Chaos Magic Is 8 Things Right Now

Chaos Magic Is 8 Things Right Now

Something I posted about prosperity magic a couple of months ago caused a bit of a stir but also included an excellent video (which you truly must watch) where Chris Anderson talks about the new economics of free.

Chris opens by saying -somewhat facetiously- that his business model is just doing whatever Guy Kawasaki tells him to do.

I have a similar policy when it comes to Jason Miller. Except he’s not a wacky Hawaiian who helped build Macintosh Computers and now uses a team of four to tweet for him around the clock.

Also this blog is not actually a business in any way at all. And my policy isn’t facetious.

Yesterday, Jason issued a call to chaos magicians out here on the internets: What’s going on up in hizzah now, yo?

Except he didn’t sound as much like Alicia Keys as I may have accidentally implied.

So here is my eight cents on that topic right now. It will be closely followed by a reading list.

Chaos magic is…

1 …Atlanta

Unless you really like Coca Cola, you don’t want to spend that much time in Atlanta.

It’s a hub. It’s a place you go to connect from some place to another place.

Chaos magic is like that. It’s a ‘between space’. It allows you somewhere to consider and reconsider where you have come from and where you want to go next.

It is very rarely a destination.

2 …A consultancy service

Companies call in consultants to review their current operations with a view to improve, remove or renew whatever it is they are doing. (It’s never ‘renew’.)

Whatever your magical path, it can always do with an independent, third party assessment. Wicca… Thelema… Possibly even Tom Cruisianity. (Possibly.)

Even/especially if that third party is you: Chaos magic remains the simplest and most well-trodden path of extreme, helpful empiricism in the western occult world. And it is available to you to use on your own.

You don’t need chaos magic to shine a little empirical light on your practice but nobody shines it better than chaos magic. I am willing to be convinced otherwise but it has yet to happen.

Also, like a consultancy service, it is practical. It truly does not care about hierarchies or promotions or what sphere you are in or which angel you can videoconference. It is about real world results and shareholder dividends. Your fancy, arcane title is of absolutely no interest to the consultant. Are you performing or are you not?

3 …Still too adolescent

The nineties were a time of prolonged adolescence for the entire First World. Example: Somehow NBC managed to string together an immensely popular show about a bunch of friends (title hint) that couldn’t program a VCR between them.

Chaos magic -like my mysterious unnamed show- is still there in many respects.

What complicates this is that magic tends to grab people in their mid adolescence and chaos magic in particular seems to provide a philosophical home for all those petty little rebellions you think at the time are the “real you emerging from your shell.”

But like the pony-tailed rock musician in his late forties who sits next to you in the bank call centre you work at on weekends there is this ill-defined sense that the last few developmental stages may have somehow been missed.

Chaos magic hasn’t grown out of its tendency to wear sunglasses indoors and think that anyone else cares about Cthulu. Far too many books (the last ten years) support me in this observation.

Which really annoys me because I still think it has something to offer. Namely this:

4 …The philosopher in the gymnasium

Chaos magic really only has one philosophical viewpoint: an enlightened, postmodern relativisim.

This is fine by me because if you are going to pick one philosophical viewpoint you may as well pick the most flexible and interesting one.

Spread out all around this viewpoint, like rows of cross trainers and weight stations, is a collection of truly excellent techniques designed to build up your magical muscles. Done right, you end up with:

  • A ripped clairvoyant capability.
  • A toned manifestation muscle cluster.
  • Some gym buddies you may have invented but are nonetheless real.

Regardless, you can still boil down chaos magic to a collection of broadly followed techniques and a truly helpful and sophisticated philosophical viewpoint… Which is more than I can say for most traditional magic; being that it combines some broadly followed techniques with a mostly ludicrous viewpoint. (Be honest, you know you can boil your own down just as easily I have.)

5 …Moving East

Like so much of magic! Chaos magic’s eastward trend appears to have begun in the early eighties with some tentative forays into Tantra. (I say appears because I was one year old in the early eighties.)

The tantra thing has been carried on but on a personal level I am much, much, much more interested in where the latest socioeconomic and scientific understandings of probability collide with a Taoist view of the universe. This is where I’m putting my own focus at the moment. Getting this right feels like the key to a vast improvement in magical results.

Either way, chaos magic is moving east.

6 …A ‘buy’ stock

Chaos magic is undervalued right now and that’s largely due to an absence of senior management.

But with the middle class’s wholesale adoption of quick mind hacking techniques; regardless of how they ‘actually’ work on the brain; and the inevitable push-back against an overstretched materialism by the spiritual majority (never forget we are the majority) AND with the imminent admission by physicists that we live in some kind of crazy, imaginary, holographic universe that is powered by thought and intention alone like we have all been saying for two and a half thousand years I predict a return to prominence for chaos magic in the near future.

I say prominence… I really mean respectability. No, that’s not right either. But something more visible is bound to happen.

Incidentally, the absence of senior management is in the process of being corrected. We can count PJC back in for the next few rounds. Of this I am very glad.

7 …Not available in E-Prime

Yes, I’m aware there is something oxymoronic about hanging an entire blog post on a verb that chaos magic purports to reject. (That is the verb “to be”.)

E-Prime is a failed 70s experiment in ontological warfare that chaos magic picked up because -what do you know- it mostly formed in the 1970s.

Just be aware that your language is a brain trap and use that knowledge strategically.

8 …Mostly solitary

You may or may not have worked out that this post -like every single other post on this site and all my other sites- is nothing more than my opinion.

