Home Discussion Forum Why do people think ceremonial magick is superior to witchcraft?

Why do people think ceremonial magick is superior to witchcraft?

When people I know speak of the difference between witchcraft and ceremonial magick, they tend to cite witchcraft as being less involved and serious. Yet I personally have written some very deep witchcraft rituals that are complex, so I feel witchcraft is on an even keel with magick. I feel the intent is what is important, that you can have all the best tools the earth can offer and the best grimoires, but if you don’t have will and intent, you won’t be able to do anything with it.
Like one of my friends has a crystal ball. It comes with all these rules attached to it, like keeping it in black cloth, not holding it when you scry and if it cracks, getting rid of it. But in my witchy way, I could pick a spoon out of the cupboard and scry with it and I might just get a better result.
So is ceremonial magick just complex for its own sake or what? Does it get its superiority from its complexity alone? I do both, but I get on edge about one being better than the other. Thoughts?
I guess I should also ask where witchcraft ritual falls because it is technically working with unity for the divine…is that high magick in a Wicca context then? It is all so confusing because witchcraft isn’t all making candles and doing spells but ceremonial magick isn’t always a connecting higher work with the divine…there are a lot of grey areas to consider! 🙂


  1. I know! Its terrible isnt, such a silly mistake to make, the ceremonial isnt always necessary when it truely comes down the practitioner and what make it worse is that Ive honestly no idea what you are on about!

  2. Got a broom and black cat too?
    Praying works better, and hey, God likes it, as opposed to the other options you’ve spoken of.

  3. It’s probably because many people tend to feel that the more ceremony is involved in ANY religious rite, the closer they are to doing it the “proper” way. Just because an act is flowered up with lots of flashy props, words, and movements doesn’t mean it’s any better than one done completely in your head. As far as religious rituals are concerned, I think it’s better to have it be pared down some.
    If you’re talking to your god, does it matter more if you light a candle or if you think it’s reaching your chosen deity and causing the desired effect?
    Taking Wicca for example: My mother is Wiccan (I am not) and my father made her throw away her entire altar… for years she did all of her rituals via visualization with no altar and no tools whatsoever. She has always felt that this brought her closer to her faith than anything else could have. In fact, she still prefers to do her workings with few tools and altar settings.
    And for Christians to identify with… wasn’t a large portion of Martin Luther’s purpose behind posting his 95 theses the fact that he thought the religion had become too ceremonial and was turning into something more akin to theater than faith? It wasn’t the main reason, but it was part of it.
    I say that if you’re going to subscribe to a religion, you should go as far as you’re comfortable with. If you like all the ceremony, knock yourself out. If you don’t, then pare it down a bit. It’s your faith and it’s personal. How you express/enjoy it is entirely up to you.
    Also: I don’t think there’s really any way to compare one form of worship to another in terms of which is “better”… there really isn’t any way that one form COULD be better than another. It’s all about how it makes the person practicing the religion feel about what he or she is doing. If one’s form of worship isn’t going to be comfortable for him or her, then that’s going to put him/her in a bad place and possibly botch the prayer.

  4. Magick is just a pretentious way of trying to make magic more authentic to its practitioners.
    By changing the spelling and shunning others it makes them feel privaliged.

  5. Because it’s written with a K, and because ceremonial magick allows for more than one dice roll over longer times, giving you more successes and making the spell more powerful.

  6. I’ve had many debates along those lines.
    I consider ceremonial magick to be “High Magic” where other forms can be considered “Low Magic”. Much like different cultural backgrounds. Neither are better than the other just different.

  7. Well I’m a Pagan like you my dear. I was trained in Ceremonial Magick High and Low. I enjoyed all of it. Many of the Ceremonial Magickans were not Pagan and put down my faith and Magick right in front of me. I left the group and never went back. I stayed with my own kind after that. The problem here is these so-called Ritual Magickans no nothing about us Pagans or our Magick. They probably voted for Adolf Bush as well. Many of them are Right Wing but some of them are sincere and decent Ritual Magickans. I prefer OTO types myself. Most of them are Pagans that I know. Maybe you encountered a bad batch of them. I hope I answered your question. If you want me to say more on this subject please let me know. Take Care and Blessed Be. AD(arch-druid)Stephen also known as Stephen6580 on http://www.keen.com Peace! Peace! Peace!

