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Author Topic: The Chaos Magic Primer  (Read 8098 times)
RandallS
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« Topic Start: January 16, 2008, 02:43:22 pm »


Web Site Article Discussion ThreadThis thread is for discussion of a specific article on our web site. Please limit discussion to questions and comments specific to this article. Feel free to start a new thread in an appropriate board if what you wish to discuss is not specific to the named article. Note that if you have arrived here from the discussion link on this article on our web site and are not a member of this message board, you will need to register an account to post in this thread. Thank you.

The Chaos Magic 'Primer'

Chaos magic is one of the more obscure Western occult traditions, in that not every occultist has even heard of it, and many of those don't necessarily understand what chaos magic means to its practitioners. However, it might more truthfully be said that chaos magic does not comprise a tradition, but a point of view - or even as a way of processing points of views. Peter Carroll, who essentially founded Chaos Magic suggests that the theory is a meta-paradigm. I will return to paradigms later.

It is impossible, in my view, to discuss Chaos Magic, without first acknowledging its roots. Austin Osman Spare is the best-known source - much of his thinking shapes aspects of Chaos Magic. However, it is important to note that Chaos Magic is influenced by Spare's writings, rather than mirroring his views exactly. Spare's magical writing (Microlagus, The Book of Pleasure, The Witches' Sabbath, Mind to Mind and How By A Sorcerer) can currently be found in a single volume published under the title of Ethos.

Read the Full Article
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« Reply #1: August 06, 2008, 11:15:43 pm »


Something that rarely comes up in discussions of Chaos Magic is the idea of responsibility.  In other words, personal freedom means personal responsibility.  If you have no one to answer to outside yourself, there is also no one else to blame.  There is no safety net, you are responsible for how you act and feel.  Taking away this coping mechanism is a scary and difficult process.  It can take a very long time, and is often at the center of any personal ongoing practice of Chaos Magic. 

Also rarely mentioned is the difficulty of finding others to practice with.  While there are several 'schools' of Chaos, most members of the belief system aren't joiners, or at least long term ones.  Many flit from group to group looking for like minded people or challenging ideas.  Others join local pagan groups just for the sociability but choose to practice solo.  Since seeking out new information is a big part of Chaos Magic, a lack of fresh conversation and debate can be a very frustrating thing. 
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« Reply #2: September 07, 2008, 04:10:31 am »

[modbreak=Web Site Article Discussion Thread]
This thread is for discussion of a specific article on our web site. Please limit discussion to questions and comments specific to this article. Feel free to start a new thread in an appropriate board if what you wish to discuss is not specific to the named article. Note that if you have arrived here from the discussion link on this article on our web site and are not a member of this message board, you will need to register an account to post in this thread. Thank you.
[/modbreak]

The Chaos Magic 'Primer'

Chaos magic is one of the more obscure Western occult traditions, in that not every occultist has even heard of it, and many of those don't necessarily understand what chaos magic means to its practitioners. However, it might more truthfully be said that chaos magic does not comprise a tradition, but a point of view - or even as a way of processing points of views. Peter Carroll, who essentially founded Chaos Magic suggests that the theory is a meta-paradigm. I will return to paradigms later.

It is impossible, in my view, to discuss Chaos Magic, without first acknowledging its roots. Austin Osman Spare is the best-known source - much of his thinking shapes aspects of Chaos Magic. However, it is important to note that Chaos Magic is influenced by Spare's writings, rather than mirroring his views exactly. Spare's magical writing (Microlagus, The Book of Pleasure, The Witches' Sabbath, Mind to Mind and How By A Sorcerer) can currently be found in a single volume published under the title of Ethos.

