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The Arcanorium College Department of Magic, Degree in Magic.
Few if any academic institutions in the known universe recognise the existence of Arcanorium College or the reality of Magic. The guardians of Arcanorium College wish to keep it that way. Arcanorium College forbids its Alumni from participating in academic parapsychology experiments. We have no wish to render ourselves open to persecution or to end up working behind barbed wire.
The transferrable skill of magic can lead to the achievement of any life objective. Merely dabbling with the paradigms and practices of magic will likely lead to both material and psychological failure.
We define magic as -
‘The Science and Art of Causing Change by the Exercise of Imagination.’
The Magical Exercise of Imagination requires a high level of dedication and discipline.
Arcanorium College levies no charges for tuition, but it will ruthlessly exclude those who make insufficient efforts.
The Arcanorium College Degree of Magic (BoM) course provides Alumni with the following opportunities:
a) To begin immediate work with practical magical techniques for the achievement of desired results, The College uses the Chaos Magic paradigm which considers the actual practical techniques of magic far more important than any specific cultural symbolism. The magician can adapt these techniques for use with any set of cultural beliefs and assumptions to taste.
b) To gain some familiarity with a variety of traditional and modern magical theories.
c) To gain experience in researching and writing about magical topics.
d) To make some original contributions to the study and practice of magic.
e) Perhaps to advance to a position within Arcanorium College. The Chancellor seeks project collaborators, apprentices, and eventually a replacement for himself.
The degree course will normally take at least several years to complete; Alumni may proceed at their own pace and take longer if required
Requirements for the award of a BoM Degree from Arcanorium College.
2) No person of Arcanorium College shall reveal the identity of any other member without their express written permission.
To qualify for a BM Degree from Arcanorium College, Alumni will need to satisfy the following requirements:
3) Work through the six modules of Practical Chaos Magic: - Enchantment, Divination, Theory, Evocation, Invocation, and Illumination, posting on progress and results as appropriate.
5) Create a dissertation on some aspect of the history or culture or current practise of magic.
(In place of the dissertation, another type of creative project may prove acceptable, at the discretion of the Awards Committee.)
Assessment and Certification
1) An Awards Committee shall consider each award application, recommending further work if necessary.
Module 1 - Enchantment
In Chaos Magic the word ‘Enchantment’ means making things happen by magic. It means getting what you want by casting spells or somehow making the world do what you want by magical means. In a chaotic and unpredictable world like this one, Enchantment usually proves a more useful skill than Divination. A willingness to persist with Enchantment defines a serious magician. It seems odd that so many people can believe in the possibility of Divination and clairvoyance but that, so few have the courage to attempt Enchantment, and to keep on going with it.
If only a fifth of your spells work you still have a real and useful power, but if only a fifth of your divinations work then you may incur a severe disability if you act on them.
In a chaotic universe the magician should ‘Enchant Long’ and ‘Divine Short’, in the first case to take advantage of randomness by nudging the hand of chance and in the second case to avoid getting lost in the astral forest of possible futures.
Enchantment usually takes longer than other forms of magic to produce results, so it appears first on the curriculum of this course. We will study some of the theory of enchantment and cast a wide variety of spells. We shall examine the theories of enchantment and hopefully before the end of the course some participants may have some positive practical results to discuss also. We should not of course ignore the negative results, because these can teach us something too.
Study the following items of text, and see what you can make of them:
(LN refers to Liber Null & Psychonaut; LK refers to Liber Kaos-The Psychonomicon
LN 20-23 Sigils. A versatile method of turning desires into spells.
LN 31-35 Gnosis. A survey of methods for charging spells.
LN 55-56 Enchantment. Some general points.
LK 41-51 The Equations of Magic. The requirements of magic and its likely effects.
LK 87-90 Sleight of Mind. Observations on technique.
LK 107-140 Eight Magics. Some possible objectives for spellcasting.
You may well detect changes of emphasis or even apparent contradictions between some of these texts. Enchantment remains a tricky and capricious art; it awaits refinement into a precise science, the magician needs to develop an intuitive feel for personal techniques.
