In Praise of MMM: Motionlessness/No Thought

If there’s one signature exercise amongst the Illuminates of Thanateros it’s Motionlessness/No Thought – MNT. In itself it’s unassuming and dull yet difficult and That Chore Which Must Be Done if you’re a Novice. It lurks among the Mind Control exercises of the Illuminates of Thanateros Novice training program, the ‘studentship syllabus,’ called Liber MMM, like the black sheep at the wedding reception.

Where did it come from? In the seminal chaos magic book Liber Null, Peter J. Carroll adapted the Yoga exercises of Aleister Crowley’s Book 4: Mysticism (part 1) for his adaptation within Liber MMM. This in turn was appropriated from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

More than anything else, MNT forges and storm-proofs the magician. When one of those ‘there’s something out there and it’s in here!’ moments occurs, if you’re going to look a god in its one massive bloodshot eye without shitting yourself, your Proper Prior Preparation and Practice of MNT helps you stand as The Magician In The Moment. When synchronicities turn your life into a shitstorm, you need the inner composure that meditation offers.

And all this starts from just sitting still.

Motionlessness is about not shifting weight, not scratching those inevitable little itches, and so forth. It’s not about torso movements when you breathe or tics or involuntary eye movements or blinking (if those bother you, shut your eyes). Pick a posture and stick to it. Since you don’t want to be shifting for comfort, pick a posture that’s comfortable in the first place. I did know someone who started off by doing his MNT in the Dragon Posture, but he doesn’t recommend it. Don’t try to be hardcore: leave your ego outside the Temple door.

If you gaze at a random spot on the wall you’ll very soon notice a slight tunnel vision. This is you entering a very light trance. Relax into it and your breathing will slow, swallowing and blinking are inhibited and the itches will become ignorable.

Breathing: pranayama. There’s a simple technique. In — out. And so forth. Fancy breathing techniques can wait, unless you already have mastery of them.

No-Thought is an unceasing business. Begin by just watching thoughts arise and pass away. Do nothing about them. When you catch yourself fixating on a thought, just drop it.

As you become aware of ‘space’ as it were in your consciousness where no thoughts are, as thoughts arise then deliberately ignore them and attend instead to that empty space. From time to time you get some blessed peace, when there are no thoughts to ignore. You’ll probably notice this moment of peace only when it’s over.

It’s not so much about that moment as the abilities, manifested over time, to drop easily into inhibitory trance states, to close down unhelpful streams of thought while under pressure and to concentrate on what is currently important. The concentration you’re looking for is not the fierce fixed frown and furious glare; it’s the relaxed absorption of a child at play. You are ‘in neutral,’ as it were. From this state you will learn to put yourself in gear by paying attention to something and there the magic starts.

Start with about 15 minutes and after a few days of practice add five minutes, and so forth until you’ve got 30 minutes’ practice time. It is totally worth it. This is why to this day the Illuminates of Thanateros still champion this practice and require our Novices to practice it daily.

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.

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.