Chaos Magick

Git ‘ard magick.


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From: utu.potiki[at]sfnet[dot]com
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 93 07:36:52
To: chaos_m[at]tatertot[dot]com

Hello, Chaos Magick Mailing List folks. This is a test transmission, a first step in imminanentizing an electronic eschaton, if you will.

I think that a good place to start would be with one of the most basic concepts of Chaos Magick, and I’ve arbitrarily chosen the state of gnosis. What is it, how does one achieve it, and how does it function in the Great Work of Chaos (aka Choyofaque)?

Gnosis is loosely defined as a break in, or overwhelming of, the parts of the mind involved in rational function, and thus a temporary paralyzation of the psychic censor. There are about as many ways of achieving this “state” as there are people to achieve it; the most readily available, however, are such things as sex, drugs, physical exhaustion, hyperventilation, and spinning (like a dervish or Sufi might do). Basically, any activity that throws the mind into a state of total confusion (think for a moment of the mental breakdown engendered by a powerful orgasm) can be useful in achieving gnosis; my own favourite twist of late has been burial, which I’ve used to great success especially in the charging of a fetish and also a chod-type divination.

As far as how gnosis functions, I think that what’s going on in the Gnbostic State is that, by throwing the mind into such a state of confusion and overwhelming the psychic censor, one literally achieves a sort of union of all opposites. In other words, the boundary that seperates the “inner void” from the “outter” falls away, and the magickian opens hirself to a realm of infiniter variables. Rituals, spells, and the like, simply provide a pre-set delineation of which variables will be manipulated into the desired manifestation; one could think of it as a blueprint for potential.

I’d like to talk more about this and get some other viewpoints on all three of these aspects of the nature and function of gnosis, especially in terms of some of the ways fellow Chaotes are generating it.

Chaos is Freedom; Freedom is Life; Just Do It
Sri Palindrome.151

Systems, metabelief, chaos

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Subject: [AX-Le] Re: Systems, Metabelief, Chaos
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 23:27:40 -0000
From: “Eddie Garou” < E[at]Winternacht[dot]com >
To: autonomatrix

— In autonomatrix@y…, Scott Frost wrote:

<< The “system” is true/real, the specifics are adjustable. Truths exist; afterall nothing is true, everything is permitted. >>

But think about that for a moment. Truths exist and nothing is true.

From a magickal/philosophical standpoint, this is indeed the case. But we’re dealing with the human mind here. The human mind does not deal well with contradiction. This has been demonstrated over and over again. As much as we like to pride ourselves as Chaotes that we are able to deal with contradiction, the mind still needs to find a way to resolve them, even on a subconscious level.

Think about the way Chaotes think. We train ourselves and our minds to drop whatever it was we believed in and embrace “Nothing is True. All is permitted”. Then, working with the mechanics of meta-belief, we have to train ourselves to embrace a different paradigm. However, we already believe that “Nothing is true”. So now the mind, on a subconscious level, needs to make a decision: Is this system true and “Nothing is true” false? Or is the system false and “Nothing is true” true?

I believe that this mental contradiction can act as a very potent barrier in trying to work the mechanics of meta-belief. The term “Nothing is True” can be a very nasty demon lurking around in the mind and nullifying whatever paradigm we might choose to work with.

I’ve actually observed this problem on a number of occasions and have compared this problem with magickal systems in which the participants had no “seed of doubt” or “Nothing is True” contradiction.

Looking at Santaria, I’ve seen their practitioners produce amazing results. The results are consistent, reliable and generally replicable. Those who practice their path have no doubt in what they believe in. Their belief is absolute, complete and without exception.

But I’ve also seen people who operate from the “Nothing is True” perspective try to replicate the effects of Santaria through the identical practices. Their results have been poor at best.

So why is there a difference? If we’re working from a Chaos perspective, then we certainly can’t claim that it’s due to one group being properly initiated into Santaria and the other group not. “Nothing is True”, so initiation shouldn’t matter. The same Gnosis is being generated in both cases. The rituals and symbols are also the same, so it can’t be technique. Therefore, I would only conclude that it is probably due to mental acceptance of the paradigm.

Now I’m certainly not saying that we should abandon the idea behind “Nothing is True. All is Permitted”. I just think that we need to be a little more savvy about how we present this to ourselves to maximize our use of meta-beliefs.

Just my own thoughts on the subject. :-)


Chaos vs. Thelema

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Inspired, no doubt foolishly, by a new moon and the Cramps’ Psychedelic Jungle”, I have decided to enter the Thelema vs Chaos debate. This is of course an impossible task, which is no doubt why it appeals to me.

