Arcanorium CollegeCollege News and Views

Magic

Magic (13)

Tuesday, 21 January 2020 20:04

The Wand

                                A Way with The Wand.  

People ask me, “Grand Master Magus, how does one become a Magician?”

I often decline to reply because most of those I have instructed in magic face to face have grown to hate me, either because they failed, or because it worked. Magicians rarely get on with each other for long. The professional jealousy seems even worse than in science.

The answer to the question remains astonishingly simple, you simply pick up something you can designate as a wand and use it until it works, and then you keep on using it.

For many decades I have always carried a Pocket Wand and have recommend that all aspiring magicians first make such a magical sidearm for themselves. The work of the Wand never ceases, and the form of the Wand evolves with time. My current version, about my fifteenth, carries different symbols and consists of different materials from all previous incarnations of the concept.

The Wand concept has at least six components: -

I) The Wand as an instrument of INTENTION. In Magic as in Life, intention counts for everything. The carrying and waving and pointing of a Wand helps to focus both conscious and subconscious intention.

II) The Wand as an instrument of IMAGINATION. Forget about ‘willpower’, you only really succeed if you can summon your imagination to support a course of action.

III) The Wand as an instrument of INSPIRATION. Nothing has ultimate truth. Anything remains possible. Engrave it with meaningful symbols of knowledge and aspiration.

IV) The Wand as an instrument of IDENTITY. If you have a Magic Wand and invest belief in it, you become a Magician – simple as that. However, because you don’t immediately become a brilliant all-powerful magician a concealable pocket wand may prove a convenience.

V) The Wand as an instrument of INVESTIGATION. A Wand, like a person, remains sanctified through continual improvement, add fresh notches and symbols or completely rebuild it as needed.

VI) The Wand as an instrument of IMPROBABILITY. There seems little point in taking up Magic unless you want to achieve something extraordinary, but the Magician achieves the totally improbable by manipulating probabilities in steps rather than by attempting extreme violations of causality, at least to begin with.

A brief interdenominational ritual for the initiation of Wands and Magicians now follows:

The Preparation.

Find a suitable length of something that stretches from wrist to about the tip of the middle finger. A piece of wood seems a good place to start although I have made metal versions.

Decide on some meaningful symbols that you can remember and visualise for the following: -

The Ritual.

a) Contemplate the Wand awhile and what it represents. Add any additional marks and symbols to the wand as desired.

b) With the Wand draw a circle in the air to surround the participant(s). Say something meaningful about the circle.

c) Utter three or five times the immortal words of Paul Huson’s incantation: -

THIS IS MY MAGIC WAND – I HOPE IT WORKS!

d) Turn to each quarter in turn and at each quarter draw in the air with the Wand something to represent each quarter. Firstly, with open eyes, secondly with closed eyes visualising what you draw, and thirdly with open eyes attempting to visualise as well.

e) Above the circle draw and visualise something to symbolise your highest aspirations, whatever represents ‘the spirit’ of yourself or the universe to you. Pointing at the ground draw and visualise a desire you wish to earth and manifest. 

f) Conceal Wand(s). Close Circle.

It doesn’t come much simpler than that, add any meaningful embellishments as desired.

In the Chaos Magic style, we tend to regard all symbolism as human made and with a power entirely dependent on its meaningfulness to the user. We also take the Sir Terry Pratchett bottom line on Magic (he knew more about it than any mere novelist has a right to) that anyone can do it with a bit of effort, belief, and imagination.

Monday, 25 March 2019 17:21

The Way of the Wand

The Way of the Wand.

Religion seeks knowledge and power through the understanding of the will of Supernatural Agencies.

Science seeks knowledge and power through the understanding of Natural Mechanisms.

Magic seeks knowledge and power through the understanding of Intents – personal intents, the intents of others, and the intents of natural phenomena.

