Since the beginning of time, man has been fascinated with the supernatural, with the idea of just pointing a finger and having everything that you desire. The concept of magic is in every culture and in every form of media — but do you believe in magic? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word magic comes from the Iranian magos and is akin to the Old Persian word magus, which means sorcerer. Sorcerer and the root word sorcery have very negative connotations, as it is power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits. That is not what I am talking about and we will clarify the difference. The dictionary defines magic as “the use of means (such as charms or spells) to have supernatural power over natural forces” or “an extraordinary power or influence from a supernatural source”. The third definition is “the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand”.
For our purposes today, we will be talking about “magick” with a “k”, to differentiate between Pagan ritual magick and a magician’s illusions. Among Pagans, and particularly among those who follow Wicca, magick is a part of their spiritual path. I realize that the reputation for using magic is a major attraction for many people to explore the Wiccan path. They think that they are going to be handed some fantastic power that will gain them what they want without much effort on their part. Surprise! This is not the way magick works.
The simplest answer to “What is Pagan Magick and how does it work?” is this: that it is a concentrated mental effort (visualization) to bring about a physical, visible change in something (realization). In other words, if you can picture it in your head, it will occur in the physical world. And what might surprise you is that prayer, in the most Christian sense of that word, can also be defined exactly the same way. However, instead of praying that a god will work the change for them, Pagans “raise energy”, or call upon the natural power that is all around us (sort of like “The Force” in Star Wars) and work with that power to make a change occur.
It should be made very clear that this natural power is neither holy nor evil. It exists, like electricity. What makes it good or bad is the purpose for which it is used. Part of the learning process for Wicca is that everything (and I do mean everything) that you do comes back to you at least three fold. So hexing or cursing someone is NOT a good idea since that negative intention will come back to bite you in the…you get the picture. This is also stressed by the Wiccan Rede, which states “And it harm none, do as thou will”. This is not total liberty to behave however you want without regard to others. In fact, it can be more restrictive than any of the Ten Commandments if you have to really stop and consider the consequences of your actions. Part of Paganism’s greatest strength is that it requires you to take responsibility for what you do. You can’t blame it on anyone else or some external evil entity like Satan.
There are limitations upon what is considered acceptable magick. Your magickal purpose needs to be extremely clear or you can end up with other than the desired results. You have to focus on what you are trying to do; you have to have a very specific goal in mind. Adherence to the Three-Fold Law and the Wiccan Rede means that it should come as no surprise there are also warnings about performing magick upon other people without their express consent. This means it’s not a good idea to use magick to