C H A O S
version 1.3 1992-1997
This book is dedicated to:
The Hydra’s Teeth; wherever they may fall, whatever may
What is Magick? .....................................................5
What is Chaos Magick? ..........................................7
Principles of Chaos Magick .................................14
Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combination ...............17
All Hail Discordia! ...............................................23
Discordian Opening Ritual ..................................26
Spiral Pentagrams ................................................28
Sigil Magick ..........................................................31
Belief - A Key to Magick .......................................35
Basic Exercises .....................................................41
Fracture Lines ......................................................50
Technical Ecstacy .................................................59
Further Reading ...................................................67
C H A O S
Nothing is True,
Everything is Permitted.
W hat is Magick?
What is Magick? Several definitions float into my mind, but
none of them do it full justice. The world is magical; we might
get a sense of this after climbing a mountain and looking down
upon the landscape below, or in the quiet satisfaction at the
end of one of ‘those days’ when everything has gone right for
us. Magick is a doorway through which we step into mystery,
wildness, and immanence.
We live in a world subject to extensive and seemingly, all-
embracing systems of social & personal control that continually
feed us the lie that we are each alone, helpless, and powerless
to effect change. Magick is about change. Changing your
circumstances so that you strive to live according to a
developing sense of personal responsibility; that you can effect
change around you if you choose; that we are not helpless cogs
in some clockwork universe. All acts of personal/collective
liberation are magical acts. Magick leads us into exhiliration
and ecstacy; into insight and understanding; into changing
ourselves and the world in which we participate. Through
magick we may come to explore the possibilities of freedom.
Surely this is simple enough? But no, magick has become
obsfucated under a weight of words, a welter of technical terms
which exclude the uninitiated and serve those who are eager
for a ‘scientific’ jargon with which to legitimise their enterprise
into something self-important and pompous. Abstract spiritual
spaces have been created in the midst of which tower the Babel-
like lego constructions of ‘inner planes’, spiritual hierarchies
and ‘occult truths’ which forget that the world around us is
magical. The mysterious has been misplaced. W e search
through dead languages and tombs for ‘secret knowledge’,
ignoring the mystery of life that is all around us. So for the
moment, forget what you’ve read about spiritual enlightenment,
becoming a 99th level Magus and impressing your friends with
high-falutin’ gobbledygook. Magick is surprisingly simple.
What can it offer?
1.A means to disentangle yourself from the attitudes and
restrictions you were brought up with and which define the
limits of what you may become.
2.Ways to examine your life to look for, understand and modify
behaviour , emotional and thought patterns which hinder
learning and growth.
3.Increase of confidence and personal charisma.
4.A widening of your perception of just what is possible, once
you set heart and mind on it.
5.To develop personal abilities, skills and perceptions - the
more we see the world, the more we appreciate that it is alive.
6.To have fun. Magick should be enjoyed.
7.To bring about change - in accordance with will.
Magick can do all this, and more. It is an approach to life
which begins at the most basic premises - what do I need to
survive? - how do I want to live? - who do I want to be? - and
then gives a set of conceptual weapons and techniques for
achieving those aims. Chaos Magic is one of the many ways
of ‘doing magick’, and this booklet is a concise introduction
to the Chaos approach.
What is Chaos Magick?
What"is Chaos Magic? Good question. Since it burst upon the
magical scene in the late ‘70’s it has generated a great deal of
debate about what it is, what it isn’t, and who’s doing it ‘right’
- such circular arguments being beloved of occultists, it seems.
At this point, it would be tempting to launch into a lengthy
discussion of the history of magic leading up to Chaos magic,
but instead I’ll confine it to a sweeping generalisation and say
that before Chaos came kicking and screaming onto the scene,
the dominant approach to ‘doing magic’ (and still is, to a great
extent) was the ‘Systems’ approach.
So what is a magical system? Magical systems combine
practical exercises for bringing about change with beliefs,
attitudes, a conceptual model of the universe (if not several), a
moral ethic, and a few other things besides. Examples of
systems are Qabalah, the different Wiccan ‘traditions’, The
Golden Dawn system of magic with all its grades, costumes,
mottos etc, and the increasing number of westernised
‘shamanic’ paths that are proliferating nowadays. As far as
most magical systems go, before you can start to wave your
wand around or bounce up and down on your head ‘til you
reach enlightenment, you have to spend a good deal of time
reading up on the beliefs associated with the system, learning
its “do’s and don’ts”, committing to memory lists of symbols
and correspondences, how to talk to your fellow magi, and in
some extreme cases, how to dress, walk, and chew gum at the
same time. How does this come about? Well magic, like some
of the great religious messages is essentially simple, but is
prey to the process whereby simple ideas become extremely
complicated beliefs which can lead you further and further
away from doing any magic at all. Weave back through time
to ‘somewhere in the paleolithic era’ to find a tribal shaman
sitting on a rock gaping at the visions revealed by a soggy
piece of toadstool. Fast-forwards a few millenia and you’ll
find a ‘Magical System’ that comprises of several hundred-
thousand words, obscure diagrams and appendices which will
probably state at some point, that drugs are a no-no.
The birth of Chaos magic came about in the late 70’s, at about
the time that punk rock was spitting out at the music industry
and Chaos Science was beginning to be taken seriously by
mathematicians, economists, and physicists. The two ‘names’
most associated with the birth of Chaos magic are Pete Carroll
and Ray Sherwin, though there were others lurking in the
background, such as the Stoke Newington Sorcero (SNS)rs
who later became entwined with the first stirrings of the Punk
Some of Pete Carroll’s early writings on Chaos was published
in The New Equinox, published by Ray Sherwin, in which the
first adverts proclaiming the advent of the Illuminates of
Thanater os (IOT) magical order appeared. Interestingly
enough, there is no mention of the term ‘chaos’ in the earliest
versions of IOT material.
Ray Sherwin’s Morton Press then issued Pete Carroll’Libers
Null , and Sherwin’ sown The Book of Results , which
expounded the very practical method of ‘Sigilisation’ as
developed by Austin Osman Spare, which has become one of
the core techniques associated with Chaos magic.
The early growth of Chaos magic was characterised by a loose
network of informal groups who came together to experiment
with the possibilities of the new current. With the demise of
The New Equinox, the ‘chaos kids’ reported their results and
heresies in the pages of Chris Bray’s new magazine, The Lamp
of Thoth. The early Chaos books were joined by two tapes
‘The Chaos Concept’ which discussed the basics of Chaos
magic, and ‘The Chaochamber’, a science-fiction pathworking
which combined elements of Star Trek, Michael Moorcock,
and H.G. Wells. Chris Bray’s ‘Sorceror ’s Apprentice’ Press
then re-released, Liber Null, The Book of Results, as well as
two new books, Pete Carroll’Psychonauts , and Ray Sherwin’s
The Theatre of magic. These, together with articles from the
growing Chaos corpus in the LOT, drew more people into
experimenting with the new approach. Thanks to the efforts
of Ralph Tegtmeier, the Chaos approach was also receiving
attention in continental Europe.
The basic message of Chaos magic is that, what is fundamental
to magic is the actual doing of it - that like sex, no amount of
theorising and intellectualisation can substitute for the actual
experience. Pete Carroll’s Liber Null, therefore, presented the
bare bones of the magical techniques which can be employed
to bring about change in one’ s circumstances. Liber Null
concentrated on techniques, saying that the actual methods of
magic are basically shared by the different systems, despite
the dif fering symbols, beliefs and dogmas. What symbol
systems you wish to employ is a matter of choice, and that the
webs of belief which surround them are means to an end, rather
than ends in themselves (more of which later).
An important influence on the development of Chaos magic
was the writing of Robert Anton Wilson & co, particularly the
Discordian Society who revered Eris, the Greek goddess of
Chaos. The Discordians pointed out that humour, clowning
about and general light-heartedness was conspiciously absent
from magic, which had a tendency to become very ‘serious
and self-important’. There was (and to a certain extent remains)
a tendency for occultists to think of themselves as an initiated
‘elite’ as opposed to the rest of humanity.
Unlike the variety of magical systems which are all based in
some mythical or historically-derived past (such as Atlantis,
Lemuria, Albion, etc), Chaos magic borrowed freely from
Science Fiction, Quantum Physics, and anything else its
practitioners chose to. Rather than trying to recover and
maintain a tradition that links back to the past (and former
glories), Chaos magic is an approach that enables the individual
to use anything that s/he thinks is suitable as a temporary belief
or symbol system. What matters is the results you get, not the
‘authenticity’ of the system used. So Chaos magic then, is not
a system - it utilises systems and encourages adherents to devise
their own, giving magic a truly Postmodernist flavour.
Needless to say, Chaos magic began to acquire a ‘sinister’
reputation. This was due to three factors; firstly that its
“pick’n’mix/D.I.Y” approach to magic was frowned upon by
the ‘traditionalist’ schools, secondly that many people
associated chaos with ‘anarchy’ and other negative
associations, and thirdly that some Chaos magic publications
were hyped as being ‘blasphemous, sinister, and dangerous’
in a way that they were not, which proved all the same to be an
attractive glamour for those who required such a boost to the
The mid-Eighties gave rise to a ‘second wave’ of the Chaos
Current. 1985 saw the publication of The Cardinal Rites of
Chaos, by the pseudononymous ‘Paula Pagani’, which outlined
a series of seasonal rituals as performed by the Yorkshire-based
‘Circle of Chaos’. Alas, by this time, the early co-operation
between exponents of Chaos had given rise to legal wrangles,
literary sideswipes, and even magical battles. For some at least,
Chaos magic = loadsa money while others discovered that they
had a ‘position’ to hold onto as defenders of the title of
spokesperson for a movement. T rue to its nature, Chaos
splintered and began to re-evolve in different ways. Three
different magazines emerged to continue the Chaos debate -
Chaos International, Nox, and Joel Birroco’s Chaos.
