10 Common Misconceptions About Magick

10 common misconceptions about magic

Defining “magick”, “witchcraft” and “witch” isn’t an easy thing at all. After all there are as many definitions as there are religions and traditions who practice magic.

There is Wiccan, Alexandrian and Dianic witchcraft. There is druidic magic and there is traditional witchcraft of the British Isles. Some like Wicca and Feri are newer additions, while others – like Stregheria or Caledonii for example- are much, much older. And then there is Chinese magick, Thai magick, Tibetan magick, African traditional religions, hoodoo and many many more.

There are kitchen witches who focus on making magic through food and drink, hearth witches who focus their magic on their home and everything in it, and green witches who focus mainly on herbs, tinctures and herbal remedies.

But there other witches whose magical practice is solely focused on practical enchantment (results magic).

There are witches who work with angels and others who work with demons, and yet others who work with the fairy folk, with elves, with nature spirits and elementals.

There are witches and magicians who follow centuries-old traditions, and others -like chaos magicians- who are eclectic and only keep what works for them from different traditions and ditch what doesn’t, and mix and remix different elements until they create something unique and satisfactory to them.

I began practicing magic as a child and through my first teen years.

Even though back then I didn’t know about many of the religions and traditions mentioned above, it was still confusing and there was often a lot of wrong information going around as an absolute truth.

Witch the explosion of information on the internet in the last decade, solid information on magic became way more accessible than it used to be.

Unfortunately though, wrong and misleading information on magic also became way more accessible and wide-spread.

BUT I’M A BEGINNER! HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT’S TRUE AND WHAT’S A MYTH ABOUT MAGICK?

Glad you asked 🙂

Today, we’re going to debunk 10 of the most common myths and misconceptions about magick.

Some of those I was told too when I was first starting out, and others I didn’t come across until much later.

Bear in mind that these misconceptions have nothing to do with any specific magical tradition or religion.

My focus is on practical magick that produces concrete results, so this post focuses on common misconceptions about magic itself, not the rules and limitations of specific religions and traditions.

After all, magic is a force accessible to everyone regardless of religion. So it would be a pity if you unknowingly follow the rules of a religion you haven’t chosen without even knowing it.

10 common misconceptions about magic
Misconception #1 – Magic and Wicca are the same thing

This is an extremely widespread misconception. To the point that I often get comments to my posts or emails from Wiccan people blaming me for misrepresenting “our” faith with my posts and giving all Wiccans a bad name (note: I am not, nor have I ever been Wiccan).

Here’s the deal:

While Wiccans are witches, NOT all witches are Wiccan.

In fact there is some kind of magical tradition -whether it’s called “magic” or not- in every part of the world. In every country and every tradition

Ever did a novena to a saint or pray to St Anthony to help you find your keys? That’s Christian magic. Decidedly NOT Wiccan.

Ever saw a documentary about any tribe in Africa/The Amazon/New Guinea (among other places) and their spiritual and religious practices? Also NOT Wiccan (in fact most of these people have probably never even heard the term “Wicca” before).

Wicca is a neopagan religion that includes magical practices.

Magic -on the other hand- has existed since the dawn of human civilisation and has been practiced within countless different religions and spiritual faiths in countless different ways, as well as by people who were more concerned the magic itself and what they could do with it than which religion or tradition it came from (an example of that would be the Papyri Graecae Magicae).

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being Wiccan, but magic is most definitely not the same as Wicca.

Misconception #2 – You shouldn’t use magic for personal gain

That’s another misconception that makes zero sense.

This is not “Charmed” we’re talking about. This is real life.

And in real life, magic has been used for all kinds of reasons for thousands of years.

You can use magic for whatever you want. Whether that means focusing on bettering your life, cursing your enemies, healing, finding love or all of those things and more is totally up to you. There is no right or wrong way to use magic.

Misconception #3 – You should make sure whatever you’re doing magic for is justified/is a noble goal 

That’s another weird misconception (that’s also closely related to misconception #2).

Many people think that for their spell to work, they have to have a legitimate need, or be able to justify why they want what they’re asking for, or it needs to be something big and important and not something small and non-vital.

For example many people email me their goals and tell me “I want to manifest more money. Not for me, but for my children! So I can give them a better life!”.

