Much like the ceremonial experiment, I started Project Null thinking that I knew what it was I would be studying, and turning out to me more than a little bit wrong. There are certain key techniques of Chaos Magick: fewer and, in some cases, easier to define than those of traditional Western ceremonialism. As the Ptolmaic, enspirited paradigm centers and frames the Hermetic magician’s practice, so, too, do certain beliefs and attitudes make up the base and superstructure of the Chaos Magickian. So early in my studies, I am no more qualified to pontificate on the latter than the former. Still, I think I have reached a point where I might make a few observations. What follows below are just that: my observations and half-researched opinions, and if any of the self-identified Chaos Magicians who read this blog take my statements amiss, I apologize in advance and ask that they correct me.
Most central to Chaos Magic as I have studied it so far are one tenant and one strategy: first, the belief there is no fundamental truth, and the corollary that belief itself is a tool; and a dedication to experimentation in search of measurable results.
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” I see this mantra everywhere in the Chaos theory I study, and it is here that Chaos Magick’s roots in the 1980s and 90s are most evident. There is wisdom in it, but also hubris: a fool’s absolutist misinterpretation of cognitive relativism and and postmodern thought. I like the newer version better: “Everything is true, everything is permitted.” The variation seems less open to materialistic nihilism, a trait I have observed in many of the Chaotes and former CM practitioners I have known in the physical world.
Much more valuable, and arguably even more iconic of the CM paradigm, is the second point. Experimentation is hardly unique to Chaos Magick, but—to the best of my ability to determine—Chaos Magick is unique in the way in which pseudo-scientific experimentation and the incorporation of scientific theory to achieve reliable, demonstrable results is central to its self-identity. And it is this point which I find most appealing about the paradigm.
After these things, what Chaos Magick seems to be best known for is sigils, which seems to be the central technique of the Chaote as spirit evocation is to grimoire ceremonial magic.
I had a plan when all this madness started. I knew what books I was going to read and had a pretty solid idea of what experiments I was going to perform. Things have already gone a bit off the rails, though. The results of my previous experiments weren’t done moving through the pipeline—a fact clearly demonstrated by the various spiritwork and visionary experiences that have devoured my last couple weeks.
Chaos Magick is results magic, first and foremost, and my experiments in Chaos Magick have turned into an engine for synthesizing the ongoing results from the ceremonial experiment into my larger personal practice. I thought about ignoring those results in favor of the original plan, but only for a moment. That dumb shit would blow up in my face so fast it would actually be be funny, and it would fly in the face of the spirit of Chaos Magick besides.
Chaos Magick is results magic, and by all the gods: I’m getting damn results. I’m hearing spirits more clearly, and they’re damn sure hearing me. I’m seeing auras again AND suffering less from the effects of psychic weather. I’m having legit gnostic experiences—one after another, each more brain-borking than the last—which is … well, short of my ongoing relationships with Aradia and Sannafrid, pretty much the most awesome thing to happen to me. Ever.
Here’s to magic, y’all. Here’s to breaking ourselves, breaking the world, and putting it all back together so that it’s more interesting than it was before.
Here’s to forging ahead even when it’s terrifying.
Here’s to Chaos.