Chaos International was formed on the basis of networking,
specifically the idea that the editorship would change hands
with each issue. A good idea in principle, it gave rise to practical
problems such as address changes, obtaining back copies, and
meant that each issue had to be virtually self-supporting. Chaos
International survived five different editorial changes, after
which it passed into the hands of Ian Read, who has had the
job of producing it ever since. Chaos International has now
matured into one of the best all-round magazines of innovative
Nox magazine emerged out of the wilds of South Yorkshire to
serve up a mixed brew of Chaos magic, Left-Hand path material
and Thelemic experimentation, which matured into one of the
best magazines publishing experimental magic from a wide
variety of sources. Since its inception, it has grown from being
an A5 ‘fanzine’ to paperback book status.
Joel Birroco’sChaos introduced a Situationist perspective into
the Chaos debate, predicted the glamour for Chaos-isms as
experimentation turned inevitably into fashion accessory, and
then proceeded to identify various magical ‘leaders’ and tear
them apart with the eagerness of a whole pack of Greek cynics.
The debate over the progression of the Chaos Current raged
throughout these ‘zines and the aforementioned Lamp of Thoth.
Arguments begun in one ‘zine spilled over into another and
sides were drawn up as some voices allied with others, though
allying with Birroco’s iconoclastic stance on Chaos turned out
to be a tactical error, as he invariably massaged the egos of his
‘allies’ only to drag them down at a later date.
In ’86 the S.A. Press released Julian Wilde’s Grimoire of Chaos
magic, the first book on Chaos magic outside the Sherwin/
Carroll circles. Despite heavy criticism from other Chaos
factions, Mr. Wilde never came forth to explain his ideas, nor
has much been heard from him since. Grimoire departed
radically from the other approaches to Chaos, particularly with
his assertion that Chaos magic was in itself, a ‘system’.
Grimoire was followed by a tape The Chaosphere, and later,
another book The Apogeton, by Alawn Tickhill which was
marketed as a ‘Chaos Manual’ although the book itself made
little reference to Chaos magic. None of these releases were
received very favourably by the other Chaos factions and this
‘third wave’ of Chaos development further rang to the sound
of voices raised in acrimony, slanging matches in print, and
By late ’87 one of the weirder Chaos groups, the Lincoln Order
Of Neuromancers (L.O.O.N) had announced the ‘death’ of
Chaos magic, asserting in their freely-circulated ‘chainbook’
“Chaos magic is already dead, and the only debate is between
the vultures over who gets the biggest bones.”
This assertion was also made by Stephen Sennitt, the editor of
Nox magazine. In retrospect, it seems less that Chaos magic
‘died’, and more that the furious debate which blew up around
it for many years had become boring - it had hit the point where
constructive criticism had degenerated into a mere slanging
match. Perhaps some Chaos Magicians shook themselves and
wondered, after all, what all the fuss had been about. By this
time, Pete Carroll had begun to reformat the IOT into ‘The
Pact’, setting up temples in the UK, USA, and Europe. The
IOT is seen as the Order for ‘serious’ Chaos Magicians in the
same way that the OTO exists for ‘serious’ Thelemites. At the
time of writing, the IOT Pact has temples active in the UK,
Europe and America and, despite the apparent hierarchical
structure outlined in Pete Carroll’s latest book “Liber Khaos/
The Psychonomnicon”, there appears to be much scope for
new growths and experimentation within its loose structure.
Having reviewed the development of Chaos magic, we can
now turn to looking at its principles in greater depth.
Principles of Chaos Magick
Whilst magical systems usually base themselves around a
model or map of the spiritual/physical universe, such as the
Tree of Life (which can sometimes described as a cosmic
filofax), Chaos Magick is based on a very few ‘Core Principles’
which generally underlie its approach to magick (they are not
universal axioms however, so feel free to swap ‘em around).
1. The avoidance of Dogmatism. Chaos Magicians strive to
avoid falling into dogmatism (unless expressing dogmatism
is part of a temporary belief system they have entered).
Discordians use ‘Catmas’ such as “Us Discordians must stick
apart!” Thus Chaos Magicians feel entitled to change their
minds, contradict themselves and come up with arguments that
are alternatively plausible and implausible. It has been pointed
out that we invest a lot of time and energy in being right. What’s
wrong with being wrong occasionally?
2. Personal Experience is paramount. In other words, don’t
take my word that such-and-such is the case, check it out for
yourself. Magick has suf fered extensively from ‘armchair
theorists’ who have perpetuated myths and out-of-date
information purely due to laziness of one kind or another .
Sometimes it’s interesting to ask awkward questions just to
see what the selfappointed experts come out with. Some will
emit a stream of verbal diahorrea rather than admit to not
knowing the answer, whereas a true adept will probably say “I
haven’t a f*****g clue.” Quite early on, Chaos magicians came
to the startling discovery that once you strip away the layers of
dogma, personal beliefs, attitudes and anecdotes around any
particular technique of practical magick, it can be quite simply
3. Technical Excellence. One of the early misconceptions about
Chaos Magick was that it gave practitioners carte blanche to
do whatever they liked, and so become sloppy (or worse, soggy)
in their attitudes to self-assessment, analysis, etc. Not so. The
Chaos approach has always advocated rigorous self-assessment
and analysis, emphasised practice at what techniques you’re
experimenting with until you get the results that you desire.
Learning to ‘do’ magick requires that you develop a set of
skills and abilities and if you’re going to get involved in all
this weird stuff, why not do it to the best of your ability?
4. Deconditioning. The Chaos paradigm proposes that one of
the primary tasks of the aspiring magician is to thoroughly
decondition hirself from the mesh of beliefs, attitudes and
fictions about self, society, and the world. Our ego is a fiction
of stable self-hood which maintains itself by perpetuating the
distinctions of ‘what I am/what I am not, what I like/what I
don’t like’, beliefs about ones politics, religion, gender
preference, degree of free will, race, subculture etc all help
maintain a stable sense of self, whilst the little ways in which
we pull against this very stability allows us to feel as though
we are unique individuals. Using deconditioning exercises,
we can start to widen the cracks in our consensual reality which
hopefully, enables us to become less attached to our beliefs
and egofictions, and thus able to discard or modify them when
5. Diverse Approaches. As mentioned earlier, ‘traditional’
approaches to magick involve choosing one particular system
and sticking to it. The Chaos perspective, if nothing else,
encourages an eclectic approach to development, and Chaos
Magicians are free to choose from any available magical
system, themes from literature, television, religions, cults,
parapsychology, etc. This approach means that if you approach
two chaos magicians and ask ‘em what they’re doing at any
one moment, you’re rarely likely to find much of a consensus
of approach. This makes Chaos difficult to pin down as one
thing or another, which again tends to worry those who need
approaches to magick to be neatly labelled and clear.
6. Gnosis. One of the keys to magical ability is the ability to
enter Altered States of Consciousness at will. We tend to draw
a distinct line between ‘ordinary consciousness’ and ‘altered
states’, where in fact we move between dif ferent states of
consciousness - such as daydreams, ‘autopilot’ (where we carry
out actions without cognition) and varying degrees of attention,
all the time. However, as far as magick is concerned, the willed
entry into intense altered states can be divided into two poles
of ‘Physiological Gnosis’ - Inhibitory states, and Excitatory
states. The former includes physically ‘passive’ techniques
such as meditation, yoga, scrying, contemplation and sensory
deprivation while the latter includes chanting, drumming,
dance, emotional and sexual arousal.
As I said earlier, one of the characteristics of the Chaos Magick
approach is the diversity of systems of magick that practitioners
can choose to hop between, rather than just sticking to one
particular one. There are, naturally, many different approaches
to using systems within the Chaos corpus, and I’ll examine
some of them here.
In other words, create your own system, like Austin Osman
Spare did. Creating your own, operationally valid magical
systems is good practice, and whether or not you can get
someone else to work that system is up to you entirely. On the
other hand, new systems of magick are occasionally
commercially valid. One book on a system = some good ideas,
then of course you write a sequel developing the original stuff,
and then you might as well go for the accompanying tarot deck,
videos, cassettes, lego expansion kits, etc. Coming up with
your own, (mostly) original stuff is better (at least from the
Chaos viewpoint) than doing other people’ s rituals and
continually following other people’s ideas. Doing something
innovative (especially if you don’t know anyone else who’s
tried it) is very good for building your confidence. I remember,
years ago, doing a ritual and thinking “Hey, I drew all the
pentagrams wrongly for that one, and like, nothing noticed” -
at least nothing nasty appeared out of the woodwork ( - yet!).
There is a great tendency nowadays for people to try and create
metasystems - that is, systems into which can be slotted
anything and everything, and will explain, given time,
everything worth explaining. So we see attempts to meld runes
with tarot, put virtually anything on to the Tree of Life, and
much theorising/woffle (delete as appropriate). There’s nothing
wrong with this - again, its often a useful exercise. It can also
be fun, especially if you come up with a plausible explanation
for something which is based on ‘made-up’ or dodgy ‘facts’,
and loads of people go “Hey wow, that’s really amazing” (a
few years ago an occult author released a version of Lovecraft’s
Necronomicon that sounded good, but which in fact was
spurious. So he got loads of letters from people who had done
the rituals and wanted to chat about their results). This is also
important when looking at ‘Beief’ as a magical tool, and I’ll
get on to that later.
Personally, I like to use lots of different systems, and use them
as seems appropriate. I tend to flip between D.I.Y, Qabalah,
Tantra, Cthulhu Mythos, Shamanism, and anything else that I
feel to be appropriate at any particular time. It is worth going
into a system in some depth, so that you become more or less
competant (and confident) with it, but magicians tend to find
that once you’ve become competant in one system, then it’s
easier to get to grips with another one. If you’re fairly
expereienced with Enochian for example, then you shouldn’t
have too much diffiuclty with the Runes.
