Tales of Magic by Dave Lee (4th instalment)

Tales of Magic 7: The SA Coffee mornings

It was there I met Ray Sherwin and later Pete Carroll. Other luminaries include the remarkable Richard Bartle-Birtelli, a gentleman who illustrated that magicians didn’t have to be in their 20s. This was a man who’d survived the 2nd World War and ended up living in Dewsbury in West Yorkshire and teaching art. At that time I’d never met a magician who had survived so long and was still doing magic. He came and gave a talk at the LUUOS.

Other interesting characters included a pair of young magicians from Batley. One of them told us how he’d grown out of armed robbery into Qabalistic magic, and his friend described meditations in which he saw ‘visions’ of his motorbike. We started calling them the Batley Visionary Society.

In October 1978 I started keeping a magical diary. One of my first entries described my consecration of a robe I’d made. I took the first bus to Ilkley and walked up onto the moor, along a ravine called Spicey Gill and washed the robe in a stream at first light. I was rewarded with the sight of a great big dragonfly hovering over the stream as I finished, its wings iridescing in the morning light.

Tales of Magic 8: Lucidity

Starting keeping a magical diary pushed my identity firmly into ‘magician’ mode. Things started happening. In November I met a new lover who turned my life upside down. She was a natural magician, resistant to ‘book-learning’, but with astonishingly accurate clairvoyance and an intuitive grasp of energy-magic. For some miracles I experienced with her, check out Bright From the Well and Life Force.

At this time I took on a magical idea which is popular with magical beginners: the Astral Battle. These usually occurred on the edge of sleep, and were often terrifying, but with a triumphant quality. That triumph emerged from the radical freedom of dream lucidity; the conflict had pushed me to overcome the division between waking and sleeping. Sometimes I woke up knowing I’d just uttered some magical words to overcome my assailant.

I was determined to develop this dream-lucidity, initially because I wanted out-of-body experiences. Finally, I got one. Here’s the diary entry:

“Before going to bed, smoked a little hash. Then did some cycles of pranayama. This felt very intense.

For the first time ever, I was able to keep a watch on my going to sleep, and I exteriorised! I was suddenly right out of the house, floating over the street outside, looking downwards. The shock was so great I returned to my body.

I let myself fall asleep with that watchfulness again… and managed it once more: a moment when I was hovering in the bedroom.”


Sign up at Dave’s website Chaotopia! for his newsletter.

The book mentioned above, Bright From the Well, is available from Mandrake Press.

Life Force is available here.

dave lee

Transformations Event Special!

I’m still knackered from the shindig. The Illuminates of Thanateros had an open Moot with added friends and allies. There was magic, learning, comradeship, inspiration, all you could hope for from an intimate yet broad gathering of magicians of many stripes. Chaos Magic, Thelema, Satanism, Discordianism, necromancy- what a mix, all playing together nicely in exemplary style.

The Transformations event, organized by the IOT, happened one day at the beginning of the first decan of Leo, the Cardinal phase of Fixed Fire. This is a decan of fierce vision, knowing what you want and how to get it, and unhesitatingly going out and doing it. The weather on the day proved every bit as hot and fiery, a further good augury for the event itself.

However the proceedings began the night before, courtesy not of the IOT but of the Ordo Templi Orientis and The Satanic Temple (London & UK), who arranged a sort of ecumenical welcome ritual — in the grounds of the Temple Church off Fleet Street, a monument to the Templars overseeing our joined-up magics. We celebrated with a small libation of Jägermeister, whereupon a gentleman arrived to tell us politely that they didn’t mind us holding a Satanic ritual but alcohol was not allowed. So after a tour guide description of the venue, we departed for the next ritual phase: bowling.

Alas, I had to miss the bowling, having a busy tomorrow to prepare for, but I’m told it was … erm, entertaining. At least I got to chat to some new friends first.

The Transformations event itself was well-attended, including some from the night before. The British Isles Section Head of the IOT, Soror Brigantia, opened proceedings with a discussion of Inward and Outward Transformations (I-O-T, geddit?) and a short puja to Ma Kali, for obvious reasons.

Another goddess present was Eris, who manifested herself in the timetable, necessitating a number of late alterations. But it all worked out in the end. Hail Eris!

