WHAT IS MAGICK?
Spookywood's definition of magick is "the design of function."
Magick is how substance/design comes together for function/process.
There are many definitions of magick, and this article is a brief outline of Spookywood's revision.
WHY IS MAGICK SPELLED WITH A "K?"
Egyptian and Greek magic were not originally spelled with a "k," but Aleister Crowley popularized this spelling in the 1900s in order to carve a path of occult philosophy as lifestyle.
Spookywood is likewise interested in preserving magick and occultism in culture and lifestyle.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was an occult author, soldier and physician who first wrote magic with a finished "k." Agrippa lived during the Renaissance (1486 - 1535) and mostly spelled magic without a "k," but some translations of his literature include the modern spelling. In the 1600s translation by Robert Turner, magick is spelled with its now-famous "k."
Crowley was likely inspired by Agrippa and pioneered the popularization of its usage nearly 300 years later.
The etymology of magick can be traced from Middle English magik, magyk, to Old French magique, and from Latin magicus to the ancient Greek μαγικός magikós.
An Old Iranian derivation of the Proto-Indian-European word *meh₂gʰ- means "to be able to, power, to help" (Wiktionary, 2022).
In its earliest conceptualizations, magic is a force that powers existence and essence.
AGRIPPA AND THE GREEKS
Aleister Crowley was a poet, occultist and ceremonial magickian (1875 - 1947) who created a popular definition of magick in Magick in Theory and Practice (1997) — "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."
Crowley incorporated psychedelic and supernatural experimentation in his magick. He used egotheism, theatrics, ceremonial magick and spirit evocation to optimize his conscious experience.
Spookywood's analysis of magick is inspired by Thelemic teachings, but the Splook is dedicated to secular perspectives of magick. Crowley was enthralled by metaphysics and psychedelics, and he wasn't ignorant to science, but he did not actively apply the scientific method in the development of Thelema. He was also known to be theistic regarding godlike entities, divinity and intention as being fundamental to magick.
Crowley and earlier occultists did not have the computational and scientific wisdom of modern magickians. Philosophers like Aristotle and Albert Camus as well as many people both religious and non-religious were interested in making sense of life's two biggest themes: existence and essence. Does existence precede essence, or does essence precede existence? Can they be separated?
Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is everything so complex? What's the meaning of life?
Magick as "the design of function" acknowledges the philosophical relationship between essence and existence but it does not assume all things are will-based, conscious or intentional let alone divinely-inspired.
"Existence" may better be described as structures of being or design. "Essence" is the way parts or structures interact and the functions that come about from their interaction.
The Problem with True Will
Thelemic magick has a difficult time defining Will. "True Will" may not be fundamental to existence even if it's important to people.
Thelemic Union has provided 3 definitions of Crowley's "True Will" as it is taught in Thelema:
- True Will is free, intentional choice
- True Will is divine, predestined purpose
- True Will is any expression of human nature
Mischel and colleagues (2011) hypothesized that willpower is a cognitive control mechanism that directs behavior by:
- Blocking unwanted information.
- Suppressing or changing unwanted thoughts.
- Replacing "hot" or impulse responses with more favorable behavior.
Magick shouldn't be limited to human choice, human purpose and human nature. This is because magick has historically been more interested in the art of transformation. Willful entities aren't the only phenomena existing and changing. It's also not evident that there is a God-mind with soverign influence over all things.
Humans experience will-based interaction, art and transformation, but there are underlying principles of design and function that eventually lose willful processing. Will is a possible expression of magick, but Will is not the embodiment of magick.
Thelema was not intended to be a religion, but its cult following has gained popularity and religious reputation. Crowley did not consider himself religious, and he also rejected Christianity, but he didn't support atheism though many of his messages were atheist in principle.
It's hard to say what Crowley's core beliefs were. Above all, Crowley teaches magick as the discovery of the authentic self.
MAGICK AS THE DESIGN OF FUNCTION
The term "function" was founded in the seventeenth century by mathematicians Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) and Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). A function is a process of one input into a complete output.
Spookywood argues that "the design of function" is a useful refinement of Crowley's magick definition since it is more specific and applicable in language and science. It resonates with humanity's inclination to not only regard personal work as magick but also respect the sun, cosmos and other unconscious phenomena as magick.
Design and function have branches of human disciplines (art, engineering) but those disciplines are rooted by more basic principles and elements that can be observed in nature beyond human consciousness and without Willful involvement.
Spookywood's edit of magick does not lose concentration of historic interests in existence and essence. Rather, it retracts the assumption that magick is governed by Will.
If Will isn't the epitome of magick, then what is?
Design can scholarly be defined as a "goal-directed enterprise in the pursuit of a normative outcome" (Matthew M. Mehalik and Christian Schunn, 2006). This type of design involves people, engineering, art and research.
There's also the kind of design that occurs all around us in nature irregardless of our participation. Panpsychist theories of existence may perceive molecules as being mind-like in their most basic behaviors, but many panpsychists are secular since this isn't strong support for creation being caused by a complex god.
The universe contain lines, vectors, energy and design principles.
The principles of design are: movement, contrast, rhythm, patterns, white space, variety, unity, proportion, balance, hierarchy, emphasis and repetition (Suleiman Bashiru, 2020).
A question of design is, "How is this arranged? What is the substance?
In computational physics, a function is the procedure of an input with its immediate, total output.
In evolutionary and molecular biology, all living organisms have an internal process or function (X) that estimates how well it can reproduce in its environment and in what way (J.H. van Hateren, 2017).
When a molecule splits and regenerates, its parts separate as autonomous functions that interact with other designs of function.
A question of function is, "How does this interact with parts? What is its implementation?"
WHY SECULAR MAGICK?
Religious thinkers are often under the impression that ghosts and Gods are somehow beyond measurability. Ironically, many religious people will also claim to have empirical evidence of spirits and gods they claim exist independently of their consciousness.
It does matter whether or not there are gods and ghosts watching us from privileged, non-human realms. This is precisely why many people attend churches, pray and perform spellwork to deities. People do not assume they are practicing religions for self-serving purposes.
Spookywood was previously formatted by pantheistic Paganism and Western Christianity. The cyber hub updated in 2021 to secular magick after religious deconstruction and reaching secular conclusions about consciousness, the definitions of God, Will, magick, occultism and the supernatural.
Secular magick rejects religious faith and instead emphasizes independence, technique, efficiency, reason and objective measurability. This sometimes expresses as Will-based magick (basketball, Wiccan poetry, language arts) but magick as the design of function invites space for non-Willful phenomena to be welcomed as magick.
Arguably, this creates a more enchanting universe.
When molecules evolve as coffee beans harvested by people and processed in bistros, we call this: ESPRESSO MAGICK.
When molecules emerge vast galaxies of space, stars and planets (regardless of human involvement), we call this: ASTRO MAGICK.
Secular and religious thinkers disagree about existence being ruled at large by divine Gods or a sacred plan and purpose. A claim that all things are Divine is only a claim. Believing that God will make a way is only a belief. These are free to be rejected.
Spookywood prefers an alternative, secular path filled with occult curiosity, supernatural experiences and enchantment but all managed by reason.
If you'd like to learn more about secular magick, please follow and subscribe to Spookywood's email list and socials for updates!
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