virus: Defining Chaos by Jaq D Hawkins aka Mark Chao

Date: Tue Jul 30 2002 - 20:17:13 MDT

                           Defining Chaos
                  by Jaq D Hawkins aka Mark Chao
Chaos, according to the œOxford English Dictionary, means:
1. A gaping void, yawning gulf, chasm, or abyss.
2. The œformless void of primordial matter, the œgreat deep or
œabyss out of which the cosmos or order of the universe was

There are a couple of additional definitions, but they are irrelevant
to this discussion. When chaos is used in magic, there is no place
for confusion or disorder.

Chaos is the creative principle behind all magic. When a magical
ritual is performed, regardless of œtradition or other variables in
the elements of the performance, a magical energy is created and
put into motion to cause something to happen. In his book,
Sorcery as Virtual Mechanics, Stephen Mace cites a scientific
precedent for this creative principle:

I quote: ˜To keep it simple, let us confine our example to just two
electrons, the point like carriers of negative charge. Let us say
they are a part of the solar wind - beta particles, as it were -
streaming out from the sun at thousands of miles a second. Say
that these two came close enough that their negative charges
interact, causing them to repel one another. How do they
accomplish this change in momentum?

˜According to quantum electrodynamics, they do it by exchanging
a œvirtual photon. One electron spawns it, the other absorbs it,
and so do they repel each other. The photon is œvirtual because
it cannot be seen by an outside observer, being wholly contained
in the interaction. But it is real enough, and the emission and
absorption of virtual photons is how the electromagnetic
interaction operates.

˜The question which is relevant to our purpose here is where does
the photon come from. It does not come out of one electron and
lodge in the other, as if it were a bullet fired from one rock into
another. The electrons themselves are unchanged, except for their
momenta. Rather, the photon is created out of nothing by the
strain of the interaction. According to current theory, when the
two electrons come close, their waveforms interact, either
cancelling out or reinforcing one another. Waveforms are
intimately tied to characteristics like electric charge, and we
could thus expect the charges on the two electrons to change. But
electron charge does not vary; it is always 1.602 x 10(- 19)
coulombs. Instead, the virtual photons appear out of the vacuum
and act to readjust the system. The stress spawns them and by
their creation is the stress resolved.™

Austin Spare understood this principle in regard to magical
phenomena long before scientists discovered photons or began
experiments in the area of chaos science.

Austin Osman Spare - Some History

Austin Spare was born at midnight, Dec. 31st, 1886 in a London
suburb called Snow Hill. His father was a London policeman,
often on night duty.

Spare showed a natural talent for drawing at an early age, and in
1901 - 1904 left school to serve an apprenticeship in a stained
glass works, but continued his education at Art College in
Lambeth. In 1904 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of
Art. In that year he also exhibited a picture in the Royal Academy
for the first time.

In 1905 he published his first book, Earth Inferno. It was
primarily meant to be a book of drawings, but included
commentaries that showed some of his insights and spiritual
leanings. John Singer Sargent hailed him as a genius at age 17. At
an unspecified time in his adolescence, Spare was initiated into a
witch cult by a sorceress named Mrs. Paterson, whom Spare
referred to as his œsecond mother. In 1908 he held an exhibition
at Bruton Gallery. In 1910 he spent a short time as a member of
Crowley™s Argentium Astrum. The association did not last long.
Crowley was said to have considered Spare to be a Black
Magician. In 1909 Spare began creation of The Book of Pleasure.

In 1912 his reputation was growing rapidly in the art world. In
1913 he published The Book of Pleasure. It is considered to be his
most important magical work, and includes detailed instructions
for his system of sigilisation and the œdeath postures that he is
well-known for. In 1914 - 1918 he served as an official war artist.
He was posted to Egypt which had a great effect on him. In 1921,
he published Focus of Life, another book of drawings with his
unique and magical commentaries. In 1921 - 1924 Spare was at
the height of his artistic success, then, in 1924 he published the
Anathema of Zos, in which he effectively excommunicated
himself from his false and trendy artistic œfriends and
benefactors. He returned to South London and obscurity to find
the freedom to develop his philosophy, art and magic.

In 1947 Spare met Kenneth Grant and became actively involved
with other well-known occultists of the period. In 1948 - 1956 he
began work on a definitive Grimoire of the Zos Kia Cultus, which
is referred to in his various writings. This is unfinished and is
being synthesized from Spare™s papers by Kenneth Grant, who
inherited all of Spare™s papers. Much of this information was
included in Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare by
Kenneth Grant, but there are some unpublished works which
Grant plans to publish after completion of his Typhonian series.
[Note: This has since been released as Zos Speaks by Kenneth

References for this section are mostly from Christopher Bray™s
introduction to The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare
(Sorcerer's Apprentice) and from Excess Spare, which is a
compilation by the Temple ov Psychic Youth of photocopied
articles about Spare from various sources.