Firstly, what is it that distinguishes Thelma from Chaos? In Starfire, Mick Staley attempts to distinguish Thelema from Crowleyanity. Thelema he suggested pre-existed Crowley`s formulation of it. This immediately causes problems, since for the majority of magicians, Crowley = Thelema. But if it can be accepted that there is a something which exists independently of Crowley`s writings, then it must be this something (Thelema) which is to be contrasted with Chaos Magick. The core of this something, I suggest, is the Will. Is this idea of the Will in any way opposed to Chaos?

What is Chaos then?

For the purposes of this argument I will interpret Chaos as follows: that the familiar world of everyday experience has its roots in Chaos. So that any attempt to understand the world via reason reaches a boundary, on the other side of which lies Chaos, a state of existence/non-existence which cannot be understood by the rational ego. However, through the techniques of ritual, that state can be manifest in the everyday world, suspending the accepted “laws” of common sense and allowing magick to occur. Furthermore, perhaps as a result of the practice Chaos magick, the idea of Chaos is slowly entering the popular imagination via science. This refutes classical science, which is based on the belief that if the structure of the physical world could be sufficiently precisely modelled in a mathematical form, it would be possible to predict the future state of various systems (wheather, for example) which make up the physical world.

However, it is now grudgingly admitted that this would require a precision of measurement which it is impossible to achieve. Engineers have long since had to accept this uncertainty – that all measurement is limited by the accuracy of the measuring device. Absolute precision is an impossible goal. There is always a degree of uncertainty, an instability, and by focusing the Will upon this either/or region, the magician can exert an influence upon the world at this level, which when it occurs, can produce the Willed outcome.

To the extent that Chaos is a form of magick, ie. it seeks to exert an influence upon the world of erveryday consciousness, it must involve the Will. Otherwise it would be closer to a form of mysticism, that is the attempt to “go with the flow” of the experienced world without seeking to influence the direction of that flow. In this form, Chaos is closer to a “higher form of order”, that is that the apparent random or chance events of one`s experience of existence are in fact the result of some greater existence than that of the individual. And that by disengaging the desires of the ego-self, one can experience this greater existence, interpreting the obstacles and blows of everyday existence as a stimulus to the development of a “Stoic” consciousness, which will enable the self to eventually swimm freely as a fish in the river of the Tao, or Chaos.

The idea which this is based on tends to be that of the hermit, the forest sage of Hinduism, the solitary adept of High Magick. No doubt if it was possible in this present age, one could experience such an existence if one could remove the self from the rest of human existence. But such a model is no longer valid, since the growth of human consciousness is such that there is no virgin wilderness left in which to undertake such a quest. We are forced to contend with the results of the human desire for knowledge, power, control and security.

This is perhaps the crucial difference between Chaos magick and Thelema. Thelema, as developed by Crowley into a form suitable for the 20th century, contains a whole heritage of experience and practice which reaches back through the Golden Dawn through hermeticism to Egypt and Sumeria, which in turn drew on the beliefs of our nameless ancestors who struggled to create models of the world, cosmologies and creation myths within which to make sense of their being in the world.

Crowley’s task, as had been of Mathers and Eliphas Levi before him, was to synthesize this vast body of conscious/unconscious knowledge and represent it in a way understandable by at least a few of his contemporaries. Partly it is a question of language. Unfortunately the language of magick was limited by the dominance of Judeao-Christianity on the one hand and Reason on the other. Our everyday language derives from our perception of a world made up of distinguishable objects, and on the faculty of sight primarily. But as soon as we move into the more subjective sphere of magick, problems arise. To what extent do we share the same magickal reality and use words such as “the Will” in the same way? The problem is not confined to magick. For a time I worked in quality control at London Rubber. Periodically I had to compare my work with others to make sure we were all applying the same so that I was not rejecting condoms that another person was passing. In science the theory is that one person`s work is critically examined by their peer group. The difficulty is that as soon as creativity enters the picture, it will tend to disrupt this process. The test of any form of magick should be “does it work?”. But how can that be judged, since the results of a ritual may not become apparent for some time. In the early eighties, much work was done to halt the expansion of nuclear weaponry. But it is only now, as profound changes occur in Eastern Europe, that this can be judged a success. And the changes may yet be lost by a failure of imagination and the difficulty of challenging the parasitic military-industrial complexes of both East and West.

Thelema may be saddled with the archaic terminology inherited via Crowley from the Golden Dawn, but at its heart lies a crucial bullshit detector. I have found that the question “what is your Will?” directed at any group or individual who claims to be desiring change is a very effective challenge. What is unsettling, however, is the discovery that in most cases it evokes only silence, or at best a string of evasions.

