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The Past Reached Forward and Touched Me

The past caught up with me recently. You see, when I became a chaos magician in 1997, I found that by far the biggest counterbalance to British-flavoured chaos magic was the zee-list and its associated loosely-knit mostly online not-quite-a-community called the (Z)Cluster. The (Z)Cluster brought with it the anarchic humour of Discordianism without leaning on the joke religion or the Illuminati conspiracy conceit.

Central to it were New Orleans and two characters called Marik and FireClown. They had created a wave of vibrant, irreverent yet seriously practical magic that this new chaos magician could surf to his heart’s content via the zee-list threads and tortuously slow page downloads. With the impetus of this wave, a newbie solo magician somewhere in Wales became the Kite. And here we are.

Anyway, time passed, as did the wave. The Millennium was a disappointment and/or a disaster, depending on your field of interest. The occult high tide ebbed, the newsgroups, the zee-list and many of the old online haunts became ghost ships or sank altogether, and big players moved on. Marik and FireClown became talismanic jewellers. I got my first Pact ring made by Marik, may he rest in peace.

And then I ran across this recently published book. And loved it. It took me right back to stuff I was doing around the Millennium, and yet the author was fully in synch with the current return to spirit model magic as animism. The book is reflective, humane, full of practical street-level stuff — just the sort of book I would have loved to have found back then. That said, it isn’t too late – it’s still a precious find and I’m going to thump the tub for this author and his book. I was so impressed I emailed the author to tell him. His reply ends:

All the best-
Aidan who was Fireclown”

And the past reached forward and touched me.

Kite

Get Six Ways by Aidan Wachter and see if I’m right:

 

 

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Tales of Magic by Dave Lee (11th Instalment)

Tales of Magic 11: The Temple at the Squat

In Summer 1978 I moved into a house in Leeds where a friend was living. It was a peculiar arrangement – my friend had started living there as a rent-paying tenant, but the landlord had apparently gone missing over a year before. So it was called a squat, but could easily be thought of as a rented property with nonexistent arrears collection.

I was there till November 1980, so it was the home setting for much of my early magical history.

It was a corner house, a big Victorian terrace with 5 bedrooms and two rooms downstairs. And in poor repair; the electricity supply for instance was a standing joke, in particular a cluster of wires from a presumed older wiring job which hung down just above head height in the hallway. On more than one occasion, my housemate warned people ‘Mind out, it’s the home ECT kit.’ Then one night, convinced they weren’t live, he grabbed the wires and pulled them down, blowing the fuses in a circuit we hadn’t known was still connected to the mains.

This was the time during which I started going to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. As well as browsing the books and enjoying the dark atmosphere exuded by the mixture of mysterious objects on display, I loved the smell, which wasn’t quite like anything I’d encountered before. I’ve always been fascinated by smells, and the aroma of the SA was another face of the mysteries to explore. The source of that complex aroma was the immense variety of aromatics – essential oils, perfume blends and herbs, and the dozens of ready-made incenses. Joss sticks had soared in popularity in my youth, and had been part of my life for years; only once, at the 1971 Glastonbury Fair, had I smelled proper ritual incense, the sort that is mostly resins with added herbs and oils, the sort that needs to be burned on hot charcoal. I was transported; this was something completely new. This was the Real Stuff, the genuine article for an aromatics fiend. Now, in the SA, I was being given the opportunity to choose from a vast selection of just this type of incense. I bought a packet of Venus and a roll of charcoal.

When I got back to my room at the squat, I was like a kid with a new toy. I lit a sputtering charcoal disc and sprinkled on it a little of the Venus incense. While I was contemplating the gorgeous smelling smoke, my girlfriend came round. There was a knock at the door, then another. Three lovely women, the other two of whom had come round to look for other people in the house, were now in my room. This pleasant little synchronicity convinced me of the importance of magical incense.