On a superficial level, all three disciplines loathe and despise each other. Scientists dismiss the existence of supernatural agencies and the existence of intents (including free-will). Religionists loathe and despise the reductionism of scientists and regard the hubris of magicians as evil and blasphemous. Magicians consider science incomplete and regard all religious ideas as rather arbitrary vehicles for Intent.

Many people who express an interest in Magic only really want the consolations of religion and mysticism and something ‘spiritual’ - whatever that may mean.

If spirituality means ‘the way you live your life’ then Magic certainly has its own ‘spirituality’ – ‘Living your life by Intent’ - making things happen by all available means.

We should not confuse Intent with ‘willpower’ as in some early 20th century definitions of Magic. Both willpower and Intent arise from Imagination. The capacity to imagine what you want, consciously and subconsciously, and the imagination to build on that to the exclusion of other needs and wants and fears and distractions, leads to the knowledge and the power of Intent.

One thing marks out Magicians from the Scientists and the Religiously inclined. Magicians constantly practice Enchantment; they cast spells all the time. They may also practise Divination, the attempt to divine the intentions of people and events, or Invocation, the attempt to draw inspiration from imaginary supernatural agencies or their own sub-consciousnesses, or Evocation, the attempt to control the intent of imaginary supernatural agencies or their own sub-consciousnesses, but Enchantment remains the defining activity of a Magician.

For this reason, effective magical training programs always start with Enchantment and the use of wands and spells and sigils. Only those who truly ‘pick up the wand and run with it’ will ever master the life skill of Magical Intent. The rest will just end up toying with tarot cards and the like and creating their own idiosyncratic mysticisms and religions.

A Magician can do Enchantment without a literal physical magic wand, in the same way that anyone can do simple carpentry with their bare hands by breaking and twisting small pieces of wood together, but precision instruments give better results.

As the traditional instrument of Enchantment, the Wand serves several purposes; the magician can use it to focus more intently when drawing spells and sigils in the air, or in the mind’s eyes of imagination and visualisation. Wands also serve to constantly remind Magicians of their chosen vocation to Live their lives by Intent, whatever the distractions and blandishments and fears and conventions of contemporary life.

A Magician should always make Wands that represent personal intents and meanings. Two Wands will often suffice, a large one in the form of a staff of the Magician’s own height for use in private or special places, and a smaller pocket wand for carrying always. Magicians should consider upgrading their wands continuously during their careers as their skills and knowledge and intents develop.

A Wand does not even have to look like a conventional Wizard’s wand. Some Magicians have successfully defined special objects in the shape of rings or amulets or even weapons as their Wands.

Magic does not always work, but on the other hand Religious appeals to supernatural agencies work even less well, and Science frequently fails to do what we want it to because we inhabit a universe with a lot of randomness in it. This randomness has two consequences for the Magician, it makes Enchantment possible, but it also renders Divination subject to probability.

If only a fifth of your spells work or you find that you can only achieve a twenty percent distortion of probability, then you still have a real power that with persistent and subtle application will yield good results. If, however only a fifth of your Divinations give the correct answer then you will acquire a disability if you act upon them.

Additionally, because of the existence of randomness and probability, Enchantments work best when aimed well into the future whilst Divination gives better results over shorter times, so as I always say, whenever possible - ‘Enchant Long and Divine Short’. Of course, Magicians would prefer to Enchant and get a result quickly and to have the ability to Divine the distant future, but the chaos and randomness in this universe which makes Enchantment possible makes these acts difficult.

Taking the Way of The Wand means living in a universe of Intents and challenging yourself to succeed at difficult activities that require some sensitivity to the Intents of others and the Intents of human made systems and the Intents of physical reality, as well as a quiet self-confidence and a well disguised supreme arrogance.

Magicians rarely succeed in working together for long. Rivalry tends to become enmity. Magic tends to become a solitary pursuit shared only through books and manuscripts and letters. Humans tend to revile or ridicule or fear those who advertise themselves as Magicians in Science based cultures, and in monotheist Religious cultures, and not all Pagan cultures have regarded it favourably. Magic thus tends toward discretion if not outright secrecy.

