Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford of The Baptist’s Head and Open Enlightenment were kind enough to answer several questions I put to them.
Did you formulate the Core Practice techniques immediately after attaining the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel [K&C], or did it follow your successful crossing of the Abyss?
ALAN: I attained the K&C using a free-form ritual technique, but I came to develop a simpler method based on Father Thomas Keating’s centred prayer as I persisted in invoking the HGA through the years.
The bare-bones Core Practice described in Alan’s essay bears a strong resemblance to vipassana meditation, and Duncan has mentioned a long-standing interest in Buddhism. In your work, each of you pay homage to Daniel Ingram and his fantastic work. At what point did you pick up the links between wisdom traditions and decide to adopt vipassana into your regular practice? Continue reading
CHAOS NEVER DIED. Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology (like the shadows before Babylon), the original undifferentiated oneness-of-being still radiates serene as the black pennants of Assassins, random & perpetually intoxicated.
Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons: its masks are crystallizations of its own facelessness, like clouds.
Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard. Continue reading
Most people become interested in magick because they want to change some aspect of their lives, want to gain a greater sense of control in the world around them. Most people don’t seem to succeed.
It’s all well and good to be a juggernaut on the astral plane, defending the world from various nasties and sharing astral juice with your fellow warriors after a good night’s work, but seriously.
Objective results are the proof of magic, all else is mysticism.
–Peter Carroll, Liber Kaos
It sounds flip, but it’s true. Continue reading
Publish and be damned they say. I feel a bit like that with my book Kaos Hieroglyphica: Alchemy for the New Aeon. I started writing this when I was just 23 and had finished writing it by the time I was 28. It wasn’t published until I was 29, nearly 30. I am now 35. Inevitably my 35 year old self cringes at some of my decade old writing. However, in the first article I ever had published, namely “Liber Minor 0″, I had enough sense to write one of the best sentences I have ever written, namely that ‘I reserve the right to disagree with myself at a later date.’
Well, here I am at a later date exercising my right to disagree with myself! In particular I have cause to revisit the Psyche Magic chapter, in particular the ritual. Rather than rewrite the ritual, I am going to tell the story of its actual performance, what lead up to it, and how the recipient has been empowered by it since. Continue reading
Practical magicians deal with a lot of unknowns when it comes to getting results in the “real world”. Sometimes a magickal operation will be met with stunning and hard-to-doubt success, sometimes with an ambiguous success (the old “would that have happened anyway?” or “just a coincidence” conundrum), sometimes with a totally unknown degree of success (for example, if it is possible that the operation succeeded in an unobservable way), sometimes with an apparent failure. Navigating through the jungle of mixed results can be a real headache, especially where a magickal operation has apparently failed when it (of course) should have succeeded.
When testing out or trying to perfect a new technique, these kinds of issues can cost a lot of time and effort. If you have some new technique that at first succeeds, say, 50% of the time, then (depending on what you’re trying to affect) you may have to do some trouble-shooting to get the success rate up. Even finding the 50% success rate in the first place can be tough, not necessarily in a magickal sense, but just in terms of performing the technique enough times to determine how often you’ve got it working. And then you may not be able to properly assess the relative chances of each operation succeeding (that is, what kind of odds you’re up against when you start), so trying to evaluate success rates and improvement rates involves quite a lot of guesswork. I’ll call the results of such operations “feedback”. The most easily usable feedback is definite success. Continue reading