Read the Full Article

Hello Randalls,
 I have practiced Chaos magic for nine years now, I am a fourth degree Novitiate in the Illuminates of Thanateros, I have about a month before I move up to the third degree. Do you perform kaos style magic or did you start this thread mainly to inform others of the practices of the Chaos magician? I will say that performing Chaos magic has rewarded me far more then any other endeavor in my life. The Meta paradigm you spoke of states that it only takes one belief to make a civilian a magician, the meta belief that belief is a tool used to gain a result, in other words, Chaos magicians view belief as a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Some circles consider Austin Osman Spare as the Father of Chaos magic, the work he did creating sigil theory definitely outshines any magical procedures developed in the last century. Peter Carroll’s work on Chaos magic has received most of the attention, but have you read Phil Hine, or Dave lee, or Josh Wetzel? Phil Hine has some amazing theories unparalleled by any author on the subject, His work on Viral servitors astounds me.  If you want to add to this post I would love to discuss this further.
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« Reply #3: September 07, 2008, 08:49:34 am »

Do you perform kaos style magic or did you start this thread mainly to inform others of the practices of the Chaos magician?

As the box at the start if the first message states, I started this thread for discussion of an article on our web site.

I did not write that article (nor am I a chaos mage) so I can't comment on what you said -- at least not intelligently. Smiley
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« Reply #4: September 07, 2008, 01:44:15 pm »


I did not write that article (nor am I a chaos mage) so I can't comment on what you said -- at least not intelligently. Smiley

I would add to this that I am the author of said primer, but am no longer a Chaote, although I considered myself such at the time I wrote the article.  I am currently an atheist, and see no change to this state in the future.  To be exact, I do not believe in the existence of magic, gods, spirits, and so forth.  I'm not sure if my opinions will be considered valid, from this point of view. Smiley

I will add that the works I had access to were written by Peter Carroll, Phil Hine, and Austin Osman Spare.  I had a fairly pointless book by another Chaote author, but I have disposed of it, along with virtually all of my books on magic, and I cannot remember the author's name.  It didn't influence the writing of the primer at any rate (I think I may have aquired it some time after writing the primer in fact, and it didn't have anything to add to the other works I had at the time).

That's about all I can add at this point, depending on any questions you would like to ask me (again, if you feel that I presently constitute someone with a valid viewpoint), except that I still personally feel that modern Chaos Magic doesn't feel to me like what Spare was aiming for.
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« Reply #5: September 07, 2008, 03:15:33 pm »

I would add to this that I am the author of said primer, but am no longer a Chaote, although I considered myself such at the time I wrote the article.  I am currently an atheist, and see no change to this state in the future.  To be exact, I do not believe in the existence of magic, gods, spirits, and so forth.  I'm not sure if my opinions will be considered valid, from this point of view. Smiley

I will add that the works I had access to were written by Peter Carroll, Phil Hine, and Austin Osman Spare.  I had a fairly pointless book by another Chaote author, but I have disposed of it, along with virtually all of my books on magic, and I cannot remember the author's name.  It didn't influence the writing of the primer at any rate (I think I may have aquired it some time after writing the primer in fact, and it didn't have anything to add to the other works I had at the time).

That's about all I can add at this point, depending on any questions you would like to ask me (again, if you feel that I presently constitute someone with a valid viewpoint), except that I still personally feel that modern Chaos Magic doesn't feel to me like what Spare was aiming for.

I would like to say that View point changes like we change our clothes, one has no more validity then the other, the real talent lies in changing it at will, A view point exists as an assumption we form about the world, in essence, we should consider all view points wrong for not one means more then any other. I sympathize with you taking an Atheists point of view, when I don’t find myself performing a ritual or working toward a magical goal, which doesn’t happen often, I revert back to a Nihilist materialistic atheistic point of view. Austin Osman Spares sigil theory still works from this point of view; we can still achieve magic while believing in only our own minds, if we choose to believe that the sub conscious mind structures reality.

Austin Osman Spare had nothing in mind other then achieving Neither/Neither and learning how to disrupt the conscious mind long enough so that the sub conscience could act magically, ergo the death posture. All of the tools one learns while performing Liber MMM have a basis in Spares work as well as many other contributors. Modern Chaos magic has no basis in anything, yet all things have contributed, I know a chaos magician who has used Dr Suess books and received amazing results. Chaos magic requires one belief; that we should use belief as a tool to achieve the desired result. Magic, gods, spirits and so forth exist as tools in the magician’s arsenal, if one must believe for a brief time that the results one has gained came from a god, so what, get the result you desire and abandon the rest. I feel no responsibility to uphold any one belief for any extended period of time and I certainly don’t fear any consequences from doing so. The gods are dead, long live the gods.