When casting spells consider ’ensigillising’ for at least half a dozen separate desires. Having a whole bunch of sigils helps you forget what you made them for. (Keep a separate record concealed away for later). Try various forms of gnosis and concentration with them and wait and see what happens. Try for objectives that lie within credible bounds of probability. You can realize a good business deal far more easily than you can materialise gold bricks, for example. Do not forget to do everything possible on the material plane as well. If you enchant for seduction you will probably still need to make a move on the target.
Whilst working on this module prepare a magical Wand to draw sigils and symbols in the air, and hence in the mind’s eye. Small pocket wands have the advantage of portability. Larger wands can pass as walking sticks.
Module 2 - Divination
Of all the magical arts, Divination offers the most opportunities for really screwing things up. If an enchantment fails you can usually try again or try another approach, but poor divination may lead to bad decisions which you cannot easily undo. In the Chaoist view of reality, much of the future remains unfixed by the conditions of the present, we inhabit a universe with a lot of randomness in it, and the further ahead you look the more random it becomes. This offers great scope for enchantment, but it puts considerable limits on what you can do with divination. Thus, chaos magicians try to ‘enchant long and divine short’.
The magician should try to develop divination in two ways, firstly by trying to become more generally psychic and open to intuition, and secondly by mastering one or more methods of deliberate divination. The second will prove useless without the first. Anyone can shuffle the tarot cards or the I-Ching sticks and mechanically read off the result, but this yields useful results only occasionally and purely by coincidence, if they do not use any intuition or psychism.
On the other hand, sortilege procedures such as card shuffling or crystal ball gazing can prove very useful for stimulating the imagination, the lateral thinking ability, and Apophenia - the ability to perceive connections between phenomena that others don’t usually notice.
To develop intuition, Apophenia, and psychism most people will find the inhibitory forms of gnosis the most useful way of blanking the mind into a state where such intuitions and psychism can manifest. Those who would become psychic should also strive to pay more attention to their dreaming and record whatever they can on awakening. They should also strive for inner silence when doing ‘nothing in particular’, or when simply walking or listening to others speak. It becomes far easier to intuit if someone has lied if you listen to them without a head full of thoughts of your own.
Read the following texts and see what you can make of them: -
LN 14-15. Mind Control. Techniques for stilling the mind.
LN 23. Dreaming.
LN 52-54. Divination. Methods and techniques.
LK 90-92. Sleight of Mind in Divination. Technique.
Participants should experiment with two deliberate techniques of Divination, a sortilege method like Geomancy, Runestones, Tarot or I-Ching, and a hallucinatory method such as crystal gazing or scrying in a black mirror or a dark pool of liquid. In divination according to the Chaoist model, look for events which may have become secretly fixed already, rather than those which probably remain completely open to chance.
Whilst working on this module prepare a ‘Cup’. The magical instrument of The Cup need not necessarily resemble a drinking vessel, although chalice like objects can have uses in sacramental rituals. The magician’s ‘Cup’ could also take the form of any divinatory instrument.
Module 3 - Theory
Anyone who practices magic or believes in magic has a theory of magic, even if they don’t think that they have. Such theories may range from informal sets of assumptions to organized sets of ideas about spirits and other planes or levels of reality or even quantum physics. Some magicians proclaim a disinterest in theory and assert instead that they just believe in anything that works. I do not actually believe them, because I notice that they all have assumptions about the subject which define what they consider possible or impossible, or worth attempting or not worth attempting.
Thus, I have spent many years contemplating the assumptions and the theories of magic that have come and gone over the aeons, to see what sense I could make of them, and to see to what extent belief structures reality.
It has become a sort of axiom of Chaos Magic that ‘nothing has ultimate truth’ and ‘anything remains possible’, and Chaoists like to proclaim the meta-belief that ‘belief structures reality’.
However, some beliefs plainly work more effectively than others and you can rarely use two contradictory beliefs simultaneously without creating a third.