For what followed, some names I cannot name, but Dave Lee, the Kite, Nikki Wyrd, Julian Vayne and guest speaker Jake Stratton-Kent were among those who wowed everyone present with a wide range of powerful presentations. Soror Wry managed not only to single-handedly manage the bonding ritual of the catering, but also a totally kick-ass ritual with no fewer than eight — count ’em — eight goddesses. As to what happened; well, you had to be there.

Bonding happened. There was overall a warm, friendly and appreciative atmosphere usually the mark of more internal gatherings. Members of orders and such will know what I’m talking about here. I made so many friends this day, including Zeke Apollyon of TST, who scouted us out a bar which we could take over to celebrate the awesomeness of the day. There was much networking, for it looks like the magical network is the new magical order.

I reckon there’s been a Long Dark Night of much of British life (the austerity economy dragging us down) but our occultisms seem to be picking up interest and vibrancy again. The consensus on our event is that there should be more like this, and I look forward to seeing how these various magical colleagues manifest future gatherings.

The conspiring has already begun. For example, as we heard on the day, Rob Rider Hill is running a “Salon du Voile” under the name Crucible Hermetic. Sef Salem of the OTO runs the Occult Conference from the Visible College. Cat Vincent and friends are organizing another Festival23. And Julian Vayne & Nikki Wyrd have just sat down after Breaking Convention. Search for these online and join in with this resurgence of interest in all things magical.

And of course, the British Isles Section of the Illuminates of Thanateros will be hosting more events too.

May you be transformed, and through you, the world.

Tales of Magic by Dave Lee (3rd instalment)

TALES OF MAGIC 5: Two magical currents?

I picked up a copy of Liber Null at a secondhand bookshop on Woodhouse Lane opposite the University. It had a white cover and was numbered 23/100. Later, Pete Carroll claimed that most of the tiny run of this first edition were so numbered. The only difference I remember between that edition and the much better-know second (red cover) edition was the bit on Anarchy which was left out of the red edition.

But that wasn’t the only magical current I was interested in. There was also the work Mike’s group was doing in Southampton. Their magical ‘lodge’ was called Phoenix Light and they used clairvoyance to establish ‘Inner Planes Contacts’, powerful spirits of initiation. This style of working was almost the opposite of the pragmatic, earthy style of Chaos Magic. The scepticism of Pete Carroll’s Liber Null and Ray Sherwin’s Book of Results naturally appealed to me, but I knew it was not the whole story.

A valued few of my teenage acid experiences had given me a couple of core intuitions about the deepest levels of inner experience which were hard to express but utterly compelling in their certitude. The Chaos Magic of that era had no language to discuss such matters. But it was still the best game in town.

TALES OF MAGIC 6: Chaos Magic and everything else

Chaos Magic first took off in Yorkshire. This success had two main drivers: the hospitality of Ray Sherwin in East Morton, a village just outside Bradford, and the existence of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Leeds, who distributed Liber Null and The Book of Results. Things really started moving when they started hosting coffee mornings on Saturdays.

Never underestimate the power of the right kind of soiree to nurture new ideas. The SA coffee mornings were an astonishingly powerful nexus of contacts. People who grew up in the online world don’t realise how precious such things were. The shop was just a few minutes’ walk from where I was living at the time, in a house full of crazy young magical experimentalists like myself.

You walked into a tiny one-storey shop unit that looked like it had survived a number of urban renewals. You paid your money (into an honesty box) and poured water from the kettle into a paper cup with instant coffee and dried milk in it. The décor was unrelieved black. This had been the SA’s main shop unit before it moved into the slightly more impressive premises next door.

Dave Lee can be contacted via his website Chaotopia

His recent book Life Force can be obtained from most internet bookshops

Tales of Magic by Dave Lee (2nd instalment)

TALES OF MAGIC 3: A Busted Guru Game

Amado visited one of the group members and we had a meeting at her flat. He was a chubby, middle aged man with a goatee beard, who didn’t waste much time before trying to get me into bed. It turned out that this was standard procedure with every male in the group. His claim about the bed thing was that it had nothing to do with being gay, but was some kind of initiation. Right…

One member told a friend about his experience of Amado and the friend got quite seriously freaked out and summoned his magical mentor to deal with the ‘sticky qlipothic’ stuff they’d skried. Mentor Mike came up to Leeds and did some astral-warrior white-light magic on the ‘qlipoth’.