The Magic of Austin Osman Spare

Spare™s art and magic were closely related. It is reputed that there
are messages in his drawings about his magical philosophy. One
particular picture of Mrs. Paterson has reportedly been seen to
move; the eyes opening and closing. Spare is best known for his
system of using sigils. Being an artist, he was very visually

The system basically consists of writing down the desire,
preferably in your own magical alphabet, eliminating all repeated
letters, then forming a design of the remaining single letters. The
sigil must then be charged. There is a variety of specific ways to
do this, but the key element is to achieve a state of œvacuity
which can be done through exhaustion, sexual release or several
other methods.

This creates a vacuum or œvoid much like the condition
described in the introduction to this discussion, and it is filled
with the energy of the magician. The sigil, being now charged,
must be forgotten so that the sub-conscious mind may work on it
without the distractions and dissipation of energy that the
conscious mind is subject to. Spare recognised that magic comes
from the sub-conscious mind of the magician, not some outside
œspirits or œgods.

Christopher Bray has this to say about Spare™s methods in his
introduction to The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare;
˜So in his art and writing, Spare is putting us in the mood; or
showing by example what attitude we need to adopt to approach
the œangle of departure of consciousness in order to enter the
infinite. What pitch of consciousness we need to gain success.

˜One must beware making dogma, for Spare went to great pains
to exclude it as much as possible to achieve success in his magic;
however a number of basic assumptions underpin chaos magic.

˜Chaos is the universal potential of creative force, which is
constantly engaged in trying to seep through the cracks of our
personal and collective realities. It is the power of

˜Shamanism is innate within every one of us and can be tapped if
we qualify by adjusting, our perception/attitude and making our
being ready to accept the spontaneous. Achieving Gnosis, or
hitting the œangle of departure of consciousness and time, is a
knack rather than a skill.™

There are other methods to utilise the same concept that Spare
explains for us. Magicians since Spare have written about their
own methods and expansions of his method quite frequently in
occult magazines, mostly in Great Britain. Spare is certainly not
the first person in history to practise this sort of magic, but he is
credited with the first associations to magic, of the word chaos.

Chaos Since A.O.S.

Austin Spare died May 15, 1956, but his magic did not die with
him. There have been select groups of magicians practising
versions of Chaos ever since, especially in Northern England and
Germany. In the late l970™s, Ray Sherwin was editor and publisher
of a magazine called The New Equinox. Pete Carroll was a
regular contributor to the magazine, and together, due to
dissatisfaction with the magical scene in Britain at the time, they
formed the œIlluminates of Thanateros. They advertised in New
Equinox and a group formed. Part of the intention of the group
was to have an Order where degrees expressed attainment rather
than authority, and hierarchy beyond just organisational
requirements was non-existent.

At some point, about 1986, Ray Sherwin œexcommunicated
himself because he felt that the Order was slipping into the
power structure that he had intended to avoid with this group, and
Pete Carroll became known as the leader of œThe Pact. The IOT
continues to survive and was identified as the only international
Chaos organisation until early 90™s.

There are smaller groups of Chaos practitioners, as well as
individuals practising alone. Chaos since Spare has taken on a life
of its own. It will always continue to grow, that is its nature. It
was only natural that eventually the world of science would begin
to discover the physical principles underlying magic, although the
scientists who are making these discoveries still do not realise that
this is what they are doing. It is interesting that they have had the
wisdom to call it chaos science...

Chaos Science

Modern chaos science began in the 1960™s when a handful of
open-minded scientists with an eye for pattern realised that simple
mathematical equations fed into a computer could model patterns
every bit as irregular and œchaotic as a waterfall. They were able
to apply this to weather patterns, coastlines, and all sorts of
natural phenomena. Particular equations would result in pictures
resembling specific types of leaves, the possibilities were
incredible. Centres and institutes were founded to specialise in
œnon-linear dynamics and œcomplex systems. Natural
phenomena, like the red spot of Jupiter, could now be explained.
The common catch-terms that most people have heard by now -
strange attractors, fractals, etc, are related to the study of
turbulence in nature. There is not room to go into these subjects in
depth here, and I recommend that those who are interested in this
subject read Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.