Magic exist as a mechanical beast, we act in a certain fashion which will gain the desired result, nothing more, just as a specific method exists to change the oil in a car, a specific method exists to creating a servitor or casting an enchantment. Chaos magicians have refined these techniques and eliminated anything unnecessary, so feel free to dress it up with the bull shit of your choice, as long as you follow the practical procedures and the basic mechanisms these acts work on, and then you have no problems.
I would recommend that you pick up the works of Frederick Neitche for a more in depth understanding of an Atheistic/Nihilistic point of view, Thus spoke Tharathustra will aid you. 
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« Reply #6: September 07, 2008, 03:32:59 pm »


I would recommend that you pick up the works of Frederick Neitche for a more in depth understanding of an Atheistic/Nihilistic point of view, Thus spoke Tharathustra will aid you. 

I am not unfamiliar with Nietzsche.  However, to be clear this isn't a passing phase for me.  It's not something I'm doing in-between bouts of magic, or anything like that.
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« Reply #7: September 07, 2008, 03:58:58 pm »

I am not unfamiliar with Nietzsche.  However, to be clear this isn't a passing phase for me.  It's not something I'm doing in-between bouts of magic, or anything like that.


I gathered that, Neitche wrote books on Athiest theory and practice as well as Philosophy. Like I said, I considered myself an Athiest before I found the freedom represented in the Chaoist meta Paradigm, all in all though, I consider myself nothing, just a scrap of the ineffable life force or kia which exists as all things and nothing, it exist as that which it does not, therefore I feel free to exhibit any and all characteristics at will. Nihilists believe less then Athiests my friend, I think you would dig his work.
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« Reply #8: September 07, 2008, 04:16:43 pm »


I gathered that, Neitche wrote books on Athiest theory and practice as well as Philosophy. Like I said, I considered myself an Athiest before I found the freedom represented in the Chaoist meta Paradigm, all in all though, I consider myself nothing, just a scrap of the ineffable life force or kia which exists as all things and nothing, it exist as that which it does not, therefore I feel free to exhibit any and all characteristics at will. Nihilists believe less then Athiests my friend, I think you would dig his work.

I don't think I can put it any plainer.  I am not looking for book advice from you.  I occasionally find Nietzsche's writing to be of interest.  I am already aware of his areas of writing.  I do not need you to repeat various lines from Peter Carroll et al's work - I have already read a number of books on the subject of Chaos Magic, as well as a number of other magical// occult traditions.  I am therefore familiar with the catchphrases you are offering me, and do not need a short lecture.

I notice you appear to have already made an assumption about my beliefs (ie: that I am not a nihilist, etc), and appear to think that I am actively trying to believe in less.  If you want to know what motivations I have, feel free to ask.  You have also assumed I have not read Nietzsche's work.  I wouldn't mind this if, for example, I had posted asking for advice on what books I should read, eg philosophy or 'atheist theory.'

I am happy to debate or converse with you.  I am not particularly interested in being treated like someone who needs to be told what to read.  I actually have a lot of reading to do already.  It has to do with an actual life objective of mine.  Therefore, Nietzsche can wait until later.  Short of my death, or the end of the world, I shall have time to do so later, at my convenience, when I wish.
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« Reply #9: September 07, 2008, 04:31:21 pm »

I don't think I can put it any plainer.  I am not looking for book advice from you.  I occasionally find Nietzsche's writing to be of interest.  I am already aware of his areas of writing.  I do not need you to repeat various lines from Peter Carroll et al's work - I have already read a number of books on the subject of Chaos Magic, as well as a number of other magical// occult traditions.  I am therefore familiar with the catchphrases you are offering me, and do not need a short lecture.