While that’s a perfectly good thing to aim for, you may as well manifest money just so you can go to Vegas and gamble all weekend if that’s what you want. The reason why you want the money makes no difference to whether your spell will be successful or not.

See, magic by itself doesn’t judge your desires as right or wrong, good or bad, big or small.

Magic is a force, the way gravity and electricity are forces.

Do you ever stop next to a light switch and think: “mmm, it’s not that dark yet. I wonder if electricity will consider my desire for more light in this room justified or if it will refuse to turn the lights on for me. Maybe I should wait until it’s totally dark outside before turning on the lights, so I will have a legitimate need that electricity can’t refuse”.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

Yet people do this with magic all the time.

Next time you fall down that particular rabbit hole think of your dilemma in terms of electricity and see if it makes sense or not.

Misconception #4 – You should not violate anyone’s free will

You’ll hear this one a lot.

Here’s the problem with that: 

People who say that don’t understand how magic actually works. Magic isn’t the ultimate weapon where you push a button and suddenly your will is enforced on someone else. 

Magic is just an influence. A powerful and pretty useful influence, but still just an influence among many. 

Think of it like that: 

Say you like this guy or girl and you cast a lust spell on them so they will desire you as well. 

Will the spell influence them to desire you more than they’d normally would? If you cast it well then yes, probably. 

But it’s no different than choosing your sexiest outfit so that they’ll desire you more. 

Both are just influences. And unless you go on a spree throwing 50 different lust spells on someone and trying to turn them into a zombie that wants to marry you when originally they didn’t want anything to do with you, you won’t be violating anyone’s free will to begin with. 

 Magic works with what’s there to influence probabilities. 

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Misconception #5 – You should always add “harm none” in your petitions 

This is very directly connected to the third misconception. There is this idea that it’s possible for anything to be done -magical or mundane- that will not harm anyone. 

The problem with this is that it’s not how the world works. 

If you get a job then that means someone else didn’t. 

If you are married then that means someone else who was in love with your husband/wife lost their chance to marry them. 

If you win the lottery then someone else didn’t. 

That’s how life works, and it’s no different when it comes to magic. You can’t just add “harm none” into a spell and think that’ll take care of it and bring you what you desire without anyone else ever losing anything. Magic doesn’t work that way because life doesn’t work that way. 

Adding “harming none” or even worse “for everyone’s highest good” to your spell or petition is THE BEST way to ensure your spell will produce ZERO results. Magic usually works by influencing probabilities. Since those two statements (“harm none” and “for everyone’s highest good”) have a probability of zero, no matter what you multiply that zero with it will stay a zero. You just cast a spell and built it so it would fail 100%. 

10 common misconceptions about magick
Misconception #6 – Real witches don’t curse/hex/use “black” magic

I’ve been seeing this one a lot in the last few years, especially on Pinterest.

Here’s the deal:

Real witches can and do curse if they see the need for it. Real witches have been cursing since the beginning of human history.

In fact if you divine all the ancient spells from around the world that we have discovered by category, curses will form the bulk of your collection.

This misconception most likely comes from the Wiccan Rede, which says “An’ ye harm none, do what ye will”.

Remember how we already discussed thought that magic and Wicca aren’t the same thing?

Wicca is a religion, and like all religions, it has certain rules and moral obligations.

Magic – on the other hand- is a neutral force (refer to misconception #3). There is no inherent limitation to how you can use it.

Think of it like a knife:

  • You can use a knife to cut vegetables and cook a delicious meal
  • You can use a knife to stab someone to death
  • You can use a knife to perform surgery on someone to save his life or heal him from a medical problem
  • You can use a knife to defend yourself or protect other people from harm
  • You can use a knife to cast a magical circle
  • You can use a knife as a decorative piece in your house or office

Is there a right and wrong use of a kife? No! How you use it depends on what you need.

For example, while performing surgery is a perfectly good use of knives, I’d never use a knife to perform surgery because I don’t have the training to do such a thing.

On the other hand, while you’ll never see me going around with a knife and attacking people, I would have zero issue with using a knife against someone who attempted to invade my house and threaten me and my loved ones.

Magic is like a knife. By itself, it’s neutral. You are the one who chooses how to use it, when to use it and for what purpose.

Maybe you’ll spend your whole life never needing a knife for anything else other than opening packages and cutting vegetables, and maybe you’ll spend your whole life without the need to curse anyone ever arising.

