August 27, 2010 § 2 Comments
Citizens of the internet, I have a confession to make: I didn’t actually know very much about Chaos magick until this morning.
I’m not kidding! I had heard it referenced a few times on Satanist forums or other occult sites, but I had never given it much thought until a friend (same friend I took to the awful Christian psychic) brought it up. I realized I only had a vague idea of what chaos magick might be. I assumed it involved disorder on some level, and from what I had heard involved less dogma than some of the other magickal disciplines.
Well, I had that somewhat right. After a few hours of pouring over what I could find on chaos magick online, I discovered a few things:
- Chaos magick was formed in England in the 1970’s when Peter J. Carrol and Ray Sherwin met to form the Illuminates of Thanateros, a chaos magick organization
- Chaos magick does not require that it’s practitioners believe in any particular deity or prescribe to any particular religion, it actually requires that the practitioners use belief as a tool to make their magic work (more on this later in the post)
- Despite the lack of enforced structure in chaos magick practices, most chaos magicians use sigils (as inspired by Austin Osman Spare, an artist and mystic who worked briefly with Crowley)
- One of the goals of Chaos magick is to achieve a gnostic state, which can be either inhibitory gnosis, a deep meditative state brought on by extreme concentration and a clear mind, or excitatory gnosis, brought on by an arousal of the senses through drumming, chanting, sensory overload or other means.
- The symbol used to represent Chaos Magick is the “Chaosphere” or “Chaos star” inspired by Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion Stories
I will admit I’m a bit enamored with chaos magick right now – maybe I’m just in the honeymoon phase, because I’m still researching and finding new things I like about it. Either way, I’m fond of it’s basic tenets. The idea of using belief as a tool resonated very strongly with me. I’m of the belief (oh the irony) that belief is the sole driving force behind any magickal phenomenon. If you don’t believe it, it just won’t work.
The idea that a person could manipulate their own beliefs in a systematic, pragmatic way to achieve an end is truly inspiring to me. This article seems to sum it up eloquently, and even provides a step-by-step process: http://iota.goetia.net/article/alchemy.php. In the article, Frater Alloy essentially recommends the subject write down a few possible paths of practice (e.g. Buddhism, Yoga, Wiccan, Shamanism etc) throw them in a box, pick one out at random and then fully immerse him/herself in that practice for a number of months until the subject truly believes in the practice. *Then* the subject performs the “faithcracker” which essentially breaks the subject of their belief in that practice so they can move on to another.
I’m tempted to try it. It seems like it would be an exceptionally good way to practice self-hypnosis, and at the very least would force me to better understand a practice I’m not yet familiar with (which would be most things, thus far I’ve only dabbled).
I’ll be posting about Chaos magick again soon, I can tell you that much. I acquired a pdf copy of Ray Sherwin’s “The Theatre of Magick” – when I went to start reading it, the introduction insisted the book be read in one sitting at midnight. I’m going to go along with it and try to read the book at midnight tonight, so I’ll write up something about that at a later date.
More to come soon, including updates from my list of goals (Reiki, Druidry, and Crowley).
Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est,