Nevertheless, many magicians smile quietly when they notice ordinary people inadvertently using magical thinking quite successfully. Belief in the power of Intent and belief that all phenomena have Intents does often give good results, even if Science believes otherwise and denies even human free will. Believing in Intent seems an indispensable element in the human toolkit but use it with care and with a carefully crafted Wand for best effect.

Ordinary people seem to recognise the power of Intent but so often see to shy away from it out of fear about where it might lead them. It does have its dangers, but the Magician decides To Know, To Imagine, To Dare, and To Keep Silent.

Thursday, 14 May 2015 09:02

Necromancy and Magic

The damned arte of trying or pretending to communicate with the spirits of the dead has contaminated the great work of magic since its beginning.

In the late 19th century and during the 20th century, magic began to part company with necromancy in the west, in large part due to the efforts of Macgregor Mathers and the adepts of the Golden Dawn. They seemed to have viewed spiritualism with the derision it deserves and did not in general dabble in necromancy, despite that the PPN (Platonic Pagan-Monotheist) theory underlying their paradigm could have supported it.

Some of the magicians whose work contributed to the Golden Dawn corpus did dabble in necromancy for a while but with inconclusive results. Dee attempted to re-animate a graveyard corpse and communicate with it, and Eliphas Levi attempted to invoke the long dead magician Apollonius of Tyana.

Necromancy seems to persisted since at least the time of Stone Age ancestor veneration, through the Shamanic practices of contacting ancestral spirits, through Pagan magical practices of invoking various named dead people for information or favours, through Roman Catholic invocation of dead saints for similar purposes, to the spiritualist practices which developed in the 1840s in America and became prevalent on the fringes of many Protestant Christian cultures.

The Roman Catholics of course banned necromancy except where it involved the myths and bodily relics of official Christian Saints. Rather wisely perhaps, they decided that any other form of necromancy invokes only ‘demons’ masquerading as dead people. Nevertheless Catholicism still makes much of praying for the souls of the dead to ease their passage through the purgatory that Catholicism has in store for them, so long as the non-sainted dead don’t speak back of course.

The medieval tradition of the Goetia and the Grimoires developed within Catholicism and advocated the invocation of the dead and demons on a more or less interchangeable basis. Despite the apparent evil, the necromancer invoked in the name of the Neoplatonic most high, the supreme one-ness or godhead, even when conjuring devils or the dead to supply wealth, favours, fresh females, or revenge upon enemies. Macgregor Mathers did of course provide a modern translation of both Keys of Solomon, but seemingly more for scholastic interest than for use by the Golden Dawn. Necromancy depends for much of its effect on the gnosis of fear and transgression, the high anxiety of forbidden work with demons and corpses in graveyards in darkness.

As the Protestant Christian view of ‘The Afterlife’ became progressively more dismissive of hellfire and brimstone, and increasingly vague and unspecified, so did spiritualism grow into the mucky and exploitative business of reassuring the living that their dead remained happy and in heaven and up for intermediated conversation for a fee. Both world wars caused a big spike in business.

Esoteric interaction with the dead seems to have gone forth (and sometimes back) along an interesting trajectory during human history. The dead human body seems to evoke a certain fear and disgust response for good evolutionary reasons, fear of death and fear of disease from corpses increases survival prospects. Plus grief at loss, and/or guilt or a sense of unfinished business, all play their part in our attitudes to the dead. Humanity has at various times, feared the dead, placated the dead, revered or worshipped the dead, tried to control the dead with hells and heavens and purgatories, and tried to get the dead to give information or favours.

