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.


“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:


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.

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)

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