Another magician moved in. The magical atmosphere of the house thickened up. The weirdness extended to the plumbing. I’ve written elsewhere (in Bright From the Well https://mandrake.uk.net/bright-from-the-well-northern-tales-in-the-modern-world/) of the unpleasant vibe we started to notice on the ground floor, and how my girlfriend and I attempted to overcome it with the energy of sex magic, and how that exciting but ill-judged working was closely followed by a water pipe bursting and flooding the cellar.

bright-from-the-well-193x300

I managed a few summer months in the front downstairs room then another housemate moved out and I took over his room, which was upstairs, warmer and drier. We cleared my enormous old room out and made it into a temple where we meditated or did Qabalistic pathworkings, or used a Pentagram rite to ‘open the Quarters’ and just explore magical spaces. After Sorcerer’s Apprentice coffee mornings, we often invited people back for sessions in our temple. On one of those occasions, we hosted Mike and Marian from Southampton, two magicians who were working with their own unique blend of Qabalistic, Enochian and I Ching astral doorways. In our humble temple, they led a combined Opening of the Quarters. It was the first time I had been so electrified by ceremonial magic. As Mike vibrated the Enochian words over my head, I felt as if I was being filled with radiant, structured energy. I had discovered a new magical experience, and wanted more.

dave lee

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.

Tales of Magic by Dave Lee: (10th Instalment)

Tales of Magic Part 10: The Further Adventures of the LUUOS

I mentioned earlier in ToM the LUUOS and its star-studded lineup of speakers. The LUUOS went thro various incarnations: the prototype Occult Group (1976/7) based round Amado’s followers, the full LUUOS (1978-87-ish), then finally a collaboration with the music society The Black Lodge, which eventually absorbed it. The Black Lodge people got their occultism from Goth album covers and the more sophisticated ideas from Temple of Psychic Youth material. I recall one of their organizers getting a tattoo of ‘93’ done. His mate asked him what it was about. He replied ‘I shall have to find out some day.’

But before the rot set in there were a few years of excellent regular events. One night, PD Brown, Ray Sherwin and I gave a rambling seminar about chaos magic, which was recorded and issued as a cassette tape called ‘The Chaos Current’. (I can’t find a link for any current edition of this). I first met PD on the Leeds-Sheffield bus. I was visiting my girlfriend, he his coven, as it turned out. He was sitting across the aisle of the bus from me. I could see he was reading a book entitled ‘The Book of Shadows.’ At some point he looked over and saw that I was reading ‘Liber Null’. The bus had to wait for half an hour in Barnsley to wait for another driver, so we two magical strangers went for a drink. Not long after, PD came up with the idea of a virtual magical working with an audio soundtrack, a fairly rare idea back then. He wrote and recorded ‘The Chaochamber’ and sold it as a cassette tape (currently available as a CD. (Not to be confused with the audio item ‘The Chaosphere’, by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice): https://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Magick-Audio-CDs-Chaochamber/dp/1935150499)

I started making incenses for magic in 1978 (see the forthcoming episode The Temple in the Squat) and PD asked me to make one for the Chaochamber. My first thought was: but there aren’t any attributions for Chaos! So I thought about the imagery that PD was conjuring.. the flight deck of an ethership in etherspace… and made a blend of some of the most alien and high-tech smelling perfumes I could find.

Later in the LUUOS timeline, we had a visit from Lionel Snell. He gave a great talk, taking us into magical thinking via elegant scepticism, and we treated him to a slap-up curry in the Arndale Centre afterwards. It was a Friday night in central Leeds, so it was a bit lively. One chap at a nearby table conceived a drunken fixation on Lionel, yelling, ‘Eyup Neil Kinnock!’ Lionel was amused, and unfailingly polite as the man crawled across the floor and grinned up at him.

We also hosted giant of the Northern magic world, Ian Read, who taught us a good deal about the core ideas of the runes. We were opened up to the wonders of ancient landscape magic by Brian Larkman’s fascinating talk on ‘the Illuminated Stones of Ilkley Moor’.

Typhonian Ken Cox gave a talk on Starting High Magick, and another on Monsters. Arch-Typhonian Michael Staley gave one on the Book of the Law. Mogg Morgan spoke about breaking gender boundaries in sexual magic, and Andrew Stenson introduced the AMOOKOS Tantric lineage.

Later, there was the infamous Freya Aswynn, proudly proclaiming in front of a poster about a remember-Kristallnacht event that the night in question was her birthday.

This tale will continue in a later episode about the end of the LUUOS and the Era of Zines.

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.

Death and the Lovers

This was the theme of the Occult Conference 2018, held in Glastonbury by The Visible College. As soon as it was announced we suggested to the organiser, Sef Salem, that an event themed around Thanatos and Eros should have some input from a magical organisation with ‘Thanateros’ in the name. Surprisingly, he concurred.

