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
Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, directed by Patrick Meaney
Halo 8, 80 minutes, 2010
I suspect there are only a few kinds of people who’ll be interested in the documentary Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods – either serious documentary fans, devoted comic-book readers, or magical practitioners. Each of them will come away from this film quite happy.
Director Patrick Meaney largely works with a familiar pattern for this kind of celebrity documentary – one of mostly stepping back and letting the interviews (and, of course, editing) tell the story. There are several attempts to visually represent the psychedelic elements of the tale created by cinematographer Jordan Rennert, though the results are far less annoying than is often the case in such films! The perspective is mostly one which aims at the comic-reading audience, introducing them fairly gently to the core of occult thought that permeates his work. Continue reading
I was putting together a time-line for another essay when something occurred to me. Various religions that started as fringe have grown and expanded over the years, many becoming legitimate in the eyes of the mainstream (or at least, approaching legitimacy), but somewhere along the line we seem to have run out of steam.
Early into the twentieth century Aleister Crowley received Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law, the central text of Thelema, a new religion or spiritual technology (I’ll leave it to those more invested to argue which description suits it best). Crowley joined the OTO and shortly afterwards assumed the role of the OHO, subsequently reworking its rites and rituals to integrate the principles of Thelema, effectively setting it up as a Thelemic organization, which it remains today.
In the late 1950s Malaclypse the Younger and Omar K. Ravenhurst received a divine revelation from a chimpanzee in a bowling alley. There they learned of Our Lady of Chaos, Eris. The Goddess of Discord was alive and well and continues to merrily wreak havoc on mortals, who don’t always seem to get the joke. Indeed, Kerry Thornley (Omar K. Ravenhurst) described it as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion… Even so, Discordianism’s still around and stronger than ever, even if it’s not always taken as seriously as some of its more greyfaced adherents would like. Continue reading
This slight annoyance of being regularly asked by ‘fluffy Pagans’ if we are Satanists probably goes with the territory of being chaos magicians – at the very least we are supposed to eat a baby a week, it seems. The founder of Satanism, the late Anton LaVey, made the very pragmatic point that “stories of unbaptized babies being stolen by Satanists… were not only effective propaganda measures, but also provided a constant source of revenue for the Church, in the form of baptism fees. No Christian mother would, upon hearing of these diabolical kidnappings, refrain from getting her child properly baptized, post haste.” It’s all about the money, honey.
We have also had dealings with several people who would fall under the stereotypical definition of ‘real nutjobs about Satan.’ These include one especially memorable person at an academic conference on alternative religion that we attended a while back. Continue reading