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- Generating Pitch Material from the Magical Sigils of the Western Esoteric Tradition
- Austin Osman Spare - Theory On Sigils.pdf
- Chaos magic
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Generating Pitch Material from the Magical Sigils of the Western Esoteric Tradition
Chaos magic , also spelled chaos magick , is a contemporary magical practice. It was initially developed in England in the s, drawing heavily from the philosophy of artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare. Chaos magic has been described as a union of traditional occult techniques and applied postmodernism  — particularly a postmodernist skepticism concerning the existence or knowability of objective truth. Early leading figures include Peter J.
Carroll and Ray Sherwin. Chaos magic differs from other occult traditions such as Thelema or Wicca in that it rejects the existence of absolute truth, and views all occult systems as arbitrary symbol-systems that are only effective because of the belief of the practitioner. It is unknown when the term "chaos magic" first emerged, with the earliest texts on the subject referring only to "magic" or "the magical art" in general.
Furthermore, they often claimed to state principles universal to magic, as opposed to a new specific style or tradition, describing their innovations as efforts to rid magic of superstitious and religious ideas. The word chaos was first used in connection with magic by Peter J.
Magical traditions like Wicca, Qabalah or the Golden Dawn system combine techniques for bringing about change with "beliefs, attitudes, a conceptual model of the universe if not several , a moral ethic, and a few other things besides. Y" approach means that the working practices of different chaos magicians often look drastically different, with many authors explicitly encouraging readers to invent their own magical style.
The central defining tenet of chaos magic is arguably the "meta-belief" that "belief is a tool for achieving effects". Some commentators have traced this position to the influence of postmodernism on contemporary occultism.
This "free belief" could then be directed towards new aims. Other writers  have highlighted the influence of occultist Aleister Crowley , who wrote of the occult:. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.
It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them. Within the magical system of Austin Osman Spare, magic was thought to operate by using symbols to communicate desire to something Spare termed "Kia" a sort of universal mind, of which individual human consciousnesses are aspects via the "passage" of the unconscious — hence the need for complex systems of symbolism.
Provided there was enough "free belief" to feed them, these desires would then grow, unconsciously, into "obsessions", which would culminate in magical results occurring in reality. Peter J. Carroll inherited this model from Spare, but used the term "Kia" to refer to the consciousness of the individual: "the elusive 'I' which confers self-awareness".
In his own words:. To the extent that the Kia can become one with Chaos it can extend its will and perception into the universe to accomplish magic. Later chaos magicians have stressed that this basic operating process can be explained in multiple ways, from within different paradigms.
For example:. Since chaos magic is built around an experimental, D. However, there are a few techniques that have been specifically developed by chaos magicians, and are unique to the tradition. Most chaos magic techniques involve something called the gnostic state, or gnosis. This is described as an altered state of consciousness in which a person's mind is focused on only one point , thought, or goal and all other thoughts are thrust out.
Since it is claimed to take many years of training to master this sort of Zen-like meditative ability, chaos magicians employ a variety of other ways to attain a "brief 'no-mind' state" in which to work magic. A sigil is a picture or glyph that represents a particular desire or intention. They are most commonly created by writing out the intention, then condensing the letters of the statement down to form a sort of monogram.
The chaos magician then uses the gnostic state to "launch" or "charge" the sigil — essentially bypassing the conscious mind to implant the desire in the unconscious. The magician acknowledges a desire, he lists the appropriate symbols and arranges them into an easily visualised glyph. Using any of the gnostic techniques he reifies the sigil and then, by force of will, hurls it into his subconscious from where the sigil can begin to work unencumbered by desire.
After charging the sigil, it is considered necessary to repress all memory of it: there should be "a deliberate striving to forget it", in Spare's words. In the Medieval era , a sigil was a symbol associated with a particular angel or demon , which could be used to ritually summon the relevant being. Later chaos magicians have expanded on the basic sigilisation technique.
Grant Morrison coined the term hypersigil to refer to an extended work of art with magical meaning and willpower, created using adapted processes of sigilization. His comic book series The Invisibles was intended as such a hypersigil. Corporate sigils are super-breeders. They attack unbranded imaginative space. They invade Red Square, they infest the cranky streets of Tibet, they etch themselves into hairstyles. They breed across clothing, turning people into advertising hoardings The logo or brand, like any sigil, is a condensation, a compressed, symbolic summoning up of the world of desire which the corporation intends to represent Walt Disney died long ago but his sigil, that familiar, cartoonish signature, persists, carrying its own vast weight of meanings, associations, nostalgia and significance.
Gordon White developed the technique of shoaling , which involves launching a group of sigils for a set of related aims. For example, instead of sigilising for "money", sigilising for a pay rise, new business clients, a promotion, influential new contacts, budget reallocation for your department, etc.
The cut-up technique is an aleatory literary technique in which a written text is cut up and rearranged, often at random, to create a new text. The technique can also be applied to other media: film, photography, audio recordings, etc. It was pioneered by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs — who practiced chaos magic, and was inducted into the chaos magic organisation The Illuminates of Thanateros in the early s   — was adamant that the technique had a magical function, stating "the cut ups are not for artistic purposes".
I would say that my most interesting experience with the earlier techniques was the realization that when you make cut-ups you do not get simply random juxtapositions of words, that they do mean something, and often that these meanings refer to some future event.