I wasn’t sure how much sense the white light thing made to me; it sounded like it was half way to religion, but Mike was a personable chap with a fund of interesting magical experiences. Meeting him started a whole new direction for a couple of the members in post-Dion Fortune-style astral work. That was one of the post-Amado directions group members went in. The other was Chaos Magic…


Those of us left after the breakup of the Occult Group decided to form a University Union society. In those days, this was very easy to do. You got 50 signatures and presented them to some Union official. This took just one afternoon in the Union bar. The students in that bar would have signed a petition for a Three-Legged Donkey Rehabilitation Society. The state some of them were in, that may well have been what they thought they were signing. Now we had a choice of meeting rooms and funds for presenters. We were the LUUOS, aka the Occ Soc.

Summer-autumn of 1978 I took up magic as a daily pursuit. Through the Leeds occult supply shop The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Chris, John and I met Ray Sherwin. He was one of the early speakers at the LUUOS, and spoke of the power of sigils to get you anything you desired.

Not long after, we hosted famous witch Patricia Crowther. Turnout was higher than any we’d had so far and we managed to get use of the Leeds Uni pyramid, a beautiful semi-underground structure all decked out in green, which delighted our wiccan guest.

My interest in Chaos Magic took off at this time. I’d finally found a magical model which didn’t require religious faith and didn’t try to forget how conditioned we all are by the ingrained anti-magical scepticism of the mainstream culture.

Dave Lee can be contacted via his website Chaotopia.


1: Writing on the Wall

In February 1977 I moved with my partner and young son into a flat on Kirkstall Lane in Leeds. At the back I found a spare room we didn’t pay rent for but no-one else had use of. It was empty, and someone had painted MAGICK on the wall. I’d been meditating for a few months, mainly for reducing stress levels, but I was getting increasingly interested in magic again, after abandoning it to study biophysics a few years before. I decided to use the room, cleaned it thoroughly and painted the walls white.

This was the beginning of a new phase of my life, a phase which became my second Chapel Perilous transition. The first had been at the end of my teenage years. From age 18 to 20 I’d randomly invoked miraculous events with acid. It was an exciting time but it had to end, and I settled down to father a child and get a degree in biophysics. The second one involved going from pretending to be a normal person to being a magician. I was beginning to uproot all the stakes that held my life in place.

In my second Autumn term as a researcher at Leeds University Biophysics Department, late 1977, the process deepened. Sitting down with a friend to our pie and peas one lunchtime I found a leaflet in the Student Union bar about an Occult Group. My revived interest in magic started to crystallize.

 TALES OF MAGIC 2: The Leeds University Occult Group

Having read that leaflet, I found myself at a meeting in a small Student Union room. It was described simply as an ‘Occult Group.’ I’d never been to anything of that description before. Back in the early 70s I’d seen acquaintances get involved with dodgy gurus and daffy orgs like the Aetherius Society that hung around the edges of acidhead scenes scooping up the space cadets, but not with anything called ‘occult’.

The people I remember from that meeting were John, Chris, Diane, Steve, Paul and Kirsty. It seems the group had been started by a charismatic psychology postgrad called Mike Daniels, who’d since moved on. Daniels was a big fan of someone who styled himself the Master Amado 777. The latter was a psychology lecturer in some South of England college who claimed he was the son and spiritual heir of Aleister Crowley. (No-one who has looked into this finds this to be at all likely. See for just one instance Dave Evans,

Amado’s duplicated-and-stapled books were passed around the group and I read a few of them. I was hard put to find any ideas for doing magic – most of the writing was autobiographical rambles about his claim to the Crowley lineage. That was one of the problems – there was nothing that was any use to my magical path. The other problem was Amado’s increasingly obvious sleazy guru game…

(to be continued …)

Dave Lee is a founding figure of chaos magic and his website is Chaotopia.  He is also the author of several fiction and non-fiction books including Chaotopia! and Bright From The Well.