It was quite a successful gathering all round. The IOT British Isles Section was active as myself and Section Head Soror Brigantia presented a workshop on the polarities of Black Saturnine and Silver/Purple Lunar magic, the Thanateros current in the raw. Here we find the tensions and paradoxical coincidence of opposites of beginning and ending, burgeoning life and decline into death, the Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away, from coagula to solve, each implying the other as two sides of a coin. We began by resuming the Star of Chaos and its paradoxes. We ended with a version of Pete Carroll’s insufficiently famous Thanateros Rite from Liber Kaos.

Shortly after our workshop there was that earthquake that measured 4.7 and originated from a few miles north of where we live. That means nothing, okay? It wasn’t our fault. Fault, geddit? Oh, never mind.

The following day we reflected on the ritual and workshop we had done the day before, recounting the Greek mythic lore of Chaos, Eros and Thanatos underpinning our work and discussed Austin Spare’s Death Posture in the light of that.

Next, past Section Head Dave Lee developed the Death Posture further, drawing on an article by our beloved brother Alan Chapman and on his own knowledge and experience of Connected Breathwork. He followed this with a practical workshop so that we could all have a go. This was an extraordinary experience.

More extraordinary though was the closing ritual of the Conference, which Soror Brigantia, Dave and I had devised, involving invocations of Eros and Thanatos and La Danse Macabre de la Vie, l’Univers et le Reste, manifesting as a giant double conga doing its DNA thing and splicing the entire Conference experience together.

And so it was done.

 

Check out Dave Lee’s Chaotopia website and maybe sign up for his newsletter.

Also see Alan Chapman’s website Wiser by Design and maybe buy his book on magic(k).

And then there’s the Kite’s Cradle.

Alan Chapman on the Death Posture

Austin Spare’s Death Posture has been aired in chaos magic circles quite a bit lately and is widely misunderstood. As far as we know, the best clarification of this technique was published by our good friend and IOT colleague Alan Chapman on the much-missed website The Baptist’s Head. It was republished in the print collection The Blood of the Saints, now out of print and going for silly money, but Alan has given us permission to publish the article again. Thank you Alan.

 

The Death Posture: A Definitive Instruction by Alan Chapman

Spare’s ‘Death Posture’ is the most misunderstood magical technique in the world. Ever.

The technique is described in The Book of Pleasure (Spare, 2005) and so I sympathise with any initial confusion readers may have concerning the posture; after all. Spare’s writing is demented.

However, a simple re-read of the page in question should be enough to dispel the confusion. I can only surmise from the absolute rubbish presented in many books, magazines and websites as ‘the death posture’ is due to the fact that most people cannot be bothered to read carefully.

The Ritual and Doctrine

The instruction is given in three paragraphs. Here’s how they are printed:

“Lying on your back lazily, the body expressing the condition of yawning, suspiring while conceiving by smiling, that is the idea of the posture. Forgetting time with those things which were essential reflecting their meaninglessness, the moment is beyond time and its virtue has happened.

“Standing on tip-toe, with the arms rigid, bound behind by the hands, clasped and straining the utmost, the neck stretched — breathing deeply and spasmodically, till giddy and sensation comes in gusts, gives exhaustion and capacity for the former.

“Gazing at your reflection till it is blurred and you know not the gazer, close your eyes (this usually happens involuntarily) and visualize. The light (always an X in curious evolutions) that is seen should be held on to, never letting go, till the effort is forgotten, this gives a feeling of immensity… whose limit you cannot reach. This should be practised before experiencing the foregoing. The emotion that is felt is the knowledge which tells you why.” (Spare 2005, p. 18)

It’s obvious, isn’t it? The death posture itself is completely open to interpretation. There is no ‘one’ posture; instead it ranges from holding your breath until you pass out, to staring at yourself in the mirror. And it can be used to ‘charge’ sigils.

Actually: no! What big fat hairy bollocks!

If we re-read these three paragraphs, we see that paragraph two (‘”Standing on tip-toe…”) “…gives exhaustion and capacity for the former.” In other words, it is a preliminary exercise for the instruction given in the first paragraph (“Lying on your back…”). As for the exercise given in paragraph three (“Gazing at your reflection…”), we are told: “This should be practised before experiencing the foregoing.”

Paragraph three is therefore a preliminary exercise to be practised before the instructions given in paragraphs one and two. The death posture proper is therefore given in paragraph one. So, to clarify:

1. Practice staring at your eyes in the mirror, until your reflection looks bizarre. Granted, it doesn’t help at this point when Spare tells you to close your eyes and visualise, and then goes on to describe something you should see (“an X in curious evolutions,” which I propose is the image left on the retina — indeed, there is very similar to a Buddhist exercise), but the point is that you concentrate on something, never letting go, until: “this gives a feeling of immensity… whose limit you cannot reach.”

