Aleister Crowley was an early twentieth century occultist and magician who unabashedly did what he wanted, and hence earned the name, “the wickedest man in the world.” I have no idea how wicked he really was, but I do know he thought his work was good because it freed people from earthly rules and opened them to spiritual experiences. He was heavily involved in a secret group called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and designed a tarot deck that is used to this day. (I somehow ended up with a slew of his decks in three different sizes, but because a couple of the images on the cards creep me out, I haven’t yet used any of those decks.)

Crowley even founded his own religion based on the idea that the key principle of life was the pursuit of each individual’s will. (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”)

He was a great proponent of magic, which he defined as, “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”

And that’s the point I’ve been leading up to.

I find Crowley’s definition of magic provocative because it basically turns art and writing (and even just living) into magic, which of course, we already knew. We take something that doesn’t exist — a story or a painting — and out of our own will, we bring it forth into the world. Truly magical. By this definition, almost anything can be magic — a garden, a family, a friendship. And, again, of course these things are all magic.

We normally think of magic as legerdemain — conjuring tricks — or even something otherworldly, where a person can conjure something into being without trickery and using only his or her mind.

I’d love to have that sort of magic — conjuring something from nothing but the energy around me.

I had to stop there and think. Would I really want that sort of magic? To be honest, I don’t know. I like the sort of every day magic we pretend to understand. (I say “pretend” because does anyone really understand where a story or a piece of art comes from?)

In many respects, this blog is magic. I can write down whatever I am thinking, and potentially, people all over the world can peak into the world I have created.

Because I have willed it, so it is.

Very magical!


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

6 Responses to “Magic!”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Not to mention every book and story we write is a form of magic. We’re creating worlds with words and allowing people to go on fantastic journeys without ever moving from their seats. In a way, we’re more powerful wizards. WE ARE GODS!!!

  2. Joe Says:

    ““Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Well, I’ve read somewhere that a variation of this, attributed perhaps to him but I don’t recall: “An it harm none, do thou what thou wilt.” In other words: As long as you’re not hurting anyone, what’s the harm in doing what you want? Most people aren’t familiar with “An” in its archaic form and write it “An'” as if the “d” was left off, thinking it means “And.” And so more confusion ensues.

    We are divinely flawed and destructively creative beings, no matter how you cut it.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      From what I gather, “An it harm none, do thou what thou wilt,” is a Wiccan belief. I’ve also heard another version touted as a proverb: “Take what you want and pay for it.” In other words, do what you will, but suffer any consequences.

      I like your comment that “We are divinely flawed and destructively creative beings.” Yep! That about sums it up.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    I use only the Crowley deck because the images and intent of the deck bit my view of magic.

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