Tag Archives: joshua wetzel

What is Magick?

By Spiral Nature | August 8, 2008 | 2 comments

“Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”
- Aleister Crowley

“Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will.”
- Dion Fortune

“…We will confine ourselves to an extension of a well-known definition by Aleister Crowley and state that, “Magic is the Science and Art of causing Change, on a material as well as a spiritual level, to occur in conformity with Will by altered states of consciousness.”
- Frater U.: D.:, Secrets of Western Sex Magic

“A magical act may be defined as causing reality to conform to will.”
- Phil Hine, ‘Undoing Yourself with Chaos Magic’, Rebels and Devils

“Magick is just the art of changing the focus of consciousness at will.”
- Robert Anton Wilson, The Earth Will Shake

“Sorcery: the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results.”
- Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.

“Real magick is not merely an assortment of skills and techniques. It’s more like an open minded attitude, a blend of interest and dedication, which allows each honest mage to observe, to learn, to adapt, and to invent unique ways of changing idenity and reality from within.”
- Jan Fries, Visual Magick

“Magic is a set of techniques and approaches which can be used to extend the limits of Achievable Reality. Our sense of Achievable Reality is the limitations which we believe bind us into a narrow range of actions and successes – what we believe to be possible for us at any one time. In this context, the purpose of magic is to simultaneously explore those boundaries and attempt to push them back – to widen the ‘sphere’ of possible action.”
-Phil Hine, Condensed Chaos

“Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”
- The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon.

Courage is the criterion of belief. To back one horse and fancy another means willing one thing and believing another. Magic (faith) is simply a means of unifying Desire and Belief. The subconscious mind is employed to create your belief and unite it to a real desire.
- Austin Osman Spare, Two Tracts on Cartomancy

“Causing change by directing energy with one’s will.”
- Kerr Cuhulain, Full Contact Magick

“Everything works by magick; science represents a small domain of magick where coincidences have a relatively high probability of occurrence. Half of the skills in magick consist of identifying probabilities worth enhancing…Magick will not free itself from occultism until we have strangled the last astrologer with the guts of the last spiritual master.”
- Peter Carroll, PsyberMagick: Advanced Ideas in Chaos Magick

“Magic is not necromanteia – a raising of dead material substances endowed with an imagined life – but a psychological branch of science, dealing with the sympathetic effects of stones, drugs, herbs, and living substances upon the imaginative and reflective faculties – and leading to ever new glimpses of the world of wonders around us, ranking it in due order of phenomena and illustrating the beneficence of The Great Architect of the Universe.”
- Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie

“The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.”
- Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible

“Magic is the socially unauthorized use of the will and imagination to partake in the powers of the universe.”
- S. Jason Black & Christopher S. Hyatt, Pacts With the Devil: A Chronicle of Sex, Blasphemy and Liberation

“The true practice of magic depends on the legitimacy of the individual human will. The magician wills something to occur which under ordinary circumstances would not occur, and thereby demonstrates the reality of his or her own individuality. Magicians make the world dance according to their tunes, religionists seek to find the tune of the world and have it teach them how to dance.”
- Crystal Dawn and Stephen Flowers, Carnal Alchemy

“Unless a man be born a magician, and God have destined him even from his birth to the work, so that spirits do willingly come of their own accord – which doth happen to few – a man must use only of those things herein set down, or written in our other books of occult philosophy, as means to fix the mind upon the work to be done; for it is in the power of the mind itself that spirits do come and go, and magical works are done, and all things in nature are but as uses to induce the will to rest upon the point desired.”
- Cornelius Agrippa

“Magick is the art of belief.”
- ludrikos muttleyos, on chaoskaos

“I honestly can’t conceive of why anyone would want to ‘make’ magick into ‘anything’ [...] [d]on’t attempt to put it into static terms. Use it an mutate it. At least I see people debating it, which assures me that the idea itself isn’t losing all of it’s transient nature. Part of the divine mystique that shrouds the essence of magick is the fact that it is unexplainable and undefineable – magick transcends reason, duh. Reason and time [...] magick transcends LOGIC. (Discordianism, anyone? Fnord.) Logic, is also a workable paradigm, but not a necessity to understanding or compreheding a concpet. There are plenty of things in life not worth explaining in words. There are plenty of ideas one can procure to realise through self-discovery and learning that no one can represent effectively with words – non-verbal uinderstanding. ‘Intuition’ and ‘gut’ comes to mind as being one of those things. Yes, apparently idiots -are- still trying to make magick into a science – but idiots are also trying to confine it as an ‘art’ as well.”
- triskele, on the zee-list

“Magic is the most useful too for bending the odds to our favour in an given circumstance, but does not go beyond the scope of being a tool concurrently aiding your mundane efforts.”
- Joshua Wetzel, The Paradigmal Pirate: Liber Lll And Liber Ventum