Perhaps the thing I adore most about chaos magic is that it is a space in which to get on and do your own shit. Please note this doesn’t mean you can find chaos magicians anywhere and for a limited time only… That’s not a trait that is unique to this school of magic. Wicca, ceremonial… Whatever. Don’t pretend you have any more cohesion that chaotes because I will be very surprised if you do. It’s just political smack talk from almost two decades ago. No one else gets judged on their ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’-era boasts these days.

Besides, the nineties are over. It’s not all Lovecraft and zany public rituals/street theatre anymore… Which is by and large how chaos magic is still perceived. (That would be that absence of senior management I just mentioned.)

Check it out: Jack is a member of the Golden Dawn and I’m a member of the British Museum. We might as well go bald and overdose on Earl Grey tea.

It would be a cognitive error to mistake radical material from thirty years ago as some kind of contemporary corpus. (But then Christianity did the same thing with some essential Bronze Age radicalism so you’d be in good company.)


The next post is going to properly answer Jason’s question about what’s good in chaos magic right now. I thought it might be better to draw exactly eight lines around the field in which I wish to make my case.

Do I think any/all of the above points are unique to chaos magic? Not necessarily. Otherwise I would have explicitly spelled that out. In the last ten years, the practice of magic has removed a lot of its internal borders and now -from the outside- looks like the European Union (on a good day) or a federation of states: One big group with some internal differences that no longer hinder it in dealing with its fellow members. I like this very, very much.

Got something to say? Please list in explicit detail exactly where you disagree with me. I will go over it in tremendous detail. There may even be some sleep loss.


Add yours
  1. 1
    Jason Miller

    This is excellent! Point by point:

    1. Never thought of it like that, but it is so true. Thats how it worked for me as well.

    2. I think and hope that this will escape just being a Chaos Magic thing.

    3. oh yeah.

    4. Hmmmmm

    5. I too am getting more interested in NeoTaoist viewpoints. Note the schools arising in Taiwan that combine Tibetan Tantra and Taoism, such as Lin Yun’s Black Hat School and Ling Xian’s True Buddha School. Even Mantak Chia, a personal fave, is incorporating Indian Tantric tech.

    6. I hope you are right.

    7. yep

    8. Yep

  2. 2

    Re: “7 …Not available in E-Prime”

    IRRC, Peter Carroll’s PsyberMagick was written in e-prime.

    Evolved into widespread interest in NLP and memetics.

    It’s also one of the few paradigms that encourages evolution, which merits mention.
    .-= Psyche´s last blog ..The Science Tarot =-.

  3. 3

    I’m pondering like a pondering thing about all this. I agree both with your points and with Jason’s points which is why I think I hesitate about calling myself a chaos mage (plus I hate calling myself a mage in general, it just bugs me), besides obv previously stated commitment to anything issues.

    I agree about the street theater aspect that it’s the past but still a perception (and I will shamefacedly admit it was mine until I met you my darling!), and I think it’s a part of my hesitation (. . .says the girl who’s willing to aline herself with a made up RPG grouping instead ;p I’m a horrible example).

    To me, I agree about the liminal make shit up as needed aspect but I have trouble with the whole everything is chaos aspect because I’m a control freak.

    So like with everything else that gels with me, I’ll continue to be inspired by chaos magic and buy a tiny share of stock. :)
    .-= Deborah´s last blog ..Etiquette Lesson: How to Conduct Yourself When Someone Dies =-.

  4. 4

    @Jason I thought point 4 may elicit a reaction like that. :)

    It’s reductionism at its ‘finest’.

    Reductionism sacrifices accuracy for usability. And I’m generally after ‘usability’ when blogging. But -as with anything- there are limits to its usefulness.

    @Psyche Yeah, Psybermagick was but Apophenion isn’t. It has its uses but it’s certainly a bit gimmicky. Whilst using e-prime is accurate in the strictest sense, the cost is a reduced understanding and longer communication times.

    Spot on observation about evolving into memetics, etc.

    @Deb I don’t think you should have any label but wonderful. :)

  5. 6

    Dude, e-prime is supposed to be gimmicky. It’s an experiment to see how often the verb “to be” is used, and to raise one’s awareness of that and discover it’s implications.

    I don’t think it was ever intended to replace “normal” speech.

  6. 11

    Could you please elaborate on the connection between chaos magic and e-prime? I have recently learned that many indigenous languages don’t use the verb “to be”, and have been goofing around with it myself. It works rather violently, forcefully, and I find myself a bit afraid of it. When every word acts in the world, things get powerful!

  7. 12
    Freeman Presson

    Skyllaros JUST pointed out this post. OK, I only ever partly invested in Chaos, having placed the majority of my portfolio in alt.theurgy.Pagan and sci.magic.rollyourown back then. But at one time I put a lot of stock in general-semantics, to the extent that I actually _read_ Science and Sanity, created the first web page about g.s., and may have even made a minor contribution to a g.s. journal. I do strongly recommend experimenting with E-prime and thinking more deeply than Bill Clinton did about the uses of “is.” Most people do not stick with it longer than it takes to develop an appreciation of the issues, but I advocate precisely that.

    I can also recommend E-choice as a halfway house. In that dialect, one “reasons about être” instead of affecting an allergy “to be stings.” One uses helping verbs and other forms of “to be” that carry less philosophical baggage, while still avoiding the “is of equivalence” and other forms that cause problems. For a couple of years, I had “Written in E-choice by choice” in my email signature.

    (And, yes, I intentionally wrote this in E-prime).
    Freeman Presson´s last blog post ..Review of A Cat of Nine Tales (Rookhaven)

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