Some Chaos Magicians tend to use a lot of scientific analogies/
metaphors in their work. This is okay - after all science sells
washing powders and cars - if something can be shown to have
a ‘scientific’ basis, then a lot more people will go for it,
especially computer buffs, physics students, etc. It all helps
with creating the ‘belief buffer’. It needn’t actually be ‘hard’
science, psuedoscience works just as well, as the number of
‘New Age’ books asserting that crystals store energy ‘just like
a computer chip does’ shows. I’m not trying to be picky (okay,
just a bit), and equally, since its the belief factor which is the
important thing, then you could use astrology , alchemy ,
Theosophy or whatever else strikes your fancy, so long as you
(or someone else) find it coherent & useful. Just because you’re
being ‘scientific’ doesn’t mean that you have to be serious at
the same time.
It was the Discordians that pointed out that amidst the long
list of dualisms that occultists were fond of using, the opposites
of humour/seriousness had been left aside. Humour is
important in magick. As Janet Clif f once said, we’re too
important to take ourselves seriously. Some members of the
IOT Pact, for example, use Laughter as a form of banishing,
and of course there is nothing like laughter to deflate the
pompous, self-important occult windbags that one runs into
from time to time. IMPORTANT: rituals can be silly and no
less effective than ones when you keep a straight face. Magick
is fun - otherwise, why do it?
The way that magick is generally conceptualised changes as
general paradigm shifts in thinking occurr. Until fairly recently
(in a broad historical sense), practitioners of magick subscribed
to the ‘Spirit’ Model of Magick, which basically states that
the Otherworlds are real, and are inhabited by various
pantheons of of discrete entities - elementals, demons, angels,
goddesses, gods, etc. The task of the magician or shaman is to
develop (or inherit) a route map of the Otherworld - to know
the short-cuts, and make a few friends (or contact relatives)
over there. Having done this, they have to interact with these
spirits in a given way, to get them to execute your will. So
clergymen pray, shamans stuff sacred mushrooms into their
orifices in order to meet their ancestors, whilst demonologists
threaten entities into submission by thundering out bits of the
By the Eighteenth Century, and the rise of Science, the idea of
‘Animal Magnetism’ arose in the W est, being the first
manifestation of the ‘Energy’ Model of magick. This model
places emphasis on the presence of ‘subtle energies’ which
can be manipulated via a number of techniques. Along came
Bulwer Lytton and his idea of ‘Vril’ energy, Eliphas Levi and
the Astral Light, Mediums & ectoplasm, Westernised ‘popular’
accounts of Prana, Chakras, and Kundalini, and eventually,
Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone energy.
The next development came with the popularisation of
Psychology, mainly due to the Psychoanalytic fads of Freud,
Jung & co. During this phase, the Otherworlds became the
Innerworlds, demons were rehoused into the Unconscious
Mind, and Hidden Masters revealed as manifestations of the
‘Higher Self’. For some later exponents of this model, Tarot
cards were switched from being a magical-divinatory system
to being ‘tools’ for personal transformation, just as the gods/
goddesses came to be seen as not ‘real’ entities, but
psychological symbols or archetypes.
The current up-and-coming paradigm is the ‘Cybernetic’
model, as we swing into being an information-based culture.
This model says that the Universe, despite appearences, is
stochastic in nature. Magick is a set of techniques for rousing
a neurological storm in the brain which brings about
microscopic fluctuations in the Universe, which lead eventually
to macroscopic changes - in accordance with the magician’s
intent. See Chaos Science, the Butterfly Effect, and all that.
Another manifestation of the Cybernetic Model coming to the
fore is the new age assertion that crystals work ‘just like’
computer chips. There are signs that the Cybernetic Model
dovetails back into the spirit model, and in ‘Chaos Servitors:
A User Guide’, you will find a reasonably coherent argument
to support the idea that localised informationfields can, over
time, become self-organising to the extent that we experience
them as autonomous entities - spirits.
Each particular model has its own attractive glamour, with
exponents or opponents on either side. Many occult textbooks
contain elements of the Spirit, Ener gy, and Psychological
models quite happily. It is also worth noting that should you
ever find yourself in the position of having to ‘explain’ all this
weird stuf f to an non-af ficiando or skeptic, then the
Psychological model is probably your best bet. These days,
people who ascribe to the Spirit model, if they are not of a
Pagan or Occult persuasion themselves, tend to think that they
have an exclusive copyright over the use of Spirits! If the person
is a computer buff or Fractal phreak, then by all means go for
the ‘cyberpunk’ paradigm. Scientists only tend to accept
something if a scientific ‘rationale’ can be wheeled up to slot
it into. A good example is Acupuncture, which up until recently
was explained using the Energy Model, and poo-poohed by
the scientific establishment until someone came up with
Endorphin stimulation. Now most hospital physiotherapy
departments have a set of needles.
Whilst some magicians tend to stick to one favourite model, it
is useful to shift between them as the situation befits, as some
models have a stronger ‘explaining’ power for accounting for
some aspects of magick than others. The Spirit model, being
by far the oldest, can account for just about any aspect of
magick. The Psychological model, whilst being useful for
looking at magical as a process for personal development, has
difficulty with aspects such as tribal shamans cursing
Westerners who (a) don’t believe in magick (b) didn’t see the
shaman squinting at them yet (c) still break out in hives or
boils anyway. If you narrow yourself down to only using one
magical model, then sooner or later the Universe will present
you with something that won’t fit your parameters. When you
are spending more time defending your models, rather than
modifying them, then you know it’s time for another spot of
deconditioning ... report to Room 101.
All Hail Discordia!
The Discordian Society is, in its own words “...a tribe of
philosophers, theologians, magicians, scientists, artists, clowns,
and similar maniacs who are intrigued with ERIS GODDESS
OF CONFUSION and with Her doings.” The existence of the
Discordian Society was first popularised in Robert Anton
Wilson & Robert Shea’s blockbusting ‘Illuinatus!’ trilogy, and
also in Malaclypse The Younger’s book ‘Principia Discordia’
which sets out the basic principles of the Discordian Religion
- a religion based around the Greek Goddess, Eris.
Traditionally, Eris was a daughter of Nox (night) and the wife
of Chronus. She begat a whole bunch of Gods - Sorrow ,
Forgetfulness, Hunger, Disease, Combat, Murder, Lies - nice
kids! The ancient Greeks attributed any kind of upset or discord
to her. With the fall of the ancient empires, Eris disappeared,
though it is suspected that she had a hand in ‘manifesting’ the
first bureaucracies, triplicate forms, and insurance companies.
She didn’t put in a personal appearence again on spaceship
Gaia again until the late ‘50’s, when she appeared to two young
Californians, who later became known as Omar Ravenhurst
and Malaclypse The Y ounger . Eris appointed them the
“Keepers of the Sacred Chao” and gave them the message to:
“Tell constricted mankind that there are no rules, unless they
choose to invent rules.” After which Omar and Mal appointed
each other High Priest of his own madness, and declared
themselves each to be a Society of Discordia, whatever that
Greater Poop: Is Eris true?
Malaclypse: Everything is true.
GP: Even false things?
Mal: Even false things are true.
GP: How can that be?
Mal: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.
Eris has since climbed her way from historical footnote to
mythic mega-star, and the Discordian Movement, if such a
thing can be said to exist, is growing on both sides of the
Atlantic, helped by the Discordian tactic of declaring that
everyone is a genuine Pope. More people are getting into the
idea of a religion based on the celebration of confusion and
The central Greek myth that Eris figures prominently in is the
ever-continuing soap opera of ‘Mount Olympus - Home of
the Gods’; the episode which inadvertently brought about the
Trojan Wa r. It seems that Zeus was throwing a party and did
not want to invite Eris because of her reputation as a trouble-
maker. Infuriated by the snub, Eris fashioned a golden apple
incribed with the word Kallisti, (“to the prettiest one”) and
tossed it into the hall where all the guests were. Three of the
invited Goddesses, Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, each claimed
the apple for themselves and started fighting and throwing food
around. To settle the dispute, Zeus ordered all three to submit
to the judgement of a mortal over just who was ‘the prettiest
one’, and said mortal was Paris, son of the King of Troy. Zeus
sent all three to Paris, via Hermes, but each Goddess tried to
outwit the others by sneaking out early and offering a bribe to
Athena offered Paris victory in battle, Hera, great wealth, while
Aphrodite ‘merely loosened the clasps by which her tunic was
fastened and unknotted her girdle’, also offering Paris the most
beautiful of mortal women. So, Aphrodite got the apple, and
Paris got off with Helen, who unfortunately happened to be
married to Menelaus, King of Sparta. Thanks to the meddling
of Athena and Hera, the Trojan war followed and the rest, as
they say, is history.
Nowadays, in our more chaos-positive age, Eris has mellowed
somewhat, and modern Discordians associate her with all
intrusions of ‘weirdness’ in their lives, from synchronous to
mischevious occurences, creative flashes of inspiration, and
wild parties. She does get a little bitchy at times, but who
Discor dian Opening Ritual
by Prince Prance
1. Clap x5
2. The Erisian Cross:
“Light in my Head
Fire in my genitals
Strength at my Right side
Laughter at my Left side
Love in my Heart.”
3. Trace Spiral Pentagrams* at the 4 quarters & zenith.
4. Face East:
“Blessed Apostle Hung Mung , great Sage of Cathay, Balance
the Hodge and Podge and grant us equilibrium.”
5. Face South:
“Blessed Apostle Van Van Mojo , Doctor of Hoodoo and Vexes,
Give us the Voodoo Power and confuse our enemies.”
6. Face West:
“Blessed Apostle Sri Syadasti , patron of psychedelia, Teach
us the relative truth and blow our minds.”
7. Face North:
“Blessed Apostle Zarathud , hard-nosed hermit, Grant us the
Erisian doubt, and the constancy of Chaos.”
8. Look up (or down):
“Blessed Apostle Malaclypse , Elder Saint of Discordia, Grant
us illumination and protect us from stupidity.”
