There are some books that are required reading for the dedicated student, and this list represents my top five books dedicated to chaos magick – books that defined chaos magick as a distinct field of study and practice.
1. Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic, by Peter Carroll
Liber Null, first published in the late 1970s by Ray Sherwin, is the handbook for the Illuminates of Thanteros, the first group dedicated to chaos magick. The IOT was conceived of as a new kind of order based on meritocracy, and Liber Null serves as an introductory text to what was then a new approach to magickal practice.
New Falcon published Liber Null and Psychonaut together in 1987. Psychonaut expands upon themes raised in Liber Null, and contains the much maligned pseudo-scientific approach to catastrophe theory, but it does have its moments, defining and reframing magickal theories for a new generation of occultists. Continue reading
I do not believe in sin as typically described by the various sects of the world’s major religions. In my heart, there are two kinds of sin: sins against humanity (abuses of human rights) and sins against yourself. It is with the latter that the following missive is primarily concerned, heavily informed by Thelema, New Age philosophies and Modern Satanism.
A sin against yourself is something that only you can judge. You sin against yourself every time you do something that goes directly against your True Will. When you do not live up to your honest potential, when what you do holds you back instead of propelling you forth, even if that thing is refusing to forgive yourself for past mishaps, I believe you are sinning against yourself. (It should be noted that I do not feel this applies to normal, natural, healthy periods of stagnation, contemplation and plateau states.)
I used to think that the concept of True Will was malarkey. No one I spoke with could tell me what True Will was or how to discover it. I kept asking and wondering what kind of person doesn’t know what he or she really wants in life? But then I took a good look at the society around me, and I saw that we tie ourselves into secret knots all the time, constantly confusing ourselves about what we want and what is best. Continue reading
My day job allows a certain amount of freedom when it comes to listening to music at work. Most people have headphones, and once upon a time the majority would have been listening to Pandora.com, but it’s been a while since they disallowed Canadian listening due to licensing constraints – a shame, because I found many new bands via their ingenuous Music Genome Project – music I then later bought, as with Napster in the days of yore. But I digress.
Sitting at my cubicle, work is where I listen to podcasts when my mp3 player starts to seem repetitive. Late December and early January I was on vacation, and so, behind. I recently caught up and finally listened to the latest Tarot Connection episodes.
In episode 67, host Leisa ReFalo and guest Roger Tobin tackled the subject of difficult cards from a variety angles, specific tarot cards deemed difficult for the client and for the reader; cards which might seem scary for a client unfamiliar with their meaning (Death, the Devil and the Tower are common examples), and cards which are challenging for the reader to interpret, either because they’re still unclear on the meaning, or even simply because they don’t often turn up during a reading (we all have cards like this). Continue reading
Earlier we looked at the role of “accuracy” in tarot, particularly in comparison to fortune-telling. A key point to take away from this is that, in tarot reading for a client or even for oneself, the main goal of any divinatory reading is to provide information that is useful to the querent.
Whether or not the future is set can become irrelevant when the cards clearly foretell disaster for the querent. When the cards spell doom, deciding how to relate that to the client can be tricky. Changeable or not, it’s rarely something a querent wants to hear, and depending on who the querent is it can be more detrimental to share this information than not. Continue reading
The element of Uncertainty has played a significant role in several aspects of my magical development. Specifically regarding results magic, I’ve had great trouble with divination and possession. Reaching an appropriate state for the interpretive act and releasing personal boundaries in the context of invocation require such a light touch with the symbolic gestalt, it causes me nothing but trouble. With practice, I have progressed a great deal with the art of invocation – through the embrace of Uncertainty.
My first successes with invocation and atavistic resurgence occurred while experimenting with chemognosis. These experiments led to varying levels of possession, which I adopted as my gold standard for invocation. Yet, in other ritual contexts, I found I could not approach these states, leaving me with a problem. Excitatory techniques of gnosis, particularly dance and spinning, would bring on a light possession but required a good deal of room and were not appropriate to certain godforms or qualities I wished to work with. Dependence on them also left open-hand magic completely out of the question. Continue reading
Uncertainty has come to play a huge role in my life as of late. The whole process entered my awareness during the Plutonica book-club reading of Quantum Psychology. Together we explored many of the exercises that Robert Anton Wilson collected to help us think, “Maybe…” My meditations and personal work have revolved around the issue of uncertainty, as well as our personal and collective strategies for dealing with it, ever since.
Honestly, I feel uncertain whether I can communicate any of this effectively. The territory began with magic and t’ai chi, leading into my mystical practice. I came to consider the bridge between individual and history, the symbiotic relationship of humanity and the institutions we have created to mediate uncertainty, as a fundamental issue to address for my own growth. Each encounter seems less discrete the closer I listen, yet the overall theme appears in the negative space between them. Continue reading