Chaosphere: Core Tech

Chaosphere: Core Tech


It is a silly thing.

Invented as an idle doodle, drawn at a kitchen table. Used to explain an obscure element of the fictional world of a doomed albino.

Now check it out. From Liber Null & Psychonaut:

The Chaosphere is the prime radiant or magic lamp of the adept – a psychic singularity which emitteth the brilliant darkness.

It is a purposely created crack in the fabric of reality through which the stuff of chaos enters our dimension.

Alternatively, it may be considered as a demonstration of the axiom that belief has the power to structure reality.

To call it simply a piece of fiction adopted by a bunch of mad Englishmen is to only view history in a sequential fashion. And the symbol itself contains a warning against such linearity. We know better.

We know that, in cases of the weird, we should not solely rely on something so unhelpful as sequential history.

In days past, researchers would paternally indulge Australian Aboriginal beliefs in ‘time’ or ‘story’ clustering around places or concepts as a traditional storytelling conceit. Being situational, it was never considered an accurate way to view different objects in time in context with each other.

Nevertheless, evidence from psi results and even the latest implications of subatomic experiments indicate that; whilst still inaccurate; it is a more accurate depiction of how we think time works than the one that informs your high school history books. The best explanation for subatomic entanglement has to do with particles affecting each other backwards in time, based on their previous shared state. (Precisely why that works for protons that don’t even exist is another Horseman sounding the death nell for scientific materialism.)

“Why does mathematics describe nature? That’s a deeper question than most.” – Terence McKenna

When looking for precedent for the eight-rayed sphere, an obvious example is the seven classical planets plus Uranus, but I just can’t get this system to work. My suspicion here is because the seven classical planets already form a complete cosmology and holistic psychological map. So work with either the seven or the one. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Uranus works well with chaosphere ritual formats.

Please don't ask how I knew precisely which search terms to use to bring up this image. My adolescence was disgusting.

Please don’t ask how I knew precisely which search terms to use to bring up this image. My adolescence was disgusting.

There are more exciting -and older- foreshadowings. Firstly there is the symbol for Anu, Sumerian sky god and lord of the constellations.

200px-Cuneiform_sumer_dingirHis symbol is also a determiner for Dingir, bringing in the famous opening invocation of Simon’s Necronomicon, beloved of chaos magicians everywhere:

Zi Dingir Anna Kanpa!

Zi Dingir Kia Kanpa!

And, of course, Kia itself, in the second line.

However, it gets more interesting when we look at the eight-rayed star of Inanna/Ishtar, courtesan of the gods and provider of the archetypal map for the otherworld journey… as well as its triumphant conclusion.

From The Book of Baphomet by Julian Vayne and Nikki Wyrd:

The octogram also appears in association with Baphomet, notably in the supposed forms of the idol reproduced by Hammer-Purgstall in The Guilt of the Templars (1855). The figure shown is female and perhaps this is one of the connections with the eight-fold star. Sure Baphomet is generally written with eight letters but this eightfold symbolism also turns up in the ancient iconography of the goddess Ishtar/Inanna. Eight is perhaps derived from the astronomical calculations associated with her worship. Remember this lady is Ashtoreth, goddess of lust and sacred prostitution? She rides on a lion. The Woman astride the Beast.

Here is a stele of Melishipak I, currently housed in the Louvre, showing the eight-rayed star of Ishtar.

At this point, you may want to re-read The Red Goddess, by Peter Grey.

At this point, you may want to re-read The Red Goddess, by Peter Grey.

Now from that old stalwart,

VenusAstarte was the Greek form of the Semitic name Astar (Hebrew Astoret) for the queen of the heavens. In the temples of Ishtar, she being the goddess of fertility and thus also of sexual pleasures, girls and women served the believers under surveillance by eunuchs.

Ishtar was, however, also the goddess of hunting and warfare. Since in the skies she was symbolized by Venus she was both the fertility goddess of the Evening star and the war goddess of the Morning star.