9. Look all over the place:
“Great Goddess Discor dia, Holy Mother Eris, Joy of the
Universe, Laughter of Space, Grant us Life, Light, Love and
Liberty and make the bloody magick work!”
10. “Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia.!
* For more on the Spiral Pentagrams, see the next section.
1.Hung Mung is the Discordian link to the Chinese Mysteries
and it is none other than he who devised the Sacred Chao. He
is patron of the Season of Chaos.
2.Dr. Van Van Mojo is a fellow of the Intergalactic Haitian
Guerillas for World Peace and is Patron of the Season of
3.Sri Syadasti is the Apostle of Psychedelia and the Patron of
the Season of Confusion.
4.Zarathud, a Hermit of Medieval Europe, has been dubbed
“Offender of the Faith.” He is Patron of the season of
5.Malaclypse the Elder is alleged to have been an ancient
wiseman who carried as sign bearing the legend “DUMB”
through the alleys of Rome, Baghdad, Mecca, Jerusalem, and
some other places. He is Patron of the season of Aftermath.
Spiral Pentag rams
This bit ‘explains’ the Spiral Pentagrams referred to in the
Discordian Opening Rite.
The traditional Pentagram is a very solid, geometrical figure -
I find its association with banishing to be very appropriate.
“So what”, I thought one day “would happen if I started using
a fivepointed star made up of curves?” You can see the result
of a few minutes with a compass (it took ages on the computer!)
below. Unlike the traditional pentagram, which has a pentagon
shape in its centre, this one repeats the petal formation. So
when I draw it (and they’re a bugger to draw in the air at first),
I visualise the outer petals spinning clockwise, and the inner
petals spinning anti-clockwise (no particular reason why), and
the whole figure becoming a 3-D tunnel, twisting into infinite
space. Pretty, eh?
The first time we tried them out was, appropriately enough, in
a ritual invocation of Eris, and they seemed to work very well.
They don’t keep things out, they tend to draw energies in. You
can also use them in astral projection (or in Chaospeak, ‘Virtual
Magick’) to gate through, and I’ve had them turning up
spontaenously in dreams as astral doorways. To seal them, I
reverse the spinning of the petals, and have them become ‘flat’
again, sometimes doing a normal pentagram over them just
for good measure. They seem to work well when used in a
free-form style of working, but not when used with ‘trad’
systems, such as the Lesser Key of Solomon (the entities in
there are strictly conservative in how they like being evoked, I
find). If you try out the Spiral Pentagrams by the way, I’d love
some feedback/correspondence on the subject.
With all magical techniques & rituals, it is important to
distinguish between Process and Content. One of the first
messages of the Chaos Current is that whilst Content is to
some extent arbitary, the underlying processes upon which
rituals are based is the important bit. The Discordian Opening
Ritual for example, is a variant upon the theme of Centering
(or Banishing) Rituals, wherein the aim is to place yourself at
the ‘center’ of your psychocosm, the axis mundi or null-point
from which all acts of magic proceed. Centering rituals also
act to warm you up for the main event, as it were, the entry
into a space where, for the moment, Nothing is T rue, and
Everything is Permitted. Following the main object of a
working, performing the Centering Rite again prepares you
for moving back to the sphere of common Consensus Reality.
Rites such as the standard Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram,
or the IOT’s Gnostic Banishing combine gesture, speech,
breathing and visualisation with different content, but following
the same process - identification of the 4 cardinal directions
plus the fifth point which represents union with spirit, chaos,
or Kia. Such ritual acts produce changes in the ‘atmosphere’
of the area they are worked in and with practice, these feelings
automatically come on-line whenever the rite is used, so that
the shift between everyday reality and its concerns (who’s doing
the washing-up after the ritual etc) and Magical Reality (the
purpose of the ritual for example) is clearly perceived.
Sigilisation is one of the simplest and most effective forms of
results magick used by contemporary magicians. Once you
have grasped the basic principles of sigilisation and
experimented with some of the most popular methods of
casting sigils, you can go on to experimenting with forms of
sigil magick which are unique to you.
The core Sigilisation process can be divided into six stages,
which I will explain using the acronym S.P.L.I.F.F.
S - Specify Intent
P - Pathways available?
L - Link intent to symbolic carrier
I - Intense Gnosis/Indifferent Vacuity
F - Fire
F - Forget
The first stage of the process is that you should get your magical
intent clear - as precise as possible without, at the same time,
being too overcomplicated. Vague intentions usually give rise
to vague results, and the clearer the initial statement of intent
is, the more likely you are to get accordant results. An
aquaintance of mine once did a sigil to manifest a lover, and
gave very precise details on how this paragon should look,
what kind of car he should drive, etc. Needless to say, her
‘desire’ manifested exactly as she had specified, and she
discovered too late that she had for gotten to specify
‘intelligence’ in her sigil, and was lumbered with a bore!
Generally, sigils are excellent for bringing about precise, short-
term results, which makes them excellent for works of Results
Magick - healing, habit manipulation, inspiration,
dreamcontrol, and the like. It is generally considered useful if
you ‘open’ a path for the intent to manifest along. There is a
standard magical example about working for ‘money’ that goes
along the lines of: Frater Bater does a spell for money and
waits for the multiverse to provide him with the readies. In the
following months he gains financially after the sudden deaths
of relatives, receiving industrial compensation after falling into
a combine harvester, and so on. Had he made sure that there
was a possible pathway or route for the result to come in on,
like writing a book (ha ha), writing off for a new job, or entering
a lottery, he might have had a better time of it. This is the way
magick often works, and shows that the multiverse, if nothing
else, has a slappy sense of humour.
Once you have decided upon your intent, it can then be turned
into a symbolic analogue or code - a signal on which you can
focus varying degrees of attention on, without recalling your
initial desire. The most common approaches to this are:
(a) Monogram - write out your intent, knock out all repeating
letters, and from the rest, design a glyph.
(b) Mantra - write out intent, scramble into meaningless phrase
or word, which can then be chanted.
In addition to the above, you can also use other media such as
smell, taste, colours, body language, and hand gestures.
4.Intense Gnosis/Indifferent Vacuity
Sigils can be projected into the mutliverse via an act of Gnosis
- usually, but not necessarily, within some kind of ritual/magical
context. Popular routes to Gnosis include: spinning, chanting,
dancing, visualisation, sensory overload or sensory deprivation,
and sexual arousal. The other ‘altered state’ is that of Indifferent
Vacuity - a sort of ‘not-particularlybothered’ state. An example
of sigilisation by this route is to doodle sigils whilst listening
to a talk which is boring, but you have to take notes on.
This is simply the projection of the sigil into the void or
multiverse at the ‘peak’ of Gnosis/Vacuity. Examples of this
include or gasm, reaching the point of blackout from
hyperventilation or being asked a question about the boring
talk that you were supposed to have been listening to.
Once your sigil has been fired, you’re supposed to forget the
original intent and let the Butterfly Effect or whatever take its
course. Forgetting what you just did can often be the hardest
part of the process. It’s not so bad if the intent is something
you don’t really care about (hence beginning with sigils for
things you aren’t really too fussed about is a good way to begin
experiments), but is more difficult if it’s something you really
want to happen. As long as you don’t dwell on the thoughts
when they pop up, it shouldn’t matter too much. Time for
The ever-changing tangle of desires, wishes, fears, fantasies
etc jostling around in our minds can be likened to a garden,
albeit a somewhat unruly and overgrown one; flowers, weeds,
creepers, and the occassional buried gardening rake. Going
through the sigilisation process can be likened to becoming
suddenly enthusiastic about tidying the garden up. You isolate
one plant (i.e. your intent), seperate it from the others, feed it,
water it and prune it ‘til it stands out from the rest and is clearly
visible on the landscape, and then suddenly get bored with the
whole job and go indoors to watch television. The trick is,
next time you look at the ‘garden’, not to notice the plant you
so recently lavished attention on.
If the intent gets tangled up with all the other stuff in your
head, you tend to start projecting various fantasy outcomes -
what you’ll do with the money when it comes, how will it be
with the boy/girl/anteater of your dreams, etc and the desire
will get run into all the others, thus decreasing the probability
of it manifesting in the way you want it to.
A useful attitude to have when casting sigils is that once you’ve
posted one off to the multiverse (which, like Santa, always
gets the message), then you’re sure that it’s going to work, so
that you don’t need to expend any more effort on that particular
one. Such confidence tends to arise out of having had some
success with sigils previously. The result often comes about
when the intent has become latent - that is to say , you’ve
completeley forgotten about it and given up on it coming about.
The experience is similar to trying to hitch a lift on deserted
road in the dead of night. You’ve been there for hours, it’s
pouring down with rain and you ‘know’ with an air of dread
certainty that no one’s going to stop for you now, but you stick
your thumb out anyway. What the hell, eh? Five minutes later,
you get a lift from the boy/girl/anteater of two sigils back,
driving a porsche and asking you how far you want to go.
Maddening isn’t it? But sigilisation often seems to work like
Belief - A Key to Magick
One aspect of Chaos Magick that seems to upset some people
is the Chaos Magician’s (or Chaoist, if you like) occasional
fondness for working with images culled from non-historical
sources, such as invoking H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos
beings, mapping the Rocky Horror Show onto the Tree of Life,
slamming through the astral void in an X-Wing fighter, and
‘channeling’ communications from gods that didn’t exist five
So you might see why using this sort of thing as a basis for
serious magical work raises one or two eyebrows in some
quarters. Isn’t after all, the Lovecraft stuff fiction? What about
linking in with ‘inner planes contacts’, ‘traditions’, etc - surely
you can’t do magick with something that doesn’t bear any
relation to history or mythology?
In the past, such criticisms have been raised over the subject
of magicians working with ‘fictional’ entities. In this section,
I hope to argue the case against these objections.
