The Paradigmal Pirate: Liber Lll And Liber Ventum, by Joshua Wetzel
Megalithica Books, 1905713002, 209 pp., 2006
Chaotes seem to have a penchant for either combining two books into one, or splitting one book into two, and so, in keeping with this tradition The Paradigmal Pirate consists of two books, ‘Liber LLL’ and ‘Liber Ventum’.
The first book, ‘Liber LLL’, focuses on basic skills. As Wetzel states in the introduction, his “ultimate goal is to provide the necessary training to ensure that the IOT remains the best and most cutting-edge magical organization in the world. This aim can only be achieved through a concerted effort to progressively raise the bar of our standards higher”, and it is clear that this is an extension of other published works by Peter Carroll and the IOT.
It includes techniques for lucid dreaming, gnosis, a note on weapons and tools, rituals, metamorphosis, and the eight colours of magick, each accompanied by exercises for further exploration. Wetzel notes that “[d]epending on your level of expertise, the entire program can be finished anywhere from six months and onward”.
In the chapter on gnosis, Wetzel notes three separate categories – inhibitory, excitatory, and chemical. It is more typical to see only the first two mentioned as there remain many conflicting opinions on the third, but I’m glad to see its inclusion here as chemognosis does represent a valid method when approached reasonably, as he states: “[t]he skilled practitioner also recognizes that there exists a difference between use and abuse of a chemical substance”. He advises never to rely on merely one type of gnosis and to ‘change your preferred method…as often as possible’. The inhibitory methods include sleep deprivation, fasting, and sensory deprivation; among the excitatory are sex, rage, dancing, drumming and chanting; and after the usual disclaimer for chemical methods, we get a general description of depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants.
Wetzel soundly recommends that the neophyte should choose at least pre-existing paradigm and “[r]esearch it fully, with the ultimate goal of being an expert on at least one magical topic”(pg 69). Also noting that to accomplish anything, one needs to “[c]reate the circumstances surrounding your success first and then do the magic to increase the chances of it happening”.
The second book, ‘Liber Ventum’, consists of essays focusing on more practical applications of chaos magick, detailing rituals he designed and used in his personal and group practice. It has an informal feel to it; more conversational and personal.
The first essay in this section, titled ‘Paradigmal Piracy’, follows a question and answer format, the first question being “What is a Paradigm? (And why do I want to shift it?)” – it made me smile, and his answer’s not too bad either. Wetzel states that “[c]haos magicians realize that each and every paradigm is ultimately inadequate when it comes to explaining the universe, but that each one also has something to offer the chaos magician in terms of tools and beliefs that make life easier or more fun (or both!)”.
Other essays discuss using children’s games in ritual, open handed magick, the psychic doppelganger, and a note on avoiding the usual magical pitfalls, among others.
A few grammatical and formatting errors, but they are not overly distracting from the text itself.
Most of the techniques and theory will be familiar to the experienced chaote, but the neophyte may find this a welcome addition to hir library.
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