I've made many cut-ups and then later recognized that the cut-up referred to something that I read later in a newspaper or a book, or something that happened Perhaps events are pre-written and pre-recorded and when you cut word lines the future leaks out. David Bowie compared the randomness of the cut-up technique to the randomness inherent in traditional divinatory systems, like the I Ching or Tarot.
Other chaos magicians have elaborated on the basic technique. Genesis P-Orridge , who studied under Burroughs, described it as a way to "identify and short circuit control, life being a stream of cut-ups on every level.
Synchromysticism , a portmanteau of synchronicity and mysticism , is "the art of realising meaningful coincidences in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance". All magical paradigms partake of some form of action at a distance, be it distance in space or time or both In magic this is called synchronicity. A mental event, perception, or an act of will occurs at the same time synchronously as an event in the material world Of course, this can always be excused as coincidence, but most magicians would be quite content with being able to arrange coincidences.
Essentially, chaos magic consists of a set of techniques for deliberately engineering synchronicities. Gordon White, for example, writes in Synchromysticism as Kabbalah :. Simply put, both work because some things are associated with other things. Symbols recur, patterns repeat, sounds heard on a radio associate with similar outcomes in your life. An Animist universe speaks a language of symbol and synchronicity. To you, to itself, to the birds. This awareness underpins systems of magical correspondence the world over — such as practical Kabbalah or Technical Hermetica These systems are indications that the universe speaks in a symbolic language Elsewhere, White speculates that this may be "the secret of kabbalistic apotheosis" — "hearing the language behind the words, connecting the things that aren't connected Chaos magic was first developed in England in the mids, at a time when British occultism was dominated by Wicca and Thelema.
Chaos magic grew out of the desire of some occultists to strip away these extrinsic details and distill magic down to a set of tried-and-tested techniques for causing effects to occur in reality. Carroll and Ray Sherwin are considered to be the founders of chaos magic, although Phil Hine points out that there were others "lurking in the background, such as the Stoke Newington Sorcerors "  — a group which included Charles Brewster Frater Choronzon.
Austin Osman Spare is largely the source of chaos magical theory and practice. Most basic sigil work recapitulates Spare's technique, including the construction of a phrase detailing the magical intent, the elimination of duplicate letters, and the artistic recombination of the remaining letters to form the sigil. Although Spare died before chaos magic emerged, many consider him to be the grandfather of chaos magic because of his repudiation of traditional magical systems in favor of a technique based on gnosis.
Aleister Crowley was a marginal yet early and ongoing influence, particularly for his syncretic approach to magic, and his emphasis on experimentation and deconditioning. However, despite these influences, it's clear from their early writings that the first chaos magicians were attempting to recover a sort of universal shamanism by stripping away any accumulated cultural gloss. Carroll makes this clear in Liber Null :. When stripped of local symbolism and terminology, all systems show a remarkable uniformity of method.
This is because all systems ultimately derive from the tradition of Shamanism. It is toward an elucidation of this tradition that the following chapters are devoted. This is echoed in Snell's description of Spare as a "master shaman" who brought into the world a new form of "shamanistic sorcery". New chaos magic groups emerged in the early s — at first, located in Yorkshire , where both Sherwin and Carroll were living.
Ralph Tegtmeier Frater U. He was excommunicated in over the "Ice Magic Wars". As chaos magic spread, people from outside Carroll and Sherwin's circle began publishing on the topic. Phil Hine, who practiced chaos magic alongside Tantra and Wicca, published a number of books on the subject that were particularly influential in spreading chaos magic techniques via the internet.
Hawkins, from California, wrote an article on chaos magic for Mezlim magazine, coming into contact with Sherwin and other IOT members in the process. Hawkins later wrote the first chaos magic book intended for a general readership. Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the s, and was also influenced by Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare, as well as the psychedelic movement. From the beginning, chaos magic has had a tendency to draw on the symbolism of pop culture in addition to that of "authentic" magical systems; the rationale being that all symbol systems are equally arbitrary, and thus equally valid — the belief invested in them being the thing that matters.
Preluded by Kenneth Grant — who had studied with both Crowley and Spare, and who had introduced elements of H. Lovecraft's fictional Cthulhu mythos into his own magical writings  — there was a trend for chaos magicians to perform rituals invoking or otherwise dealing with entities from Lovecraft's work, such as the Great Old Ones. Hine, for example, published The Pseudonomicon , a book of Lovecraftian rites.
In turn, by the mids, chaos magic itself was beginning to leak into pop culture.
Austin Osman Spare - Theory On Sigils.pdf
This interesting contribution to the practise and theory of sigils certainly deserves a fourthpublication. In it you will find some ingenious refinements of the practices and principlesdeveloped by the great English Mage Austin Osman Spare. This book is basically apractical extension kit to the now classic sigil technique which also helpfully resumes theoriginal in plain language. With a refreshing severity Sherwin reminds us that demons are very real personalblindspots which the aspiring magician can and should overcome with a daily regime ofwilled magical and material activity. On the non-reductionist side of the coin he showshow the basic sleight of mind techniques of sigilisation can be expanded into full ritualscomplete with banishing techniques, mantras and dervish whirling, to create longer andmore powerful rites. Sherwin discusses the theory of sigils and presents the basic mechanism, uncovered bySpare, explaining the entire range of seemingly bizarre analogical procedures of the oldspell books at a stroke.
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