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Lot of talk lately about Chaos magic lately (see Fra Jack's excellent blog)...which got me to thinking. This is the style that I started with; it was the most accessible. I was a teenager, and the first book I read and attempted to use for magic was Crowley's Goetia. Uhh....yeah. This was not such a good thing...I knew nothing of magic at the time, and wholeheartedly expected dudes to show up physically and start bargaining. I did a few conjurations before moving on. I was not aware of the subtleness of contact between physical beings and spirits, and assumed because no one physically showed up and appeared before my open eyes, that nothing happened. I suspect I was more successful then I realized; that time was full of bizarre mood swings and rages. Mind you , I was a teenager at the time, so those swings could have been natural. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a little bit of push there, though.

I made my way to Chaos through Liber Null and Liber Chaos...the classics, haha. I also grew up reading Elric of Melnibone, so that shit was speaking to me, son. I split my time between creating servitors, deep energy work, and Sigil work. It was a glorious time. My "banishing" ritual was entirely self made, my energy work was getting incredible results-I felt powerful. Almost all of the physical/physical seeming manifestations I've had were during this period. I would see waves of gold and purple over my vision, open eyed, while meditating. I had entities just show up while I was meditating, visible to my open eyes and freaking me out. I basically felt like a black Constantine, and was an arrogant little bastard.

I was a mess. All that my sorcery did was aggravate the issues I already had in life. If I wanted more money, I'd do magic and get it....and then waste it the same way I'd wasted the money I had before. I would attract women to me, and then repel them with my arrogance and defensiveness. I was lacking in empathy and compassion. It was like all of my worse flaws were magnified and aggravated by my work with sorcery. This isn't sorcery's fault, and not the Chaos style's fault, to be clear. Giving me sorcery at that time was like giving a kid who'd been a pauper his entire life a fortune. Use without discernment, power without any wisdom.

Chaos Magic is a great enabler. I mean that in ways obvious and subtle.

 I think it gets a bad rap because a lot of the people who practice it are/were like I was when I first began. Disconnected from the popular culture, black sheep, on the outside. And young. Then empowered, with egos blown waaayyyy out of proportion. Chaos magic doesn't require religion, money or friends. No need to find a temple, no need to worship anything. No need to prostate oneself before any power, to bow to any authority. This makes it perfect for beginning occultists here in America, who often find their way to the hidden sciences through rebellion. This also makes it easy to tar the system, when so many of it's practitioners are going through this stage.

I eventually found myself at the crossroads, and started to look within. I found my way to Initiation into Hermetics (Bardon), and started working some Theurgy with my Thaumaturgy. Literally changed my life for the positive. I got to grow. Found the Golden Dawn, and the structure and discipline were exactly what I needed to reign my personal madness in. It has worked out.  I've been working on creating a portable system for myself, something consistent and useful that didn't require a half hour of work to get results (I'm looking at you, beloved GD ceremonial system!) I mean, I've been actively working on this. Creating a notebook with the symbol sets I use (Kamea, Enochian Tablets, Astrological Signs) to contact the major forces so that I could do magic in the endless now. So that I could act immediately. I've been trying to shrink the ceremonial system down into a nicely pocketable package. What I've got works, but it wasn't necessary. The sigil magic that I began the Work with would accomplish most of that just fine, especially if I combined my new understanding with the old tech. Why was I trying to re-invent the wheel, when I had a system at hand that would do the job?

I think what it comes down to is that I discarded Chaos magic when I became skilled at Hermetic magic. I came to see complication as I sign of depth, of value. The relative lack of complication in Chaos magic made it suspicious to me. How could anything so simple be truly effective (despite the Years I spent working it and experiencing it as wonderfully effective....)? Well, a hammer is simple, and does it's job just fine.

As strange as it seems, I find that my own magic grows more simple as I grow in my Practice. Things do not require as many layers of symbolism. Contact can be made directly, with a few symbols to tune. It's getting down to the basics. Symbol. Directed Intent. LVX. Gnosis. That's it, that's all there really is. Ceremonial distills down to the same thing, if you think about it. The structures are more complicated, which is necessary sometimes. Big buildings need broad foundations, and the same can be said for magical work. I wonder if this is the same for everyone?  Does Theurgy regularly reduce complication in a person? I feel as if I've been honed down into....something.

Anyway, I've added the Sigil work back into my toolkit, and gratefully. It's the right tool for many jobs. If you haven't worked it in a while, I'd recommend taking a second look, with new eyes. It doesn't do everything that ceremonial does, but it isn't supposed to. It does what it does. Got to see the various styles as tools, and not the ends themselves I suppose.




  1. Great post.

    And you're spot on with sigil magic. Sometimes it is the right tool to use. A carpenter doesn't throw his entire toolbox away when he pulls one item out of it. He uses the right item for the job and then (if he's organised) puts it back.

    Incidentally, I wish I could have known Black Constantine. Not only does he sound awesome but we could have totally sold the movie rights. :)

  2. Thanks, Fra Gordon!

    Could we get Michael Jai White to play Black Constantine? We could substitute blunts/cigars for the cigarettes, and give him heart disease instead of lung cancer, haha. Maybe a nice fro.

    Wish I could have afforded a nice duster back then myself....=)

  3. Frater AIT,

    It's NEVER too late for the duster... :o)


  4. Fra Darren,

    You are 100% correct, my friend. Damn straight. Time to start shopping around!


  5. I recently read Portable Magic by Donald Tyson. He attempts to compress an entire system of Ritualistic Magic into the Tarot cards using GD correspondences. While ceremonial magic doesn't resonate with me (I prefer simplicity as well) it was an interesting read.


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