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Magic or Magick (WMB appendix a)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @


Magic Or Magick?

Aleister Crowley is often credited with inventing the use of the term magick (with a k) as opposed to magic. The addition of the k increases the magickal potency of the word as k is the eleventh letter of the alphabet and eleven is a number considered to contain a lot of inherent magickal power within the western magickal system (being the one beyond ten). Crowley himself also emphasised that he used the spelling of magick in order to differentiate the term from the variety of magic practiced by stage performers. It is however also interesting to note that the use of both ‘magick’ and ‘magic’ occurs in medieval and renaissance grimoires, as well as other documents of the time, as there was no standardisation of spelling. For example, in the book History of Magick published in 1657 we find:

"From these four different wayes, we infer four kinds of Magick: Divine, relating to the first, Theurgick, to the second, Goetick, to the third, and Naturall, to the last..."

Richard Boulton’s two volume work of 1715-16, A Compleat History of Magick, Sorcery and Witchcraft continued this use with a ‘k’. Likewise in a completely non-esoteric context, we find it used in a scientific document published in 1811: “To describe the construction of the Magick Lantern"[1]

Throughout the nineteenth century both spellings continued to be used frequently, and as Crowley was a well read man he would certainly have been familiar with the alternative spelling. So one could say that Crowley did popularise the Magick spelling, but also that he revived the use of this manner of spelling for the word (which was still after all widely in use a few decades earlier), whichever way - he certainly did not invent it. On a personal basis, we use this spelling to differentiate and emphasise, like Crowley, the difference between stage conjuring and the work done within the Western Mystery Traditions, which includes that of Wicca.

[1] Institutes of Natural Philosophy, William Enfield, Alexander Ewing, Samuel Webber, 1811

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.

1 comentario

Fidelis Udokang
Fidelis Udokang
30 abr 2023

I love the spelling of the words Magical because it is the Divine word which is the essence of the Goddess and it is Powerful. Blessed Be

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My name is Sorita d'Este

and this is my website and blog!  Thanks for visiting - I hope you are finding what you are looking for!


Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 


I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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