This graphic representation of Venus is from Babylonia and the time around 2000 B.C. The two sets of four arms or points of the star sign, one behind the the other, refer to the exactly eight years it takes for either of Venus’ two appearances (the Morning and the Evening star) to return to the same sign of the zodiac and the same place in that sign.

Venus, continuing her eight-rayed-star motif into the classical world. But also through into the world of the Old Testament. Again from The Book of Baphomet:

Like the Templars, Solomon is seduced by the lure of strange gods. He falls for foreign women, probably gets it on with the Queen of Sheba and turns from Jehovah to the Goddess Ashtoreth. Goddess of the eight pointed star emblem signifying the planet Venus. Ashtoreth, Astarte and Apophrodite; Goddess of fucking and war. In Jewish myth she is a demon of lust. The medieval sorcerer, armed with Solomon’s Key as his grimoire, would meet her as, “…the impure Venus of the Syrians, whom they represent with the head of an ass or of a bull, and the breasts of a woman.”

Venus… the Morning Star… who only slightly changed gender to become Lucifer, the Son of the Dawn, bringing light and revelation to the darkness of unredeemed man.

Indeed, it’s through the chaosphere that I temporarily conflate Baphomet and Lucifer (insofar as the chaosphere is Baphometic in origin) for the purposes of accessing the principles of the Emerald Tablet which fell from his Third Eye/Ajna Chakra and became the Grail.

Speaking of chakras, what does the Dharmacakra remind you of?


A representation of the Buddha’s expounding of the Dharma, it’s been with us pretty much since we’ve had Buddhism. Itself, it is one of a set of 8 auspicious symbols in Tibetan Buddhism, calling to my mind the ufological vision of Enoch, with its “wheels within wheels”. First appearing (so far) in the reign of Ashoka, an emperor amidst the ruins of an Atlantean civilisation. Here he is, described by the alien invasion trickster himself, HG Wells:

In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves “Their Highnesses,” “Their Majesties,” “Their Exalted Majesties,” and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.

Shines bright like a star? A Morning Star, maybe?

Emperor Ashoka, who 'shines bright like a star'.

Emperor Ashoka, who ‘shines bright like a star’.

There is a very specific foreshadowing of the iconography of the chaosphere in recent western occultism. And so we turn, inevitably to Crowley and the Eight of Wands in his Thoth Tarot Deck:


Here’s what he has to say about it, in The Book of Thoth:

In the Eight of Wands, fire is no longer conjoined with the ideas of combustion and destruction. It represents energy in its most exalted and tenuous sense; this suggests such forms thereof as the electric current; one might say pure light in the material sense of the word.

Sounds pretty fucking spot-on. But what about the eighth Major Arcana, Justice, which Crowley -correctly, if you ask me- changed to Adjustment?

Here we find Venus again.

This card represents the sign of Libra, ruled by Venus; in it, Saturn is exalted. The equilibrium of all things is hereby symbolised. It is the final adjustment in the formula of the Tetragrammaton, when the daughter, redeemed by her marriage with the Son, is thereby set up on the throne of the mother; thus, finally, she “awakens the Eld of the All-Father”.


This one shows the Rider-Waite attribution of 11. Crowley moved ‘Adjustment’ to the 8th place. A one-man Adjustment Bureau.

In the greatest symbolism of all, however, the symbolism beyond the planetary and Zodiacal considerations, this card is the feminine complement of the Fool, for the letters Aleph Lamed constitute the secret key of the Book Of The Law, and this is the basis of a complete qabalistic system of greater depth and sublimity than any other. It has been thought right, nevertheless, to hint at its existence by equating the designs of these two cards. Not only therefore, because Libra is a sign of Venus, but because she is the partner of the Fool, is the Goddess represented as dancing, with the suggestion of Harlequin.