In the modern QNP (Quantum Neo-Pagan) Magical Paradigm, ‘Spirits’ cannot exist in the old-fashioned Neoplatonic sense. Living creatures and natural phenomena do have their non-local quantum wave-functions which the magician can sometimes interact with, but such ‘aetheric’ or ‘astral’ manifestations of reality depend on the existence of the physical forms; they do not predate them in the Platonic or Neo-Platonic sense, and they do not survive their destruction. All Gods and gods and goddesses and ghosts and demons exist as Imaginary Friends (and enemies) within human minds, yet they can still have quite astonishing psychological and parapsychological effects.

Thus the Roman Catholics inadvertently got it right about getting ‘demons’ when you conjure the dead. The dead no longer exist to respond, so you will at best simply achieve a reanimation of your memories and expectations of the dead in your subconscious, a Tulpa or created thought form, as the Tibetan magicians call it.

If necromancers really could get objective information from the dead then an enormous demand would exist for them in all parts of the world to assist in murder investigations.

Imaginary friends, Tulpas, and various gods and servitors can prove of considerable use and value to the magician, so long as the magician doesn’t fall into the trap of regarding them as objectively real and of uncritically accepting their advice, for then they really do become demons in the worst sense of the word, amplifying aspects of the magicians subconscious beyond their original remit and creating obsessions.

However we now have every reason to conclude that the dead persist only in our memories and imaginations of them. Eliphas Levi  seems to have more or less realised this and tried to develop a theory of magic that depended on some sort of ‘Astral Light’ and the personal efforts of the magician, rather than entirely upon the celestial legions of the dead, the demonic, and the archangelic. The adepts of the Golden Dawn seem to have come to similar conclusions, and Crowley disdained to play around with necromancy.

The presence of the belief in life after death in many ancient and modern religions doesn’t make it so. No attempt to describe a disembodied afterlife in detail really makes any sense at all; (try it), it just makes a comforting (or frightening) contra-evidential belief.  The appeal of necromancy to modern magicians, who should know better, lies entirely in its gothic necro-charisma and dark glamour - the frisson of fear. This can prove profitable in spooking the gullible, but spooking yourself with it just seems adolescent.

Work with necromancy and goetia only really gives personal effects if you persistently invoke the gnosis of fear, and this can upset the autonomic nervous system, leading to the skinny pallor and fidgety persona characteristic of high cortisol/anxiety levels. It doesn’t lead to self-understanding or much in the way of magical ability to interact with reality.

Here on Wizard’s Isle we have led the world in magic and esoterics for the last century or more. Theosophy, The Golden Dawn, Thelema, Modern Hermetics, Wicca, Neo-Paganism, Neo-Druidry and Chaos Magic all originated here, and they have all done much to call into question the conventional stupidities of established religions and the default assumptions of materialism, but the UK seems unlikely to become the home of a revival of the murky art of necromancy.

The magical revival which grew out of romanticism in the 1880s and which set the scene for the magical revival in the counter-culture of the late 20th century, attracted intelligent alternative thinkers precisely because of its rejection of the necromancy that had always featured in magic till then, and had made it look increasingly deluded to the modern mind.

The necromancy which features heavily in the Greek Magical Papyri would have, in Sir Terry Pratchett’s terms, qualified as the ‘Dragon Magic’ (i.e. the metaphysical ‘Rocket Science’) of Hellenic magic. Planetary Magic became the ‘Dragon Magic’ of the Renaissance. Stellar Magic, the attempt to interact with extra-terrestrial sources of consciousness and intelligence, may perhaps become the ‘Dragon Magic’ of the future. 

Friday, 19 December 2014 12:32

Designer Religion

As we enter the third millennium we find ourselves in an increasingly dynamic religious marketplace. Many traditional faiths have either retreated into fundamentalism or have undergone various reformations, whilst new faiths have attempted to establish themselves and ancient faiths have attracted numerous attempts at revivalism.

Rarely since the days of the late Roman Empire have so many faiths come into creative and destructive confrontation with each other, and rarely have we seen so much innovation in matters of faith and ideology and in religious and mystical practise.

