Magic vs. Magick

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I don’t need no stinking ‘k’!

Sometimes language is used in a specific way; sometimes it’s unnecessary.

During my 20s in my life as a witch, I learned from my very first coven (also the one that made me realize I was more powerful as a Solitary), the practice of spelling magic, as magick, adding a ‘k’ to the end of the common word magic.

That was nearly 30 years ago (yikes!). Since then I’ve interspersed that spelling when speaking to my craft, spells, feelings, vibrations, anything I wanted to code as belonging to my practice of witchcraft. However, the inner editor in me and pin-up grammar girl rejected it consistently throughout those decades. Now I’ve slowly been undoing the practice of the use of the ‘k’ when referring to magic.

Now, if you’re a witch and use the ‘k,’ that’s your prerogative; but, I’m feeling more and more that it harkens to things that don’t resonate and certainly raise some flags for me personally. But as I always say, you do you, witch. This article only relays why I’m choosing to spell magic without the k. Before I detail why I’m choosing to lose the ‘k,’ let’s take a look at where the practice of that within witch circles began.

The practice ‘magick’ apparently was popularized by the infamous Aleister Crowley when referring to work within the occult or mysticism. That spelling was then adopted by Gerald Gardner, the father of modern Wicca, and, L. Ron Hubbard of scientology fame. Crowley, who focused much of his practice on sex magic while under the influence, often explained the use of the ‘k’ at the end of magic to distinguish himself from the likes of the illusionist Houdini’s of the world. Crowley was also a big believer in numerology and having a six-letter word for an action we signify with mysticism felt more accurate and important to him. The number 11 was significant to Crowley also, which is the position of ‘k’ in the alphabet. Clearly it was a ‘thing’ with Crowley and he had to make sure everyone else knew it was a thing. He needed something to distinguish his magic from a top-hatted scarf wrangler on stage.

When you search further for the origins of its use, you will uncover there are multiple ways of spelling magic throughout the ages, including writings that date back well before Crowley ~ 16th century.  The tl;dr of this is that language has not always been standardized. Anyone who knows me, can tell you my word nerd quotient is a bit high. I’m a complete language dork — it’s hard to be a writing witch and not have some love for all that is words. Old and Shop used to have an extra ‘p’ and an ‘e,’ but no longer do. How it sounds when you pronounce it is exactly the same, whether it’s old or olde, shop or shoppe. It is the same with magic. If you say magic or magick, it sounds the same. You don’t add an extra ‘k’ sound at the end and sound like you’re a skipping record.

Also, given that my favorite season is The Fall of the Patriarchy, I am fully suspect of Crowley, who by all accounts was a power-seeking drug & sex addict. My gut tells me that the bawdy accounts of his “True Will” efforts was less than sincere. My gut is my intuition and every flipping time I don’t listen to it, I get burned. If Crowley is the reason modern witches use the word Magick, I’m not buying it.

There is also this scratchy voice of my ancestors in my head screaming that we are magic and we don’t need to spell it separately or make it something different. We already are lumped in with “other” in so many ways as witches, we don’t need something else to signify we walk a different path. We are magic. We own it. We don’t need the extra ‘k’ to detail that.

Again, there are many within the witch community who use it with a K, and as I admitted, I have in the past. I’m not against it, simply don’t feel the need to use it that way myself. You may need the ‘K;’ I don’t. I am claiming the simple common word magic for everything that I practice as a witch. If you feel so called, I’m here to give you permission to do the same. If you need the K — I hope you have a reason beyond some of those above.

Let me know how you use the word and what your preferences are.

Be your truest self and live your best life,

~Runa

7 Replies to “Magic vs. Magick”

  1. I just recently adopted the K in magic and of course am now completely deterred. Ok consider myself a wordsmith and adopted it in the last year. I never used it before then or felt the need. And every time spellcheck tell me I am wrong my heart hurts. It’s funny because I began doing the work with the Magickal Earth shop and just mindless-ishly (also not a word) adopted it. I actually like it in its look, but the word magic coming from my lips isn’t worried either way to some degree. This gives me pause simply due to this explanation of the misogynistic roots of the adaptation…I am not Wiccan nor do I subscribe to GG or Crowleys delusions. Huh. Huh. Huh. Thanks Runa ❤️❤️

    1. I can see the on-screen or on-print word of ‘magick’ give it’s self a bit of glamor, too. But, following my crone crowning, I am listening even deeper to my Intuition and every time I saw ‘Magick’ a voice told me to look further. Here we are. Thank you again for joining the conversation.

  2. No K for me, never used it, never will. Honestly, I thought it looked dumb, tacked onto the word magic to make it extra special (pretentious), and it felt like it should be pronounced “magICK.” When I learned about Crowley and his preference for the k, it made me even more inclined not to use it. I also doubt anyone would confuse witch/spell magic for stage/illusion magic, anyway, though there may be a bit of overlap of the two depending on the practitioner or performer.

    1. And I have no idea why your journal thinks I’m writing at 5:52am. I’m Eastern time, you, I believe are Pacific time, and 5:52am would be… Greenwich or sometime or other? Or… maybe it’s MAGIC?!

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