The first point to make is that magick requires a belief system
within which to work. The belief system is the symbolic &
linguistic construct through which the magician learns to
interpret her experiences and can range from anything between
good old traditional Qabalah to all this New Age “I-heard-it-
off-a-RedIndian-Shaman-honest” stuff that seems so popular
nowadays. It doesn’t matter which belief system you use, so
long as it turns you on. Read that again, it’ s important.
Eventually most magicians seem to develop their own magical
systems which work fine for them but are a bit mind boggling
for others to use, with Austin Osman Spare’ s Alphabet of
Desire being a good example.
A key to magical success is veracity of belief. If you want to
try something out, and can come up with a plausible
explanation as to how/why it should work, then it most likely
will. Pseudoscience or Qabbalistic gibber (or both) - it matters
not so long as the rationale you devise buffers the strength of
your belief in the idea working. I find that this happens a lot
when I try and push the limits of how I try to do some magical
action that I haven’ t tried before. Once I come up with a
plausible explanation of how it could work in theory, then of
course, I am much more confident about doing, and can often
transmit this confidence to others. If I’m 110% certain that
this rituals going to ‘bloody well work’ then its all the more
likely that it will.
You can experiment with this using the technique of belief-
shifting (Robert Anton Wilson calls it Metaprogramming), a
good example being the chakras. The popular view of chakras
is that we have seven. Okay, so meditate on your chakras,
hammer the symbolism into your head and hey presto! you’ll
start having 7Chakra experiences. Now switch to using the 5
Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar (Qabalah) as the psychic centres
in your body, and sure enough, you’ll get accordant results.
Get the idea?
Any belief system can be used as a basis for magick, so long
as you can invest belief into it. Looking back at my earlier
magical experiements, I guess that what used to be important
for me was the strong belief that the system I was using was
ancient, based on traditional formulae, etc. A belief system
can be seen as a matrix of information into which we can pour
emotional ener gy - we do as much, when we become so
engrossed in watching a play, film, or TV programme that for
a moment, it becomes real for us, and invokes appropriate
emotions. Much of what we see served up on the silver screen
is powerful mythic images & situations, repackaged for modern
tastes, which is a cue to start going on about ‘Star Trek’.
More people are familiar with the universe of Star Trek than
any of the mystery religions. It’s a fairly safe bet that more
people are going to know who Mr. Spock is, than who know
who Lugh is. The Star Trek universe has a high fantasy content,
and seemingly few points of contact with our ‘everyday’ worlds
of experience. Yet Star Trek is a modern, mythic reflection of
our psychology. The characters embody specific qualities -
Spock is logical, Sulu is a often portrayed as a martial figure,
Scotty is a ‘master builder’, and Kirk is an arbitrator, forever
seeking resolution of conflict through peaceful means. As we
“get into” the Star Trek universe, we find greater depth and
subtlety. We find that the universe has its own rules which the
characters are subject to, and is internally consistent. Each
episode, we may find that we are being given insights into the
Personal world of a key character. Like our everyday worlds,
the universe of Star Trek has a boundary beyond which is the
unknown - the future, unexplored space, the consequences of
our actions - whatever wild cards that we may be dealt. So we
watch TV, and enter, as an observer, the unfolding of a Mythic
event. We can increase this sense of participation through a
role-playing game, where group belief allows us to generate,
for a few hours at least, the semblance of the Star Trek universe,
in the comfort of your sitting room. It’ s relatively easy to
generate the Star Trek world, due to the plethora of books,
comics, videos and roleplaying supplements which are
available to support that universe.
The final proof of all that being that one of my colleagues had
to sit a computer exam, and was wracking his brains trying to
think of an appropriate god-form to invoke upon himself to
concentrate his mind on programming. Mercury? Hermes? And
then he hit on it - the most powerful mythic figure that he
knew could deal with computers was Mr . Spock! So he
proceeded to invoke Mr. Spock, by learning all he could about
Spock and going round saying “I never will understand
humans” until he was thoroughly Spock-ified. And he got an
‘A’, so there!
And so, back to the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft himself was
of the opinion that fear, particularly fear of the unknown, was
the strongest emotion attached to the Great Old Ones. The
reason why I like to work with that Mythos occasionally is
that the Great Old Ones are ‘outside’ most human mythologies,
reflecting the shadows of the Giants in Norse Myths, the pre-
Olympian Titans in Greek Myths, and other groups of universe-
builders who are thought to be too chaotic for the polite
company of the gods of the ordered universe. For me too, the
nature of the Great Old Ones as shadowy beings who can only
be partially glimpsed is attractive - they can’t be assimilated
and bound into any orthodox systems of magick and I get much
fun from working out suitable approaches for working with
them. The Great Old Ones have a very ‘primal’ nature, which
for me provides the emotional buffer for magical exploration.
Having said all that, and no doubt left you thinking “uurgh,
weird person, he likes messing round with tentacled slimies”,
I might also mention that I’ve had some interesting results
from working with a Mythic system based on (blush) C.S.
Lewis’s ‘Narnia’ books.
The interesting thing about metaprogramming is that you can
adopt a belief for a relatively short time, and then drop it again.
When practising ritual magick its generally a good idea to,
whatever you think about gods being archetypes or reflections
of bits of yourself or whatever, behave as if they were real. So
in a Cthulhu Mythos ritual, nothing will help build the
neccesary tension than the adopted belief that if you get it wrong
Cthulhu will slime you! Of course, outside the ritual you don’t
have to believe in Cthulhu and that even now a slimy paw
appears at my window...no! No! ...ahem, sorry about that.
Related to this approach is the idea that ‘Suspension of
Disbelief ’ can also be useful. To do this, take a book which
expounds an idea that you find totally crap (every magician
has their favourite ‘crap’ author) and try to see the writers
message without your inner voice hurling abuse at the page.
One of the most difficult ‘suspensions’ for fledgling magicians
is overcoming the nagging doubt that “all this stuff doesn’t
work”. Despite hours of talk and reading vast tomes by Crowley
and his cohorts, that nagging disbelief can still be heard, and
can only be really dispelled by experience - one act that shows
you that MAGICK WORKS is worth a thousand arguments.
So my conclusion is that intensity of belief is the key which
allows magical systems to work, whether they be related to
historical traditions (which are, let’s face it, very often rewritten
anyway), esoteric traditions (which have evolved down the
centuries as well) or based on fiction or TV. It’s your ability to
be emotively moved or use them as vehicles for the expression
of your will that counts. If it works for you - do it.
These exercises have been compiled from a variety of sources,
and possibly have little inherent value of themselves, though
they could be fun to try and may have far-reaching conse-
quences. One acquaintance of mine began his foray into Chaos
Magick by taking on the belief-system of being a Born-Again
Christian. He’s still a Born-Again Christian, but seems to be
1. When obtaining any magical result (including ‘failure’) al-
ways think of several explanations for it. These explanations
should contain at least one each of the following types:
i. An explanation based on the parameters of the magical sys-
tem that you have been employing.
iii. Something exceptionally silly.
2. When you have been experimenting with belief-shifting for
a while, try contemplating two which appear to be mutually
exclusive such as Christianity and Tantra, Islam and Radical
Feminism, New Age Celtic Revivals and Marxism.
3. Meditations in Menzies. Read specialist magazines that you
have no interest in, especially those written by enthusiastic
amateurs. Also read publications with oppposing views in
quick succession, such as Playboy and Spare Rib, or Andrea
Dworkin and the Marquis de Sade.
4. Do not put live toads in your mouth.
5.Everyone else in the world is a buddha except you! And
they are all waiting for you to get your act together, so get out
of bed and get going! (Buddhahood is especially manifest in
all the people you carefully avoid on the street).
6.Try being consistently wrong - make wild statements and
then, when someone pokes a hole in your argument, admit
your mistake, profusely, if necessary. You can be wrong about
the time, the day of the week, any expressed political state-
7.Gods & Gurus
Possession by an entity (God, spirit, drug etc) allows you to
do things that you would not ordinarily feel able to. So, to
some extent, does the confidence of having a Guru. Such fig-
ures provide the confidence that you can walk a tightrope with-
out falling off, play in the deep end of the swimming baths
without drowning or run around wearing orange robes and
banging a tambourine in a busy shopping centre. Sanity is ‘out
there’ rather than in your head. Most people tend to say that
they are mad ‘compared to the rest of them’ (likewise, most
people will affirm that they are stupid. Few will admit to be-
ing crap at sex though - why?). Chaos Magick allows you to
send your mad thoughts out for a night out occasionally. Con-
trary to what comes over in books, magick is a street-level
activity (gutter-level, even). Look at the zig-zag path of the
trickster as expressed by Crowley, Cagliostro, Simon Magus,
and the rest. Learn to juggle, mime, pull rabbits out of hats.
Pass the top hat and get a laugh or two. In space, no one can
hear you giggle, but chaos is nothing less than Laughing Mat-
ter. If you want to see true magick in action, watch a Marx
Brothers movie. Harpo could blow up a glove and milk it.
How the hell could he do that?
8. Chaotic Attractors Occasionally you will be sure to run into
someone who seems to attract chaos wherever they go. Obvi-
ously they have some strange and mighty power, but are often
unaware, or merely embarrased by the frequency of weirdness
that always abounds in their vicinity. Study them carefully (if
from a safe distance), and you might learn a thing or two.
9. Deconditioning As I pointed out earlier, it is relatively easy
to shift between magical beliefs and produce concordant re-
sults. This is not to say, however, that all belief-shifting is so
simple. Some levels of our attitude/belief structure are remark-
ably resiliant to conscious change. Indeed, some structures are
able to ‘resist’ change by remaining elusive and ‘invisible’ to
conscious awareness, and must be dragged, kicking, into the
painful light of self-revelation.
If I may use the analogy of beliefs as buildings (the city of
Selfs) , around the walls of which howls the wind of Kia, then
the continual process of Deconditioning may be likened to
chipping away at the towers, with the occasional ‘nuke’ pro-
vided by recourse to a powerful form of gnosis such as sexual
ecstasy , pain overload, or Albert Hof fman’ s elixir .
