"I must create my own system, or be enslav'd by another man's," said William Blake. "Magic, for me, is a working technology for exploring alternate realities, breaking down behavioral programs, coming to an understanding with Death and having a laugh," said Grant Morrison. These are the core tenets of Chaos Magick: Belief is a tool, not a straitjacket. It is malleable. It can and should be changed at Will [sic] to effect change on oneself and the world. Everything else - cosmology, technique, philosophy - is negotiable.
Chaos Magick had its inception in the late 1970s when Pete Carroll began to meld together elements of Golden Dawn ceremonial magick, Thelema, Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism in his articles for the magickal journal, The New Equinox. The inspiration for this synthesis was the work of the obscure, early twentieth-century artist and sorcerer Austin Osman Spare. Spare had developed what he called the technique of 'sentient letters'. Pete Carroll reformed the technique, and the sentient letters were recast as 'sigils'; they became the basis of a system which aimed to generate results through the application of undogmatic magickal technique.
Results are what count. Try something. If it works, try it again to verify. Continue to practice the technique until you perfect it. If the technique doesn't work for you, drop it and try something else. Explore - and don't accept as truth anything you haven't experimented with yourself; you are your own laboratory. "Everything else is mysticism," according to Pete Carroll. Phil Hine is a little more elaborate: "Rather than trying to recover and maintain a tradition that links back to the past (and former glory), Chaos Magick is an approach that enables the individual to use anything that s/he thinks is suitable as a temporary belief or symbol system. What matters is the results you get, not the 'authenticity' of the system used."
Theoretically, Chaos Magick is a meta-belief - beyond belief, a system without a philosophy, or a system that can contain all philosophies. Yet, there is very definitely a Chaos Magick 'vibe'. It is not only a magickal practice, but also a magickal (anti-)philosophy. Just focus on the word 'Chaos'. What does it mean to you? Flux, constant change, anarchism? A fractal understanding of a mathematical universe? A discordian object of (mis-)worship? The word is important, regardless of its 'true' meaning. Its cultural baggage imparts a nihilistic, post-modern, anarchistic flavour to much Chaos Magick speculation. Insures very Nietzschean stuff be goin' down: God is dead. Laugh, for we have killed him. Since life is meaningless, be the artist of your own destiny. Create your own meaning, rather than be enslaved or conditioned by anyone else's. If nothing is true, then everything is permitted.
There is an understanding in Chaos Magick that life is magickal. It may be magickal in a nihilistic, incomprehensible way but it is still magickal, and not just subject to the laws and assumptions of Newtonian science. Chaos Magick is the magick of the quantum century: where energy and matter intersect and transmute into the other.
Most chaotes recognise three basis models of magick: the spirit, energy and psychological models. Recently, a number of leading-edge chaotes have begun to integrate the magickal models of other eras into a new model: the Cybernetic model. In this model, the Universe is perceived as a system of living information. Frater U.D can explain it better: "The application of the as yet evolving information model has led to the discipline I have termed Cybermagic ... . Contrary to the other models described above, Cybermagic does not rely on magical trance to achieve its effects. Rather, the Cybermagician activates either his own main memory banks, namely brain and spine (the Golf-club chakra, so-called because of its shape reminiscent of a golf-club) or those of the target person. The desired information is then called up and transmitted quite similarly to a copy command on an MS-DOS computer. The copy command analogy holds good insofar as the information (not having mass) is not actually 'lost' in the process (as energy would be) but rather is duplicated." (from the Chaos Matrix Website, hosted by Fenwick)
Yet all of the above is just words unless one experiences Gnosis: any altered state of consciousness in which one eclipses the monkey-mind, and achieves an expanded sense of self and the universe. Chaos Magick is famed for encouraging the attainment of the state of Gnosis through extreme, exhibitionary methods (drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll: nothing succeeds like excess), but because of the influence of both Taoism and Tibetan Tantra on its originators, there is also a strong proclivity toward inhibitionary paths to Gnosis: sitting meditation, pranayama, etc. What is important is that you use Gnosis as more than a means of spiritual dandyism. Use the insights gained in a Gnostic state to engage in emotional engineering, or to help undermine the collective consensus in preparation for the coming of the New Aeon, or just to have more fun than you've had before. Strive for enlightenment if that's what will wet your pants. Engage fully and without regret in the ongoing, initiatory process of life.
Be nice and smooth.
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