It was born in the permanent darkness of glorious, snowy London but it was conceived somewhere very different.
It was conceived in the tomb of Saint Peter.
Let me back it up a bit.
My magical career began when I was thirteen. I sat bolt upright in bed one Saturday morning, aware that something had happened in my dreams that I couldn’t quite recall.
So I got up, walked down the hill to my local independent bookstore, which for years had the best range of occult titles in my hometown… Pity it’s gone to the dogs recently.
Anyway, I spent everything I had on a range of magical (mostly Wiccan and Druidic) books. Between then and my early twenties there were a bunch of initiations, groups, changes, discoveries… The usual. There is more detail on my About page.
A couple of years after moving to New Zealand, my relationship with magic… Lapsed. Not for any reason other than ‘busy-ness’ and general ‘desire redundancy’. I had found love, I had a job I loved, I was making very good money, I was pretty, I was healthy. In that way, practical magic contains the seeds of its own destruction. Once you get the things you want, what’s the point? A glorious career is beckoning. Have at it!
Magic stirred in me again when I moved to London. How could it not? This is one of the great cities of the world, it’s also one of the most haunted (I’m excellent at ghost-spotting; one of my few talents) and the undisputed home of modern western magic. For instance, my house is easy walking distance from the site of the original Isis-Urania Temple.
Let me be clear… By this stage, I had carried my magical library across half the planet and through four cities. Magic was still somehow the cornerstone of my identity… It was/is the goggles I use to see the world. I just hadn’t actually… done anything with my goggles for quite a while.
On a Wednesday morning, we got up early to tour the Vatican museum.
Here’s a fun tip. Wednesday morning is when the Vatican museum is at its quietest because there is a Pope Show at 9am out the front of the basilica so all the faithful congregate there, leaving the queue to get in as un-monstrous as it is ever going to get.
And so I went through a couple of hectares of religious art, the Sistine Chapel, etc… Teasing the Christians the whole way like any good Neo-Enlightenment boy.
Then I hit the tomb of St Peter.
If you haven’t been, the right side of the tomb -which is how you enter- is laid out in ‘reverse Papal chronological order’. You walk past Hitler’s pope, and then you walk past the Pope who is responsible for triple the deaths of Hitler thanks to his African AIDS policy. Fingers crossed the current Hitler Youth Pope ends up next to him real soon. (Are you detecting a theme here?)
I won’t lie. As I walked past them I uttered some silent curses. They are literally two of the worst people who lived in the twentieth century. These curses may have constituted my first magical acts in more than a year.
Then at the end of the tomb I arrived at St Peter himself.
It bowled me over. I almost cried. The energy emanating from this tiny gilded casket was like nothing I have ever felt. Something had happened to this man.
So I stood there and thought about what this something might have been.
- This man may have met something divine that we can still feel two thousand years later even after his bones have turned to dust.
- He was somehow raised up or elevated about normal human status by… Something.
- The faith of more than a billion people currently living on planet earth converging on this one tiny chamber have built something.
Whichever way you look at it, this was magic.
And this is what I love about chaos magic. The explanation doesn’t matter in the slightest. In fact, it’s probably speculating beyond the data. All you can know for certain is that something magical is happening.
The universe is magic. It didn’t matter that I currently had no ‘use’ for practical magic. Magic’s existence is too important to ignore. If magic exists -and it does- then that colours everything about your life.
That was it.
In that tomb I committed to pulling the sheets of the furniture in the wizard’s tower and firing up the octarine generator.
My first order of business would be to plug back in with magical folk of every colour and creed. (Hi!) I would take it from there.
I guess this story is an example of what I meant in my previous post. Holy Places are important. They also have a function. Which is why I like them so much. And why I’m not particularly fussed who is currently laying claim to them. Because, if done right, the outcome is the same.
So Cheers, Pete… Cheers very much.