Monday, June 16, 2008

No, this is not "Magick"

As I've posted in the past, the proper use of "magick" as a specific term for the spirtual arts makes Google searches a whole lot easier. When I'm interested in searching for information on ritual techniques I'm really not interested in getting back pages describing the cups and balls trick or how to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Similarly, if I'm looking for good card tricks I would rather not be pulling back pages on reading Tarot. Using "magic" for stage magic and "magick" for ceremonial and ritual techniques really works - or at least it would if people would follow the convention.

This brings me to a recent article referencing "magick" that completely misuses the term. This weekend in Tacoma, Washington a self-described "magickian" named Geoff Kanick put on a performance. From the article:

Kanick spells magick with a “k” to distinguish his art. Magick with a “k” is a linguistic signal pioneered by Victorian bad boy, mountain climber and legendary mystic Aleister Crowley, who used the word magick, with a “K,” to distinguish his explorations of consciousness and other psychonautic systems from the stage work of everyday magicians. Kanick, like Crowley, is no everyday magician, and says his goal is to take people out of their comfort zones to a place where magick is more than an act.

I'm sure Kanick is quite good at what he does, but if he's comparing himself to Crowley on the grounds that he does innovative illusions all I can really do here is call bullshit. Aleister Crowley spent his entire life developing an innovative spiritual system for personal development and beyond. Anybody who would compare that level of work to putting together a compelling stage performance doesn't really know anything about Crowley and shouldn't be appropriating his terminology incorrectly.

Let's face it. This:

A master of many arts, Kanick’s talents will be offered as part of Hypothesis, a synthesis of illusion, comedy, sideshow feats, juggling and vaudeville variety.

has absolutely nothing to do with ritual or ceremonial magick, or with Crowley's work, and it is exactly the "counterfeit" from which the science of the Magi needs to be distinguished.

For what it's worth, though, I'm happy to see that the article describes Crowley as a "legendary mystic" rather than as a baby-sacrificing Satanist. Maybe after more than fifty years some of the media nonsense surrounding his life is starting to die down.

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1 comment:

Knight of Pan said...

This guy is just rying to drum up attention by trying to tye himself into Crowley. I clicked on the link and I was only visitor 1484. Our Magick will be around a lot longer then his!