What is magick? Aleister Crowley defined magick as “any event in nature which is brought to pass by will." A magical act can be anything from blowing one’s nose, to various forms of glamour, or creating suitable conditions for much needed rain. The size and extent of any magical act is dependent on the amount of energy, focus, and will that is placed into the desired outcome.
Magick and magic are not the same things. Aleister Crowley coined the term "magick", as an alternative to the word 'magic', or slight of hand, in order to distinguish the difference between the two separate terms and definitions. 'Magick’ is spelled with a ‘k’ and pronounced differently – mage-ick – to differentiate it from stage magic and the arts of illusion. The addition of the letter 'k' (the eleventh letter of the Latin alphabet) is believed to enhance the power and meaning of the word itself, as the number eleven, in numerology, symbolizes hidden energies.
Throughout all of history magick has been practiced in many forms, although often under the pretext of other names. For instance, Old German magick was known as gandno (Jones, Prudence. A History of Pagan Europe. New York: Routledge, 1995, pg 114. ISBN 0-415-09136-5); in Scandinavia and Iceland magick was known as seiðr (Ibid., pgs 150-151); and the Pennsylvania Dutch referred to magick as braucherei (Thorsson, Edred. Northern Magic: Rune Mysteries and Shamanism. St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications. 2005, pgs 146-147. ISBN 1-56718-709-9).
One can most easily compare magick to prayer; it is the process by which a desired change is brought about to an object or subject that is capable of such a change. It should be understood that magick is not capable of violating the laws of the physics; however, it is quite capable of bending or using them as a means by which to overcome a physical condition or state. Basically, magick can do whatever energy can do as it is merely the process of channeling information and energy. This is done through the use of what are known as the Laws of Magick.
The difference between magick and physical action is simply the method one uses to direct their intentions; however, all of these methods begin at the same source; that source being conscious or unconscious will. Each individual consciousness directly influences physical reality in both obvious and subtle ways. Magick is the subtle influence which consciousness has on physical reality through the mechanism of association and intent. In other words, magick is the attraction of a specific physical reality through physical associations and their relationship to the intent of our conscious being.
In theory, magick is the learned use of quantum-entangled states through the influence of seemingly individual conscious intention upon the panconsciousness of the universe. That is, the universe or multiverse, or whatever one wishes to call the whole of everything which exists, is utterly and entirely conscious, down to the very smallest and most minute particle – and wholly entangled, as if all were a giant body off atoms and cells, and flesh and bones – enabling anything to act upon anything through mere intention and physical association.
This influence is subtle, so it can take awhile to manifest. The longer the influence takes to appear as physical reality the more one can be assured their conscious will is not in alignment with the panconsciousness or common will – disharmony. Since the more energy flows in a similar direction the less it will be effected by any resistance it meets, it follows that any one individual does not necessarily influence the manifestation of an event in time, but rather multiple persons or forces, or all persons and forces each play a role – this is because everything is entangled.
Physics shows us that the entire universe is quantumly entangled; that is, everything truly is connected and One (and outside of time). This also means that all minds are entangled. Magick is possible because each one of us are in an entangled state with all things; one need only see the universe through a panpsychist lense in order to fully grasp the concept of this reality.
But what evidence is there to support the existence of any sort of phenomenon that could be interpreted throughout history as magick? Certainly, one could agree that magick would be considered by most to be akin to paranormal or psychic phenomena. Is there any scientific evidence to support paranormal or psychic phenomenon?
In turns out that, although still contraversial, quite remarkable scientific evidence for psi phenomena does exist. For example, an experiment published in the journal Science in 1965 reported that when one identical twin was asked to close their eyes – which causes the brain's alpha rhythms to increase – the alpha rhythms of their remote twin were also found to increase, providing evidence for a sort of quantum entanglement. (Dean Radin. Entangled Minds. Paraview: New York, NY. 2006, pg.18. ISBN: 1-4165-1677-8)
In 1957 Czech physician Štěpán Figar measured the fingertip bloodflow of couples who were isolated from one another in order to test for the existence of any unconscious telepathic connections. Neither member of the couple was aware of the other's involvement in the test, nor were they told the purpose of the experiment. Figar found that when one member of the couple was asked to perform mental arithmetic, the blood pressure of the other person changed noticeably. (Ibid., pg 74)
Also, University of Edinburgh pyschologists Paul Stevens, Marios Kittenis, and Peter Caryl reported, in 2004, a correlation between remote pairs of individuals being monitored by an electroencephalograph (EEG), in which the "sender" is exposed to a flash of light and the remote "receiver" appears to be stimulated at the exact time and moment as the "sender". (Ibid., pgs 138-139)
Furthermore, numerous experiments involving the alteration of random number generators (RNGs) through the mental intention of distant human "senders" have proven over and over again to yield quite extraordinary results. Such experiments can easily be found by any mediocre researcher.
So the scientific evidence is out there, but what philosophical grounding exists that could possibly support the interpretation that these experiments yield positive evidence for the existence of magick? It turns out there is one very strong position with an extremely long history: panpsychism.
Both mind and matter are intimately entangled in the panpsychist ontological worldview. Consciousness is within everything, for both mind and matter are necessarily coexistent. A number of very persuasive philosophical arguments have been offered in favor of a panpsychist worldview throughout history. Two of the most famous contemporary proponents of panpsychism were the English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and the pioneer American psychologist WilliamJames.
More recently, the philosopher Christian de Quincey argued in his book Radical Nature that "given Whitehead's naturalistic view of experience, extrasensory phenomena involving action-at-a-distance, such as telepathy and clairvoyance, are no longer problematic." He then goes on to state "physical events 'external' to the body of the experiencing human, may prehend or feel and respond to human experiences in ways consistent with the data of psychokinesis." (Christian de Quincey. Radical Nature. Invisible Cities Press: Montpelier, VT. 2002, pgs 175 and 176. ISBN: 1-931229-15-5)
In the panpsychist worldview, and contrary to the mundane and anachronistic physicalist worldview, it is actually quite within the realms of possibility and probability for conscious thought and intention to be projected on and manifested within physical reality by means of what has been commonly referred to as a "magick" without violating any physical laws or logic. Furthermore, it is postulated that the focus of "intent" through the mechanism of entanglement may very well be the means by which all magical or psychic phenomena occur.
As Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa stated in his Occult Philosophy: "It is therefore imperative that whoever desires to study in this faculty, be skilled in Natural Philosophy, wherein are found the qualities of things, and in which lie the occult properties of every being (substance and accidents), and be skillful in mathematics, and in the aspects, and figures of the stars, upon which depend the sublime virtue, and property of every thing; and also learned in Theology, wherein are manifested those immaterial substances, which dispense, and minister to all things, or he will not be able to understand the rationality of Magic. There is no work that is done by mere Magic, nor any work that is merely Magical, that does not include these three faculties;" therefore, it is imperative that the individual understand the various sciences and philosophy, as well as their self (as Socrates is known so well for suggesting), in order to comprehend the existence, rational, and mechanism of magick.
No magician can hope to understand the principles and mechanism of magick without first having a proper understanding of the trivium and quadrivium. The magician should seek out a classical education, from early youth if possible, before embarking on the path of magick. These seven: grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy are key to an excellent foundation! With these the individual may then study philosophy and theology (the basis of all religious and ceremonial systems), through which they will be fully capable of understanding the rational of magick.
Of course one may simply jump right into magick, but you are not going to understand it, nor will you find it working very properly, if at all, without the necessary tools described above.