Originally posted 08.10.04.
This is a collection of short essays transcribed and complied from my written journal. The reader may reach the conclusion that I have little use for structured, initiatory systems, and even less use for dogmatic religious constructs based on fear and faith. The reader would be right. After fifteen years of pursuing various spiritual paths and magickal systems, I came to the realization (perhaps in my hubris) that none of them contained any more wisdom or Truth than I was capable of finding on my own.
Forging a Path
Inestimable time and energy have been spent in the debate over whether or not Chaos Magick is a system of the Left Hand Path. Such arguments are meaningless. What good can come of following a path, any path, that has been worn by someone else? Where can it lead, other than someplace that others have already been.
The most useful course of action is to study all systems, of both the Right- and Left-Hand Paths. Realize that ultimately, both of these paths lead to the same destination. Knowing this, the magician can blaze his or her own way. One set of existing rules is just as controlling as another. Eschew them all. Remember that in the Abrahamic religions that the hoary lord of darkness is ultimately a prideful angel on a snit, and that in all systems, evil is a foil for the forces of good to play off of in the great macrocosmic psychodrama.
The designation of any magical system as either white or black presupposes the acceptance that some acts and thoughts are inherently good or evil. This is bunk. All activities within the realm of human experience are relative to the cultures and situations which contain them. Every person must make their own decisions as to what constitutes appropriate actions for them, in their circumstances, in any given moment. We are our own ultimate judge.
The most important lesson that I have learned in my studies is that my code of ethics has served me better than any societal moral code or set of synthetic religious beliefs. A pragmatic approach to the world is the best. Conversely, the greatest mistake is expecting the world to be sensible or fair. This is Chaos, right? As in Khaos, the formless matter and infinite space which pre-dates the ordered universe? This is not a logic gate. This is not a set of train tracks with a switch which goes right or left. Chaos is about embracing potentiality and coming to the realization that every mind has within it the capability to influence the larger universe by acts of directed will. As far as this goes, it is completely irrelevant whether you pray to an invisible man in the sky, thee lordz ov darkness, or the pantheon created by your favorite science fiction author.
A fractal fragment of the divine Mojo is embedded within each one of us. Most people in western society spend one day a week wearing laughable clothes and eating stale saltines in a contrived attempt to celebrate this fact. I guess for many of them, the thought of going it on their own is too much to take.
Hacking the Psychic Censor
Peter Carroll describes the Psychic Censor as the mechanism by which the mind is shielded from intrusions by other realities. It is this mechanism which must be overcome in order to initiate magical workings or manifest psychic phenomena. Without this filtering mechanism, it would be difficult if not impossible to function on a daily basis, as our conscious minds would be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of input to which they would be exposed. As H.P. Lovecraft alluded, it is also this faculty which protects us from the shrieking horror of realizing how miniscule and imperiled our place in the universe is.
In order to circumvent this filter, each tradition has a variety of methods which may be employed. A.O. Spare’s state of vacuity via orgasm or the death posture is an example of this.
I operate in a different paradigm. To me, the Psychic Censor resembles nothing so much as a system of Gibsonian Intrusion Countermeasures, or ICE. If this concept is not familiar to you, refer to Neuromancer, Gibson’s seminal work which ignited the Cyberpunk genre. In order to gain access to the higher capabilities of the self, the magician must seek to “hack” his or her own mind. The goal is to temporarily suspend, but not destroy, the filtering mechanism which is installed within each mind which participates in the consensus reality. There are innumerable methods by which this can be accomplished. The use of orgasm, while enjoyable, is not the only way. This paradigm assumes that the mind is a system which must be reverse-engineered. The process by which the neural circuits that comprise this system function, and specifically, the way in which they use neurotransmitters as agents of signal transmission, should be researched. Adjusting brain chemistry is obviously an activity that should not be undertaken lightly. The use of substances from nootropics, to nutritional supplements, to more esoteric elixirs should not be excluded as a viable path to opening the mind to receive directives from the Will.
In Cleansing the Doors of Perception, Huston Smith compares states of religious grace to those offered by hallucinogens. He finds the latter to be lacking in lasting effect and meaning. I believe that his conclusion was unnecessarily constrained by a cultural bias that a socially formulated religion is somehow more valid and real than an individual experience of personal exploration. In a similar comparison, Krafft-Ebing noted that heights of sexual ecstacy are difficult to distinguish from those of spiritual enlightenment. The ultimate point that I wish to illustrate is that there are no constraints, other than the individual limitations of the magician, which dictate how states of altered consciousness are to be attained. Experiment! But always be mindful of the risks involved. Educate yourself before ingesting ANY substance, whether prescribed by a physician, or bought on a street corner. If you don’t have at least a functional understanding of how a chemical will affect you, don’t introduce it into your system. Magickal research is not all tomes and incantations. It’s also pharmacology and neuroscience.
Many occult writers that I have read seem to have an elitist and negative view toward sorcery, or “low magick”. I have found that this type of working is actually the most useful to me of all. I’ve got no pressing need or desire to evoke demons, except my own, and only then in order to better understand them so that I may better control their influence over my life.
I’ve also noticed that there is a bias against solo practioners by many members of initiatory orders. I find this laughable. In my experience, most fraternal / initiatory systems were created for the self-aggrandizement of the founder. Someone with a taste for power and control gets an idea about how things “ought to be” and then foists their system off on others, typically the type of person who feels the need to follow a leader, as they have no initiative of their own. Those who have bought into the system then have an imperative to spread it, in order to keep themselves from feeling like idiots.
Remember that in the really-real world, even the Magister Templi probably has to pump his own gasoline.
As for me, I am not enlightened. I am no guru. I do not know the truth with the big “T”. In a 36-hour long working, I once saw a tiny crack in the wall that separates this dreary world from the numinous universe of possibilities in which it floats. Through this tiny crack I peered, fearful even in that moment of what repercussions my act might bring down upon me. When the hand of god failed to smite me down for my impunity, I came to the conclusion that everything I had ever been fed about religion and magic was a crock of shit. That revelation began my search for something real and true. The best conclusion that I have reached as of this point in my life is that no other human being, nor group of them, can tell me the nature of the divine. I can form visualizations with which to better relate to the motivating force of the universe, but it is utter folly to believe that any collection of human mythology is more or less likely to be true than any other.