  8. I think it’s human nature to assume the more complex is the superior. Even the terminology implies it, “High” or Ceremonial Magick vs. “Low Magick”
    What’s more important is the difference in the intent between the two: High Magick aims for a union with the Divine; Low is more for herbal work, healing/prosperity/protection spells, candle magick, etc.

  9. People love to be pretentious. I HATE the terms High Magick and Low Magick.
    Ceremonial magick is just one of many ways to practice magick. Its really up to the individual.
    I prefer the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid. that works best for me. Very few tools, very simple rituals. All that complex sword waving , and chanting in Latin is really unnecessary for me.
    People shouldn’t be like that when it comes to another persons preferred style. I have had a couple of people try to treat me like I am a lesser witch because of my simple bare bones style, but I do not let them get to me. Chances are , they are half the witch that I am. I believe that a witch can not empower any spell if it doesn’t fit them perfectly.
    Let them do what they do, it doesn’t make one bit of difference to me. I am confident and competent in my practices. That is all that I need.

  10. I was under the impression in my six or seven years as a Witch that Witchcraft USES Magick, espesically Ceremonial Magick.
    However, when it comes to Wicca, that specific KIND of Witchcraft is heavily influenced by Xianity, and for that reason would strike me as less powerful than say, Traditional Witchcraft. For instance, the Traditional Craft has an approach towards the kinds and amounts of energy that can be used that bears a striking similarity to Traditional Satanic Ritual, even though they call on different Gods.
    For instance, Traditional Witchcraft, like Traditional Satanism, encourages the use of the full range of our available power, to be used pretty much however we desire. If that means the Destruction of an Enemy or one who poses a threat to us, so be it. If that includes a Love or Lust Spell that brings a desired one to us, so be it. However, with Wicca, they go by the Wiccan Rede, which ends with the code “An’ ye Harm None, Do as ye Will”. In other words, “as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do what you want”. That means no Destructive Energies, nothing to invoke love or lust in a specific person, etc.
    Some Witches refer to the powers they call upon as a metaphorical “Well” (hence, “Never use the power against someone who HAS the power, as you both draw from the same well”). This actually bears an importance to my point. For the reason that more Traditional forms of Witchcraft and Satanism draw on a more full “Well”, we have MORE energy and therefore more power to call upon when we need it or desire it’s use.
    The way I see it, the Wiccan Rede bears a striking resemblence to the Xian code of “Turning the Other Cheek”. Like the Xians say “Don’t retaliate, just let God deal with them”, the Wiccans tend to say “Don’t hurt anyone, because their negative energy will return to them threefold without you doing anything”. The problems with this are,
    1) If we DON’T retaliate, thereby showing that we won’t stand for being abused, all that happens is that the abuser sees that we’ll roll over and they can do it again without consequence.
    2) If you block out an entire half of the spectrum of energies both available to you and inherent to life, you don’t learn as much because you don’t have the greatest number of experiences with the greatest number of energies possible.
    Anyhow, that’s my take on it. To put it all in a shorter form, “The reason some Occult Belief Systems’ Magick is less powerful is that they draw on a smaller source, thereby involving less intensity/power in thier spellcraft.
    As for Ceremonial Magick being more complex, that’s simply more a matter of how much “Psychodrama” (as Anton LaVey and Konstantinos both put it) is involved. It can involve a greater number of tools and aspects to each Ritual, arguably giving the Caster or Casters’ natural abilities a little more of a boost, or “push” if you will. At the same time though, a Witchcraft Ritual of any kind, Wiccan, Traditional, Nocturnal, etc. can all be just as complex as you choose to make them.
    I find I get the best results by sticking to good old-fashioned Invocation, Evocation, Projection, Visualization, Incantation and Sex Magick. However, as I said, some forms of Occult Spirituality (in my case, Traditional Satanism) seem to draw on a greater, more intense Source of Power and/or wider Array of Energies, thereby increasing the effects.
    That’s my Satanic Two-Cents, take from it what you will…
    *Persephone – I think you may have the definitions of the terms “High Magick” and “Low Magick” a little different than most. “High Magick” is not necessarily more powerful or effective than “Low Magick”, but rather just refer to different methods of working that Magick which you work. Low Magick is often a reference to any Magick worked while NOT within the boundaries of a Typical/Stereotypical Ritual Scenario. High Magick usually refers to that Magick worked while you ARE within the boundaries of such a scenario. It’s more a matter of Psychodrama (like I was talking about before) as I understand it.
    *James B – Was there really a point to that comment? I mean besides the obvious desire to make an @ss of yourself. If you don’t agree with or believe in the same things as the topic of a thread dictates, just ignore it. You need not make an appearance just to post a response of a whopping TEN WORDS that simply makes you look like you’ve got something to prove, and does nothing to debunk or disprove a perfectly legitimate and powerful system of beliefs that came around a whole Hell of awhile before such fantasy stories as “Harry Potter”. It’s no wonder people like you get less than 10% Best Answer on forums like these, all you have to contribute are childish insults to legitimate people. Bottom Line? R&S is a place for people of ALL Religious and Spiritual Beliefs to commune and share their knowledge. It is NOT a place for immature scoffers to post childish remarks implying unfounded things about other people’s beliefs. Get a life, or don’t post here.
    *Paradigm – Actually wiseass, “Magick” with a “K” is a reference to Magickal Forces and Energies being called upon in a Ritual of a Pagan or otherwise Spiritual Nature, whereas “Magic” with a “C” is the Occult way of saying “Stage Illusion and Sensationalism”. Get it straight, and lose the pessimistic, counterproductive attitude. Believe me, you’ll be doing ALL of us a favor.
    *Christine S – Are you serious? Do you really think that any God worth worshipping would have you being pretentious and insulting people with blasphemous, age-old stereotypes that you probably know just as well as I do aren’t true? Oh, and I’ve a little quote maybe YOU should hear:
    “Pray not, but rather ACT and ye shall be rewarded”
    -Satan Lucifer, the Book of Azazel
    It is through Ritual and Ceremony that we act, calling upon the power and ability in ourselves rather than just begging some Higher Being or other for what we want or need. Ever stop to think maybe you’d get what you want more often if you stopped praying and started doing? Think about it, and while you’re at it, stop bearing so much Hypocritical False-Witness, or you’re going to end up in Hell a whole lot faster than I am, hun.
    PS: When I referenced “Sex Magick” earlier, I was referring to sexuality practiced between two CONSENTING partners of legal age, for the purpose of raising energy in a Ritual. I was most certainly NOT referring to Rape or Molestation taking place in Ritual, as some repugnant, degenerate people tend to practice, giving the rest of the Occult Scene a bad name/image.
    Ave Satanas,