Spare is quite explicit when he says this must be experienced before practising the death posture proper. In other words, you must have a degree of proficiency in concentration. Knowing Spare’s magical background, I believe he is here describing dhyana.

It should be noted that there is nothing special about this concentration exercise, as Spare explains a little later on: “There are many preliminary exercises, as innumerable as sins, futile of themselves but designative of the ultimate means.” (Spare 2005, p. 18). Once Dhyana is achieved, we can move on to the death posture itself.

2. The death posture requires a degree of relaxation, and to obtain this, you may first strain the whole body and hyperventilate. Of course, you could also go for a run or lift some weights — the aim is to be relaxed for the practise of the posture proper. Just to be explicit: holding your breath until you pass out is not the death posture.

3. So, once a degree of competence in concentration is achieved (i.e. you can enter a state of dhyana, or trance), you can practise the posture proper.

I believe the biggest difficulty with understanding the death posture lies with the fact that Spare appears to be telling us to lie down, yawn, smile and ‘let go’ of all of our worries. But that’s not correct. The posture is indeed lying on your back, relaxed, without a care in the world. However, if you think he is advocating relaxation for its own sake, you’re missing the point. If we take a look at the next paragraph. Spare says:

“…know this as the negation of all faith by living it, the end of the duality of consciousness… Know the death posture and its reality in annihilation of law — the ascension from duality.” (Spare 2005, p. 18)

The aim of the death posture is not to achieve ‘gnosis’ in order to ‘charge’ a sigil, but to experience the non-dual. Spare is talking about samadhi, or the experience of what he called Kia.

Spare elaborates on the practice:

“The primordial vacuity (or belief) is not by the exercise of focussing the mind on a negation of all conceivable things, the identity of unity and duality, chaos and uniformity, etc., etc., but by doing it now, not eventually. Perceive, and feel without the necessity of an opposite, but by its relative. Perceive light without shadow by its own colour as contrast, through evoking the emotion of laughter at the time of ecstasy in union, and by practice till that emotion is untiring and subtle. The law of reaction is defeated by inclusion… Let him practise it daily, accordingly, till he arrives at the centre of desire. He has imitated the great purpose… Thus by hindering belief and semen from conception, they become simple and cosmic.” (Spare 2005, p. 18-9)

The ‘primordial vacuity’, or Kia, is achieved by cultivating an awareness of immediate sensation. For example, instead of experiencing a sensation and knowing it as ‘tight’, simply experience the sensation. The correct mental attitude is that which is experienced when you laugh; you accept all experience and sensation (including the sensation of thoughts) without resistance.

If this attitude of inclusive awareness is cultivated by daily practice, you will eventually experience a state of non-duality and bliss.

The parallels between Spare’s instructions and those of the Buddha are quite striking. The death posture facilitates the same awareness as ‘insight practice’ or vipassana, which can only be practised competently once a degree of proficiency in concentration is achieved.

A Practical Summary

1. Practise concentration exercises until you experience dhyana.

2. Practise being aware of all sensations and experiences as they arise without fixing your attention on or identifying with any one thing. (The correct attitude can be engendered by smiling or laughing.) This is easiest to do when relaxed, so practising after physical exercise is ideal. Alternatively, taking up insight practice, vipassana or Taoist meditation will achieve the same result.

Core teaching

Of the sixteen chapters of The Book of Pleasure, eight deal exclusively with the non-dual or Kia, either expounding the virtues of the pursuit of the non-dual, providing instructions for achieving the non-dual, or detailing the resultant state once the non-dual is achieved and becomes habitual (which Spare calls ‘Self-Love’).

Spare is essentially concerned with hedonism. (I think the title of the book gives that away.) If you want the most ecstasy and pleasure possible, if you want the greatest degree of satisfaction, then you must concern yourself with the non-dual:

“The wise pleasure seeker, having realised they are ‘different degrees of desire’ and never desirable, gives up both Virtue and Vice and becomes a Kiaist. Riding the Shark of his desire he crosses the ocean of the dual principle and engages himself in self- love.”(Spare 2005, p. 1)

Self-love is the state that results from the habitual experience of the non-dual, obtained through practising the death posture every day. It is freedom from desire. Now tell me, which brings the greatest pleasure: using sigils to acquire a magical effect, or the transcendence of all desires?

