Hail Eris! Discordia in Sheffield

When Sheffield-based Notwork 23 held their recent Catch23 festival, there was bound to be a strong Pact presence. Dave Lee was one of several with a part to play in the opening ritual centring on a double invocation of Eris and Horkos, the Goddess of Discord and the God that makes you keep your promises, becoming a heady affair of invocations of all the Colours of Chaos.

Soror Brigantia and Kite had planned on attending simply to enjoy not organising anything this time, as did other Pact people in the locality, but … ya know … Hail Eris and we got roped into the ritual too. Inclusiveness, appreciation of variety and passionate magical expression drove the ritual point-first into the Festival and pegged the whole fiercely sunny day firmly as we went on to experience- well …

There was a room dedicated to talks and workshops. Personal favourites included Dave Lee and musician/magician George Rogers collaborating in the working “From SNAFU to FUBAR, a working against the global war machine;” Ian (Cat) Vincent drawing on his vast experience for the workshop “Defence Against the Dark Arts” and the gong bath. That was an unexpected treat for someone who’d never bathed a gong in his life.

And that Kite guy was a late substitute speaker, giving a hot sweaty audience a rehash of how You Are The Experiment.”

Meanwhile, there was music going on everywhere, all day and late into the night, with a vast and strange variety from plain acoustic bands to Discordian musical happenings. There was a beautiful, mellow – if overwhelmingly hot – atmosphere, and we wound up talking all night with a succession of great folks we’d never met before.

Gotta admit it, we were jealous of Sheffield at this point. So well done to Notwork 23 and all the other disorganizations involved with putting this event together at the Yellow Arch Studios in Hipster Central, Sheffield. Special shout to Anwen Burrows, without whom- well, gods only know. Hail Eris!

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!

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)

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

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

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.