  11. I know lots of folks of all sorts of traditons. I am Thelemite, a Ceremonial Magickian and a Druid. I do not consider myself a witch because to me Wicca is a religion and I already have one of those. Depending on what I am doing I can go from very complex to really straight forward. To me it a matter of tools in the bag.
    I think what gets the debate really raging is that most CM folk feel that the new age version of witchcraft is more of a Playgan thing than an actual path. Thanks to the efforts of certain publishers… May of the folks in this area use it as a way to shock mommy and daddy when they are going through a rebelous phase. Then since those folks do not really want to DO anything they cannot possibly be bothered to learn any of the art of magick that many of the CM and traditions teach over a lifetime of work. The raging debates here are usually over how CM is “too much work” and “too stuffy”. Then again I am amazed at how many people are just armchair magickians anyway. They really would be quite shocked if they had to DO any form of magick.
    So for me I could care less which path someone takes. I use all of the paths at my disposal. It is all about results 🙂
    Enjoy the journey!

  12. lol i agree with your post! The only thing that matters while working with magick is to channel the energy in the right direction. How you do it is not important at all (spells, rituals, prayer, dancing…)

  13. I can see that the only way to do magic of any kind is to know who you are,. The strength of the magic will depend on how far along the path you are to REALIZING who you are.

  14. Witchcraft is connected to the land, to spirits of the land, to ancestors, to the cycle of the seasons, to birth, death, and everything in between. It may or may not be perceived as a “religion” by the practitioner. It’s focus is effecting change, or making things better, “here”. The focus of Ceremonial Magick is on the will of the magician, the attainment of knowledge or gnosis, and TRANSCENDENCE of “here”. It is NOT perceived as being a “religion”, but a system of liberation and empowerment.


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