Thursday, 20 January 2011

Chaos Magick

A couple of people have asked me about chaos magick, although I am aware of what the practice basically is, it is not something I know a huge deal about (although I have done some sigil work) so I have done some research to get the full details.

Chaos magick approaches magick through a totally utilitarian perspective, encouraging practitioners to find out what works and then use it. Techniques can be taken from other systems, or they can be pure fancy and invention.

One of the key factors of chaos magick is the use of belief as a tool. Chaotes build up the skills to change their beliefs at a moment’s notice, being a devout Catholic at one moment, to gain favours from Mary, and a Wiccan at the next moment, to bargain with Gaia. This skill, known as "paradigm shifting" in many circles, is necessary because Chaotes feel that belief is what makes magick work.

A good part of chaos magick deals with utilizing other systems to make a practical, personal magick system that works for the individual. There are, however, a few core practices that almost all Chaotes use, which included god-from and servitor work, gnosis, and sigilisation.

Chaotes do magick mainly through altered states of consciousness. Most ritual goals are accomplished by achieving a state called gnosis. The gnostic state is similar to the moment of orgasm, in many respects. It is a moment of single mindedness, a one pointed awareness, that usually comes and goes in a matter of seconds.

Inhibitory forms of gnosis include meditation, asphyxiation, yoga, and depressant drug use. Excitatory forms of gnosis include dancing, drumming, sex, and stimulant drug use. Any of these techniques can be used. It's all a matter of what works best for the practitioner. You know you've reached gnosis when you're no longer rationalizing about your experience.

A statement of intent is thought up, and gnosis is achieved. If there is any doubt, the working will fail. The chaote must fully believe their statement of intent will occur right up until the moment of gnosis.

While some Chaotes believe in 'gods' in a literal sense, most believe them to be huge egregores created by mass belief, or to be some extension of oneself. It should be noted that chaotes do not generally 'worship' any 'god'.

When god forms are used, the chaote will usually adopt a paradigm of belief, although not one of worship. Thus, god-forms are invoked and worked with in ways fairly similar to more traditional methods.

Every chaote has different gods they like to work with. Anything from Jehovah to Loki can be used. For the most part Chaotes are malleable when it comes to their theology, using whichever god-forms fit the occasion or their interests and personality. Some like Kali, some like Pan. Some like to make up gods or alter existing ones.

Chaos magick has no structured belief system, being a magickal technique, rather than a religion. Chaos magick has no dogma. Good and bad are decided by the practitioner or, in most cases, not decided at all. It is completely amoral. The individual answers to no higher power.

One of the main techniques in chaos magick is sigil magick. Sigil magick was developed by a fellow named Austin Osman Spare, an artist and occultist in the early part of this century.

There are 3 main types of sigils. Alphabetic sigils are made from writing a statement of intent, eliminating the repeated letters, and making a drawing from the remaining letters, making sure the drawing bears little resemblance to the intent.

Pictographic sigils are made from drawing a stick figure picture of your intent and then altering this picture for use as the basis of a sigil that no longer resembles the original pictogram.

Mantric sigils are created by writing a statement of intent and rearranging the letters to form a mantra, which is then chanted as part of the ritual. Like an anagram, only it doesn't make sense. Just pronounceable words., which are then chanted as a mantra. These sigils are planted by staring at them (or chanting them, in the case of the mantric) and achieving gnosis.

Servitors are magickal beings, created by a magician to perform a task. This task may be to defend a location, to help the magician find objects, or even to attack an enemy.

A servitor generally has a representative sigil, fetish, or similar material tie, which can be used to summon, store, and/or affect it. When a servitor is created the magician charges it and generally believes in it. This belief creates the being.

Types of servitors include Egregores (large servitors used for an indefinite period of time, often by a group of magicians), and Independent Thought-Forms (which generally are active for a set length of time and then are re-absorbed by their creator), although definitions of these terms vary and other terms are also used.

Note: Personally I do not and cannot condone the use of some of these practices (as some are illegal and some dangerous), the details are here merely for information purposes – Tansy.

The image used is one of Crowley painted by Spare.

Information originally derived from a lecture given by Zahrim on Friday July 11 1997 at Ancients. Additional material by CyberKaos. This version was edited by Tansy Firedragon.

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