I have peppered Liber Null and Liber Kaos with ideas and assertions and beliefs about the theories and assumptions of magic. Some of these pieces have rational flavour and some appeal more to the romance of sorcery. Herewith follows a selection, read them and see what you think and feel about them. My ideas about magical theory have evolved considerably over the decades. I began with a rather loose set of assumptions which I have tried to refine ever since.
LN 28-30. LN 97-98. LN 191-200.
Consider also looking at the theoretical section of The Apophenion and The Octavo for more hardcore quantum-based models of magic.
For those who would like to try some practical paradigm shifting try Random Belief,
LN pages 72-75. You can try them in order, one per day, or get a six-sided dice.
Note that ‘the book of chaos in its entirety’ mentioned to in option 5, alludes to an as yet unfinished library by many authors.
Module 4 – Evocation
Whilst working on this module prepare a Grimoire. A small notebook may suffice, you can always transcribe what you have written into a vast leather-bound jewel encrusted tome later. Note in the Grimoire any magical ideas or principles which seem particularly significant or important.
Evocation means interacting with ‘spirits’ or servitors to make them do things for you or to find out things for you. Most Chaoists wouldn’t buy a second-hand spirit from anyone else, (you never know where it’s been), and thus they usually prefer to make their own.
Some magicians of a traditional persuasion still insist on looking up tables of spirits in ancient grimoires to find something suitable, and some will insist on trying to find a suitable one by some sort of clairvoyant process. However, in my experience, you usually get a better result if you can summon the beliefs to allow yourself to start afresh with a homemade one.
This calls into question the whole nature of exactly what we mean by ‘spirits’ or servitors. The Chaos Magic description runs something like this; we all have a sub-conscious mind that does all sorts of complicated things for us more or less automatically. Thoughts and feelings have something of a mind of their own. Magic allows things in the mind to interact directly with the world. Thus, it does not matter if a spirit or servitor starts life inside your head, it can still interact with the outside world.
Thus, the chaos magician tries to bundle up a nexus of thoughts feelings and ideas in the personal subconscious, into something that will act automatically and with a certain degree of antonymous intelligence. By analogy with a computer, the magician writes a sub-program to execute certain wishes on command. To achieve maximum sleight of mind the magician will often command the servitor using the name or the visualized sigil given to it during its construction, or an abstract image or a physical representation of it. I have an elaborate physical analogue of an important servitor that I fashioned from half a pound of silver and semi-precious stones, another consists of a wooden carving that took me months of work and chanting, but some magicians simply use modelling clay.
For a selection of ideas on Evocation, read the following extracts and see what you make of them: -
LN 36-40. Evocation. LK 92-94. Sleight of Mind in Evocation.
LK 163-164. Sorcery Evocation. LK 168. Shamanic Evocation.
LK 173-174. Ritual Evocation.
The practical work of this module consists of the Evocation of a general-purpose Servitor. Use your imagination and intuition to adapt the ideas to your needs. You may need to re-access the childlike ability to anthropomorphize images and objects. Remember that evocation demands long term commitment, do not expect instant results.
Please do not mess around with the material in medieval grimoires at this stage, all sorts of murk and horror has got mixed into these texts and it may contaminate your results.
Whilst working with this module prepare a ‘Groundsleeve’ for the general-purpose servitor. Such instruments usually consist of a portable figurine of some sort of fantastic creature, executed in wood, metal, clay, or some sort of composite modelling material.
Module 5 - Invocation
The Chaos Magic approach to invocation depends on the principle that we have, or can have, many different selfs, and that none has any more reality than any other. Given the appropriate preparation, anybody can change into someone capable of almost anything.
Most people’s preconceptions about who they really ‘are’ holds them back from accomplishing extraordinary things (and it also usually keeps them out of trouble).
Our identities arise largely as social constructs and we present slightly different identities, or sometimes very different identities, in different situations.
Chaos magic theory asserts that because we have seen other people behave in extraordinary ways and because we have imagination, that we all have the resources to do such things ourselves, if only we could let go of our preconceptions about ourselves, or at least make radical additions to them.
