Home Discussion Forum What is the difference between magic and magick?

What is the difference between magic and magick?

I feel strange for asking this question, but I’m curious. I minored in anthropology, but they didn’t teach me everything. They taught me a lot however. Anyway, I was wondering if any wiccas or witches can take a stab at this. What is the difference between magick and magic?


  1. first magic- is the equivelent of what a magician does on stage, mostly parlor tricks and slight of hand.
    magick- is the harnessing and utilization of the subtle energies of the world around us, used to effect change in said world to make it better for those we care about ( healing for a sick friend, healing the earth herself) to help ourselves with certain problems that mudane remedies have not solved.
    hope this helps you. blessed be!

  2. I have been studying Wicca for quite a while, and I too, once had your question. It is too differentiate between fake magic and real magic.For instance:
    “That magic trick the wizard did was totally lame!” Referring to magic trick e.g pulling rabbit out of a hat.
    However if you thought that ALL magic was fake, then you would still use the k. For instance, if a skeptic said something about Wicca e.g “Wicca magick is fake” He would still use the k.

  3. Sorry guys, but you are all wrong – you’ve been reading those Llewellyn books again and believing everything they tell you!!
    The urban legend about the word magick is that Aleister Crowley appended the k to magic as a way of differentiating it from the magic practiced by illusionists and stage magicians. However, in looking through his writing on the subject, I was unable to find any explicit reference by Crowley for the reason he chose to add k to magic. The closest I came to finding a reference to the matter is in the following quote: “I chose therefore the name ‘MAGICK’ as essentially the most sublime, and actually most discredited, of all the available terms. I swore to rehabilitate magick, to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated, and feared” (Crowley, 1994, p. 127). Now Crowley clearly states a reason for choosing the word magick, but not a reason that justifies the spelling. This matter gets even more complex because many magicians, in fact, use magic, not magick, when talking about their beliefs or spiritual practices.
    Aleister Crowley used the terms interchangeably, and genius or psycho, the guy was a magical wonder who knew more about the occult and magic than you or I ever will.
    My argument here is basically this: A word such as magick is a word that is loaded with meaning and ideology. A person who automatically uses such a word without thinking about that ultimately doesn’t appreciate or realize that s/he is representing more than just his or her own take on a word. Am I being pedantic? Perhaps, but then again how you use the language says a lot about your ideologies and what traditions or beliefs you hold valuable.
    The irony here is that its not just scholars or other outsiders who use the word magic, but also fellow magicians. What’s equally fascinating to realize is that the majority of writers in the occult industry do not use magick, but do use magic.
    When we know our cultural and spiritual heritage, we will also know much of what informs what we do today and why. The attitude that it doesn’t matter why you do something or use a particular word is ultimately apathetic, suggesting as it does that you don’t really care about what informs your beliefs. Knowing the why of a matter, the how it came to be, is essential to knowing what can be done by using a word, by representing yourself and potentially other people of your beliefs.
    Hope this helps a little?

  4. Magic: illusionary magic like entertainers and magicians do on stage; card tricks and the like.
    Magick: the moving of subtle energies to affect needed change.

  5. Ultimatley, the spelling.
    I know many witches who use magic to mean what magicians do in performance on stage…illusions. Magick is what they use to mean what they use in their daily lives, rituals, spells and so on.

  6. Spelling.
    In all seriousness, it’s all spelling. Many will say that it differentiates stage magic (say from Las Vegas) and the magic that many Pagan’s use. In all actuality, I see no need to spell magic in fancy ways to determine whether or not it’s stage magic or the real thing. I know what I am doing, I don’t need to spell it Magick, Magik, Majik, Majick, Majyk, Magyck, etc…Magic is magic no matter how you spell it.

  7. I disagree with the person who says that there is no difference between the two spellings. For one thing, life is based on distinction, even very small distinctions. Distinctions have power; try typing harbour instead of harbor or colour instead of color and see what spell-check has to say about it.
    Some distinctions are pendantic (toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe) but magick and magic isn’t one of them. Not because what it relates to has changed but how people relate to it has.
    This distinction would apply to tomato if the different pronunciations related to different varieties or even different ideas about what a tomato is. Imagine if one pronunciation related to the soft red pulpy kind but the other one related to a rare reddish-purple vegetable with a hard skin. Would not the differences between the two warrant the distinction?
    This is what Crowley really meant by adding the k to the end of magick. Magickal workings require a great deal of belief in the person performing the ritual in order for it to work. Wishy-washy magickal workings tend to get wishy-washy results. But it is difficult to believe in a concept such as magic if you believe, or have been led to believe, that it is nothing but illusion and sleight-of-hand or occurs only between the pages of your favorite book. In that regard, the power of the word ‘magic’ to actually work, harness, contain or promote actual magic has been diluted. You can redesign the Pinto to be the best darn car in America, but if you keep the same name, no one is ever going to buy it.
    That is why the distinction, although pendantic and academic, is crucial to the beginning practitioner. Their belief that ‘magick’ can work, where ‘magic’ cannot, is or can be the kindling that ignites their journey in their craft. Learning to believe in and manipulate things that are as of yet unseen is difficult enough, trying to do it under the guise of a word that hinders that practice only increases the difficulty, at a time when it should be decreasing it.
    Starting off with training wheels on your bike doesn’t mean you will always keep them, but taking them off doesn’t mean they didn’t serve a purpose.

  8. Magic is the trickery a magician does to entertain and audience. Magick is the umbrella term for all the crafts and talents.
    Magick is the inexplicable. Some magick becomes science. Some Magick is called Miracles. Some Magick will never be understood.
    The spelling Magick first appeared in 15th century. Chaucer used the spelling Magicke in the 13th century. Magique and Majik have been used through the centuries. Others are Magiac, magike, and Pliny used magict.
    All of the above were accepted centuries before Crowley was born. In our family journals, dated before Crowley’s use of the spelling Magick, the spelling was in use and occaisonally Magicke.
    Just an aside: If you go back beyond Magick arts your spelling meaning the same thing is “galdorcræft.” Something everyone seems to forget is that words varied constantly in spelling and verbalizing before the printing press
    Magick is of the Crafts.

  9. Really it is just personal preference.
    Magic by many wiccans and witches is sued to mean stage magic like from a magician and has no real religious or supernatural powers.
    Magick by others is the casting spells, working with natural energies kind.
    Really the k is just to denote which magic people are talking about.

  10. It’s mostly used as a way to distinguish stage-magic from spiritual magic, but not everyone uses this since it’s often easy enough to determine based on context what is meant. Also a lot of practicioners of older magic forms and folk-magic don’t bother to use the relatively recent “magick” spelling, especially since it’s favored by Wiccans and the like and tends to be most readily associated with them.

  11. Some people will use the “k” to distinguish spiritual/metaphysical magic with stage/illusion magic.
    Alister Crowley started this, because adding the “k” also made the word more numerologically correct for him.
    Not everyone does this, however. I don’t, because basically it just makes people think I spell badly.
    People who believe in real magic know what I’m talking about, and people who don’t know much about real magic don’t understand why I’m the “k” is added, and it’s a waste of time to keep stopping to explain it to them.

  12. The difference is the letter “K”.
    But, Magick with a “K”, is used to differentiate true magick such as spells, curses, ect. with “Pull a rabbit out of the hat” stage magic.


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