This essay evolves from three main sources, firstly perhaps from late night undergraduate philosophical discussions some forty years ago when my companions and I joked about creating new religions for fun and profit. This occurred in a cultural milieu in which traditional religions had come under severe question and novel and imported cults abounded. Secondly it comes from my experiences in trying to develop better ways of thinking about and practising magic. Perhaps inevitably I became involved in initiatives to broaden the basic ideas of this new magic (Chaos Magic) into a more comprehensive world view that encompassed some of the traditional territory of religion. Thirdly it comes from my experience of numerous groups which have attempted to set up magical and mystical traditions, many of which have sprung from a similar cultural milieu as Chaos Magic.

Whether any of these traditions survives and prospers probably depends on how well they can satisfy the fairly broad demands that humans have when it comes to something to invest belief in.     

The meme-sphere of humanities ideas and beliefs exhibits the usual power law distribution; we see many faiths with wildly varying numbers of followers involved. We have everything from a few major faiths with a billion or a few million adherents, to several million faiths with as few as a handful or just a single adherent each. Even beneath the umbrellas of the major faiths we observe major schisms and factionalisms between various doctrinal interpretations and forms of practise.

Epochs of social change and eras of interfaces between cultures always produces fresh thoughts, and as human culture globalises itself through enhanced communication and travel we witness a plethora of conceptions of faith and religious practices today, sometimes these interact in creative interface and sometimes they enter into deadly conflict with each other.

Nowadays we cannot discount the contemporary influence of the belief systems of various interpretations of science and secularism and the resultant humanisms (and in-humanisms) that have derived from it, for these have had a profound influence on metaphysics and morality since the Enlightenment.

I would guess that on top of all the advertised and census declared faith allegiances we probably have at least a billion humans who basically use some version of a semi-scientific paradigm as their basic modus operandi and worldview, but they have retained vestiges of old faiths or added bits and pieces from new or revived mystical ideas on top or underneath of that. 

Perhaps it takes a dispassionate scientific observer to unravel the various strands of thought and practise in all these old and new faiths.

Writing in New Scientist Number 2805, the columnist Kate Douglas draws on the work of several commentators and poses the question ‘What form would the ideal religion take?’ This forms part of a larger article called Total Reboot. This ‘Total Reboot’ article speculates that many of the structures of our civilisation have not evolved to function as well as they might; and that if we tried to design them from scratch now we would probably try something else. In fact large numbers of people do seem engaged in trying to evolve designer religions by various pick and mix and trial and error methods these days, either to merely satisfy themselves or to attract more widespread interest in their conclusions.

So what ingredients do religions actually have, and what can they have, and what would constitute the ideal religion?

Kate Douglas identifies five major components, most of which occur to some extent in most religions.

1) ‘SACRED PARTY’. Roman Catholicism specialises in this with its vestments, decorations, rituals, bells and smells and sacraments and music and song, as do many oriental religions. Islam and the more puritan Protestant forms of Christianity often tend to downplay this aspect. Modern Witchcraft and Paganism often tend to play it up to the max, adding dance and other forms of celebration, with occasional reference to the purported orgiastic rites of ancient cultures, and to similar events alleged to have occurred in other historical anti-mainstream religious cults. 

2) ‘THERAPY’. Most religions have prayers or meditations designed to have psychological effects and some go further with rituals of healing or the casting out of evil spirits or of sins and guilt and the invocation of more desirable states of mind.  Many of the New-Age traditions place great emphasis on the psychotherapeutic virtues of meditation techniques and themes derived from esoteric and mystical traditions and often discard much of the traditional symbolism that once accompanied them. 