In the Circle with Heroes of Practice

“Personally I’m privileged to be on excellent terms with folk from many traditions; druids, Setians, native shamans, Initiates of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Freemasons, radical Goddess feminists and others. I’ve met many fabulous people in the magical culture I inhabit, and I’ve found a very high density of fabulousness within the IOT.

When I stand in a circle with these people and look around at my Brothers, Sisters and Sators I am amazed. It’s like being in a graphic novel. Here are these heroes of practice, each one with amazing abilities. We are an assembly of archetypal forces. In part this is a consequence of my relationship, over many years, with these other magicians and I’m sure members of many other esoteric groups get a similar buzz at their gatherings. For me the people of the IOT provide a wonderful community of research, experiment, morphing ‘tradition’, fellowship, support and of course laughter.

While a few people stay with the process for many years there are many, many more who come into the IOT, benefit from that space, and who move on to pastures new. There are many occultists out there who have been members of the IOT and have encountered a new style or approach in that setting, and then go on to pursue that in more depth outside of the Pact setting. There are some who return years later to the IOT circle, bringing with them the experiences they have gained. The Pact acts as an experimental space, ideal for people who have come to some kind of spiritual and/or personal crossroads, and for many it is pivotal in their journey of Illumination.”

(Julian Vayne, Chaos Streams 01, from the Introduction)

Get the book here

The Drunken Prophet

Reading around voodoo I discovered Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold (Scarlet Imprint). One working, the ritual of the drunken prophet (pp. 123-124 in the hardback edition), caught my attention.

The ritual is an oracular work that calls for lighting a candle to the spirit you wish to work with then going to a “spit and sawdust” pub, buying drinks for the person you have identified as the prophet of your spirit and putting your question to them.

As Quimbanda was not calling me I decided to work the oracle with a deity that I already have a relationship with. As a keen home brewer of wines, mead and beer, every time I make a batch various rituals are performed and the task dedicated to Dionysus, famous for his links to fermented brews. Moreover, one of his abilities is as an oracle,

So, after a ritual bath with frankincense, orange and patchouli oils I donned only the best party clothes for such a Great God as this and spoke the following words:

Hail Dionysus God of the harvest, the dual formed god of two mothers

God of life, God of death spanning the Heavens and the Underworld

Bull formed, two horned synthesis of opposites

The roaring one, the silent one, within extreme states of being

God of pandemonium and ecstatic trance

The dramatic one master of the mysteries of comedy and tragedy

God of prophesy and initiation

who travels throughout all realms of being

God of many faces who travels to all places, wanderer

God of the Starry Light

The god who holds the bees sacred

God of honey, god of wine, god of Ivy, myrtle, fennel, figs and pine

God of all natural things

Bull headed lion snake

the goat is your greatest enemy and your greatest friend.

Ivy bearer god of visions

God of the wilds god of the hunt

Great God of the nocturnal Sun, the cool one who carries flames of fire

Shape shifter, multi-dimensional one lord of necromancy

of many incarnations

The God who is the most and the least manifest.

Dionysus who was born in the cave of the leather sack

Grower of vines

The fierce one who is the source of joy to mortals

God of orgasmic rites who inspires creativity and ecstatic madness

Father of wine and mead lover of Ariadne, son of Zeus

Torch bearer, light bringing star of mysteries

God of the Earth friend of Demeter

Underworld guide

who resides in the highest mountains and in the deepest caves

Water God that dwells in the oceans

The spirit of the universe

giving shape and form to all manifest existence

Fire breather, lover of man, lover of woman

The masculine feminine one lord of the thunderbolt axe

God of fermentation and ageing, Beloved of maenads and satyrs

Lord of the goat song, who hydrates the Earth

God of transition and liberation

The serpent with a thousand heads

who eats raw meat and who is vegetarian

The womanly manly god of orgia

The furious inspirer of erotic ecstasy

Blesser of unions who rejoices at the rise of Sirius

Lover of torch light processions

He who was boiled in a cooking pot who bursts forth in a miraculous emergence of wine

God of creation, God of Destruction. God of life God of death

Hail Dionysus.

I asked Dionysus to send me some advice for the following year, then went out and partied. And what a party it was. Some of the friends accompanying me were magicians and I think they knew that I was up to something (mostly because I’m usually up to something).

