For me, in my own experience, magick is real. It has not mattered how I have approached it either, from a religious standpoint. I'm raised a Christian, have a minor in world religions, and have read up on Wicca, Druidism and so forth, and applied the principles I have learned to do spell casting on an elementary level. At first this was very scary for me. But I braved it and found that spell crafting and casting are really a very pointed effort at prayer, at least for me. Instead of calling out to the Divine that "I need help", the crafting of a spell forces me to write in rhyme, and designing a rhyming spell actually causes me to focus on what the actual problem is at its core; this focus also causes me to have to think of a "best solution" for my problem. Then when I select inanimate objects to represent my problem and it's solutions, I believe that at least on a limited level my subconscious is formulating a solution that I have somehow related to the concrete symbols. I can not scientifically "prove" whether these concrete symbols have any power or not - I don't see them float or glow or anything like that. They appear as normal as they did before I used them. However, after I craft the spell, I cast it - I set it up, I read the rhyming incantation - I always dedicate my spells to my God, The Trinity of Christianity, because that is where I am most comfortable. Things happen after I cast the spell - wierdly, amaizingly, things happen. I don't know if things might have happened without the spell, but I do know that nothing happened prior to casting it, as I waited and waited. The spell seems to be the catalyst that pushes things in the spirit world along. How does this compare to my prayer life? Well, before when I had a need, I would just ask God to fix it. Of course he did, but I didn't feel as interactive with Him. And therefore I worried alot more. Did He get the message? Was he paying attention? But by designing a spell, and being specific, I feel that I was able to present my cause to God in a better and more efficient way, causing the spirit realm, whatever goes on up there, to streamline an answer back to me and get the ball rolling. I really now feel that prayer is different from spell crafting and casting - the different fascets of prayer. Prayer is the worship and friendship one has with the Divine. Crafting/casting is working for a solution with the Divine. I have become closer to the divine, because I get to work along with the Divine as a partner, not just sit here worrying all the time. This does not conflict with my beliefs as a Christian either, because I am taught that through Christ I am a fellow priest with him - a co-worker, not equal, but very included. Instead of worshipping the Goddess, I feel married to Christ in the same way I am married to my earthly husband - I have a right and a duty to put my 2 cents in, and roll up my sleeves and help get the job done! I used to didn't feel that way. Because I am married to Christ, the God, I feel my position is that of Goddess. This is a great responsibility, and one I am not even sure I can handle. But what is expected from me in that position? What is the Goddess, or one in the Goddess position supposed to do for others, for God? That is a deep question. There is alot to do. I find that MAGICK works no matter what religion you are - it is not a religion, it is a proceedure for communicating with the Divine. For ME, I do not have to believe in a different religion than the one I am comfortable with in order to use magick and enjoy it's benefits. My world is completely magickal, and when I have a problem, I use Magick to communicate with and help my Deity to be proactive and to be solutions oriented. I still can not make things float or disappear (except for the stage magicians props I have purchased to entertain friends and family), but things really do happen. What kinds of things happen? Well, 2 years ago, two neighbors conspired to ignore me for months. Then on Halloween night they stood in my driveway. When I went to chat with them, they both upbraided me and told me that I needed to move my then 17 year old son out, as they didn't like where he parked and so forth. That really hurt my feelings, as they had no business assessing my family since they hadn't even taken the time of day to speak to me - and even if they had, it is none of their business. Well, that night I put out my casting hand and channeled all my hurt feelings and anger out toward each of their homes. I was very carefull not to say anything damaging as I did not want it to come back to me, but I said "may your own request be upon you, and may you find a better life in the process." One year to the DAY later AND TO THE HOUR, the very next Halloween, my husband came home from work and took the kids around the block. He came in and said, "you'll never guess what is going on?" (I was taken ill with the flu and could not go out, which made it look like I was ignoring them - a coincidence? I think not.) I asked "what?" and he told me that both homes had gotten a "For Sale" sign in the yard just that hour (the same hour that last year they had upbraided me). They both moved around Christmas time, which is basically impossible in the Houston Area, as the economy is slow anyway, and even slower at Christmas, yet they both were out of there before the year ended. That is magick - it just is. I have also concocted a money spell, and after doing it, money, and trips came my way...magick again. I will have to renew it soon, as I personally believe that the power of that spell gets weak over the year. I hve also used the Tarot to tell fortunes, and have found that I am never wrong. Most recently a friend's husband had a 4 month job loss and she came to me in tears about it. We read the Tarot on a friday am. The basic crux of the reading was that a woman would call with an out of state position for him, and though the pay would be lower than he was used to, the treatment of him at work would be much better (he had gone through the "Enron mess" and had lost a substantial amount of money - $500K). Friday night I had a very vivid dream and was shown her family packing a moving van with her husband standing there in a job-interview suit, supervising. The dream showed me the same scene three times, each time closer. I woke up with racing heart, sweating and panicky, and since it was not a scary dream, I guess my heart was racing because it was truely a psychic dream, and wrote it down, giving it to her in Church on Sunday. She completely disregarded it, because she was taken over by fear that what I did for her was "wrong". So she just played it down and I forgot about it. Monday at 9 am, she called - Her hsuband had gotten a call from a woman about an out of town job and he would fly out the next day. A week later she flew out with him and was offered less money, but the treatment was much better toward him. Within 4 weeks, he started his new job, and their house sold 3 months later, again in a slow economy, and the company paid to move them. So within 3 months her Tarot reading came completely true. That is MAGICK. I can not divorce magick from Christ because he did all that type of stuff too, and was supreme at it. I feel that he is behind all the magick that happens to me, and he is the way it gets "turned on and tuned in" - I just had to learn how to approach it. I have millions of other examples of how magick has happened in my life. Before I knew how to spell craft/cast, I prayed alot. 2 Summers ago I was very homesick, and cried alot about it. Out of the blue sky came the opportunity for me to take the kids and spend the last 2 summers in entirety back home! That is magick - there is no other way that that opportunity could have come up, and no other way that my husband would have consented to parting with us. But he got an out-of-town job, and was not home anyway, and had frequent flier tickets! Alot of the "free" trips I got I also count toward the money spell I did - and I got extra cash from him to spend as well. I can not discount these and many other things. Magick works and I believe in it.
My definition of Magick is not to join up with some group, or switch religions. For me Magick is an art form, where you work with energy and spirit instead of paint and canvas. First you have to realize that the unseen world of spirit and energy is there and exists, in the same way that an artist acknowledges things they can use for art - some people use the obvious paint and canvas, or clay and a potter's wheel, but others use less obvious things, like plastic discards, and plants, and powdered minerals to color things. Then there is the least-obvious art medium of all - energy and spirit. Artists do not know it is there because you can not see it, you have to feel it. You design how you want your life to be and then you allow things to take place based on that concrete design and that incantation you concocted. You put all your emotions into designing it and saying it - you let that energy and that spirit flow out of you, and viola! things happen. I can not explain why any more than I can explain why someone who writes a novel gets on the best seller list, and another person's personal, unpublished letter touches another's heart so deeply. I can not explain why paintings in the art museaum touch the minds of millions, but the art of your kindergartner is the most precious thing in your own art collection - but it is all art and it is all energy and spirit, manipulated to bring change in the world. You can access energy and spirit and instead of applying them to canvas, you can apply them to life, and make changes that maybe aren't so visible, but are just as everlasting and just as profound. This is magick.