Magic (supernatural)

Magic, sometimes spelled magick,[1] is the application of beliefs, rituals or actions employed in the belief that they can manipulate natural or supernatural beings and forces.[2] It is a category into which have been placed various beliefs and practices sometimes considered separate from both religion and science.[3]

The Magician, an illustration from the Rider–Waite tarot deck first published in 1910

Although connotations have varied from positive to negative at times throughout history,[4] magic continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today.[5]

Within Western culture, magic has been linked to ideas of the Other,[6] foreignness,[7] and primitivism;[8] indicating that it is "a powerful marker of cultural difference"[9] and likewise, a non-modern phenomenon.[10] During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Western intellectuals perceived the practice of magic to be a sign of a primitive mentality and also commonly attributed it to marginalised groups of people.[9]

In modern occultism and neopagan religions, many self-described magicians and witches regularly practice ritual magic;[11] defining magic as a technique for bringing about change in the physical world through the force of one's will. This definition was popularised by Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), an influential British occultist, and since that time other religions (e.g. Wicca and LaVeyan Satanism) and magical systems (e.g. chaos magick) have adopted it.


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