Most of my life in order to “get on” and do well I’ve needed to hide parts of myself that I considered a bit too hot to handle in certain situations. The advice from my prophet was that there was no longer any need to hide my weirdness. This was no longer serving me and that I would “get on” better if I allowed my creativity to flow.

Hail Dionysus and may your cup of Awen always flow.

Soror Brigantia


Purpose: to invoke each of the eight powers of magic and obtain means of invoking them more easily in future.

Perform the instructions quite briskly, before the mind has time to really fuck up the feelings with internal dialogue about the feelings.

Pick a colour of magic. Brainstorm words or phrases that express it best for you. Write them. Cross out the ones that on reflection don’t fit.

Immediately come up with a sound that expresses this power of magic for you, eg you might find ‘Mmmmmmmmm!’ expresses Blue magic best for you. Try a few sounds, however likely it seems that the one you first thought of would fit best. Note the sound or word or phrase, also its characteristic tone of voice, eg. a self-satisfied humm as opposed to a strangulated grunt. Does a particular pitch, drumbeat or music express this colour of magic for you?

Repeat, putting yourself in what seems the most fitting posture. You may even find yourself moving rather than just standing or sitting. Note it down so that you could assume the posture or movement again.

Repeat the above, noticing any peculiar body sensations. A tingling? A warmth? Something else? Where? What happens to it? What happens when you loop it? Note it down.

Immediately do all this again, noting if any pictures come to mind. In our example does the colour blue come to mind? What shade and hue? How does surrounding yourself with it affect the feeling of the Blue power? Would you prefer to visualise another colour altogether? Then do it. Note it.

Put it all together. Get into the posture, vizualise. Make the sound, say or think the words and phrases, loop the feeling. Intensify it, make it all happen faster and more powerfully. Realise that you can do this at any time, just by doing the ‘putting it all together’ stage.


Next colour of magic …

(the Kite)



The Chaos of the Normal

One of the continuing effects of Chaos Magic on magical culture is to highlight the ubiquity of magical thinking. Three books from recent years illustrate this.

Aaron Daniels in Imaginal Reality (review HERE) shows the reader how we are all doing magic, all the time, weaving spells which imprison us in fragile castles of resistance to life’s realities. Magic is actually familiar to everyone – virtually all our thoughts are magical attempts to defend our awareness against the scary fringes of human experience. Those who call themselves magicians are simply those who are attempting to undo those dismal spells.

Stepping into the wider picture, Gordon White’s Chaos Protocols takes the reader on a magical journey through the horrors of the modern world and shows how magic is being done to us all the time, and that the only way through the reality-ripoff is to be aware of that, and do your own magic.

So how widespread is magical thinking? Psychiatrists label it as a symptom of insanity, but Lionel Snell’s new book My Years of Magical Thinking (review HERE) resumes his theme of the four basic ways we apprehend the world, the other three being Religion, Art and Science. This model reveals how commonplace magical thinking is in everyday life.

We are all magicians, whether we like it or not. With this awareness, we have realised Spare’s phrase ‘the chaos of the normal’, and Chaos Magic has come of age.

(Dave Lee)

Welcome to the IOT BIS blog.

So here is the new blog of the British Isles Section of the Pact. The official website is still up and can be viewed here. But in case you were asking ‘What is the Pact?’ then let’s explain: the Pact is a collection of free individuals who agree to act together in each others’ interests in an organization for facilitating Chaos Magic in groups.

That’s it.

Yes, we all work solo (as far as anyone can tell), but at least sometimes we get together to work together because it works when we do that, and as chaos magicians, we like stuff that works. And no, we’re not saying you have to be in the IOT to do this. Most of us do lots of stuff that you don’t have to be in the IOT to do, as well as what we do together. So, hope that’s sorted out.

Anyway, magic is awesome, magicians are awesome, and the blog is here to share some of the Pact awesome with the wider internet. No secrets will be revealed (magic works — what’s the bloody secret?), no IOT laundry will be aired (wash your own smeggy underrobes), but members will contribute little nuggets of magical gold mined with their own work-calloused, magic-singed hands. So watch this space. Enjoy.