The Goddess of the eight-rayed morning star dancing? Where have I heard that before, in conjunction with the eightfold formula of Baphomet? Oh yeah, The Book of Baphomet:

For the magician and writer Alan Moore (who memorably staged a performance of his Snakes and Ladders which included a woman dancing with a python to act out the part of Atu XXI) the identity of these figures is clear: “Look closer still, and she is hardly there at all, pale and ethereal, translucent, made from moonlight. She is life’s sole partner in this waltz of Being, yet she is imaginary, more than this, she is imagination, the most beautiful and splendid partner we could ever need; could ever hope for. Naked save for the moonshine, save the borrowed finery of Isis and Selene, she inspires our dance to new and unfamiliar steps, gives us the come-on. Sexier than anything, imagination moves our feet upon the rungs of the genetic ladder, leads us from insensate slime and into consciousness. Dances us up from dumb, cold mud into the blazing heavens.”

Our Lady is the World Soul, the consciousness, more properly the imagination; that limitless space that emerges from the finite resources of the universe. Plato digs this saying “Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence … a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” She appears in the hermetic magickal tradition and in the pantheist philosophy of Spinoza.

Let’s shift our focus east, to what has proven over the last fifteen months to be my most effective Archon Warning System, the I Ching. Consider the 8 original trigrams and how they are displayed in an eight-rayed circle.


Fu Xi had the 8 trigrams revealed to him supernaturally, on the shell of a great turtle spirit. This appeals to me on a personal level, obviously. And also neatly brings the eight colours of magic as described by Peter J Carroll back home to Discworld.

It is the longest continuous form of divination, appearing in the historic record five thousand years ago, but is patently a shamanic survival. From The Complete I Ching by Alfred Huang:

The literal meaning if Ching is Tao, Truth. It is the Truth of Heaven and Earth and the Truth of human life. A book that elucidates the Truth of Heaven and Earth is called Ching. The Chinese believe that the Truth of Heaven is also the Truth of humanity. This philosophical concept of the merging of Heaven and humanity into an organic whole is the foundation of traditional Chinese culture.

The I Ching also expounds upon the truth of change, or the Tao of Change, which in Chinese terminology is called the Tao of I. It is a booked based on observation and experimentation. The ancient sages watched astronomical phenomena in the sky and topographical features on the earth, and studied the relationship among all beings. They realised that in Heaven and Earth there exists a universal principle that everything is in a continuous process of change. Change is Absolute and certain; only the principle of change never changes.

Visualise the eight original trigrams radiating out from you, topped with arrows, and you have a chaosphere/bagua mirror you can stand in, a modern, heretical mandala of the Tao.

Uses for the chaosphere

PJC in Liber Null & Psychonaut again:

“[The Chaosphere] consists of a sphere with eight arrows radiant directed toward the vertices of a cube. Thus to the thinking mind it may be said to variously represent a perspective sculpture of the four axes of the geometrically impossible hypercube of the two interpenetrant tetrahedra of the light and dark forces. Such twists of illogic may be useful in the creation of an essentially paradoxical object.”

Chaosphere 2

1. A core chaosphere ritual

For this, we will be adapting some tech from Stephen Mace’s classic Stealing Fire From Heaven. Apparently, it’s based on a working originally devised by Austin Osman Spare, so , for me, it has a pleasing London symmetry to it. Here’s the relevant part:

Mace 1


Mace 2

With apologies to Mr Mace, I am going to throw in a few mystic symbols.

  • Begin by vibrating ‘baph-o-met’. (Or whatever. But Baphomet.)
  • Continue vibrating Baphomet as you use the white light to create the three rings.
  • Smoosh the egg shape into a sphere.
  • You can use the fire imagery if you want, but I tend to go with a pillar of blinding octarine extending up and down into infinity.
  • Once the pillar is in place, crib from the Mass of Chaos and invoke!

In the first aeon, I was the Great Spirit
In the second aeon, Men knew me as the Horned God, Pangenitor Panphage
In the third aeon, I was the Dark one, the Devil
In the fourth aeon, Men knew me not for I am the Hidden One
In this new aeon, I appear before you as Baphomet
The God before all gods who shall endure to the ends of the earth.