I notice you appear to have already made an assumption about my beliefs (ie: that I am not a nihilist, etc), and appear to think that I am actively trying to believe in less.  If you want to know what motivations I have, feel free to ask.  You have also assumed I have not read Nietzsche's work.  I wouldn't mind this if, for example, I had posted asking for advice on what books I should read, eg philosophy or 'atheist theory.'

I am happy to debate or converse with you.  I am not particularly interested in being treated like someone who needs to be told what to read.  I actually have a lot of reading to do already.  It has to do with an actual life objective of mine.  Therefore, Nietzsche can wait until later.  Short of my death, or the end of the world, I shall have time to do so later, at my convenience, when I wish.

I was not in any way attempting to lecture you, I honestly don’t care what books you read, I was under the assumption that you wanted to talk about chaos magic that might have been the reason you started a post about it. I simply did not know whether you were a Nihilist or not, I just thought that I might point it out if you had not.

You are the one advertising yourself as an Atheists and I simply took that as suggestive of the fact that you might want to talk about it. Dont you feel that you might offend someone by saying something like  "I actually have a lot of reading to do already.  It has to do with an actual life objective of mine." Im sure the people on here take the things they practice very seriously.
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« Reply #10: September 07, 2008, 08:03:12 pm »

Dont you feel that you might offend someone by saying something like  "I actually have a lot of reading to do already.  It has to do with an actual life objective of mine." Im sure the people on here take the things they practice very seriously.

A note:  While we here at TC appreciate people being tactful toward each other's beliefs, it is neither a requirement nor, I think, an expectation that posters should strive to never offend each other.  It is rather to be expected that when people are debating and discussing the sorts of religious topics that come up here, eventually someone is probably going to find something that someone else says offensive.  As long as it's not an outright attack on a person or a group of people, there's no reason to avoid saying something just because it might offend someone.

That said, I fail to see why that statement should be offensive anyway.  So Everfool's life objectives aren't the same as some of ours, and he's not interested in pursuing ours.  Shrug.  So what?  I'll bet he doesn't have much interest in reading books about the programming language I use at work either, or the books I've collected over the past couple of years about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.  And he wouldn't expect me to be interested in high-level psychology texts, I'm sure.  We're all different people with different interests and different goals; it's only natural that we would have different priorities as to what to spend our time studying, whether we're talking religion or magic or career or whatever.
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« Reply #11: September 07, 2008, 11:52:35 pm »

A note:  While we here at TC appreciate people being tactful toward each other's beliefs, it is neither a requirement nor, I think, an expectation that posters should strive to never offend each other.  It is rather to be expected that when people are debating and discussing the sorts of religious topics that come up here, eventually someone is probably going to find something that someone else says offensive.  As long as it's not an outright attack on a person or a group of people, there's no reason to avoid saying something just because it might offend someone.

That said, I fail to see why that statement should be offensive anyway.  So Everfool's life objectives aren't the same as some of ours, and he's not interested in pursuing ours.  Shrug.  So what?  I'll bet he doesn't have much interest in reading books about the programming language I use at work either, or the books I've collected over the past couple of years about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.  And he wouldn't expect me to be interested in high-level psychology texts, I'm sure.  We're all different people with different interests and different goals; it's only natural that we would have different priorities as to what to spend our time studying, whether we're talking religion or magic or career or whatever.

Well I appreciate you shedding light on the matter for me, I just found it odd that the guy posted in a thread about Chaos Magic, then became combative when I attempted conversation, forget it, I have.
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« Reply #12: September 08, 2008, 01:18:45 am »

Well I appreciate you shedding light on the matter for me, I just found it odd that the guy posted in a thread about Chaos Magic, then became combative when I attempted conversation, forget it, I have.

The one who posted the article, the original post in the thread, was not the author.  EF pointed out that he was the author of the post, and answered that he had read the authors you recommended.

He didn't become even remotely combative (if you could call it that), until you implied that he had only temproarily changed his viewpoint.  I honestly didn't take his response as combative at all, just an attempt at informing you of the fact that it was a VP that wasn't likely to change (which he had actually previously stated in his first post in here).