For a long time. Spare has been feted as the father of ‘Chaos Magic’ and the inventor of Sigil Magic. But his greatest magical achievement, the central teaching of The Book of Pleasure has either been misunderstood as an arbitrary component of sigil magic, or completely ignored as the ramblings of a mystic.

With his death posture. Spare managed to boil down the essence of all meditative practice to a very simple, easy and enjoyable method of genuine magical attainment, and not for any lofty, spiritual purpose, but simply for the sake of pleasure.

If you still think magic has nothing to do with mysticism, or is concerned solely with the manifestation of material results, consider the title of the book responsible for ‘starting it all’: The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love): The Psychology of Ecstasy.

 
Alan references the I-H-O 2005 edition, also going for silly money. Instead, get one of the more reasonably-priced collections of Spare’s writings.

Visit Alan’s ground-breaking website, Wiser by Design, buy his book Advanced Magick for Beginners.

Over the Threshold of the Year

January. Month of Janus, the doorkeeper, the portal-master, faintly resembling Dr. John Dee above, simultaneously looking over your shoulder at the past and staring out with you into the future. IOTBIS closes the door on an exciting 2017 and crosses the threshold of 2018 looking forward to an even better year.

Following on quickly from the publication of our book Chaos Streams 01, 2017 was the year we created our Facebook group and began this blog in order to share what we could of what was going on for the British Isles Section, to present some ideas, to keep our friends and allies in the loop, to encourage others to approach. And this has been a great success. We held Transformations, our first big open event for some years, and made a lot of new friends. And we hosted the year’s IOT AGM.

2018 looks set to continue where 2017 left off. This week we inaugurate a new open Working Group, and next month some of us will be making presentations at the Occult Conference in Glastonbury.

Later this year we’ll have a follow-up to the Transformations event, working titled Manifestations. Watch this space for more. And we’re currently collecting submissions for Chaos Streams 02. We have some other plans too, but hey, you gotta keep some surprises, right? Anyway, have an excellent and magical 2018 yourself and CHOYOFAQUE!

Tales of Magic by Dave Lee: Next Instalment

Tales of Magic 9: The Training

It became increasingly apparent that my dream battles were dramatizations of inner conflict, not attacks from the outside. This awareness resulted in their going away for a while. I kind of missed them, but had learned an important lesson: What you believe is what you get.

In 1980 those conflicts surfaced into my outer world. Pretty much everything I had built over the years came crashing down – long-term relationship, job, home. My own Chapel Perilous was happening – I was living in a magical reality which was being revealed more and more as my old life fell apart.

Up to that point, my magical training work had been sporadic and undisciplined. This was when I started serious daily work.

This took two forms – basic sitting meditation, visualization, sigils, divination, dream diary as advised by Liber MMM, and also the Qabalistic inner planes workings such as the Middle Pillar and the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Another thing I had a go at was Liber Astarte. Reading Crowley’s Magick, I kept getting the name ‘Astar’, so that is the name I began my devotions to. Quite quickly, this morphed into Kali. One of the incidents that helped precipitate this shift was a strange find. In a house I’d just moved into, I found in the cellar, which I’d cleared out to use as an incense workshop, a small tobacco tin. In the tin was a large tooth, maybe the canine of a predator. It had a lovely curved line to it, so I carved it into a female shape, bored a hole through it and hung it from a thong. Here’s a diary entry from the night I consecrated it:

TUES 2ND SEPT: Consecrated the Figurine, saw a shaft of light enter it and forms swirling in the incense smoke… in the dawn I was awoken by cats screwing noisily under the window, banging against a sheet of tin.

One Saturday afternoon in 1980, after a coffee meeting at the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Ray Sherwin and Pete Carroll came back to where I was staying. They gave me a bit of a test:

SAT 8TH NOV Psychometry on Ray Sherwin’s Quartz Crystal: Back from SA coffee morning with Ray & Pete to PD’s place. I gingerly grasped the crystal and felt that something was trapped in it (I had suspected this from the nature of the challenge.) Felt a numbness in my face, then briefly, just as I was handing it back, I saw an angry orange ovoid with many wriggling legs. A crawling-skin sensation.

