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What is Magic?
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Friday, 9th July, 2010 - 2:17 pm
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I know it's an old question, but I'm curious how folks will answer it.  What is Magic?  

Crowley gave what is probably the most famous definition: “MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”  

An older definition, found in the Lesser Key of Solomon, states “Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”  

Another definition, offered by the ceremonial magicial MacGregor Mathers states magic is “the science of the control of the secret forces of nature”.

What do you think?  Do any of these definitions get it right, or nearly so?  How would you define magic?

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Friday, 9th July, 2010 - 4:17 pm
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I'm not a practicioner myself, so I don't know how I'd define it exactly and can't claim ultimate knowledge about that.

Out of these examples, #1 is too generic and could apply just as much to causing a toaster to change my toast to toasted in conformity with my will for toast. The inventor of the toaster surely did a good job but I wouldn't call them a magician.

The author of #2 needs to take off their rose-tinted glasses; it's way too naive for me, and I don't like this kind of glorification and hero-worship of it all.

#3 would come closest to an acceptable definition for me, but it misses out on the unconscious and unpredicted element of magical processes. After all enough effects are worked by people who have no deeper clue of what they're doing, and enough backfires. So if it's science of control, it's quite often the stage in the laboratory when your instruments blow up.

Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Sunday, 11th July, 2010 - 1:50 pm
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Ok, here's a few more:

“Magick is the technology of reality engineering.” – Andrew Spitzer

“Magick is the art and science of changing thought into form through the use of your belief combined with divinity….” -Silver Ravenwolf

“Magic is the art of affecting the manifest through the Unmanifest. The manifest is all that can be seen, touched, perceived,

manipulated, imagined, or understood. The Unmanifest is none of these things. It is the place, or rather the non-place, from which

everything issues.” -Donald Tyson

“magick is conscious evolution through directing energy” -David Rankine

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Wednesday, 25th January, 2012 - 2:00 pm
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Ravenwolf's definition irks me, if I can be blunt for a moment. Divinity is not needed to work magic, first of all; there are plenty of ways one can work magic without needing a deity to “let” someone's magic be effective. I like Spitzer's definition, but eh…


If I had to define magic myself, it would simply be using one's energy/will/intent to produce changes, much like Crowley's definition. Yeah, maybe that is vague and could apply to things that aren't “magical”… like toasters. xD But I don't know. I think toasters are pretty magical, or would have been seen as such if it was sent five hundred years into the past.

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