This I feel is the most damaging criticism of Thelema, that it has failed to cross over from magick into the diverse pool of “alternative” beliefs which seek to reshape society. This is hardly a question of mere academic interest, as Green issues emerge and look set to dominate the next decade, the “spiritual”, that is neo-pagan, belief structures which infest Green consciousness are also going to exert a growing influence. We may yet discover that the future, as the Dead Kennedy predicted, will be “California ber Alles”.

Can Chaos magick then succeed where Thelema has not (yet)? I doubt it, since the reaction to both by the average alternative type (let alone Joe Normal) is that it is “too dark”. The very word “Chaos” tends to get tagged with “anarchy” and evoke nightmare visions of mad-axemen running wild in the street. Of course, for some this may be its very appeal, anything so bad must be good…

No, somehow we have to achieve the Sysphean task of applying the notion of Will like Occam`s razor to the fast mulitiplying dualistic entities of New Age (un)awareness. In practical terms I understand this to mean directing our Wills at and with the growing Green movement, so that rather than disappearing into a fog of “good intentions”, it becomes a real and willed critique of consumer culture. Just as Marxism failed to achieve its desires, since the working class had already been “mobilizised” by the capitalists, so magick fails since the energies of the mass unconscious have already been tapped by advertising, via the mass media.

The energy tending towards change of consciousness (evolution) has been subverted by consumer culture into the desire to possess an unending stream of glass beads and cheap cottons, or in our case, microwave ovens and mink belly-button brushes. The whole thrust of advertising is to bypass our logic circuits and touch directly our desire for status and security. We don`t just buy the product, we buy the dream, maya the illusion of success. It is, however much we may protest, a form of magick. I may be an impoverished squatter in a third world shanty town, but if I can buy a bottle of Coke, I believe I possess the whole dream of the richest American millionaire. I may be a Trabant owning East German, but by crossing the (former) abyss of the Wall I become a potential Porsche possessor.

But if you look at those already possess such dreams, what do you find? That it is, as in California, these same people who turn to the most ridiculous New Age bullshit in order to satisfy their craving for something more, for something to fill up the endless aching void they feel scratching and gnawing like some Charles Manson nightmare outside the walls of their Beverly Hills mansions.

But of course, the last thing they want to hear is “the truth”. Better to create a multi-billion dollar New Age industry than accept that within the richest mansions lies the reality of Chaos, of that Void which spins around itself the veils of maya, the dance of illusion, in which one is equally a starving beggar and a voluptuous moviestar. “What is your Will?”.

Of course I am somewhat prejudiced for all I used to sing along with Bowie on Ziggy Stardust (I could make it all worthwhile as a rock n roll star) I chose magick as a path. Through experiences both beautiful and terrifying I have come to understand the human condition as but one aspect of a continuum of consciousness. For me, the whole universe is a living entity which I interact with in the fleeting streams of energies which inspire my awareness. Both rationally and poetically I perceive my brain, my body as part of the very substance of the universe and not distinguishable from it (ie NUIT). For me, the human condition is part tragedy, part farce. We are semi-intelligent apes who have been driven by fleeting glimpses of what might be, to create this world, our reality. But in our ignorance, we mistake the glimpse for the whole, the ego for the self. We strive for “order” and create a chaos, and then recognize in chaos a “higher form of order”.

“Knowledge is power, power is control, control is security”. Oh yeah? But knowledge is also pleasure, a pleasure more intense than any created by security. Security is sterility, sterility is death. We pay lip service to evolution, but cannot accept that evolution implies change, and change denise security. What do we will?

If our will is security, stability, then that we shall have, as so many fossils. To embrace Chaos (Thelema) is to renounce such false gods and accept that our actions as magicians will change not only ourselves, but our world. Insofar as both Chaos and Thelema are valid paths, thus far will they change us. To cling to an identity, however pleasing or fulfilling, is a denial of magick. Magick is about change, the only constant factor in the unfolding of the implicate order/chaos of the universe.

Along with Thelema and Chaos, I also practise the magick of Maat. To the Egyptians Maat was the “right order of the universe”. The contrast is between the familiar Hindu concept of “karma”, which deals with our human existence and the less familiar concept of “rta” which deals with our aspects as forms of (universal) consciousness.

