Magic (supernatural)

Magic, sometimes stylized as magick,[1] is the application of beliefs, rituals or actions employed in the belief that they can subdue or 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 (I), 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 magic) have adopted it.