3) ‘MYSTICAL QUEST’. Some forms of Buddhism place emphasis on enlightenment for all, but because intense mysticism often leads to schism, many religions reserve it for specialists only such as Monks and Nuns, Sufis, Kabbalists and Saddhus. Nevertheless some religions do use practices designed to create ecstatic experiences and revelation, but without theological discipline such practices can prove immiscible with the structure of the religion. The Thelemic faith places great emphasis on the discovery of true will, and like all tantalising quest objectives such as enlightenment it remains rather imprecisely defined. Christian salvation remains somewhat paradoxical as well as the better you get at it the higher they raise the bar, despite that it seems a sort of all or nothing event.  

4) ‘SCHOOL’. The study or even the mere rote learning and recitation of scripture, myth, and lore feature in all religions and in most religious ceremonies. Judaism and Islam specialise in this, although in Catholicism the laity receive no encouragement to study scripture. Scholastic reinforcement of belief and practise becomes particularly problematical for new, revisionist, or revived religions, where alternative ideas may lack solid historical justification and require an act of selective attention and faith to have an effect. Christianity rather cheekily simply bolted on the old Judaic scriptures to create a larger cannon of study for itself.

5) ‘MAGIC’. All religions contain some ideas or doctrines that seem to transcend the principles of science or the everyday expectations of common sense. Miracles or at least strangely improbable events seem to characterise the founding myths of most religions. Most religions reserve the right to pray or hope for extraordinary intercession. Contra-reasonable beliefs characterise all religions and magical-mystical enterprises. Sometimes these depend on the supposed powers of various deities; sometimes they supposedly depend on the quality of the faith of their adherents or on some innate and barely recognised powers, such as Baraka, Chi, Holiness, Kia, or latterly, Quantum Coherence.

Either way, religions often provide the hope and the motivation to achieve what seems impossible by normal means, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We still lack comprehensive theories of our own Psychological and Para-psychological abilities and limits.

The human enterprise goes on, we stumble into the darkness, lighting fires where we can, perhaps hoping for life after death, physical immortality, reincarnation, virgin birth, miracles, or just low level wish fulfilment, and answered prayers.

Personally I would add several other features to Kate’s list:

6) ‘OTHERNESS’. As the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinkowski observed, ‘Ritual Language has a High Coefficient of Weirdness’, it usually resumes archaic or mysterious forms, as does the entire process of religious practise. Such practices usually stand outside of everyday behaviour and employ strange clothing, unusual architecture, and peculiar postures and movements as well, to denote their special-ness, sacredness, and their separation from ordinary life. The Catholic abandonment of Latin Mass does seem a mistake in this respect, the Protestant retention of archaic Old Testament language from the King James Bible looks like an attempt to capitalise on this effect. Religion needs its own idiosyncratic poetry.

 

7) ‘SACRIFICE’. Kate Douglas touches on this briefly when mentioning groups which demand bodily mutilation or which have traumatic initiation rites, observing that if members have to pay a high entry price they tend to become more committed. However there seems more to it than that. All religions seem to embody some sort of notion of exchange or sacrifice. Simple ideas of making material offerings and blood sacrifices to make bargains with deities, or at least to attract their favour, tend to give way to more sophisticated concepts of self-denial or investment of effort to achieve similar metaphysical effects and to deepen the sense of investment in, and commitment to the religion. Virtually all religions have rules about earthy behaviour, usually concerning various taboos about what you should or should not eat, and with whom you should and should not have sexual activity. Thus they enforce certain concepts of sacrificing some natural desires or pleasures for metaphysical gain or to reinforce social identity.

 

8) ‘WORLDLY QUEST’. Most religions have some kind of agenda in the world as well as some form of mystical quest. Usually such worldly quests have extremely challenging if not impossible objectives such as world conquest in the name of the faith, or world peace, or global enlightenment, or the establishment of the kingdom of heaven or ecological paradise on earth. Thus the majority of religions exhibit some tendency to proselytise with varying degrees of enthusiasm or aggression.

Now perhaps we can see why raw Scientism has failed to completely capture the imagination of modern humans, and why all attempts to create entirely rational or ’sensible’ religions have failed. Perhaps we can also see why so many novel cults and religions rarely manage to ensure their own survival if they fail to broaden the base of their appeal.

