Definitions of magic that resonate with me:
Grant Morrison: “all this stuff really is to me ways of contextualizing states of consciousness”
“what is called magic or sorcery or whatever is a way of triggering this and other interesting states of consciousness which put you in a different relationship with time and space and being and life”
His perspective is that angels, aliens, all(?) paranormal activity, is the result of a shift in consciousness. That does make it easier to swallow for academic minds. However, I prefer to leave room for the possibility that otherworldly beings are real. More on that below.
Arch-Traitor Bluefluke: “Magic is the hacking of one’s own mind”
Devin Person: Magic as psychological processes; magic as a way of looking at the world that embraces paradox, is comfortable with confusion and subjectivity, embraces uncertainty.
I would add; that allows for possibility. No hard and fast beliefs are necessary (although strong belief is a powerful psychological tool!), but to the magical mindset, truly anything is possible.
(What implications does that statement have? If anything is possible, why would I disregard some beliefs and experiment with adopting others? Possibly because although anything is possible, there are still inevitably things that you do and do not believe, based on the life you’ve lived so far. It is much easier to work within the confines of your own psychology, to start with your own beliefs and what you’re open to, and expand from there. I’m open to the idea that the practice of walking can be a form of a spell, so I explore that more; whereas I’m skeptical about Christian mythology, so I leave that alone. Plus I’m much more excited about the idea of spellcraft, whatever form it takes. Your work will be more effective when you’re excited about it. So while I gladly allow that everything that Christians believe in may exist, I don’t work with that framework because it’s disenchanted for me, since I’ve grown up with people who approach it in very dogmatic ways. I do think there is magic involved in Christianity though, all that ritual and prayer. Just not the flavour of magic I’m interested in right now.)