On the other hand, maybe you’ll spend several decades using knives to perform surgery on people because that’s your chosen career, and maybe you’ll use curses to curse your negative habits (yep, that’s actually a thing).

How, when and for what you use magic depends completely on you and you personal ethics and moral code.

But there’s no inherent limitation in magic itself, and cursing doesn’t make anyone any less of a witch.

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Misconception #7 – Magic is unnatural and will always try to f*ck you up, so you need to be extremely careful what you ask for and throw in tons of caveats to ensure things don’t go horribly wrong

You’re not gonna hear this one directly as a statement, but it is evident in many books.

This basically comes down to a Hollywood/movie version of magic. Think “Once Upon A Time”. 

Think of all those stories about someone doing a spell for $1.000.000 and then losing a loved one and inheriting $1.000.000 from them. 

It is basically the idea that magic will always f*ck you up somehow so you should be extremely careful what you ask for and make sure you add a ton of specific ways you DON’T want things to manifest. 

This is a very harmful misconception. Trust me when I say that the purpose of magic is not to punish you for doing a spell or for asking for what you want. 

Do mishaps like the $1.000.000 from an inheritance happen?

Yes, sometimes they do.

I actually know two people who have had that happen.

But magic didn’t just go and off their relative so they could get the money. In both cases, their relative was an extremely old and extremely ill person who was expected to pass soon.

If you’re worried about something like that happening, just add “with no physical harm to anyone” or something like that instead of “harming no one”. Or maybe “in a pleasant way”. 

Misconception #8 – You should ask for “this or something better” or leave it up to the Universe/the spirits to decide what’s best for you 

Magic is all about power and responsibility. The only person that knows what’s best for you is you. 

It doesn’t matter how benevolent or caring or whatever you think magic or the Universe or a spirit to be. They don’t know what’s best for you and it’s not their job to know what’s best for you. 

Think of it this way: 

Maybe you have a wonderful relationship with your mom and she usually gives the best advice. You know she has the best intentions for you and wants to see you happy. 

Does that mean she always knows what’s best for you? Maybe she thinks that what’s best for you is to have 3 children and live in the suburbs, while you don’t want to have children yet because you want to focus on your career. Maybe she thinks her friend Mary’s son Adam would be the best boyfriend for you, but alas, Adam is a good guy but the most boring person ever and you can’t stay away while he’s talking. 

The only person who gets to decide what you want is you. 

Misconception #9 – If you do a spell you have to accept the results, whatever they are, as the best thing possible for you. 

Again, this is closely related to number 4

Many people think that when you do magic and don’t like the results, you shouldn’t try again because whatever manifested must be the best for you/what the spirits think is best for you. 

Nope. 

Magic is one of the most helpful tools in refining what we want. 

Say you cast a spell to find a job for X amount of money and you are offered a job for that exact amount. But you realize the hours are way too long. 

You don’t have to accept the position just because it manifested as a result of your magic. You can turn it down. You can cast another spell or go to your spirits and say “thank you for this position, however I’d prefer something with the same pay but only X amount of hours per week”. 

You don’t have to settle for what showed up. It’s 100% your call whether you like it and want to go forward with it, or whether you want to refine your petition and try again. 

Misconception #10 – Magic always comes with a cost

This is only half-true.

The truth is, magic DOES come with a cost. It’s just not what people usually assume it is.

Contrary to what you see in movies, the cost is not something like your soul, your first-born child or anything sensational like that.

Magic comes with a cost in the sense that magic -when done right- will change things.

So if for example you do magic to get a specific job then the cost is that you have to wake up early to get to work every day, you have to work hard to keep your position, you have to fulfil your professional obligations etc.

Or if you do magic to find a new boyfriend/girlfriend, then you have to adjust to not being single anymore, to taking another person’s opinion and life into consideration etc.

Sometimes the cost is the ritual itself, and all the time and energy you pour into it, the cost of the materials, any offerings you promise to give to the spirits upon fulfilment of your request (candles, food, donations to charity etc).

Things can be confusing when you’re a beginner in magic. Hopefully this post helped you understand what’s real and what’s just a myth a bit better.

Is there anything you were told about that you later realised it was just a myth? Let me know in the comments!

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Written by Scarlet