Deconditioning is a continual process - even as you discard
one set of limitations (in Tantra, this is known as Klesha-smash-
ing), you may find that you acquire new ones, usually uncon-
sciously. Often, belief-structures are ‘nested’ within each other,
and may have their roots in a powerful formative experience.
Timothy Leary calls this process ‘Imprint Susceptibility’, where
the imprint forms a baseline response to experience, and es-
tablishes the parameters within which any subequent learning
takes place. Leary’s 8-Circuit model of Metaprogramming can
be employed as an aid to deconditioning.
Be mindful that the Deconditioning Process is not merely an
intellectual experience. It is relatively easy to ‘intellectually
accept’ some experience or belief which you have previously
rejected or dismissed. It takes more resilience to take action
from your new position, and risk the emotional upheaval that
may result afterwards. For example, a young male magician
of my acquaintance examined his own beliefs about his sexu-
ality, and decided that he would focus upon his own distate/
fear of homoeroticism. He found that he could accept ‘intel-
lectually’ his repressed attractions to other males, and thus
thought himself liberated. He then went on to have several
homosexual encounters which he said, did not give him any
physical pleasure, but merely fed his ‘belief’ that he had sexu-
ally liberated himself. Deconditioning is rarely simple. Often
people who have had an experience of ‘Illumination’ report
that all their old repressive structures have dropped away. Tear
down a building in the city of identities and it grows back,
sometimes with a different shape. One of the effects of intense
Gnosis is the shattering of layers of belief structure, but it is
generally found that unless followup work is done, the sense
of shattered belief-structures is transitory.
You should also consider the effects this process is likely to
have on others - see Luke Rhinehart’s “The Dice Man” for an
amusing and instructive tale of one man’ s approach to
deconditioning. The Ego, a self-regulatory structure which
maintains the fiction of being a unique self, doesn’t like the
process of becoming more adaptive to experience. One of the
more subtle ‘defences’ that it throws up is the sneaking suspi-
cion (which can quickly become an obsession) is that you are
‘better’ than everyone else. In some circles, this is known as
‘Magusitis’, and it is not unknown for those afflicted to de-
clare themselves to be Maguses, Witch Queens, avatars of
Goddesses, or Spiritual Masters. If you catch yourself reffering
to everyone else as ‘the herd’, or ‘human cattle’, etc, then its
time to take another look at where you’re going. Myself, I
prefer the benefits of empathy and the ability to get on with
other people than the limitations of being a reclusive would-
be Raskalnikov dreaming of the serving slaves. While we might
echo the words of Hassan I Sabbah that “Nothing is True,
Everything is Permitted”, acting totally from this premise is
likely to bring you into conflict with those individuals and
authorities who have pretty fixed views on what isn’t permit-
ted. Thus, despite the glamour, Chaos Magicians are rarely
completely amoral. One of the basic axioms of magical phi-
losophy is that morality grows from within, once you have
begun to know the difference between what you have learned
to believe, and what you will to believe.
Some excellent pointers towards the process of Deconditioning
can be found in: Liber Null by Pete Carroll, Magick by Aleister
Crowley, and Tantra Magick, the collected grade papers of the
east-west Tantrik order, AMOOKOS.
10. Keeping A Diary Despite the glamour of Chaos Magic as
being spontaenous, do-what-you-like, smash-the-sephiroth and
loose your demons “git ‘ard” magic, it’s generally considered
that keeping a diary of experiences & magical experiments is
essential. A magical record charters your progress, failures,
experiments and insights. If after a brain-crunching ritual, you
have a flash of illumination, and don’t write it down, chances
are you’ll forget it, and that particular pearl of wisdom will be
lost forever. Morever, it’s a good discipline to get into, and I
often find that, when writing up a summary of a working, I
often recall things that haven’t previously occurred to me. It’s
also one of the few times when you don’t have to censor your
thoughts, though names may have to be changed to protect the
privacy of other participants.
This booklet has been an attempt to put over some of the basic
ideas behind Chaos Magick. What you should bear in mind
when reading it is that you’re getting my ideas on the subject -
strained through my experiences and the zig-zag trail I’ve
blazed through the weird world of magick. There are no ‘de-
finitive’ books on the Chaos approach. No time-laden glam-
our of ‘tradition’ into which the fledgling magician may step
with safety, and absolve himself of responsibility for being
creative and innovative. The demand of Chaos Magick is that
you weave your own path of development, rather than follow-
ing someone else’s - and how you weave that path is largely
left up to you.
Where is Chaos Magick going? There is no discernable, dis-
tinct path that is going ‘somewhere’ - no golden bliss of illu-
mination or stated goal tied into the approach. The end-point,
if indeed there is such, is for you to decide and discover. Crit-
ics of the Chaos approach (both outside and within the cor-
pus) have highlighted a tendency towards ‘playing with
magick’ - trying out different magical systems with the same
blitheness that we might try different flavours of ice cream.
Some practitioners try out different rituals and techniques with-
out any deeper understanding of how these experiences fit to-
gether. Because there is no laiddown ‘path’, one might then
think that there is no path, but again, this is for each of us to
decide. Chaos Magick reflects much of modern western cul-
ture, with its emphasis on a multiplicity of ever-changing styles,
of diffuse fragments blending in with each other, without a
discernable ‘thread’ to bind them together.
But it is down to each of us to find our individual sense of
connectiveness. To throw up a semblance of order from what
Austin Osman Spare called, ‘the chaos of the normal’. The
term ‘Gnosis’ also means, ‘knowledge of the heart’ - that which
can only come from personal insight and experience, and very
often, is difficult to communicate to another, other than in an
oblique form. Chaos Magic is merely an all-embracing ap-
proach to Gnosis, which encourages each individual to be-
come responsible for their own development - what you do,
and how you interpret it in the light of your own experience.
I’m occassionally asked by people ‘what do you have to do’ to
become a Chaos Magician. There really isn’t an answer to this.
You could, for example, practice Qabalah (and exclusively
Qabalah) for ten years, and thus consider yourself a Chaos
Magician - if you wanted to. Above all, don’t confuse opinion
with dogma, or glamour for commitment - but that’s only my
Phil Hine, March 1992.
The following essays are appended as sources of interest &
inspiration for readers who are interested in reading more
about someone else’s approach to Chaos Magick, and most
definitely not to pad out an otherwise slim volume. Most have
appeared in Nox magazine or somewhere else, so if you’ve
seen ‘em before, go and watch a video or something.
“If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops
& does nought.”
I lay possessed by a demon. Obsession. Twisted by talons;
self-love & hatred knotting my guts. Howling frustration into
the night, the broken dream heaped around my bed.
A shaft of light burns through the brooding darkness; my cloak
of night, my self-sewn shroud. Knowledge. Insight. W ild
laughter . A strange way into gnosis. A self-wounding,
stretching back into my personal time. I crawl into my centre,
my circle, and with my pen etch a triangle. And force the
monster into it, and unloosen the skeins of form; moments of
weakness, wanting and waiting, desire ignited by imagination.
Manufacturing my own junk, my own addiction.
If this is wading through “qlipothic muck” then so be it. But
out of this muck I wove a conversation, a story with no chance
of a happy ending. A story which clouded my will, which
blurred my eye. I made this monster; a golem born of my own
longings & shortcomings, and now I will take it apart, piece
by piece, draining the pus from knotted passions. We are but
knots in a cord. Untie them and we slip easily across the aeons
into nebulous dreams.
We are bound by our own past, bound to repeat patterns;
programs written long ago. Flowcharted in an infant’s crabbed
hand; meshed like kitten-pulled wool; a language of critical
moments in our personal histories. Years later, a gap opens in
the world, and creatures of free will and freedom that we think
we are, our sudden vunerability surprises us. Caught off guard
we pause, and in that silence, ancient-innocent fingers deep
within us pluck at strings, so that we jerk awkwardly in the
grip of self-spawned monsters of th mind - obsessions.
The more value that we place on upholding a particular
emotional pattern, the more likely it is that all ambiguous
signals will be perceived as supporting it. Evidence which
counters it will most likely be overlooked or rationalised into
a more malleable form. Conflict arises when dissonance occurrs
between desires and existing mental constructs (have you ever
feared the strength of your own desires?). To cope with such
conflicts, a variety of Defence Mechanism can be adopted:
A typical response to frustrated desire and loss of control; loss
of devouring dreams. We can direct it at the source of our
frustration, or direct it onto others.
Loss of control - loss of face and self-worth. The machine
Adult, who me? A return to a child-like mien. Cry hard enough
and someone will come and comfort us. Perhaps we have learnt
that through tears, we can control others.
In other words, putting a brave face on it. Re-directing the
energy into a more acceptable form. But demons are cunning.
Kick them down the front stairs and they will come sneaking
round the back, waiting with spider calm until you leave the
door of your mind ajar.
Displacing feelings with words. A quick lie for the aesthetic
becomes a fast buck for the lay analyst. Such strategies are
normal; that is until they become obsessive: a locked-up loop
automatic as breathing. Out of control.
Fantasy is the cornerstone of obsession, where imagination is
trussed up like a battery-farmed chicken; catharsis eventually
becomes catastrophic. W alter Mitty lives in all of us, in
varyingly-sized corners. We use “starter” fantasies to weave
meaning into a new situation, “maintainer” fantasies to prop
up a boring task, and “stopper” fantasies to persuade ourselves
that it’s better not to ...
A fantasy has tremendous power, and in a period of high anxiety
we can imagine a thousand outcomes, good and bad (but mostly
good) of what the dreaded/hoped for moment will bring us.
The fantasy exists in a continual tension between the desire to
fulfill it, and the desire to maintain it - to keep from losing it.
Of course, any move to real-ise it threatens its existence. A
closed loop is is the result, shored up by our favourite defence
mechanisms, whipped on by fear of failure and lust of result.