As for the particular portion of his post that you took offense to, I did not see that as offensive in any way.  He was simply pointing out that other things occupy his time right now.  Just as there are a hundred plus books I would love to read, but do not have the time for at the moment.  Just as there are likely many things you would like to do, but must put on the backburner as it were.
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« Reply #13: September 08, 2008, 01:40:40 am »

The one who posted the article, the original post in the thread, was not the author.  EF pointed out that he was the author of the post, and answered that he had read the authors you recommended.

He didn't become even remotely combative (if you could call it that), until you implied that he had only temproarily changed his viewpoint.  I honestly didn't take his response as combative at all, just an attempt at informing you of the fact that it was a VP that wasn't likely to change (which he had actually previously stated in his first post in here).

As for the particular portion of his post that you took offense to, I did not see that as offensive in any way.  He was simply pointing out that other things occupy his time right now.  Just as there are a hundred plus books I would love to read, but do not have the time for at the moment.  Just as there are likely many things you would like to do, but must put on the backburner as it were.

If I implied anything, I never meant to. I had never made the assertion that he changed any view point temporarily, he merely wanted to point it out to me that his particular choice of view point was not based on a chaos magic theory, cool, whatever man, if that makes you happy. I was not offended, it just seemed to me that he were irritated for some reason. He came at me with saying something to the effect of "Why would you assume I were not a Nihilist" Well how would I know you have never read Neitche if I didnt bring it up? Im not here to argue over this stuff, I had just never been on here before and looked for the things I was interested in. I guess it was just a miss understanding, honestly, Im not worried about it. forget it.
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« Reply #14: September 08, 2008, 02:02:38 am »

I was not in any way attempting to lecture you, I honestly don’t care what books you read, I was under the assumption that you wanted to talk about chaos magic that might have been the reason you started a post about it.

I have to admit, last night I *was* irritable.  This will be my last post in this thread, but it should be somewhat calmer.
1) I did not start this thread.  This thread was among a number of threads started around the same time to focus conversation around specific articles.  I have only entered this thread to point out that I was the author, when that topic was raised by someone not me.  I'm not fussed about talking about chaos magic, etiher way, but failed to see the point of *not* responding.

Quote
I simply did not know whether you were a Nihilist or not, I just thought that I might point it out if you had not.

Which is perhaps fair enough, but - and this is a minefield of the internet - the tone that I got from your posts read very much like someone giving a mini-lecture.  Without being able to see your body language, or hear your tone, I have only your words to go by.  'Have you read Nietzsche?  I think you might like X' would have come off far better.

Quote
You are the one advertising yourself as an Atheists and I simply took that as suggestive of the fact that you might want to talk about it.

I was merely attempting to put a proper context to this situation.  If I had simply said that I was the author, and you then asked 'what do you think is the proper way to pursue X spell', and I *then* followed up with 'spells don't work,' would that not sound odd?  Would you not want to know *why* I was saying things like that?  I don't mind talking about my atheism, I'm just not looking for books to read about it.  It's not a pursuit of mine, simply my perception of how the universe is.  It's not really like being a Hellenic Pagan, and therefore wanting to read up on the history of Greece, the Iliad, etc etc.

In addition, sometimes people do mention stuff about themselves on the forum.  Sometimes it's just a social commentary, or an aside.  As it is, I'm half wondering if I can ever reveal another detail in conversation. :p

Quote
Dont you feel that you might offend someone by saying something like  "I actually have a lot of reading to do already.  It has to do with an actual life objective of mine." Im sure the people on here take the things they practice very seriously.

1: I don't have a huge problem with accidentally offending people.
2: Perhaps a more clear way of putting it would have been: I have a lot of reading to do in my future.  *Anyone* telling me to read books outside of that range is likely to be disappointed unless I already wanted to read said book.
3: Yes, I'm sure a lot of people do take their reading seriously.  I'm quite sure that none of them expect me to take it seriously, so long as I'm not actually being rude about it.
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spoOk 9 4961 Last post February 02, 2011, 10:13:12 am
by Juniperberry
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