Chaos magic is hard to define because it is an idea rather than a set of rules for magical practice. The core of chaos magic is that the practitioner is free to adopt whatever works for them. This understanding comes from the perspective that it is not necessarily the ritual or path itself that has any inherent magical qualities, but the practitioner themselves.
So a practicing chaos magician (or chaote) may choose to incorporate Thelemic rituals and beliefs alongside Wicca or Voodoo or whatever else they choose.
Chaos does not come with a specific Grimoire or even a prescribed set of ethics. For this reason, it has been dubbed “left hand path” by some who choose not to understand that which is beyond their own chosen path. There is no set of specific spells that are considered to be “Chaos Magic Spells”. A Chaos Magician will use the same spells as those of other paths, or those of his/her own making.
Any and all methods and information are valid, the only requirement is that it works. Mastering the role of the sub-conscious mind in magical operations is the crux of it, and the state called “vacuity” by Austin Osman Spare is the road to that end. Anyone who has participated in a successful ritual has experienced the “high” that this state induces.
Common Concepts in Chaos Magic
Many chaos magicians use sigils. Most often they are a picture that has been created to symbolize the desired outcome or intent.
This is then charged by a number of methods, which catalyses the manifestation of the intent.
The Black Witch Coven sigil was created by the chaos magic.
Linking Sigils (LS)
Many chaos magicians incorporate LS or linking sigils into their work. The linking sigil has been created to link things together for mutual empowerment.
LS has been used to connect places, sigils, events and magical works for over a decade and has grown to be particularly powerful and useful.
Servitors are somewhat independent energetic or thought creations. A chaos magician would create a servitor with a particular intent, such as protection. This servitor then functions semi autonomously in order to fulfil it’s purpose.
Servitors are often created in familiar forms that reflect their function.
Advanced magicians can create complex servitors that are capable of learning, maintaining and feeding itself and can even acquire personality and a form of sentience.
Recommended Chaos Magic Videos
Chaos Magick Reading List
The major popular authors in chaos magic are Phil Hine, and Peter Carroll
Peter J. Carroll’s Books
Phil Hine’s Books
For those of you who wish to learn more about this subject, I have prepared a suggested reading list, however, I must emphasize that there are always more sources than any one person knows about, so do not limit yourself to this list. Chaos has no limits…
The Book of Pleasure by Austin Osman Spare
Anathema of Zos by Austin Osman Spare
A Book of Satyrs by Austin Osman Spare
Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare by Kenneth Grant
The Early Works of A.O.S., Excess Spare and Stations in Time are three collections which are available from TOPY.
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
Turbulent Mirror by John Briggs & F. David Peat
Practical Sigil Magick by Frater U.D.
Other Chaos Sites to Review
Amazing archive of chaos knowledge http://www.chaosmatrix.org/
Spiral Nature magazine (look under the chaos magick tag) http://www.spiralnature.com/
Rune Soup http://runesoup.com/
Quotes on Chaos Magic
Remember that the chaote understands that belief is a choice, there is no inherent value in anything, aside from that which you create for yourself. This includes beliefs on topics such as religion, politics, sexuality, etc which is often culturally ingrained and may be challenging to examine.
“Nothing is true; everything is permitted.”
– Hassan I Sabbah“…if you want a one line definition with which most Chaoists would probably not disagree, then I offer the following. Chaoists usually accept the meta belief that belief is a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself.”
“…if you want a one line definition with which most Chaoists would probably not disagree, then I offer the following. Chaoists usually accept the meta belief that belief is a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself.”
– Peter Carroll, January, 1992
“Chaos is not in itself, a system or philosophy. It is rather an attitude that one applies to one‟s magic and philosophy. It is the basis for all magic, as it is the primal creative force. A Chaos Magician learns a variety of magical techniques, usually as many as s/he can gain access to, but sees beyond the systems and dogmas to the physics behind the magical force and uses whatever methods are appealing to him/herself.”
– Mark Chao
“The Chaos Magician seeks to understand the natural laws behind the workings of magic, and the reasons behind the use of ritual in the performance of a magical working.”
– Jaq D. Hawkins, Understanding Chaos Magic
“Chaos Magick is an extraordinary deconstruction of magick, semantics, and psychology designed to eradicate consensual belief structures and, using the energy freed by this act, glimpse the fractal contours of reality.”
“Chaos Magick is in essence shamanism devoid of culture.”
– The Heretic Heathen, on alt.magick.chaos
“Chaos can be beautiful and good. Order can be dangerous and evil. As any carpenter will tell you, some tools are dangerous. Dangerous tools are safest when properly sharpened, and used by experts. You get to be an expert by practicing your sharpening skills, not by hacking away…”
–alt.magick.chaos FAQ V 1.00
“There‟s basically two kinds of magick. There‟s puff‟s magick, and git „ard Magick. Chaos is git „ard Magick.”
– Mick McMagus, Leeds, 1987
“Rather than trying to recover and maintain a tradition that links back to the past (and former glories), Chaos Magick is an approach that enables the individual to use anything that s/he thinks is suitable as a temporary belief or symbol system. What matters is the results you get, not the „authenticity‟ of the system used. So Chaos Magic then, is not a system it utilises systems and encourages adherents to devise their own, giving magic a truly Postmodernist flavour.”
– Phil Hine,Condensed Chaos
“Much of what passes for magical theory is, at root, a matter of belief. As such, it is more relevant to the successful outcome of the magician‟s spell that he has some degree of belief in what he is doing. Moreover, whereas scientific theories are based (at least so we are told by scientists) on mathematical proofs, magical theories are rooted in personal beliefs of whoever is expounding them.
Where as scientific theories at least have the appearance of being unified and consistent, magical theories do not, nor is it a requirement, from the position of practical magic, that they do.
“Henceforth, whilst there are a great many theories and models proposed as to how, or why, magic works (based on subtle energies, animal magnetism, psychological concepts, quantum theory, mathematics or the so-called anthropomorphic principle) it is not a case that one of them is more „true‟ than others, but a case of which theory or model you choose to believe in, or which theory you find most attractive. Indeed, from a Chaos Magic perspective, you can selectively believe that a
particular theory or model of magical action is true only for the duration of a particular ritual or phase of work.”
–Phil Hine,Prime Chaos
“Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it‟s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons, its masks are crystallizations of its own facenessness, like clouds…Chaos never died.”
–Hakim Bey, “Chaos” in T.A.Z.
“Chaos Magic is about actualising the will in the real world, rather than attaining ever more colourful dreams in imaginary higher states.”
–Steve Wilson,Chaos Ritual
“Chaos Magick does not use a concrete theoretical focus, the emphasis in Chaos Magick is on the Doing rather than the Explaining…Thus, in Chaos Magick a system of belief is a means to an end and is not an answer to the mystery of Life, the Universe and everything.”
– D. J. Lawrence, The Chaos Cookbook“
“…I think the magician is sort of adversarial by nature. Brash and arrogant at the least, to acknowledge that there is a pattern and to also say “I can do better”.”
“…Chaos magick should be all about „getting out there and doing it‟. Sometimes it is also all about thinking about how to do it, and thus creatively inventing marvellous and sometimes scary new ways of how to do it. And then damn well doing it!”