The obsession clouds all reason, impairs the ability to act,
makes anything secondary to it seem unimportant. It’s a double-
bind tug o’war. The desire to maintain the fantasy may be
stronger than the desire to make it real.
In classical occult terms I am describing a thought-form, a
monster bred from the darker reccesses of mind, fed by psychic
energy, clothed in imagination and nurtured by umbilical cords
which twist through years of growth. we all have our personal
Tunnels of Set; set in our ways through habit and patterns piling
on top of each other. The thought-form rides us like a monkey;
it’s tail wrapped firmly about the spine of a self lost to us years
ago; an earlier version threshing blindly in a moment of fear,
pain, or desire.
Thus we are formed; and in a moment of loss we feel the
monster’s hot breath against our backs, it’s claws digging into
muscle and flesh. we dance to the pull of strings that were
woven years ago, and in a lightning flash of insight, or better
yet, the gentle admonitions of a friend, we may see the lie; the
program. it is first necessary to see that there is a program. To
say perhaps, this creature is mine, but not wholly me. What
follows then is that the prey becomes the hunter, pulling apart
the obsession, naming its parts, searching for fragments of
understanding in its entrails. Shrinking it, devouring it, peeling
the layers of onion-skin.
This is in itself a magick as powerful as any sorcery. Unbinding
the knots that we have tied and tangled; sorting out the threads
of experience and colour-coding the chains of chance. It may
leave us freer, more able to act effectively and less likely to
repeat old mistakes. The thing has a chinese puzzle-like nature.
We can perceive only the present, and it requires intense sifting
through memory to see the scaffolding beneath.
The grip of obsession upon us has three components:
Cognitive - our thoughts & feelings in relation to the situation.
These must be ruthlessly analysed and cut down by vipasana,
banishing, or some similar strategy.
Physiological - anxiety responses of heart rate, muscle tone
and blood pressure. The body must be stilled by relaxation
Behavioural - what we must do (or more often, don’t do). often,
our obsessive behaviour is entirely inappropriate and
potentially damaging to others. Usually it does take other
people to point this out. Analytic techniques such as I Ching
or Tarot may prove useful here.
The wrath of the monster left me gasping and breathless, feeling
trapped. All paths littered with broken glass. Desperation drove
me to a friend. There is magick enough in reaching out to ask
another for help. An I Ching reading suggested action and
nonaction, negating the momentary trap of self-doubt.
Pranayama banished the physical tension (well, most of it).
The monster shrank and skittered on spindly legs through years
of frozen memories, dissolving finally into a heap of mirrored
Clues; I’m still fitting them together, but the pictures they hint
at aren’t frightening any more.
The Babblogue: A deliberate derangement of the senses -
orchestrating a personal cacaphony; a descent into the depths
of the subconscious, to confront and bind the “lurkers” within.
This essay is a short account of a personal exploration of the
“demons” of my own psyche. rather than relying on existing
approaches, for the reasons given below, I preferred to develop
a purely personal approach. I give this account not to foist this
particular approach onto others, but in the hope that it will
assist those who also experimenting with different techniques.
Nor do I wish to criticise or invalidate the traditional systems
of goetic magic, merely to say that they are not for me.
This work began fairly innocuously, with the compilation of a
“black book” - a dissection of self - in terms of habits,
shortcomings, faults, hopes, ideals, all that I was, that I wished
to be, or rejected. Likes, dislikes, attractions and revulsions.
Then on to self-portraits - written in the third person - positive,
neutral, negative portrayals. A CV; an obituary. To this was
added a “Book of blunders” - every mistake or embarrasing
memory that could be dredged up, cuttings from school reports,
photographs and letters that brought back painful memories.
Choice extracts from this catalogue were read onto tapes, then
the tapes scrambled together to form cut-up sequences. A
deliberate attempt at psychic surgery this, smashing the vessel
to remould it.
Then to the mundane arrangements. Seclusion from others, as
of old a necessity, that one’s demons do not derange the unwary,
and more practically, that one is not chanced upon, mistaken
for a psychotic and incarcerated in some asylum.
As for food, I decided to rely on simple, nutritious fare,
sustaining and easy to prepare, with a stack of pot noodles as
chemical aids. Drugs? Who needs them? Still, a selection of
natural substances can aid things along.
The temple: black, windowless, unadorned but not uncluttered!
Around its confines I heaped all kinds of junk. Sheets of
hardboard, a bucket of clay, bottles, broken radio sets, rubbish
from a building skip, paints, tools, a spray-gun, everything I
could possibly need, plus a few more things besides.
Bringing forth the Dweller Within: Legion is it’s name.
I was preparing for a descent into the labyrinth, to make known
the “Forgotten Ones”, with only the thinnest of cords with
which to map the maze. Why risk insanity in such a way? This
is the inner journey, the whale’s belly, the feast of the ravening
ones. Why go alone, without the security of tried and tested
rituals and banishings? Well I don’t trust those old books, those
mad monks with their Necronomicons and blasphemous sigils.
What price this forbidden knowledge? About £4.50 in
paperback actually. Ridiculous! So I set forth to compile a living
grimoire. A product of the technocratic aeon, I use its debris
to mould my dreams. “The Howling” - the hiss, roar, and static
screams of radios tuned to dead channels.
To the work then; some loose structure being required (or so I
thought), I devised a hierarchy based on the work of
psychologist Abraham Maslow, that ranged from “survival”
demons - hunger, thirst etc, “Ego” demons - self-esteem, self-
image etc, and more abstract conceptions such as the hunger
for knowledge or wisdom. The deeper the level of hierarchy,
the more primal the desires.
The techniques: flooding and vomiting (eating and excreting)
- to flood awareness with specific images, to bring forth (evoke)
the demon, giving it form, “flesh”, and eventually a name or a
sigil. The scrambled personality tapes were to act as auditory
sigils - storms of emotions whipped up by intensive
remembering (replaying) sets of memories. Letting the hyenas
of cynicism loose on a cherished idela or goal.
The means of Gnosis: sensory overload, hyperventilation, old
favourites such as hunger, thirst, exhaustion. 120 hours without
sleep produces a fine paranoic “edge” to consciousness.
Cohering the images: using fingerpainting, moulding clay
mixed with body fluids and excreta, sculpture using broken
glass; and the more usual methods - sigils, auto-writing, taking
a line for a walk.
These are the means by which the Forgotten Ones take shape.
These “psychographs” accumulate in corners of the temple,
giving it the clutter of an Austin Spare print.
Alas, these psychographs fall far short of the images and visions
that flicker around me. “Another pile of shit for the ledger?” I
scream, and take a hammer to them, only o collapse exhausted
and retching on the temple floor. The red lines of the yantra-
circuit on the floor seem at that moment to be particularly
mocking and indif ferent to my ef forts. There is a kind of
“wrenching” feeling in my head, the snap of vertebrae being
twisted, a helpless animal having its neck wrung, and I begin
to howl the names which erupt from my throat:
ZZZNNNAAAAAAA SHKAAA GNAAAAA IIAAAA
And the jackals rush in to feed, and I laughed when I saw them
‘cos they all wore my face.
I came back from that moment with a kind of calm detachment,
“emptied” momentarily of any further feeling. I walked around
the temple, as if seeing the debris for the first time. Sifting
carefully through the mess, examining each half-finished piece
of work, as though it wasn’t anything to do with me. Some
pieces i was able to give names to: “You are Uul - the fear of
failure, you are Hamal - guilt not yet erased”. These names,
and their sigils formed the basis for an alphabet of binding.
The second half of this operation consisted of experimentation
with the resulting alphabet - binding the demons into magical
weapons for later use. When the initial phase was over, I slept
for about eighteen hours, and awoke clear of the frenetic
delirium which had been built up. Over the next six months or
so, I experienced periodic bouts of depression, paranoia or
self-loathing. When such feelings did occurr , use of the
apropriate sigils and names banished these demons back to
Most forms of magical exercise to produce an Altered State of
Consciousness (ASC) can be categorised into one of two forms
of physiological Gnosis; Inhibitory or Excitatory. Over the past
two decades, many of these techniques have been studied in
laboratory conditions, and two important factors has been
isolated, known, respectively , as the Habituation, and the
The Habituation response explains the neurological processes
which occurr when an individual focuses upon a single input,
to the exclusion of as many others as possible. Thus any
technique which focuses awareness towards one-pointedness,
such as mantrayoga, breath control, chanting, spinning or
dancing, serves to direct awareness towards a chosen focal
point. This has a particular effect on a region of the Brain Stem
known as the Reticular Formation. The Reticular Formation
is a kind of censorship system - “deciding” which sensory input
will be passed on to the higher centres. For example, it is the
action of the Reticular Formation that allows a sleeping person
to not be awakened by familiar noises, but will allow a “new”
noise to wake them up.
As it is the Reticular Formation which modulates the perceptual
experience of the cerebral cortex, then a single, unchanging
input serves to “dampen” the activity of the Reticular
Formation. This, in turn, inhibits the activity of the cerebral
cortex, thus focusing consciousness towards the subject of
concentration. As a consequence of this cortical dampening, a
“high degree of neural coherence” as postulated by Karl
Pribram does seem to occurr . One hypothesis is that the
quiescence produced in the brain by the habituation response
reduces the amount of brain “noise”, that is, incoherent neural
signals. Patterns which are ordinarily, indistinct from each
other, become clear in consciousness, so that we are more aware
of the world around us, and can percieve subtler aspects of
experience. Thus, the more ordered and cohesive neurological
activity across the cortex becomes, the more we are aware of a
wider totality of experience.
Conversely, the more the cerebral cortex is over-stimulated,
the more noise is generated in the neural patterns, so our
awareness of our environment is reduced.