Ray said that it had appeared as purple and orange, and lobster-like, with many legs, and that it had been the thing that attacked him and caused his hair to fall out. The demon Tromes, from the Abra-Melin spirit list.

I came to realise that that event was a kind of interview for the IOT. Which I had passed.

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.

Calling in the Elements

by Soror Brigantia

One of the things I’ve always loved about a Hindu puja is the power generated by reciting a list of salutations to the Goddess or God that you are working with. As the puja goes this this recitation of names can raise the energy into a frenzy that can be very powerful for certain workings. Most commonly 108 salutations are used, but if you’re very devout and have more time on your hands you can go for the 1008.

Taking this methodology into other aspects of magical practice I undertook an Elemental calling at a pagan ritual which functioned as a calling for the God of All Things — Baphomet — as well as being an Elemental calling usually done at the start of a Wiccan rite. With a bit of passion and energy put into it I found this more effective than the traditional calling of Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Aethyr. Instead of turning to face the four directions, the ritual was done facing a central fire pit.

Hail to the Element of Hydrogen
Hail to the Element of Helium
Hail to the Element of Lithium
Hail to the Element of Beryllium
Hail to the Element of Boron
Hail to the Element of Carbon
Hail to the Element of Nitrogen
Hail to the Element of Oxygen
Hail to the Element of Fluorine
Hail to the Element of Neon
Hail to the Element of Sodium
Hail to the Element of Magnesium
Hail to the Element of Aluminium
Hail to the Element of Silicon
Hail to the Element of Phosphorus
Hail to the Element of Sulphur
Hail to the Element of Chlorine
Hail to the Element of Argon
Hail to the Element of Potassium
Hail to the Element of Calcium
Hail to the Element of Scandium
Hail to the Element of Titanium
Hail to the Element of Vanadium
Hail to the Element of Chromium
Hail to the Element of Manganese
Hail to the Element of Iron
Hail to the Element of Cobalt
Hail to the Element of Nickel
Hail to the Element of Copper
Hail to the Element of Zinc
Hail to the Element of Gallium
Hail to the Element of Germanium
Hail to the Element of Arsenic
Hail to the Element of Selenium
Hail to the Element of Bromine
Hail to the Element of Krypton
Hail to the Element of Rubidium
Hail to the Element of Strontium
Hail to the Element of Yttrium
Hail to the Element of Zirconium
Hail to the Element of Niobium
Hail to the Element of Molybdenum
Hail to the Element of Technetium
Hail to the Element of Ruthenium
Hail to the Element of Rhodium
Hail to the Element of Palladium
Hail to the Element of Silver
Hail to the Element of Cadmium
Hail to the Element of Indium
Hail to the Element of Tin
Hail to the Element of Antimony
Hail to the Element of Tellurium
Hail to the Element of Iodine
Hail to the Element of Xenon
Hail to the Element of Caesium
Hail to the Element of Barium
Hail to the Element of Lanthanum
Hail to the Element of Cerium
Hail to the Element of Praseodymium
Hail to the Element of Neodymium
Hail to the Element of Promethium
Hail to the Element of Samarium
Hail to the Element of Europium
Hail to the Element of Gadolinium
Hail to the Element of terbium
Hail to the Element of Dysprosium
Hail to the Element of Holmium
Hail to the Element of Erbium
Hail to the Element of Thulium
Hail to the Element of Ytterbium
Hail to the Element of Lutetium
Hail to the Element of Hafnium
Hail to the Element of tantalum
Hail to the Element of Tungsten
Hail to the Element of Rhenium
Hail to the Element of Osmium
Hail to the Element of Iridium
Hail to the Element of Platinum
Hail to the Element of Gold
Hail to the Element of Mercury
Hail to the Element of Thallium
Hail to the Element of lead
Hail to the Element of Bismuth
Hail to the Element of Polonium
Hail to the Element of Astatine
Hail to the Element of radon
Hail to the Element of Radium
Hail to the Element of Francium
Hail to the Element of Actinium
Hail to the Element of Thorium
Hail to the Element of Protactinium
Hail to the Element of Uranium
Hail to the Element of Neptunium
Hail to the Element of Plutonium
Hail to the Element of Americium
Hail to the Element of Curium
Hail to the Element of Berkelium
Hail to the Element of californium
Hail to the Element of Einsteinium
Hail to the Element of Fermium
Hail to the Element of Mendelevium
Hail to the Element of Nobelium
Hail to the Element of Lawrencium
Hail to the Element of Rutherfordium
Hail to the Element of Dubnium
Hail to the Element of Seaborgium
Hail to the Element of Bohrium
Hail to the Element of Hassium
Hail to the Element of Meitnerium
Hail to the Element of Darmstadtium
Hail to the Element of Roentgenium
Hail to the Element of Copernicium
Hail to the Element of Ununtrium
Hail to the Element of Flerovium
Hail to the Element of Ununpentium
Hail to the Element of Livermorium
Hail to the Element of Ununseptium
Hail to the Element of Ununoctium

