Lust, Harpo:68, 6006 YD
by: The Irreverend Hugh, KSC
Chaos Magic is one of the few occult approaches today that wholeheartedly embraces the use of cutting edge technologies for magical applications. Many people in the occult are stuck in systems which use rather obsolete technologies, and that is fine so long as the effect occurs. But what of people for whom the modern and the post-modern has more relevance? What is out there for the Pagans of the city, the urban shamans, or the electric alchemists? Music and the arts have progressed into cutting edge technologies. Magic should be no exception.
Things have changed since the renaissance, in case you haven’t noticed. Instead of religion and culture framing the possibilities of social thought, in our times, society has its collective desires framed, expressed, and consummated through the use of the mass ensigilization known as advertising. You can stand there and recite an incantation from your grimoire all you want, and that will still be effective. But wouldn’t it be more effective to use the tools of modern enchantment: the logo/glyph, the jingle, and the mass media? Renaissance alchemists used the most advanced technologies of their times and today’s modern occultist should not shy away from that spirit. Never forget the old tools with which your forebears and mentors achieved success, but also never forget that you will need your own more personally relevant and potent tools.
There is inherent power in the altar, the use of candle, the use of strange languages, the chanting of pagan deity names, and other traditional occult paraphernalia. That is why they should still be used by those who wish to do so. But to honestly tell me that there is no inherent power in the microwave oven, the webpage, the stencil maker, techno music, digital photography, TV, and other post-modern occult paraphernalia is to be blinded by cultural prejudice. And if you call yourself a magician, or whatever word by which you think a similar concept is embodied by, you neglect post-modern items’ occult significance at your own peril.
The problem with modern Witchcraft is the tendency of many more Pagan brands of it to focus on and emulate the blinkered and backwards looking occult thoughts of its founders. Of what use is the emphasis on ruralized and romanticized “earth” phases to those who live far removed from that sort of lifestyle? To reject the urban is to reject all that is magical in today’s world. The city is “mutable earth” in action. To be blind to its power and the uses to which it can be put is to be willingly ignorant. Practical and effective Witchcraft changes with the times and the needs of the people who create it. A practical modern Paganism that wishes to include the use of magic in its cultures should keep this in mind. A romanticized or ruralized “back to nature” view can make one aware of the self-annihilation inherent in our society’s treatment of the world, but at the peril of blinding one to effective ways in halting that self-annihilation.
I am not insisting upon a myopic rejection of all things that have made up our occult past, because the study of those things does help one gain freedom. What I am insisting is the wholesale adoption of modern technologies by the magicians of today. Why not use a TV to scry from? The occult things that would scare the shit out of you lay just behind the everyday items you find all around you. Traditions are what you make of them, but don’t let traditions make a slave out of you. Magic is in its effectiveness and it really doesn’t matter what tools or materials you use so long as the effect occurs. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either prejudiced by beliefs or lying to you.
Some things we can afford to do without: predetermined maps of the otherworlds, the idiotic use of the term ‘karma’ (which few Asians understand correctly, let alone Westerners), the insistence on religious methods (whether theist or atheist in tone), and anything else that would try to preprogram the living chaos of magic.
It is in this spirit of innovation and exploration of modern technologies for magical applications that I open up this discussion. In the coming months and years I will report of my own experiments in this vein. I hope that any of you who read this and take interest will do the same. You never know what will arise. Share either the use of modern technology for magic, or novel and/or experimental approaches. Or share your aversions to such things. Share with any other, or share with all people who would listen and seek to try what you have discovered.
Even Chaos Magic is to be updated, transcended, made redundant. For over twenty years now, it has been the cutting edge of magical experimentation and exploration. Even so, like everything else, its insights and applications must stand the test of time. Anything valuable must be adapted or modified in light of the situations present day magicians or skeptical experimenters or explorers are going through. Even the more traditional approaches to magic, such as occur in Witchcraft of Neopagan and other varieties must continually be renewed if they are to remain relevent, fresh, and potent.
So, after both reasoned and unreasonable exploration; after throwing yourself into the mix and learning what the spirit of magic, the ultimate chaos that unerlies all life and energy, is and how it moves through and around you, new alphabets of desire and matrices of symbology can be written and developed with post-modern applications and imagery: electric lights, computer screens, mp3 music files, and cut-up video loops…if you wish. Or with the more handed down versions of tarot, witchcraft, candles, invocations, and incense; but in novel and unique forms which appeal to your “inner” expressions.
Instead of looking back to people like Spare or Crowley (or even Robert Anton Wilson who pretended to be a fiction writer even while writing his modern versions of magical studies), look ahead to what is coming. Look to now, at where you are at. Think about all those things of significance in your current life’s affairs. Walk the fine line of knowing that you are the maker of your own system; the doer of your own magic. And you need not rely on anyone else’s system unless it appeals to you. In magic, there is no other law. Though you may wish to keep the sense of humor embodied in chaos ever present in your life, to keep away any dregs of solipsism that may rear their ugly heads from time to time – unless of course, you call them forth to practice banishing.
It is time to become the writer of your own life story; the creator of your own life. The agent, actor, and scriptwriter. Magic is the means to that end, the expression of that end, and the ultimate destruction of any end. The end of the story is a lie. Any preprogrammed belief and practice system is just that: a system which can be modified or jettisoned at will. Magic is what is important, but even beliefs in or about magic should be recognized as the tools, props, and aides that they really are.
Microwaving up one’s batch of witches’ brew is just as potent as using a cauldron over open flame. Digital construction of a sigil via Photoshop or Flash through the use of the magic scying tool known as the computer screen is just as potent as using special inks, parchments, and candles. Getting into ASCs and trance states via electronic dance music works just as well as drumming. Having rusted old bolts from an old decaying factory on your altar tells the story of ancient wisdom just as much as any of the traditional hand-me-downs from witchcraft or Ceremonial Magic. Realize your life is the greatest story you will ever live through and you can change, re-edit, or write a better more exciting future, if you so desire. To quote an old cliche which was revolutionary for its time, and still is relevant today (even though so many people who repeat it often have no idea what it means): There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.