Magic vs Magick – What’s The Difference?

Today we are looking at Magic, or wait is it Magick? Well, that is what we hope to answer in this article. We will discuss the significances and implications of these different spellings, why someone would use one word over the other and where this distinction came from.

What is Magic

Magic is a term that is quite difficult to describe. It can mean different things to different people. This word can be used to describe a whole range of things from stage or performance magic to miracles and acts of God within various religions. But because you are here visiting this site, we are thinking you will be familiar with the context of magic that we are going to be speaking about today: magic within witchcraft and Wicca.

Even if we remove the other forms of magic (stage magic and religious miracles) and just stick to the meaning of magic within witchcraft, it can still mean a variety of different things because its definition is subjective to the individual person practicing it. However, we can loosely define magic as the action of using will power and the resources at our disposal to bring about positive change in our lives.

Magic vs Magick

This can mean a spell which works in alignment with the universe to create a better situation, a form of divination to bring clarity to the one performing it or even small forms of meditation that calm and center. All of these create positive habits and a lifestyle that helps the witch with the tasks in their lives they need to accomplish in order to manifest their goals.

Magic has been with us for centuries, for a comprehensive look into the history of witchcraft (and magic).

What is Magick

If magic is difficult to describe then it is nothing compared to describing Magick. The answer often given to this question is that it was created to define the difference between stage magic and the type of magic we just described, that of witchcraft and Wicca. But this is so over-simplified that it is basically useless, who decided this? And why the ‘K’?

Another myth was that the word magick was invented by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) for the same reason as above. In truth magick has been around for centuries, first mentioned in sacred texts dating back to the 5th century. It was also used frequently throughout English texts, but this was because spelling hadn’t yet been standardized. 

hands and lights

There is some truth to the Aleister Crowley theory. It would appear he was the first person to consciously choose this word over its predecessor, magic. But it was not to distinguish it from stage magic. He was an English writer and occultist, inspired by Gardnerian Wicca (created by Gerald Gardner, 1844-1964.) Crowley described magick to include anything that moves a person closer to fulfilling their destiny, which he would call ‘One’s True Will.’

He used the K because it is the 11th number in the alphabet and 11 was significant to him. Also, adding a letter to the end of magic made it a 6 letter word which represented a hexagon (a 6 sided shape) which also features heavily in his writings and was of great importance to him.

How they differ

At the moment both by sound and definition they seem very similar. Both describe the expansion and growth of a person to fulfill their destiny/desires. So other than the ‘K’ how are they different? 

Magic is much more liberal in what it accepts to be magic: anything which uses willpower to manifest change can be classed as magic. Magick on the other hand refers only to things which use will power to better the person and move them towards their ‘True Will.’

Magickal book

So for an example performing a hex or curse technically would be magic but it’s not magick because it is not essential to harm another person just so the witch can grow to meet their fate, however it does use will power to manifest the witch’s desires in the moment. Magic is more about what the individual wishes, whatever they would like to manifest, whether this is money, fame, love anything.

Magick speaks directly about getting closer to one’s true calling so ‘small fry’ like money spells, memory spells and day to day things aren’t really automatically classed as magick because it depends on the intent and reason for the spell. Also some mundane things could be classed as magick, if they enable the individual to move closer to their destiny: catching a bus or writing a CV could be magick if it meant that it changed the person’s life, perhaps meeting their soul flame on the bus or landing their dream job.

Who uses Magic and who uses Magick

Mostly it is down to the individual which type of magic(k) they identify with and which they choose to call their practice. However, we can see that there is a higher portion of magick users within the Wiccan community, and this is evident throughout Wiccan books and online Wiccan resources. This is likely due to Crowley being influenced by Wicca and some of his literature being integrated into the Wiccan faith.

It’s important to remember that these words have a lot more in common than in how they differ and that whichever version of magic(k) you choose to practice it is valid and perfectly okay to tweak and customize it to suit your individual path. Both Magic and magick are paths that are made to suit the witch and improve their lives so please don’t feel like you have to conform to one or the other.