what is magick? the practise of humanistic magick

Maslow's heirachy of needs provides a framework for humanistic magick by Magenta School of Magick

Photo by Jemma

What is magick? 

Magick has been around for literally as long as people have been. Lots of cultures and belief systems use “magick” as a central theme. Over time these have changed, morphed, been appropriated from elsewhere or shared openly. But what is magick, exactly?

Magick is beautiful, mysterious, and it is anything it wants to be, it is anything you want it to be. For us, magick is “the philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes”. Don’t worry, we’ll unpack that later. 

Usually with magickal traditions there’s a kind of philosophy, some sort of central belief holding the whole thing together. 

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn based their magickal ideas on things like Freemasonry, Theosophy and Hermetica. They also nicked ideas from other cultures and other religions, as was the way of the white man for many a century gone by. 

Thelema, another magickal tradition, created by Aleister Crowley, is based on the idea of “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, which is basically suggesting people ought to find, and then work towards, their destiny and not be bothered by mundane nonsense.

Wicca is probably best known as a magickal religion. There’s a lot of branches of Wicca, all with slightly different views, but they often share one key idea that magick is an external force, possibly coming from nature or from deities.

Magick doesn’t have to be religious to have a philosophy

There are loads of different kinds of magick, as we point out in this article, and there are certainly plenty of approaches to practising magick that are not religious. 

Our approach to magick is not religious at all. It is very much influenced by the works of two key Humanistic theorists, namely Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, plus some of Carl Jung’s ideas thrown into the mix. Then it’s all shook up in a bag along with astrology. We think our magick is like nobody else’s and we call it Humanistic Magick. 

Humanistic magick is a different kind of magick

Plenty of those turn-of-the-twentieth-century practitioners were paving the way for an esoteric revival. The magick created by the Golden Dawn and by Crowley focuses on the life-journey of the practitioner and how (occasionally) external help by way of gods and spirits, can enlighten us and show us our path. Perhaps the magickal community is now ready to embrace something more?

Humanistic magick looks inwards as well as outwards

Unlike Thelema, we’re not suggesting magick should only be used for seeking out one’s soul purpose in life. Magick can totally be used to pull mundane things towards us, like money and opportunity. 

In fact humanistic magick recognises that people will always have to have their basic needs met first before they can develop and grow into compassionate, thoughtful, and forgiving people. Remember when we said for us magick is “the philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes”? Well this is what the “philosophy” bit means for our definition of magick.

The “intended change” part is when, as people, we recognise our own personal development needs and do something about it. Wanting to change comes from within, not from outside of ourselves. But we all get in our own way when it comes to change.

Finally the “art” of magick might come from asking a deity for help, but for us it comes from the stars, from astrology. 

Humanistic magick as a philosophy and astral magick as art

The magickal art we practise comes from using phases of the moon, what star sign the moon is in and in working with the characteristics of the planets and other key tenets found in astrology. Naturally we blend our philosophy with art when we cast spells. For example, we use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an overlay for how we choose colours in magick and our spells will focus on Maslow’s hierarchy as a framework. Our spells will be meeting one of these needs somewhere!

A philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes

Magick is hard to define, and it is so mysterious. Even our definition needs to say that some unseen stuff is happening, some stuff is going on that we simply can’t explain. That’s why magick is so beautiful and (let’s be honest) so damn cool. 

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Published by Magenta School of Magick

We are a school for people who want to learn the 'philosophy and art of affecting change through (so far at least) unseen causes', also known as 'magick'.

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