Chaos Monkey, by Jaq D. Hawkins
Capall Bann Publishing, 186163188X, 190 pp. (incl. bibliography, index and catalogue), 2002
An excellent follow up to her first book, Understanding Chaos Magic1 which discussed the history and basic associated practices. Chaos Monkey takes the reader (and practitioner) a step further – though a beginner can pick up from this volume alone easily enough. Further practices and mechanics are discussed more in depth.
To start things of, Hawkins presents the concept of being ‘born to magic’, which has always rested uneasy with me, a firm believer in setting one’s own destiny, not some external force directing with an unseen hand toward one path or another, even in the starting phase.
Hawkins has constructed a simple, but lovely banishing ritual: ‘The Centre of Chaos Banishing’,2 which I used with some success. I like the alternate symbolism used, the assignments different for the elements and quarters, using British Hereditary Witch symbolism rather than the apparently ‘traditional’ Middle Eastern correspondences most Wiccan and neo-pagan groups use today.
She gives excellent advice regarding basic techniques, and how they should be maintained, even for the magickian who considers hirself a master. This is something often skipped over, or perhaps assumed, in many books (which she notes), so it’s nice to have this little reminder.
A strange sort of balance is described, especially coming from a noted chaos magickian. I myself am not of the mind that the Universe is balanced, magickally or otherwise. I suppose it comes back to the saying ‘if you ask 10 chaos magickians what chaos magick is, you’ll get at least 13 different answers’, it applies to nearly everything.
The text is beautifully complimented by artwork from her partner, Anton Channing. Loads of illustrations of a cheeky little monkey with prominent fangs, a cute, but dangerous reminder.
There is much that will be considered familiar to the experienced reader, but it also touches on new ideas, and different perspectives. Buy Understanding Chaos Magic if you want to learn the basic history and common thoughts associated, and Chaos Monkey when you’re ready to try out its practical applications.