Magick has an extensive history with multiple theories and practices. There are various paradigms for each and every system that can consist of psychology, reality manipulation, theistic practices, paraphernalia, spirit summoning, quantum physics, and personal conjecture. I just listed a few of a plethora ideas about modern magick. What is the real purpose of magick though? The idea of magick is to 1) change the magician to adapt to achieve specific results in the environment, 2) change the environment to adapt the magician, and 3) in many cases to enlighten the magician. Man has a mind, willpower, and spirit that drives his actions. The environment is made of the material world and people. I am referring to enlightenment as a level of self-knowledge and understanding of God enough so that man can achieve his Will.
Firstly, Magick starts within the magician. It was written on Apollo’s Temple, “Know thyself.” The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation with Demotic Spells has a spell to establish a relationship with Helios that says, “You gave us knowledge…because while we are in material bodies, knowledge of you deified us.” The art of magick comes from habits and change the magician takes to reconfigure his/her life. The Magician states his or her own personal goal or intention. Then he/she makes the transformation to achieve it. Magick from man has a simple four part process: Thoughts, Words, Actions, and Habits. When a magician can master these very elements of him/herself the sky is the limit, but due to a flawed nature imperfection of these is inevitable. But the magician must master him/herself to master his/her environment. It is like an actor who plays a new character in every film, the person performs in such a way the character, whether it is a subtle role or lead character, they affect the plot. But the magician must bear in mind he/she must know their environment and be self-aware to the adjustments they have to make in it. To understand the world around you is the second step to magical manifestation.
To carry on, the surrounding of the magician is equally as important as his own presence. This is the external factor that has uncontrollable, unpredictable variables that will create situations for the magician. Herodotus made two brilliant quotes. He said, “Circumstances rule men, men do not rule circumstances,” and also stated, “of all men’s miseries the bitterest is to know this: to know so much and have control over nothing.” These are genuine quotes that truly reflect the environment to all peoples. Magick is a service in this with these two concepts: 1) to use his thoughts, words, actions, and habits to manipulate the environment and 2) use external forces and his own will on an energetic level to prepare himself for situations with discipline. Just like karate, a martial artist may not fight a criminal every day, but the art itself keeps the fighter disciplined if the situation was to ever arise. The magician is like the martial artist and the world is like the thug. Magick works as a discipline and it is like a muscle that is trained through practice for the magician to utilize when necessary.
Lastly, magick is optionally used as a tool for gnosis. Crowley called this the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. When man knows himself well enough through experience and practice with the environment then he starts to reach a new state of development. One may disagree, this is okay. However, I am a firm believer in doing things we were born to do in the world. The mastery of self and the environment take a whole new form that simply transcends all materialistic feats in some cases. Being one with God is sometimes the end result leading to some amazing places.
Conclusively, these are the three primary functions of magick in a real world scenario. It is way too easy to get caught up in the fantasy, rituals, romanticism, and theories. Magick is about change in yourself, the environment, and transcending beyond this material plane. It is an art that is easily studied, but takes more dedication to the practice. Magick is about living life to the fullest the best you can and it is one of many tools to do so.