  •  Repeat the last two lines, seeing some pleasingly steampunkish arrows coalesce out from your octarine sphere, toward Carroll’s double-cube vertices.

Done! For protection, the arrows can be left as a field, like a probabilistic electron cloud, to collapse into ‘solid’ form should they come into contact with anything malefic. (This makes commuting on the tube distracting.)

2. A gnostic chaosphere ritual

Begin by saying the following aloud. They’re the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas. I see no reason not to adjust this for gender as appropriate.

“Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness.”

  • Create the sphere as before, but vibrate ‘abra-sax’ instead. This appears to be an earlier form of Abraxas. You can use either but seriously… go ahead and vibrate ‘abra-sax’ now. AMIRITE?!?!
  • Instead of constructing your chaosphere with a white light… use pink, like an electric rose quartz. Why? Because of reasons.
  • Once at the pillar part, vibrate the names of the first four angels from the Hidden Gospel of St John.


  • Visualise the arrows coalescing as well as the four angels manifesting at cardinal points a la the LRP. (They don’t quiiiiiite line up in an elemental fashion. Or, at least, I can’t get them to. Elements have never been my thing.)

Done. This is a lot more potent than it looks. That’s your heads up.

3. The 8 Immortals of the Wine Cup


This variant is based on a print I saw at the British Museum last year, part of their Ritual and Revelry: The Art of Drinking in Asia exhibit. (Yes, I trawl the BM looking for tech. But there is a long, proud tradition of occultists doing precisely that.)

The 8 Immortals of the Wine Cup aren’t true Taoist immortals. It’s basically a burn on a bunch of philosophers who loved to get wasted. So I immediately fell in love with them. (Also… no trespassing problems!)

The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup or Eight Immortals Indulged in Wine were a group of Tang Dynasty scholars who are known for their love of alcoholic beverages. They are not deified and xian (“immortal; transcendent; fairy”) is metaphorical. The term is used in a poem by Du Fu, and in the biography of Li Bai in the New Book of Tang. [More.]

Use this as a source of creative inspiration, or just for the funsies that comes from charging your wine.

  • Hold a glass of wine with both hands at the level of your manipura chakra.
  • Perform a ‘vanilla’ chaosphere ritual with Mace’s white light and no vocal invocation. (Unless your Mandarin is up to it?)
  • Lift and extend the wine glass and have the unlimited white light pillar ‘pour’ into it from above.
  • Breath in and out deeply, visualising the 8 Immortals of the Wine Cup slowly manifest in an approving circle around you.
  • Salute them with the glass.

You can probably guess how this variant ends.

Return to the kitchen table

Crowley called the Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentagram, “properly used”, the Medicine of Metals. And by “properly used”, we may make the reasonable inference that he was referring to the potency of the symbols -and what they are proxies for, rather than the act of regular banishing. Indeed, the entire conceit of ritual magic is that things can stand in for other things that have real effects.

The chaosphere, then? Here’s Moorcock on it’s creation:

The origin of the Chaos Symbol was me doodling sitting at the kitchen table and wondering what to tell Jim Cawthorn the arms of Chaos looked like. I drew a straightforward geographical quadrant (which often has arrows, too!) – N, S, E, W – and then added another four directions and that was that – eight arrows representing all possibilities, one arrow representing the single, certain road of Law. I have since been told that it is an “ancient symbol of Chaos” and if it is then it confirms a lot of theories about the race mind. … As far as I know the symbol, drawn by Jim Cawthorn, first appeared on an Elric cover of Science Fantasy in 1962, then later appeared in his first comic version of Stormbringer done by Savoy.

I think about the chaosphere’s encoding of the idea of all possibilities in connection with Crowley’s promotion of a “properly used” LBRP. It reminds me, in a strange way, of those Pharaonic spells in the Book of The Dead that allow the Pharaoh to “come down into any sky”. In Fingerprints of The Gods, Hancock says this relates to being able to move between different times… specifically Zep Tepi and the time of the Gods, and that’s what the entire Giza complex is designed to encode: The heliacal rising of Leo on the Spring Equinox in 10,500 BC.

