Etymology: Magic

Since I’m starting to intro some witchy-type postings to this blog, I thought I’d introduce something I’ve been doing on my Tumblr, which is the etymology of different words relating to magic/witchcraft/related things. For those who don’t know, etymology is the study of the origin of words, basically looking at where words come from and the history of where they come from.

Here’s the etymology of magic:

  • Came about in the late 14th century
  • from Old French magique, late Latin magice, Old Persian magush, and Greek magike
  • In Greek, “magike” related to the Magi, who were ancient Persian priests who apparently wore white, were vegetarian, and lived austere lives
  • In the Middle Ages there was “natural magic,” which was not then considered a sin, as it could be explained by science and was seen as a manipulation of natural forces


There is also apparently the word “magick,” which was coined by Aleister Crowley, but he was a racist, misogynist, and anti-Semetic, so witches in general don’t really like him much. According to Crowley, there were four major types of magick that science could not explain away, namely ritual, environmental, astral, and evocative magic. That’s all I’m going to say about him though because the few quotes from him I’ve read are really terrible and prejudiced, so he doesn’t deserve the time of day.

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