Back in 2018, I wrote a blog post called Magical Mindset in which I spoke briefly about why I don’t use the letter “k” that so many witches do in regards to magic. I said that it doesn’t matter because magic is a mindset and that these days we all know what is meant when someone says magic. This is still true, but my refrain from the k has become more of a political statement since then, and while I don’t dislike those who do use the k, I think it does matter whether or not you do.
The history of the word magick (with the k) dates back to Aleister Crowley. Crowley was a celebrated and well-known occultist of his time and was the founder of Thelema, an esoteric philosophy/religion that rests on the will of the person. While the spelling of magick did not originate with Crowley, (it’s a much older and archaic spelling) it is one that he embraced and promoted with his ceremonial magic and writings.
Crowley began using the archaic spelling of magic in order to differentiate the occult and ceremonial usage from stage magic which was highly popular at the time. I don’t have a problem with the reason he chose, as many magical practitioners still choose to use this spelling for that reason. However, I don’t think it is necessary, and I often wonder how many people choose to use it without knowing about the connection with Crowley.
Aleister Crowley has often been called the most evil man on earth. His personal lifestyle was certainly considered evil at the time, although not so much today. He also enjoyed controversy very much and would go out of his way to sound and appear more controversial than he may have otherwise been viewed. However, one thing that is not questionable is his racism and hatred of Jews. I find this anti-semitic approach quite ironic considering he studied and embraced Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and incorporated it into Thelema.
I’m not going to go in-depth into Crowley’s racism and anti-Semitism. You can find evidence of it quite easily online in his writings and various articles about him. I have, for your convenience, linked four such articles below. There are many more.
Do I think that Aleister Crowley was the most evil man on earth? That’s not for me to say. Do I dismiss anything associated with him because of his beliefs and teachings? No. So why do I refuse to add the k to magic? Because the use of the arcane spelling of magic today is directly related to Aleister Crowley and his teachings. If it was necessary to differentiate spiritual magic from stage magic I could possibly see it. I don’t think it is necessary now, and I don’t think it was necessary for Crowley’s time. I choose to believe that people are smart enough to know the difference when we are speaking of magic. Because it isn’t necessary to use a special spelling for people to know what we are talking about, I think it matters which spelling we do use. I personally choose not to use the k in magic. By not using it I’m showing that I don’t agree with Aleister Crowley’s racist beliefs and standing against his teachings.
Aleister Crowley: A Legacy of Nationalism and Racism
Was Aleister Crowley a Racist? It Depends.
Aleister Crowley- The Slaves Shall Serve
Why Whitewashing Crowley is a Bad Idea