What we are concerned with here is how all this relates to magic.
Many magicians, especially Chaos Magicians, have begun using
the terms, œfractal and œstrange attractor, in their everyday
conversations. Most of those who do this have some
understanding of the relationship between magic and this area of
science. To put it very simply, a successful magical act causes an
apparently acausal result. In studying turbulence, chaos scientists
have realised that apparently acausal phenomena in nature are not
only the norm, but are measurable by simple mathematical
equations. Irregularity is the stuff life is made of. For example, in
the study of heartbeat rhythms and brainwave patterns, irregular
patterns are measured from normally functioning organs, while
steady, regular patterns are a direct symptom of a heart attack
about to occur, or an epileptic fit. Referring back again to
œvirtual photons, a properly executed magical release of energy
creates a œwave form (visible by Kirlian photography) around the
magician causing turbulence in the aetheric space. This turbulence
will likely cause a result, preferably as the magician has intended.
Once the energy is released, control over the phenomena is out of
the magician™s hands, just as once the equation has been fed into
the computer, the design follows the path set for it.

The scientists who are working in this area would scoff at this
explanation, they have no idea that they are in the process of
discovering the physics behind magic. But then, many common
place sciences of today, chemistry for example, were once
considered to be magic. Understanding this subject requires,
besides some reading, a shift in thinking. We are trained from an
early age to think in linear terms, but nature and the chaos within
it are non-linear, and therefore require non-linear thinking to be
understood. This sounds simple, yet it reminds me of a logic class
I had in college. We were doing simple Aristotelian syllogisms.
All we had to do was to put everyday language into equation form.
It sounds simple, and it is. However, it requires non-linear thought
process. During that lesson over the space of a week, the class size
dropped from 48 to 9 students. The computer programmers were
the first to drop out. Those of us who survived that section went
on to earn high grades in the class, but more importantly, found
that we had achieved a permanent change in our thinking
processes. Our lives were changed by that one simple shift of

Chaos science is still in the process of discovery, yet magicians
have been applying its principles for at least as long as they have
been writing about magic. Once the principles of this science
began to take hold on the thinking process, the magician begins to
notice everything from the fractal patterns in smoke rising from a
cigarette to the patterns of success and failure in magical
workings, which leads to an understanding of why it had
succeeded or failed.

Defining Chaos Magic

Chaos is not in itself, a system or philosophy. It is rather an
attitude that one applies to one™s magic and philosophy. It is the
basis for all magic, as it is the primal creative force. A Chaos
Magician learns a variety of techniques, usually as many as s/he
can gain access to, but sees beyond the systems and dogmas to the
physics behind the magical force and uses whatever methods are
appealing to him/herself. Chaos does not come with a specific
Grimoire or even a prescribed set of ethics. For this reason, it has
been dubbed œleft hand path by some who choose not to
understand that which is beyond their own chosen path. There is
no set of specific spells that are considered to be œChaos Magic
Spells. A Chaos Magician will use the same spells as those of
other paths, or those of his/her own making. Any and all methods
and information are valid, the only requirement is that it works.
Mastering the role of the sub-conscious mind in magical
operations is the crux of it, and the state called œvacuity by
Austin Osman Spare is the road to that end. Anyone who has
participated in a successful ritual has experienced the œhigh that
this state induces.

An understanding of the scientific principles behind magic does
not necessarily require a college degree in physics (although it
wouldn™t hurt much, if the linear attitude drilled into the student
could be by-passed). Experience in magical results will bring the
necessary understanding.

This essay is directed toward the increasing numbers of people
who have been asking, œWhat is Chaos Magic?. It is very basic
and by no means intended to be a complete explanation of any of
the elements discussed. Many of the principles of magic must be
self-discovered. My only intent here is to try to define and pull
together the various elements associated with Chaos Magic into
an intelligible whole. For those of you who wish to learn more
about this subject, I have prepared a suggested reading list,
however, I must emphasise that there are always more sources
than any one person knows about, so do not limit yourself to this
list. Chaos has no limits...

The Book of Pleasure by Austin Osman Spare
Anathema of Zos by Austin Osman Spare
A Book of Satyrs by Austin Osman Spare
Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare by Kenneth Grant
The Early Works of A.O.S., Excess Spare and Stations in Time are
three collections which are available from TOPY.
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
Turbulent Mirror by John Briggs & F. David Peat
Liber Null & Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll
Practical Sigil Magick by Frater U.D.
Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine
For an expansion of the overview expressed in this essay:
Understanding Chaos Magic by Jaq D Hawkins

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