyond the 
limits there are no limits!


 copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 David Rankine
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