In its most extreme form, Chaoist theory asserts that we all have multiple personality (although few suffer from the selective amnesia that characterizes the clinical manifestation of this condition). The ancient Pagans felt quite at home with this experience and sensibly had whole pantheons of gods to explain their desires and impulses and abilities.
Invocation, in Chaos Magic, means summoning the mindset you need to do something that you would not otherwise feel capable of. Its mildest manifestation consists of a kind of ‘method acting’ in which the player pretends very hard to actually become the desired character. In deeper forms of Invocation the magician seeks complete abandonment of the ordinary self and full-blown possession by an alternative mindset. In either case the magician will usually either try for some form of results magic (enchantment or divination) or some kind of direct action in the world, pertinent to the abilities of the invoked form, whilst invoked. Afterwards the magician should complete a banishing of the invoked form. Here Chaos magic differs radically from religion and mysticism.
The magician treats alternative states of mind and self as tools, not as ends in themselves.
The magician practices Psychonautics and Neurotheology to manipulate belief, not merely to create belief and faith for its own sake.
Read the following texts and see what you can make of them:
LN 41-44. LN 66-67 (darkside approach).
LK 75-79. LK 94-97.
Consider performing more than one type of Invocation in the same week. This decreases the chances of obsession. See LK 107-151 for some possible objectives. Above all, do not omit a proper banishing ritual afterwards. See LK181-185, the GPR, for an effective banishing.
The Esotericon and Portals of Chaos contains a substantial resource of god-forms for Invocation.
Whilst working with this module prepare suitable paraphernalia for several Invocations. Masks, head-dresses, robes or special clothing, and instruments of office always help in invocation and the magician should learn how to improvise such things.
Module 6 - Illumination
If you want Illumination then turn more lights on, as some wit once quipped, but she did have a point, if you cannot define your terms then remain silent. Personally, I loathe the term ‘spirituality’ because anyone who utters it just means ‘behaving as I think people should behave’. People often confuse two separate things in Illumination; mystical experience and wisdom. If you want mystical experience try any of the techniques of gnosis or a good lungful of nitrous oxide or some of the newer neurotheology electromagnetic headsets or fall in love.
Wisdom however has a higher price, and nobody in these times of information overload can hope for the Renaissance ideal of knowing everything. Nevertheless, magic does offer a few sleight of mind tricks for making anyone outstandingly brilliant at something in particular. The first half of the trick consists of discovering or inventing the field in which you have the motivation and capacity for excellence. In traditional occult parlance this had the odd title of ‘finding your true will’ with the strange implications that it resided in the spirit realm as a sort of holy guardian angel and that no two true wills could find themselves in conflict, but that smells like a leftover idea from monotheism to me.
The second part of the trick consists of making it happen by enhancing the motivation and the capacity with suitable magic and ritual.
As Chaos magicians tend to classify all other operations to add extra motivations and abilities to their repertoire of selves as works of Invocation, they tend to reserve the term Illumination for works that expand and enhance their magical abilities and personalities.
The Chaos magician thus performs Illumination for enhanced wisdom, power, knowledge, motivation, and ability in the field of magic itself.
Read the following texts and see what you can make of them:
LN 49-51. LN 66-67 (darkside interpretation).
LN 164-167. LK 97-99.
When conjuring for Illumination attempt to define exactly what form your self-improvement should take, or if it seems difficult to define, then try divining for it. Seek modest and necessary improvements rather than grandiose ones. Enchantments cast upon oneself may effect some useful changes, Invocations of Ouranian or Octarine god-forms may assist in the magical quest of The Great Work.
Whilst working on this module the magician should prepare the magical instrument of Illumination, variously called a ‘Lamp’ or a ‘Lamen’. This device represents the magician’s quest, what inspires the magician, and what the magician aspires to. It can take almost any form, a candle holder, a ring inscribed with something significant, an engraved or painted plaque or sigil, whatever has personal ‘sacred’ meaning for the magician.
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy,
No business plan survives contact with the market,
No political plan survives contact with the human condition,
No ‘true will’ survives contact with reality.
Thus, always remain prepared for an act of High Magic, the destruction or redesign of the Lamp or Lamen.