Magic vs. Ritual in Witchcraft Religions

Eliphas Levi's Pentagram, figure of the microc...

Eliphas Levi’s Pentagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a specific question regarding magic and ritual in Witchy traditions, but I’m not sure how to word it so please bear with me.

So, I’m reading (in order to review for a book-group) “The Real Witches’ Handbook” by Kate West. The book is exactly what you’d expect from a Lewellyn 101 book first published in 2001 (this edition is 2008). In a chapter titled “Spellcraft and Herb Lore”, West discusses the elements of ritual (tool consecration, element evocation, deity evocation, circle casting, symbolic Great Rite etc) and then, separately, “the work itself… the Magic you intend to perform”.

My question has to do with this separation. I’ve always seen Wicca and similar forms of Witchcraft as an inherently magical religion, in large part because performing the rituals as listed above fits the same definitions of magic that I use (see Fortune or Crowley’s famous quotes).

But! I’ve seen instances of (neo-)Wiccans distancing themselves from Witches by saying they don’t do magic, and this blows my mind because I can’t understand how one would practice Wicca without it.

Is magic something separate from Witch-ritual? Is it specifically spell-casting? Or are these aspects of ritual magical acts themselves?

Any input (opinions welcome, sourced facts appreciated) from Wiccans, Witches or folks with knowledge relevant here would be appreciated.

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