“Magick is the practice of imposing one’s will upon reality in order to create change. The changes created by magick can take place in the outside world, but the most potent changes occur inside the self – changing attitudes, expanding abilities, pushing accepted limits – all through the exercise of willpower.”
- Michelle Belanger, Psychic Dreamwalking: Explorations at the Edge of Self

“Magick…may be defined as the process of projecting psychic energy into physical reality where it can then take shape as a spirit. The higher spirits, such as angels, derive from superconsciousness, the oversoul in which the mind exists as a part, whereas the lower spirits, such as demons, derive from subconsciousness, the repressed fears and traumatic experiences of the practitioner.”
- Frater W.I.T., Enochian Initiation: A Thelemite’s Magical Journey into the Ultimate Transcendence

“Magic is a psychological art form not a belief system (unless, of course you consider the concept of ’cause and effect’ to be a belief system).”
- Lon Milo DuQuette, The Key to Solomon’s Key

“…[R]eal magic is attuning your spirit and intention with the holon of the universe by gaining a deeper awareness of its parts.”
- Clea Danaan, Sacred Land

“Magic is a set of techniques (skills which you can develop) which allow you to create a change in the world around you and yourself by means that are not understood by scientists, religionists, or psychologists.”
- Nicholas Graham, The Four Powers

“Magick may be described as a system of communication, a language used exclusively between the conscious (the logical mind) and the subconscious (the thinking mind). During the dialogue, the magician’s objective is to use his logical mind to convince the thinking mind to reveal a method by which to directly access the superconsciousness, the higher mind…the Holy Guardian Angel.”
- Gerald del Campo, The Heretic’s Guide to Thelema

“Magick provides the tools to accomplish two things: First is to “know thyself” – to use techniques like journaling, meditation, ritual, and invocation to identify your personal strengths and successes – and thereby discover your true Will. The second is to use the same tools to accomplish your Will.
- Richard Kaczynski, The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley


Review: The Paradigmal Pirate, by Joshua Wetzel

By Psyche | October 15, 2006 | Leave a comment

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.


Review: Postmodern Magic, by Patrick Dunn (2)

By Taylor Ellwood | July 21, 2005 | Leave a comment

Postmodern Magic: The Art of Magic in the Information Age, by Patrick Dunn
Llewellyn Publishing, 2005

For the most part I enjoyed this book. The author impressed me with using footnotes, which is definitely a step up from the majority of occult books out there. A lot of his advice and ideas are practical and useful for beginning magicians. All of the exercises in the book are ones I’m familiar with, as it’s written for a beginner to intermediate audience, but they are useful to work through. I particularly liked the invent your own magical language exercise, which reminds of TOPY speak, and also Spare’s alphabet of desire technique. The questions at the back of the book were handy and useful for processing information and extending the ideas in the book further, which is again a rarity and something I applaud Mr. Dunn for doing.

The author’s focus on semiotics and symbolism is a fresh perspective and will offer readers food for thought and action, should they follow through on doing the exercises. Also Mr. Dunn does a good job of covering a wide range of occult techniques and presenting them from a symbolic perspective.

However, while I did like this book, there are some issues with it, which I find problematic. I would have liked to have seen an integrated system of in-text citations such as APA to get a better sense of the sources he draws on. Also he does not draw on enough available sources. As an example his paradigm piracy in chapter one doesn’t cite Josh Wetzel’s work, which given that Mr. Dunn lives in Illinois, is surprising, since Wetzel’s work is available there, although in limited print. He never defines the term postmodern, which given the title of the book, is rather important. Also beyond providing his own definition of semiotics, he doesn’t draw on any semiotic theory. A brief introduction to semiotic theory complete with some references to semiotic theoriticans for curious readers would have been nice as well as drawing on the most updated semiotic work. His influences seem to draw more from Saussure’s work than anywhere else, but again without a reference list, that’s only a guess.

The other issue I had was his focus solely on magic as a symbolic reality, with him throwing out the energy/spirit models because they couldn’t be “proven”. Given that he is drawing on a social science background, his focus is ultimately on what he knows as a social scientist, and yet his stance as a social scientist frequently seems to take the magic out of magic. Ironically at times he comes off as contradicting his view that magic is entirely and only a symbolic reality that can be worked with. As an example he worries about whether cutting a tree would hurt it, and yet earlier argues that everything, even a physical cat you look at is just a symbol. If that’s the case, the tree is just a symbol, so why worry if it can be hurt? The argument that symbols and reality are one and the same is intriguing, but also dangerous in terms of leading a magician toward solipsism.

In the end, the book is worth checking out and reading for some intriguing ideas. Keep a bit of salt and skepticism on hand and try his paradigm out, but also do some further research into semiotics on your own.