Magick diverged from science some 300 years ago. Science sought to discover “the hand of god” in the natural world; magick sought to become the equal of the gods. Now we witness the overlapping of these paths. We are no longer the creations of some distant god, but the natural products of the universe. We have “evolved” out of a handful of organic chemicals. Now we have the ability, through the replication of DNA to evolve ourselves. We have, literally, the powers of a god. What we lack, and what magick must seek to provide, is the intelligence to use (or refuse) such power. The way to achieve this is to ask the question: “what is our will?” Are our genes our motivating force, or is there something else which I call “consciousness”? This consciousness I hold to be implicit in the structure of the universe, and has been revealed as such by quantum physics, however difficult such a realisation may be for us. It may be unprovable/undeniable, and therefore unscientific, but I suggest that our so-called consciousness is a quantum phenomena.

This is what Crowley experienced as the interplay of Nuit and Hadit in the Book of the Law. It is also the root of Chaos. So that Thelema and Chaos are but different aspects of a single (multiple) experience, expressed in languages appropriate to their different times and ambiances.

Alone I cannot fully express the complexity of these possibilities, and yet we must each try to do so. Only by placing them at the heart of our experience of being in the world, can we hope to create a society which will survive rather than perish under its unconscious contradictions. As yet we are but “naked apes”, but we are apes with sufficiently complex brains to at least glimpse the possibility of being more than we are and become “homo veritas”, that is truly human at last.

As we are, we cannot fully know this to be true, only with our imagination can we glimpse the potential implied. It is my Will to bring this about, this is why I write these words, that they have touch and stimulate whoever may read them. So mote it be.

On rereading the above, I feel the need to expand the argument somewhat. Having bashed my way through an anthropological essay on nationality and the state, it struck me that recent events in Eastern Eurpe have many consequences. The whole point of the “iron curtain”, was to allow East to develop its alternative economic system, as spelt out by Marx. What is happening now is the incorporation of that economic system into a global economy, which implies the failure of Marxism. This failure leaves a power vacuum. The majority of critiques of the Western power structure have come from Marxism. But if it is now seen to have failed, the possibility exists for a more powerful critique to arise.

Where will we find this critique – in magick. Of course this requires magicians to adopt a more rigorous intellectual approach to their beliefs, but surely that is what Chaos/Thelema argument is about, with each side arguing that the other is deceiving itself as regards the “true” form of magick. What I am suggesting is that magicians start to take magic seriously as “energy directed (willed) towards change”. Rather than as an escapist belief system parasitic upon the economic success of capitalism. To practise magick we must surely believe that we inhabit a magical, rather than a strictly economic universe. How much more effective would our magick be then if we could replace the belief system of economic society with that of a society rooted in a magickal conception of reality.

Such is the apple with which I tempt you – do you dare taste the forbidden fruit ?

Alistair Livingstone

I do know him personally and am glad to meet him again in summer. A. Livingstone is a pseudonym of Ramsey Dukes (which is a pseudonym too :-)). He is member of the OTO and made a lot of Chaos working & theory. He wrote some very genuine books about magic (Liber SGDSMEE, Thunderqueak), is now concerned with KI (Words Made Flesh). You can contact him via:
T.M.T.S., Wharf Mill, Winchester, Hants, SO23 9NJ, England

With fractalic greetings and laughter * Fra.: Apfelmann *

Chaos Graffiti

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Two of my main interests in life are graffiti, and the practice of ceremonial magick. It wasn’t long after I started stumbling my way into magick, that I started to notice similarities, and parallels between the acts of caring out ceremonial magick, and going out and doing graffiti.

Both are self-intitiatory processes that transmute how we consciously interact with the world around us. When one picks up the bulky marker, or can of paint , and sets it against the drollness of modern homogenized landscapes, some thing changes in the mind of the implementor. Suddenly the world becomes a much more fantastic place. Seemingly bland urban landscapes become the playground of a hidden illicit art world. Everything becomes vast, and inspiring, while at the same time personalized. Blurred lines scrawled clandestinely all over the place become sigil gateways into a hidden, yet omnipresent world. Yet its experience shows us that the drive towards the rapture of the fantastic belongs at our disposal, and in our individual control. Like magick, graffiti is all around us, yet hardly noticed by those not involved it. It already is a form of the occult in the literal sense,-hidden knowledge-, and like all hidden knowledge its experience and understanding is only available to the initiated.

Graffiti is a hidden art, done clandestinely by individuals or groups, who in part more or less form a secret society. How many graffiti crew names are three letter acronyms akin to various occult groups- the OT.O., the I.O.T., the E.O.D., ,etc.

