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Magick or Magic?

To: alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan,alt.magick,alt.magic,alt.satanism,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.shamanism,alt.magick.folk
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Re: Magick or Magic? ( was re:deaf, dumb & blind )
Date: 24 Aug 1996 11:18:22 -0700

49960824 AA1 (much editing of format for readability)
	      (check out: ) (Pan's Grove):
#> ...the term "magic" is also used for fake stage magic, and always has.

this is demonstrably false.  even Aleister Crowley, the modern popularizer
of the spelling 'magick' didn't make such a claim.  in fact, many Setians
and others don't use 'magick' because they *don't think that there is an
obvious and necessary distinction to be made between occult 'magick' and 
what you are calling 'fake magic'.* (:):
# ...spelling the word with a 'k' is not my idea of distinguishing 
# whether we are fakes, real or otherwise. 

I'm glad to hear that.  typically language (and in particular spelling
and punctuation, colloqualism and slang) is the tool of the literati
and is used as an elitist slam against the unlearned, who are portrayed
as 'ignorant', 'foppish' and 'stupid'.  it is the 'cultured' fear of the
streets and real living which brings us to oppressive prejudices such as
this, one which eshews the 'vulgar' and the 'objectionable' terms like
my Aeonic Word:

# ...I AM a Witch, and when I see the word spelled 'magick' I 
# automatically cringe and feel it is yet another way to keep
# things from being mainstream.

the 'mainstream' is often defined and promulgated by those who inspire
alternatives in writ and style.  this is usually so as to be able to
have something 'new' to offer, discerning amidst the silly competitors.
your cringing may merely be left-over Christian roots, worming their
way out through your chakras.

#> ...the two meanings of the words.  Can you argue that the majority 
#> of English speaking people look at "magic," as something that's 
#> done on purpose to trick other people, & it's not meant to be "for real"?

the majority of English-speaking people know 'magic' because it was
marketed to them via Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone Jr., Doug Henning,
and a variety of other shrewd businessmen and entertainers.  shall we
adhere to the Least Common Denominator merely because it is popular?

# The correct spelling for the word is 'magic.'  If you add the 'k' it 
# might cause like minds to identify other Pagans or Sage's, but other 
# than that, the word magic means one thing to me.  I am not interested 
# in what others denote the word to mean.  

more power to you.  the propensity to foist our terminological significance
off on others is just one more reminder that this world turns out people
from its indoctrination-schemes (schools) who insist that there is only one
meaning for every term and that 'rules of grammar' are to be enforced 
through punishment!

# I am not in front of an audience when I perform magic, 

ah but you ARE!  that is one of the intriguing things about this magic/magick
cross, you see.  always even while you are alone, your unconscious mind is
watching, being impressed, like a careful and simple child.  your acts are
direct communications to that beautiful part of yourself.  we are also our
own audiences.

# nor do I intend to sell what I can do.  

not all stage magicians do either!  as I said, this is merely how the
public currently views stage magicians (as such), while it is quite 
reasonable to see the development of stage magic from shamanism or
ceremonial magick as being on par with the fragmentation from 
alchemy to chemistry.

# This is not a matter of semantics Nella.  It is a matter of keeping 
# things seperate. 

I hear you and agree.  many people do wish to separate stage magic from
arcane arts, and yet if we look into the history of magicians such as
Harry Houdini (who changed his name, just like many occultists and
entertainers typically do, and who was apparently quite fond of both
occult investigation and the debunking of spiritualists), we see that
there is some degree of overlap (Crowley was also fond of such debunking).

#> People see it (stage magic, otherwise known as "magic",) as a joke, 
#> a bunch of bull, something fake, a bunch of cow hull, illusions, 
#> unreal, absurd, stupid....

and THIS is why it is safer for them to separate it out in such a way.
the insecure can thereafter generalize without having looked at the
occult core sufficiently and whitewash the whole, claiming that even
the ancient mystical arts are "a bunch of bull".

by participating in that separation we do ourselves a disservice, since
from the earliest times the skills of legerdemain, jugglery and sleight
of hand have always been associated with ritual magick.  did you ever
notice how both magicians of stage and occult style have a 'thing' for
cards?  oh sure, the stage magicians use 'playing cards', the occultists
use 'tarot cards', yet if you think these are very far apart you are in 

# Do you think people who see it the way you describe, will be any more 
# tolerant or understanding of what Witches and Mage's do simply because 
# we bastardize the spelling of the word?

there is such a confusion within the world as to this spelling that it
cannot really be argued that any one change could constitute 'bastardization'.
there isn't a Single Source from which all this proceeds.  as many have
remarked within this thread, the spelling 'magic' is utilized throughout
popular literature, while at the same time, one of the men who works arguably 
popularized occult arts within the 20th Century to greatest number of people 
(through controversy and connection -- Aleister Crowley) seems to have 
intentionally recovered and coined a variant spelling from older times 
(there have been many, especially before the presses got hold of occult 

