i'm a witch, and believe in ‘magick’[a] roughly in the sense summarised by Dion Fortune:
Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will
More specifically, i use ‘magick’ to refer to that which changes one's perceptions of one's connections with oneself and the rest of reality[b]. This obviously leads to topics in psychology, which is why i find the work of Sanford Drob fascinating.
Rooted in the visionary mythos of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-72), and interpreted through such modern and postmodern thinkers as Freud, Jung, Hegel, Wittgenstein and Derrida, the New Kabbalah seeks to uncover and further develop the philosophical and psychological significance of Kabbalistic symbols and ideas.
i am not, however, Wiccan. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan. :-)
i was quite startled to read left_adjoint's post “Witchcraft, Chaos, and being a Post-Pentacostal”, because there's a lot of overlap with my own perspective, or at least my current perspective after many years of mulling over this stuff.
This quote particularly resonated with me:
I like the witchcraft writer/tarot deck[b] designer Barbara Moore's perspective on this. She takes the view that if magic is merely something that unconsciously sets us in a different direction, then it's still "real". She also has some pretty evocative ideas like that there's basically no difference between a spirit talking to you and a pattern of thoughts you keep thinking without consciously intending them. It's a very materialist witchcraft and as odd as it sounds it makes a lot of sense to me.
left_adjoint's post has inspired me to start reading up on phenomenology, which i've basically not been aware of beyond the name.
i always have more reading i want to do than i can actually do. :-)
EDIT: Skylar has written a great post on magick as exploiting the placebo effect:
Knowing about a cognitive bias does not stop it from working. Even knowing that you are currently being affected by a cognitive bias does not stop it from working.
Not only do you have to recognize that you're being affected by a cognitive bias, you have to actively correct your thinking against it. In cases like propaganda, or the recency bias, or confirmation bias, this is a huge inconvenience.
But with the placebo effect, we can exploit this.
[a] i here use the convention, reasonably common in the pagan communities with which i've been connected, of using ‘magick’ rather than ‘magic’; the latter refers to ‘stage magic’, i.e. the art of illusion.
[b] For some definition of ‘reality’. i don't claim to be particularly knowledgeable about physics, but Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics appeals to me.
Edited to add, 2021-07-22: An article discussing how Born's rule challenges the MWI interpretation:
=> http://www.thebsps.org/short-reads/friederich-dawid-selflocatingbeliefs/ “Self-locating beliefs won’t move Everett’s mountain”
i'd also be interested to know of any commentary on the Many Interacting Classical Worlds interpretation.
[c] On the topic of tarot, i like Ellen Cannon Reed's “Witches Tarot”, and Rachel Pollack's “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom”.