Dave Lee’s Tales of Magic (12th Instalment)

Tales of Magic Part 12: The First UK IOT Group’s First Meetings

Liber Null was a revelation. Here was an attitude to the Mysteries that did not reject the things science had discovered about how the material world works but neither did it approach that world with the dull, prison-planet mentality of scientism. Nor did it place years of tedious theoretical training in the way of doing actual practical magic.

And ‘Sorceries of Tao and Zos’ – it all sounded so romantic!

I met Pete Carroll in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice on one of the aforementioned coffee mornings. He’d come back from his world travels, in the course of which he’d founded the first IOT Temple, The Church of Chaos, in Sydney, Australia, with one Frater Vegtan. Pete referred to it as the ‘IOT in style’. Judging by the stories he told, this meant some elegant public rituals and some serious partying. The Church apparently ran for about 6 months in 1980, leaving no succession.

Pete moved to East Morton, the village where Ray Sherwin lived. The Yorkshire group was the next IOT group, and the first in the British Isles.

The group started in late 1980, and ran till May 1982. The theme for the first working was perhaps an odd choice – an astral sabbat – but it was to try out Pete’s home made belladonna ointment. His previous experiment with belladonna had not gone well. He made some into jam, and he and his friend kept sampling it, making that classic naïve-drug-taker mistake of thinking ‘Oh, it’s over an hour now, and nothing’s happened, let’s have some more.’ On the basis of that experiment, Pete’s wife summed up belladonna as ‘Good for a night in the intensive care unit.’

The idea was we would find a site to visit in dream, go home and rub the ointment on ourselves, dream and meet up. Here’s part of my diary entry for when we went to get a feel for the site in East Morton:


PD, Anjie, Ray, Pete Carroll and me. Foundations under the grass, left from Morton’s better days, before the (local) flood. We dowsed the site. Got feel of it for Sabbat, returned to centre and placed blood and spit beneath centre stone as homing beacon.

Stood facing east and dedicated whole working to Higher Self.

The actual working was a week later.

SAT 22ND NOV: THE SABBAT NIGHT (00.00 onwards, PD’s place)

Moon incense, violet robe, dog skull, one candle.

Anointed forearms, forehead, thighs with belladonna flying ointment: ‘This ointment is the key of night/ unlocks the eyes of dream / I go in cloak of Dark Mother / … Let the wings of dream unfold / and cast me on the night to place prepared’


A few pranayama cycles, retaining breaths.

After maybe ¼ hour, abrupt changes: in and out of tiny dream sequences … visualized the Sabbat site from a remarkable number of different perspectives.

Slept for 8 hrs. Dreams of normal vividness and no special interest. Woke fine and refreshed!

This was disappointing, but a worthwhile belladonna experiment. Tropane alkaloids are notoriously capricious, with a disturbingly low ratio of effective dose-to-lethal-dose, and I never felt like trying again with a larger amount. I’m more of a tryptamines man myself.

Dave Lee is the author of several books, including Chaotopia, Bright From the Well and Life Force: Sensed Energy in Breathwork, Psychedelia and Chaos Magick. Visit his website and sign up for his newsletter.

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