However , some magical exercises do not seek to focus
awareness towards a single point, but to enhance awareness
until the individual is constantly aware of the total field of
experience - both inner and outer . Examples of this are
Vipasana in Tantrika, Attention in Zen, or Gurdjieff ’s technique
of Self-Remembering. Research into these exercises indicate
that advanced practitioners do not become habituated to
background noises, and that they retain full awareness of
automatic actions. Such techniques are generally known as
Metanoia - learning to look at the world in different ways. It
seems that the changes in neural patterning produced by these
processes serve to “dishabituate” the Reticular Formation’s
reaction to stimuli. Thus, after a session of meditation, the
world appears to be brighter or newer, because the rate of neural
pulses which is the basis of conscious experience has been
first dampened, then re-stimulated, so that they are “firing” at
a faster rate than normal.
Physicist David Bohm believes that if we can at least begin to
concieve of a Holistic, rather than fragmented universe, then
our minds would begin to move in a similar way, and from
this would flow “an ordered action” towards the whole. This
is certainly the case, in my experience, of learning by
experience that we live in a MAGICAL universe.
Of Madness and Mystic Journeys
The work of anti-psychiatrists such as David Cooper and R.D.
Laing has popularised the view that the complex syndrome
known as schizophrenia is similar, in many ways to a mystic
journey, with close links to the inner journeys undertaken by
shamans and heroes in cultural myths worldwide. However,
one point is very clear, that while the shaman or initiate is the
active agent - the fearless one - this is rarely true of the
individual in the throes of schizophrenia.
Like the descending ‘initiate’, schizophrenics often report
feelings of a loss of agency over their environment, loss of
ego boundary, and a sense of somehow being “different” or
set apart in some way. Many cannot, it seems, sort out what is
meaningful stimuli in their environment, and report feelings
of being overwhelmed by what is happening around them.
There is a wide range of speculative theories regarding the
‘causes’ of schizophrenia, ranging from a purely genetic to a
purely environmentalist perspective.
From the neurological perspective, a form of therapy known
as Sensory Integration has led to some interesting speculation
about the nature of trancedental experience. research in the
last decade has indicated that some of the problems that
schizophrenics experience, relate to the process of information
selection: sorting out which input is important. This is due to
the abnormal functioning of a region of the brain stem known
as the Vestibular Nuclei, which is again, related to the Reticular
Formation. The Vestibular Nuclei integrates information from
the different senses, and so if there is a problem at this level of
sub-cortical processing, it will manifest as “confusion” of one
sort or another at the conscious level of awareness. The
neurological defecit could be due to genetic anomalies, leading
to atypical brain development, or due to stress reactions.
Activity at the subcortical level, that guides the information
that becomes the content of conscious experience, is thought
by some neuroscientists to be the key to ASCs. Some have
postulated that such experiences may be programmed at the
genetic level, but that individual experiences determine
whether or not the program manifests as an evolutionary
experience (leading to enhanced survival capacity) or a
“Illumination ... the inspiration, enlightenment and liberation
resulting from success with these [Gnosis] methods.”
Pete Carroll, Liber Null
Illumination is the much-desired goal for which many
thousands of people worldwide, have employed dif ferent
pyschotechnologies, and developed their own psychocosms.
Illumination has also been linked with the use of LSD & similar
drugs, and perhaps most mysteriously of all, it can occurr
seemingly spontaenously, to people who have no knowledge
or expectation of it.
What characterises an experience of illumination? Nona
Coxhead, a researcher into “Bliss states” lists some of the
prevalent factors as:
1. unity - a fading of the self-other divide
2. transcendence of space & time as barriers to experience
3. positive sensations
4. a sense of the numinous
5. a sense of certitude - the “realness” of the experience
6. paradoxical insights
7. transcience - the experience does not last
8. resultant change in attitude and behaviour.
In neurological terms, such experiences represent a
reorganising of activity in the brain as a whole system. The
loss of ego boundary and involvement of all senses suggests
that the Reticular Formation is being influenced so that the
brain processes which normally convey a sense of being rooted
in spacetime are momentarily inhibited. The “floating”
sensation often associated with astral projection and other such
phenomena suggests that the Limbic system of the brain stem
(which processes proprioceptive information about the body’s
location in space) is also acting in an unusual mode.
What are the fruits of this experience - the insights, perceptions
and messages brought back down to earth by the illuminate?
Evolution of consciousness, by such means, could well be an
important survival program - a way of going beyond the
information given - a way of learning how to modify the human
biosystem via the environment. Ilya Prigognine’s theory of
“dissipative structures” shows how the very instability of open
systems allows them to be self-transforming. The basis of this
idea is that the movement of energy through a system causes
fluctuations within it. These fluctuations, if they reach a critical
level (i.e. a catastrophe cusp point) develop novel interactions,
until a new whole is produced. The system then reorganises
itself into a new “higher order” which is more integrated than
the previous system, and requires a greater amount of energy
to maintain itself, and is further disposed to future
transformation. This can equally apply to neurological
evolution, using a psychtechnology (ancient or modern) as the
tool for change. The core stages of the process appear to be:
5. predisposition to further change.
The Conditioned Reflex
As the research of the new Chaos Sciences begins to eat away
at the solid foundations of post-Newtonian reality , so all
disciplines based on that world-view must eventually be
reconsidered. Revolutions in the sciences are beginning to
occurr, as the shift in emphasis from a reductionist to an
integrationist perpective gathers momentum. There is also a
growing awareness of a revolution in consciousness occurring.
The fragmentation of western culture shows how clearly
“divide and rule” operates in all aspects of our experience.
Our culture is profoundly egocentric - the terrestrial behaviour
of tool-wielding apes. The “we superior-you inferior”
behaviour loop has dominated our cultural relations with both
ourselves and other planetary species, and is also at the root of
notions such as free will or spirituality.
At the turn of the century, the shift from religion to science as
the dominant ethos for defining reality exposed the fact that
us apes required an ontonological dimension of action, to
remain secure in a world increasingly percieved as hostile.
The space left by the declining power of religion was quickly
filled the the cults of the psyche - psychoanalysis, and various
mystical/magical cults. These provided a comfortable rationale
for the evolving Middle Classes. Enlightenment was captured
into being another source of demonstrating status over one’s
neighbours. This attitude has become increasingly prevalent
over recent decades. A magick which is acceptable to mass
culture loses its transformative power, becoming a support to
the status quo. By all means explore your “inner worlds”, but
don’t rock the boat. Evolution is sacrificed to security. In a
world of caterpillers, the butterfly is a dangerous enemy of the
way things are.
The concept of the Ego, having arisen from the psychoanalytic
cults, and firmly embedded into the total field of experience,
serves to maintain the mind-body seperation which is so fixed
in our experience. Much of New Age so-called thinking appears
to be concerned with removing or transcending the ego - behind
which, it is implied, is a Higher Self. The fiction of Higher-
Lower Self maintains the divide between ‘spirituality’ and
everyday experience. Personally, I prefer the idea that we are
each a multiplicity of selves, or, as Tantra has it, a squirming
ball of Shaktis (desire-comlexes) interacting (but not all at
once) with Shiva (or Kia), the divine spark of consciousness.
Another useful concept is that of, rather than ‘overcoming’
the Ego, shifting from a condition of Ego-centredness, to that
of Exo-centredness. In the former, the self is maintained by
rejecting all that it is not, of being seperate to others. For the
latter, the self is constantly renewed (and modified) through a
process of engagement with others.
As shown above, the varied practices of a psychotechnology
such as magic produce various changes to the nervous system
- the basis of ASCs and accelerated learning. One of the most
ancient (and contraversial) means of inducing these states is
via the use of drugs. The use, by “primitive” cultures, of agents
such as Mescaline or Peyote has long been a matter of interest
for cultural sciences, yet the rise of drug culture in the west
met the repression and criminalisation. Drugs which
historically, have been controlled by Societies’ power holders
are sanctioned tobacco, alchohol, barbituates;the consumer-
It would be naive to understate the influence of drugs in Western
magick, yet there is much moralising done on the subject, and
an insistence that ASCs gained via drugs are not as valid as
other routes. Research into the use (and abuse) of psychotropic
agents indicates that users experience the same ef fects as
Illumination brought on by other techniques. However , an
American researcher, W.N. Pankhe notes that the hardest work
may come after the experience, in the effort to integrate it with
everyday life. W itness, for example, the number of Acid
casualties who end up as Born-Again Christians. LSD was,
after all, investigated by the CIA in the ’50s as a possible
‘brainwashing’ agent. If you want to look at some of the modern
research into Illumination with Psychotropics, check out the
work of Stanislav Grof.
Thundersqueak - Angerford & Lea
The Book of Lies - Aleister Crowley
Liber Null & Psychonaut,
Liber Kaos - Pete Carroll
The Book of Results - Ray Sherwin
Cosmic Trigger - Robert Anton Wilson
Illuminatus! - Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea
Principia Discordia - Malaclypse the Younger
The Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Carroll
The Book of Pleasur - Austin Osman Sparee
Liber Cyber - Charlie Brewster
Metamagical Themas - D. R. Hofstadter
Tantra Magick - Mandrake of Oxford
IMPRO - Keith Johnstone
Practical Sigil Magick
Secrets of the German Sex-Magicians - Fra. U.D.
Chaos Servitors: A User Guide - Phil Hine
The Spirit of Shamanism - Roger Walsh
Escape Attempts - Stan Cohen & Laurie Taylor
Chaos - James Gleick
SSOTBME - Ramsay Dukes
Azoetia - Andrew D. Chumbley
Stealing the Fire from Heaven - Stephen Mace
By the same author:
Available from Chaos International Publications
BM Sorcery, London WC1N 3XX, UK. Price $20 including
postage (send cash, I.M.O. or cheque drawn on UK bank
Available from New Falcon Publications, 1739 East Broadway
Rd, Suite 1-277, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA.
THE PSEUDONOMICON (2nd, revised edn) available from
Dagon Productions, PO Box 17995, Irvine, CA 92713, USA.
A selection of essays by Phil Hine (and others) can be found at:
Chaos Matrix - http://www.sonic.net/~fenwick/
Contact Phil Hine at:
London WC1N 3XX, UK
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