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'Magick' Spelling History

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,alt.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.traditional.witchcraft
From: elendraug 
Subject: 'Magick' Spelling History
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 01:39:22 GMT

50040707 viii om -- removed

Steel Wolf?:
#># First, why did you write the word "magick" in quotes?

"Tim Behrendsen" :
#> Because it's a misspelling of "magic", although my understanding is
#> that Wiccans like to use "magick" to distinguish from run-of-the-mill
#> "magic".

my guess: publishers, those who seek pigeon-holed exposition 
delivered in packets, whether online or in print-houses, 
have perpetuated (perpetrated?) a Crowleyan insurgence, but
by and large I don't find that Wicca term-usage is consistent.

The Steel Wolf :
# It's the legacy of Crowley.  

what's the connection? Gardner(ians)? Alex(andrians)? someone else?

# Because Gardnerian Wicca traces its history back through 
# Crowley and the Ordo Templi Orientis, 

typically it tries to avoid this, but Aidan Kelly has mapped
Gardner's use of grimoires and Crowley's books well enough,
and snailmail correspondence inclusive of a IV' certificate,
was described by those such as Heidrick. that they did not,
in fact, meet, nor did Gardner have Crowley write something
for him specifically (compare the 'witchcraft' materials of
John 'Jack' Whitehorse Parsons in CA later all, that Babalonian).

however, I found reference to the contract for Crowley (and Dion
Fortune!) writing for the original books of shadows was claimed 
by Alex Sanders (founder of 'Alexandrian Wicca'):

	Every tradition and every cult has had its book,
	its "bible." Those who have read them will learn
	to understand the unity of all creeds, despite
	the difference existing in the ritual of various
	countries. The Sepher Bereshith of Moshe (Moses)
	is the Jewish Bible, the Book of Zohar is the
	bible of modern magicians, the Apocalypse and the
	the Gospels [form] the Christian bible, the legend
	of Hiram is the bible of Freemasonry, the Odyssey
	is the bible of the so-called polytheism of Greece,
	and the Hindu Vedas are the scriptures of India.
	We have the Koran of the [Moslems] and the Witches
	also have their bible.

	The "Book of Shadows," the bible of the Witches,
	is one of the most controversial books in modern
	witchcraft. Many present-day witches believe parts
	of it have been adapted from the rituals of the
	Golden Dawn, which was formed in 1888 by MacGregor
	Mathers, Westcott and Woodman. Others say it was
	added to by Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune.
	Francis King, the author of *Ritual Magic in
	England*, states that he has seen letters by
	Gerald B. Gardner, founder of the Gardnerian
	witches, commissioning Aleister Crowley to 
	write portions of the Book of Shadows.
	"The Alex Sanders Lectures", by Alex Sanders,
	 Magickal Childe Publishers, 1984; p. 66.


to my knowledge the contention that Crowley wrote any portion
of these initial books is mistaken (deconstructed somewhat,
later, by Doreen Valiente, Gardner's early pupil). Aidan Kelly
details many if not most of the Ye Olde Bok of Shadows origin
documents. parts of Crowley's Gnostic Mass is used, for example.
this illustrates the level of accuracy found in Wiccan materials
pertaining to its own history and background.

# it also inherited Evil Uncle Al's curious spelling 
# predilection with regard to the word.

by virtue of being passed on by Gardner? interesting if true.
I've met Wiccans who refused that spelling because it was
'promoted by ceremonial magicians' (CMs!) whom they distrusted
and considered a kind of competition or at least to be at odds.
but I challenge you to support your contention with more than
a say so. Gardner's "Witchcraft Today" (I have the 1982 version
by Magickal Childe) does *not* contain the K in 'magic', and
this despite being published at points by Crowleyan sources.

the book quoted above (ASanders) *does* use the K in magick,
but I'm not sure how much the Magickal Childe people had to do
with this (I don't see the spelling (or the word) in the text
proper, perhaps I haven't looked carefully enough).

peering through the Wicca section of my library, I notice that
Llewellyn is uneven, Cunningham uses 'magic' and never mentions
another spelling for the term. Valiente's "An ABC of Witchcraft
Past & Present" not only only uses 'magic' but even maintains
that *Crowley's* definition of the term pertained to it. the
Frost's "The Magic Power of Witchcraft" doesn't mention a 'K'
that I can tell, and a more recent and scholarly "Magical
Religion and Modern Witchcraft" only has one mention of the
term I can find in it, where it reiterates "The Goddess is
Alive and Magick is Afoot!". otherwise it uniformly uses 'magic'.

so if this is some kind of "inheritance", it is uneven, may have
something to do with dual-participation in Thelemic community
(compare Grady McMurtry, the OTO's "Hymenaeus Alpha" and his
'Blessed Beast!' salutations in correspondence and within "The
Magickal Link" (later amended). 'The Magickal Childe' was 
Herman Slater's contribution to the illiteracy of occultism.

#> Actually, if they were trying to use Old English, they should have
#> used "magik", which I believe is the proper O.E. root word.

we established etymology in some of the earliest alt.magick FAQs.
I've append reference to this. maybe it coordinates with you.

# I've seen "magick" used before in English, for example in the English
# translation of Giambattista della Porta's 1658 work, "Natural Magick".
# It may not be going back to the English of Beowulf, but it does in
# fact have linguistic precedent.

correct. OED examination can detail.

# That said, I find it a terribly silly convention.  

it depends on where you are attempting to place emphasis and from
what you are attempting to separate occult magic. some, such as
intellectuals in the Temple of Set and elsewhere, do not find that
radical distinction between stage and occult magic is valuable.

# After all, if
# somebody cannot discern from context whether one is speaking of the
# occult or of stage illusions, then they probably have no business
# taking part in discussions on either of these to begin with.

spelling conventions are sometimes an essential focus to occultists,
delineating traditional roots and general influences where they
would otherwise be completely opaque, or isolate and unique.

oh, here's the bit about the changing spelling over time:

"In English print, the -ick ending began to change to -ic about 1700;         
by about 1730 -ic was much more frequent than -ick; by 1800 -ick was          
effectively extinct in English print.  Johnson's 1755 Dictionary views        
-ick as a lost but noble cause.  Americans were about 40 years behind         
the trend: -ick can still be found in American print until about 1840.        
How to test this yourself: do a key-word search thro' title-pages in          
yr University's collection.  Try "Gothic/k" if you want a slaughter           
(504:1 favor of -ic in the 18th century, for our library; domestic,           
politics, ethics, etc., are equally diagnostic.)                              
David Ross Mcirvine (drm3p@darwin.clas.Virginia.EDU)                          

	Magick: What is Magic(k)? REF (KfaQ#1), 1994 version        

found via
	Lucky Mojo FAQ and REF Archive                            

I don't think this analysis has truly been equalled in the newsgroup
otherwise, though I recall that someone quoted OED elsewhere. some
complete OED analysis of word usages might be possible with the
variations through spacetime, of course.


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