In some fashion, the Giza complex is undoubtedly a Divine Rolex, but to my mind, the ability to “come down into any sky” is a way of saying that you are unbound by fate and predestination. You can “come down into a sky” where the Wanderers are in a more beneficial, or less obstructive, alignment. The repeated performance of this spell ensures that the Pharaoh is not bound by the tyranny of his natal chart… or, to update the concept, the inertia of high probability events.

A similar notion is encoded in the liberating message and origin of the chaosphere. Repeated application should secure your freedom to follow any path rather than the fixed track of fate.

Otherwise, what else is chaos for?

Perhaps a better question to end on… given that the chaosphere as we currently have it was made up at a kitchen table for an also-ran, pulp fantasy world.

How else would you expect the supreme symbol of chaos to come down to us?


Add yours
  1. 1
    Jeremy Puma

    Good stuff, as always. One minor niggling comment– the four names from the Gnostic Secret Book of John are better described as “Aeons” or, even better, “Luminaries”– they’re way more powerful than mere angels, in my experience. They appear all over the Gnostic literature and each oversees an entire realm of emanation within Gnostic myth.

    You and your readers may find my Gnostic Banishing Ritual of the Four Luminaries of some interest:

  2. 2

    Thanks for the link!

    I see no reason to overcomplicate the terms for non-gnostics:

    “Grace exists within the realm of the Light called Harmozel, the first angel.”

    That was what I cited in my head as legal precedent, your honour. :)

  3. 6

    Your connection between the chaos symbol and Inanna/Ishtar is excellent, especially considering the Prometheian story of Inanna stealing the Me. I’ve long had a fondness for Inanna in this hacker context (sparked by Snowcrash of all things). I’ve worked with Her in the past, less in a personal connection fashion, but rather as the source of both magical and non-magical tech. Bread not rising? House protections falling flat? Issues with authority figures? Ask Inanna for the correct Me.

    What translation of the I Ching do you use? How do you use it for archon warning? I use the Tarot to tell me what happened, what’s happening, and what’s gonna’ happen — typically with large archetypal brushstrokes. I use the I Ching for advice on how to be and what to do.

    I’m currently working on a series of Tarot layouts based on Taleb.

  4. 7

    My first experiment creating a Chaos Sphere ala Carrolls instructions was also my first experience with magically induced madness. Instead of going to work, I went to the toy store and bought a Spirograph. I spent the better part of two days doing spirographs inside my Chaos sphere watching contradictory ideas dance around and mate with each other.

  5. 8

    Thanks for the extra info about the Swiftness Card. It’s been coming up for me a lot lately, and I’ve been thinking it’s trying to tell me it’s really something like “Wildness”. Food for thought.

    And when there’s too much food for thought, here’s sip of something interesting for the 8 Immortals (apparently drinking is correlated with intelligence):


  6. 9

    @Ivy I use Alfred Huang’s The Complete I Ching and his The Numerology Of The I Ching. They’re quite old now but, IMHO, the definitive guide for non-Chinese folks. And I use either coins or cards (mostly coins) to build the hexagram.

    Been meaning to write a post about it all year and it’s already June! In this exact example I throw weekly hexagrams during periods of increased archonic influence. Or on a specific matter if it warrants it. Really suits where my head is at.

  7. 11

    I think you just gave me the final key to some work with Runes I have been doing, pop it out into a chaosphere. oooo yes

  8. 12
    Pete Carroll

    ‘……..but I just can’t get this system to work. My suspicion here is because the seven classical planets already form a complete cosmology and holistic psychological map.’