Enhancing Your Portfolio: Facts and Fictions

A magician shares this with entrepreneurs: see the world and change the world. And just like an entrepreneur, if your endeavours are not profitable you are in the shit.

Your portfolio of investments, comprised of actions and beliefs, should serve to better you. Profit you. Develop you. Enhance your life. Improve your experience. Allow you to do more. You get the idea. Investments which do not perform should be cut.

Why the business talk? Because the world provides performance feedback: profit, loss, expense; capacity, resistance, and you will gain from using it. If your actions are not delivering desired results, change them. You owe no loyalty to weak investments and weak returns on those investments. Feedback can be grounded in what is true regardless of your opinion of it.

Example: if your eating habit neglects certain key acquisitions required for high level performance, hampering your efforts in other spheres of life, then your eating habit needs to change. Say you eat raw greens exclusively. You’re getting vitamins and minerals but no macros. Your body shrivels up. This makes you sad. Literally. And weak. Literally. You change your eating habit. You add in macros. You feel happy. You grow strong. Your portfolio has improved. Your life has improved.

However, a purely factual approach is not enough. We seem to need the addition of personal meaning. This is expressed in the artworks we create, the quests we undertake, the stories we tell with our rituals of symbolic actions, and with the narratives of our lives.

Best practice demands both facts and fictions. Without our fictions we risk living in a meaningless universe. Without facts we live in fantasy, with no anchor to the real, and suffer the consequences for it.

Reality does not care about our superstitions. Those that value falsely pay the cost and those that value truthfully reap the reward. It is incumbent then upon the magician to familiarise oneself with and engage with and put into practice both the active acquisition of new facts upon which to base decisions and the active acquisition of new and greater degrees of skill through which to better perform one’s will.

(Frater Tarod, from Chaos Streams 01)

All the Fun of the Fair

Or, how a group of magicians went to the fairground to deeper understand the nature of Illusion and to become its masters. A Bank Holiday Special for you.

The fairground is a shabby run-down permanent site left behind in the post-industrial economic catastrophe that is South Wales. The beach, though, is fabulous, and in the distance the ebb tide glitters in the grilling noonday Bank Holiday sun. August being truly … well, august.

We have an element of Metamorphosis in the choice of venue: to varying degrees we all detest the fairground and most haven’t been to one in decades. But today we shall share the illusion.

The six of us gather at the gates and ask the Opener of the Way to aid us in our intent to understand and master Illusion. The O.O.T.W. is of course Papa Legba. So we circle and chant his name and call upon him as I sign simple versions of his vévé onto the ground in our midst. At some point we agree that Papa has joined the party.

We head in to the carousel for the Banishing Rite. We climb aboard our Magic Roundabout, spreading ourselves around the rim of the circle of horses. As the merry-go-round starts off, each begins the Gnostic Pentagram Ritual, howling out the vowels against the tacky pop music of the ride and smearing pentagrams across the revolving landscape. We’re getting some funny looks, but what can anyone do to a moving carousel? I just about finish in time. The fairground is Banished. Looks it too.

In high spirits we head to the rollercoaster, called the Mighty Mouse. Now who is it that has a Mouse as His vehicle? Yes, Jai Ganesha! We get seated, ready to use the adrenaline of the ride to charge our chanted Ganesha mantra and visualization of the god as we hand him an obstacle we’d like removed from our lives. Soror Brigantia is doubling down on the Metamorphosis here, as she experiences serious vertigo.

The ride begins gently enough, hauling us to the top. Naturally on beginning a journey, I’m Aum Gam Ganapataye namaha, visualization up. Then at the top it turns seriously white-knuckle, with hugely abrupt quarter turns throwing us about the carriages. At every turn I feel like we’re going to fly off the rails and afterwards I’m somewhat disbelieving that we didn’t. The illusion of being in danger when we’re actually being tightly controlled. Lesson One of the day.