The implementing of graffiti involves a process of making our surroundings conform in coordinance to will. It involves an evocation of dynamic, creative praxis upon various spaces/surfaces that in turn blurs the boundaries between the mundane and the fantastic imposed by western consumer anti-culture. “EVERY NUMBER IS INFINITE; THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!”. Very well indeed, and graffiti brings this realization into further precedence. Graf/magick seeks to bring this to the forefront of our local. Its not magick done in the ambiguous space of some wholly mental ”astral plane”, but in our immediate environment.

Graffiti is a localized network of information exchange. Its information is itself, and its intent is so simple as to astound. It shows us that we only choose to be alienated from our surroundings and modern landscapes. It shows us that we still have the capacity for intimate, personal interaction with our surroundings, even if they are “unnatural”. Everything that exists, exists in nature-there is no being outside of it. There is no getting back to nature, you never left, nor could you. Our environment still shows us a great dynamic of experience, and process regardless of how many Mcdonalds tm we build to distract ourselves from the magnitude of what we are capable of experiencing.

The outcome of caring out graffiti changes how one consciously conceives notions of space, property, and environment. These changes allow for a vantage point of interactive personalization of typically bleak , dehumanized, alienating modern landscapes. For the magickian this opens up a whole new realm to exploit and work with. Modern landscapes are only depersonalized if you choose not to interact with them. “The flow of things” so to speak, is still present in man made environments , and is still exploitable. Perhaps even more so do to the close proximity of people and their routines when in an urban environment.

If you live in a city you develop a routine which causes you to come across the same people, and go by the same places. Change your schedule, and pasterns will still emerge. Synchroncities abound to a bewildering extent in an urban environment. Constantly omnipresent amongst all this continual convergence of circumstance is graffiti. People often mix their magickal practices with their art. For more horizontal, “results” magick, graffiti seems like the most logical art form to implement will through, as its already an art form that causes our environments to conform to will, and is so firmly entrenched in our surroundings. In a city graffiti comes, and goes. Its constantly shifting,and changing. Some fades away, wheat pasted flyers get ripped down, walls get buffed, but more pops back up. Its very existence is fractal, its the stuff of chaos.

Hijacking graffiti for magickal results further mutates how the mind interacts and preserves modern landscapes. Alleyways as temples; dumpsters as alters;mercury racing his message along graff-sigil encrusted telephone poles; buses become the chariots of the gods; subway tunnels and the undersides of bridges become the subbteranian depths of cthonic realms.

There are places in our time that “decent folk” avoid , or are oblivious to. Ghettos, undersides of bridges, (post) industrial wastelands, alleys, vacant lots, abandoned buildings, train tracks, train bridges, aqua ducts, steam tunnels, sewage drains, etc. These cracks in Babylon unfit for, and forgotten by the consumer god are shrines of its inversion, the new antinomianism. This places are epicenters of “illicit”, unsupervised freedom- getting wasted, clandestine events, fucking, sleeping, squatting, graffiti and merely hanging out in a place unrelated to commerce (a “sin” in itself) that isn’t some trite regulated, allotted park. In our era without _TERRA INGOGNITA_ (land unknown), these places become our secret valleys, our new Atlantis, our new Alamuts.

Sigils and servitors seem to be the two key magickal techniques that lend themselves well to graff/magick. Tag sigils around places prior to charging them. Go to your local printer and make a stack of sigil stickers. Try making a tag at of rearranging the letters in a statement of intent, then put it up every where prior to charging it. Paint the word into a huge elaborate graffiti style painting to disassociate yourself from its original intent. Now your will will manifest from multiple points of probability.

Take location of works of graf/magick into account with the probability of your ritual work. Play the law of averages and fields of probability into your favor as much as possible. Always decrease the room of chance working against you.

Use graffiti paintings as the material basis of servitors. Try programming into the servitor that its to live as long as the painting is up, then paint in a spot that you know will get buffed in a few weeks if you are concerned about its disposal. Draw a picture of a servitor as its material basis, then make a stack of photocopies to wheat paste everywhere. Create servitors in these methods who are intended to function virally or vampiricly. Create tags to exist as viral mimetic servitors to in act your intent through those they come across and infect. Create an art campaign of terror against your enemies in the form of a vampiric servitor that is to feed off of their fear and panic.

There’s a great deal of room for exploration in these ideas, and the few presented here are only the tip of the ice berg of what could be done.

It has been my personal practice to put stuff up first, and then go do the workings, but this has been a matter of personal prefrence. I also attempt to avoid those areas for a bit when at all possible. Try video taping your graff/magick art work, then performing the rituals necessary from the view of a TV screen as to disassociate oneself from lust for results. This technique as devised by T.O.P.Y. lends itself well to graf/magick.

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