As I have connected with more and more practicing magicians as time goes on, I find there are a lot of similar feuds going on about systems, who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s a “real” magician, who is not and so on and so-forth. Having previously spent over twenty years in Christianity, I find there is a lot of the same bickering, disagreements, assumptions, finger pointing and self righteous folks in the occult who are essentially having the same conversations I observed in churches.
I suppose I am not surprised by this as humanity and it’s many cultures, subcultures, and communities are fractal in nature. (as is everything, eh?) so I guess these self similar patterns of arguments in both subcultures are to be expected.
So why write about it? It won’t end the arguments or prove I am right about things I disagree with, right?
Well sure, but I figured that I would at least chime in and talk about a few things which I have observed about some of the discussions moving through social media as of late. Of particular interest to me is the argument that some traditional ceremonial/ritual magicians currently hold in regards to chaos magic.
Aaron Leitch has a rather long thread on Facebook of which I chimed into along with many other people. This discussion is basically those who hold that chaos magic is essentially a problematic and borderline foolish “system” (although some say it is not even a system) when compared to more traditional ceremonial systems such as the Golden Dawn, Goetia, Trithemius, Enochian, etc…
As someone who came to be a practicing magician by way of initiation through “becoming invincible” via experimenting with the ritual use of high doses of entheogens, I subsequently chose chaos magic as my “system” after more than a decade of studying the occult and the many varied systems and approaches to magic(k) therein. I find it rather odd that some traditionalists hold chaos magic in such low regards. Furthermore, those who believe that while it does have it’s place and can be useful but should only be used once you have another more traditional system under your belt, also confuses me.
For many, chaos magic is THE starting point, and to assume that starting there and jumping in with both feet before going through the arduous task of mastering a traditional system first is some how foolish or unlikely to bear fruit, is to my mind, unfounded and false.
This is of course not to say that every young or beginning choate who studies for six months, joins CMG and then acts like a master magus is not in fact a fool or at least acting like one. However, to lump the entire chaos current and what it has achieved into the idea that it is basically child’s play and little more than say, training wheels, seems to me… misguided at best.
My practice is almost entirely the product of what I have garnered from the teachings, books and resources provided by Gordon White and Jason Miller respectively (Rufus Opus has been a major influence as well). I am unashamed to say that my practice is at worst, a hodge podge of different magical tech and at best, a well thought out system of choices made regarding what I have found does and does not work. I value simplicity, ROI, speed and effectiveness.
I primarily use magic in my professional life as a salesman and in my private life as an artist and musician. I really have no interest in completing the “great work” in the traditional sense or how a devout ceremonial magician would approach the concept.
I like the idea of working with arch angels and am interested in the possibility of a full visual manifestation of one. I also like the idea of working with goetic spirits, but I have absolutely zero interest in a deep personal relationship with them which is to say, my relationship with them is “strictly business”.
I do not mind dealing with their presence as a subtle energetic shift, which is how I usually perceive their presence or lack there of. This is largely due to the fact that in my teen years, when experimenting with entheogens, I accidentally invoked a demon, who after researching the work of Alan Moore and working with RO’s angelic grimoire, came to the conclusion that it was Asmodeus (not a pleasant fellow IMO).
Magic is not the epoch of my spirituality, it is a mechanical component of it. I blend tech that I have found works for me from systems including Hoo Doo, Goetia, Trithemius, Catholicism (yes I consider that magic), the work of Austin Osman Spare, and various other systems of magic, the list of which is unnecessary to write in it’s entirety.
Am I am a “great” magician? Probably not. Am I anywhere near the kind of career or success that say Aaron has had or will have? Definitely not and honestly, I don’t want that, whatsoever…
Magic has allowed me to make great changes to my perspective, it has allowed my third eye to find an outlet and a daily practical use. Magic has given me the ability to break old and oppressive belief systems which controlled my life through fear. I have used magic to land some sales which have resulted in some serious coin.
I have used magic to open opportunities to spend more time enjoying life and less time working. Through Magic, I became invincible and have become a more courageous person. With magic, I have achieved many things which at one time I was not sure would ever happen and those things happened in a fraction of the time they would have should I have relied on the mundane.
So in closing I will ask you this. Is Chaos Magic a foolish, broken and childish system? Maybe it is…
For me however, it is my bread and butter, my daily practice and a very great joy. For a while now, I have been defined magic as follows:
“Magic is complete and utter bullshit, THAT WORKS. Which is to say, it is highly effective nonsense…”
Maybe that is childish. Maybe that just proves that the traditionalists who dislike, disregard and dispose of chaos magic are right.
That being said. I am just a chaos magician and honestly, I don’t care.