I’m keeping the mantra and visualization going, gods know how. That obstacle is fucked, I can tell you. One last violent pirouette and the carriage comes to a halt. With a final salutation we crawl out. Soror Brigantia has trouble walking and is shaking slightly, but she comes away with a lesson: she confirms that sticking to your mantra helps your concentration to the extent of taking down a panic attack.

The Un-Fair, Part One: Will The Penny Drop?

We take a break from things that move, and head for the arcade games. Our eyes were caught by the Penny Drop machine, all silvery glitter, coins and ’50’s jazz artwork. It’s a coin push: drop a coin in amongst the coins inside and see if the moving slides will shunt some coins over the Tipping Point and back to you. The goal here is to experience the difference between the promise of prizes and the reality of merely feeding your money into The Machine.

The decoration may not have been updated since the fifties but the machinery has. It’s now a Tenpence Drop. Inflation, eh? A handful of coins is gone in moments. I didn’t even win any to feed back into The Machine. Says it all, doesn’t it?

Just to nail it in though I have a go on the Claw Grab, where the claw is obviously too weak to grip the prizes to drop them down the chute to you. Penny has dropped: The Machine is Un-Fair.

The Ghost Train. We’re spooky magicians, right? This should be right up our dark alley. We prepare to salute Papa Ghede on the Ghost Train, but it’s Odin who’s running the ride. A man with indeterminate North-or-East European accent asking us if we’re ready.

“Yes!”

“Are you sure?”

Hail Odin.

Soror Brigantia assures me that the ride has not changed AT ALL since she visited it as a child. We’re chanting Papa Ghede’s name loudly enough to be heard outside, and he’s inside my head taking the piss out of it all the way through. We come back out louder than we went in, and Odin looks at us as if we’re mad.

Now for the Waltzer. We have each identified an Intention, a thing we’d like to see in our world. We’re going to do the Vortex Rite in each of the two cars we occupy. A-B-C: we use the adrenaline of the ride to open the Vortex, project our Intention through it and close. Couldn’t be simpler.

Despite the enthusiastic attention of the kid spinning the cars, I complete satisfactorily, but it was a real test of concentration. Then I get out to see that one of our number in the next car is having a full-on panic attack and is shaking as though having a fit. This was clearly a Metamorphosis too far for her. The kid had gone white and disappeared. We get our sister away from the Waltzer and a fairground staff member arrives.

“Do you need a paramedic?”

No, but do you have an exorcist on standby? Oh wait, that’s me. So I take our sister through a grounding to shed the excess energy and then a fairly lousy cup of brown. She’s made of quite stern stuff and recovers quickly. Meanwhile …

The Un-Fair, Part Two: Gaming the Sideshows.

The others take on some more rigged games, such as the get-the-rubber-ball-in-the-bucket where the ball is far too bouncy to stay in. Soror Brigantia has found a throwing things game where you get a big prize if you win but a little prize if you fail. She’s gaming The System by actually gunning for the little prize. The little prizes they all come back with are small cuddly toys which are already showing signs of magical sentience. Puppet magic.

Going to the Fun House with Eris was a disappointment, with no amusing mirrors and just a load of minor obstacles, some of which were out of order. One which was working was the Hamster Wheel, unsurprisingly. Another Lesson there. I took great pleasure in stepping smoothly off the Hamster Wheel. Non serviam. Hail Eris!

It’s been unexpectedly tiring, and the others step out of our next ride. It’s basically cars spinning across a flat trajectory, so we call it the Spider, and our objective is to visualize our chosen future and weave a web of Wyrd during the ride, charged, as usual, with the energy raised by the ride. It’s just me and Soror Brigantia bawling out incantations of the future we shall see unfold.

Spirits are high again as we all set off for the beach, half a dozen mostly middle-aged people laughing and dancing, and the younger fairgoers point and stare. But we’re on a mission.

Imagine a Star of Chaos superimposed on a map of Wales. Soror Brigantia has a long term project of burying an Arrow of the Star of Chaos at each of the extremities, and where we are is tolerably near the southernmost, Yellow Arrow point. We’ll light and bury a pointy yellow candle on the beach.

It’s a big beach. we march down it, looking for a significant spot, and we find this:

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Pentagram marks the spot. We surround it, dig, light candle, and chant again to the Opener of the Way, for Papa Legba to open the crossroads of magic in Wales and to close our afternoon’s work. And we finish with the IAO banishing.

And so it is done.