    Well Gordon we monitor this site for signs of Chaoist heterodoxy or theometric impropriety, perhaps the following may help: –

    2/3 Saturnine – Ouranian. Odin
    2/4 Jupiterian – Ouranian. Ma’at
    2/5 Martial – Ouranian. Athena
    2/6 Solar – Ouranian. Lucifer
    2/7 Venusian – Ouranian. Apophenia
    2/8 Mercurial – Ouranian. Thoth
    2/9 Lunar – Ouranian. Isis

    The seven classical planetary archetypes form the basis of only a simple Kabala in which many of the archetypes and god-forms of interest to the contemporary eclectic neo-pagan-quantum-panpsychist do not find a ready niche. We thus labour upon a more complete Chaobala of 8 x 8 Bi-Planetaries for the forthcoming Esotericon, with the above as the provisional Ouranian representatives.


  9. 14

    @Pete Nice! Will certainly give them a shot. Already have a reasonable personal resonance with all seven representatives, conveniently enough. That should save some time!

  10. 15

    Gordon, re: I Ching, I speak and read Chinese, use the I Ching for divination, and collect translations of it. In my view the two best translations for English speakers are Wilhelm / Barnes if you are inclined to poetic ambiguity and RL Wing if you are not. I always use both, plus Blofeld; lately I have just been doing my readings using Jim DeKorne’s Gnostic Book of Changes, which is an internet compendium of all the major translations plus some commentary from DeKorne. It’s online here:

    I am not aware of Huang; it is unlikely to be worse than the unbelievably bad Shaugnessy and Ritsema, both of which made it on to DeKorne’s list, while Huang did not. However based on your excerpt from Huang I would strongly caution you against it. The excerpt is utterly false. The literal meaning of Jing is “book” or “classic” in the sense of a classic text.
    It does have a secondary meaning of meridian in the context of acupuncture, but in the context of the title of a book, this is one of those vanishingly rare instances where a Chinese word has an absolutely unambiguous and uncontested translation. It does not mean “truth” and it most certainly does not mean “tao”. The title Yijing (modern romanization) means “Book of Changes” or “Classic of Changes” and anyone who tells you otherwise is ignorant and / or blowing smoke up your ass. Based on the scope of that mistake, I would stay away from Huang. Best resources for your readership are DeKorne, Wilhelm / Barnes, Wing.

    Sorry that my first comment to your wonderful blog is so bitchy. Keep up the good work.

  11. 16

    @Alex I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him. He’s a professor of Taoist philosophy, is a third gen Tai Chi Chuan (wu style) and chi gung master, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Chinese government, spending the thirteen years of his imprisonment working with the I Ching. Since 1993, I would say he is the definitive author for western audiences.

    I agree there’s nothing super wrong with the Wilhelm translation if you want a 60 year old westernised attempt. Yes, Ching means classic. Here’s a quote from the book: “The Chinese translation of Holy Bible is Sheng Ching. Sheng is equivalent to “holy”, and Ching means “classic”. Chinese understand that Ching is the Tao, the Truth, the holiest of the ancient books, and because they revere and respect the sacred writings of the Jews and the Christian church, they honor the Bible by calling it Ching.”

    So thank you for your comment and unsolicited advice, but I’ll leave my “ignorant” quote up there.

  12. 17
    I. Chung

    Which is worse unsolicited advice or unsolicited lists?

    Also how lucky are we to have eagle eyed “Pop” dekorne leading us away from those who would do our divinations damage? Huang of course is not on the no fly list just yet, still always safer to trust those with european surnames when selecting translations of ancient asian text.

    If we prayed to ken & barbie would we end up in a beach house?

  13. 18

    Gordon – the second quote from the Huang book doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and it certainly doesn’t make the first quote anything short of totally false. The literal meaning of I Ching is Classic of Changes and I maintain that it’s a mistake to rely on a translation by someone who doesn’t grasp that.

    I. Chung – I agree wholeheartedly that ethnic origin of surnames is a terrible guide to translating acumen.

    I’ll shut up now and I’m certainly very sorry if I’ve offended anyone particularly my favorite blogger.

  14. 20
    Pedro Ribeiro

    “Instead of constructing your chaosphere with a white light… use pink, like an electric rose quartz. Why? Because of reasons.”
    Hmm. Would the reasons be the pink laser beams of VALIS? Or is that a coincidence?

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