# They will see it as someone who spells it 'magick' thus making that 
# person a kook!  I am not on their side, I am on your side, as a Pagan, 

this is what I find hilarious.  there is an obvious (class? social?) 
divide betwixt Neopagans and Ceremonial Magicians (exemplified by the
different newsgroups alt.pagan and alt.magick, and yet they ostensibly
arise from similar and at times identical sources!  now if that isn't
a 'magic trick', then I'm not sure what is!! ;>

#> I, myself, would like people to believe that our beliefs isn't a 
#> bunch of absurd bull.  I'm pretty proud of my religion, and 
#> being pagan, and I do have an interest in educating and not 
#> confusing the public. 

this is what I think the issue comes down to: wanting to 'fit in', to
'be accepted by the popular culture', and I suggest that it will
eventually lead to the degredation of your religious path (exemplified
through your silly bickering over terminology).  

it is, in fact, the latter death-throes of a controversy-laden venture 
into the popular unconscious mind, a mystical exploitation of language
become religious pursuit.  once again the Great Martyrdom Cult begins
to sink its head below the waves of social consciousness.

#> Instead of arguing ...can you suggest a good approach to educating 
#> the general "ignorant," public the difference between the two - 
#> magic, and magick without using the two words? If so, please tell 
#> me, because I have always found the two seperate spellings to be 
#> very useful in terms of not confusing the public. Thanks!    

now you're getting somewhere!  the first step in educating the public
is to EDUCATE YOURSELF.  this does not just include 'getting the proper
perspective' but also getting exposure to a *variety* of perspectives,
cultures, and traditions.  if you are out to win the public to seeing
things YOUR WAY, then you'll only add to the confusion already extant.

however, if you begin to see that what you are involved with has very
important overlaps between ancient gods, ceremonial magick and stage
magic glamor (see the roots of that latter term), then you'll be able
to convey a greater degree of understanding to your covenmates and to
the greater world beyond.

but as with all Great Workings, it *starts at home*.  do your homework!
and I also recommend a little bit of humility.  presume you don't know
things for a while.  start over every so often.  become, as some
religious say, 'as a little child', suspending what you know in favor
of present listening and deep appreciation even of the apparently 

look for reasons why certain terms and practices have persisted.  be
critical of what people provide you which they claim to be 'true'.  
look at what motivations people have for saying the things which they
do, including that they may just want you to *agree with them* so they
can *feel better about themselves*, connecting knowledge to esteem.

# ...I behave in a way which is not freightening to others.  I keep my 
# (proverbial) house in order.  I dont walk around looking like a 
# throwback from the 60s.  I speak in ordinary English, not New Age 
# babble.  I live my life according to the Tenets of Aradia.  I honor 
# life, love and restoration.  I dont concern myself with how people 
# view Witchcraft.  I try to teach people how to respect the Earth, 
# and all of life.  I try to teach the MEANING of what I live for, 
# not HOW I go about it.  

this is very wonderful!  you are walking a path of peace and showing the
values you have, without requiring that others follow along!  what a
beneficent spirit you have, if so!  please understand that those of us
who *do* behave in ways which may be frightening, harking to the 60's,
speak in what may sound like alien tongues, etc., may also be doing
something very important, both for us and (even if you don't understand
it), for you.

# Usually, when people become interested in how I know what I know, 
# then, and only then, do I tell people about Pagan Ways.  I walk the 
# talk, then when they ask, they are facinated to hear Pagan Ways are 
# so geared to life, love and restoration...and will usually be followed 
# by comments like: "Wow, I thought Pagan meant Satanist."  

again, very marvellous.  I would caution that while these same people 
have quite particular ideas about what a 'Satanist' is, it is very
helpful of you to educate them about how their ideas (baby-sacrificers,
anti-Christians, the usual) are false in regards to yourself.

however, unless you truly get to know what people who call *themselves*
'Satanists' are about, I would recommend that you do not merely say 
"no, we are not Satanists", reinforcing the idea that Satanists truly 
conform to these twisted notions (which by and large we do not :>, 
though we may certainly behave in odd ways).

# Then and only then is the door open to educate people how we are 
# nothing of a sort.  

I agree that you are nothing of the sort which *they* are suggesting.
as I said below, by and large Satanists are *also* nothing of the sort,
and if your objective is to educate the public on these matters, then
I suggest you make some inquiries to Satanists to discover this for
yourself, else merely state "I do not know what Satanism includes, 
not having witnessed it in any depth whatever."

# I try to educate people how to respect the Earth and life which is 
# what my magic is all about anyway...Do you understand what I mean?  
# ...this is just how I do it, and make no claim to my Ways being THE 
# way....

how BEAUTIFUL!  and in this I share your desire and your fervor.  may
we demonstrate through our life and our manner how we honor and worship
Gaia and Her many elements.  may we seed the planetary consciousness
for the renewal of a healthful relationship with the wild (Satan).  may
we understand the variety which the human and nonhuman world has within
them, and reflect these and their sacred perfection to all around us.

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