They simply do not tick enough of the above 8 boxes.   

Monday, 08 December 2014 09:55

Pandaemonaeon

 

PRINCIPIA CHAOTICA

By Peter Carroll

Chaos Magic for the Pandaemeon

In Chaos Magic, beliefs are not seen as ends in themselves, but as

tools for creating desired effects. To fully realize this is to face

a terrible freedom in which Nothing is True and Everything is

Permitted, which is to say that everything is possible, there are no

certainties, and the consequences can be ghastly. Laughter seems to

be the only defence against the realisation that one does not even

have a real self.

 

 The purpose of Chaos Rituals is to create beliefs by acting as

though such beliefs were true. In Chaos Rituals you Fake it till you

Make it, to obtain the power that a belief can provide. Afterwards,

if you have any sense, you will laugh it off, and seek the requisite

beliefs for whatever you want to do next, as Chaos moves you.

 

 Thus Chaoism proclaims the Death and Rebirth of the Gods. Our

subconscious creativity and parapsychological powers are more than

adequate to create or destroy any god or self or demon or other

"spritual" entity that we may choose to invest or disinvest belief

in, at least for ourselves and sometimes others as well. The

frequently awesome results attaining by creating gods by act of

ritually behaving as though they exist should not lead the Chaos

magician into the abyss of attributing ultimate reality to anything.

That is the transcendentalist mistake,, which leads to the narrowing

of the spectrum of the self. The real awesomeness lies in the range

of things we can discover ourselves capable of, even if we may

temporarily have to believe the effects are due to something else,

in order to be able to create them. The gods are dead. Long live the

gods.

 

 Magic appeals to those with a great deal of hubris and a fertile

imagination coupled with a strong suspicion that both reality and

human condition have a game like quality. The game is open ended,

and plays itself for amusement. Players can make up their own rules

to some extent, and cheat by using parapsychology if desired.

 

 A magician is one who has sold his soul for the chance of

participating more fully in reality. Only when nothing is true, and

the idea of a true self is abandoned, does everything become

permitted. There is some accuracy in the Faust myth, but he failed

to take it to its logical conclusion.

 

 It takes only the acceptance of a single belief to make someone a

magician. It is the meta-belief that belief is a tool for achieving

effects. This effect is often far easier to observe in others than

in oneself. It is usually quite easy to see how other people, and

indeed entire cultures, are both enabled and disabled by the beliefs

they hold. Beliefs tend to lead to activities which tend to

reconfirm belief in a circle they call virtuous rather than vicious,

even if the results are not amusing. The first stage of seeing

through the game can be a shocking enlightenment that leads either

to a weary cynicism or Buddhism. The second stage of actually

applying the insight to oneself can destroy the illusion of the soul

and create a magician. The realisation that belief is a tool rather

than an end in itself has immense consequences if fully accepted.

Within the limits set by physical possibility, and these limits are

wider and more malleable than most people believe, one can make real

any beliefs one chooses, including contradictionary beliefs. The

Magician is not striving for any particular limited identity goal,

rather he wants the meta-identity of being able to be anything.

 

 So welcome to the Kali Yuga of the Pandaemonaeon wherein nothing is

true and everything is permissable. For in these post-absolutist

days it is better to build upon the shifting sands than the rock

which will confound you on the day it shatters. Philosophers have

become no more than the keepers of useful sarcasms, for the secret

is out that there is no secret of the universe. All is Chaos and

evolution is going nowhere in particular. It is pure chance which

rules the universe and thus, and only thus, is life good. We are

born accidentally into a random world where only seeming causes lead

to apparent effects, and very little is predetermined, thank Chaos.

As everything is arbitrary and accidental then perhaps these words

are too small and pejorative, rather we should perhaps say that life,

the universe and everything is spontaneously creative and magical.

 

 Relishing stochastic reality we can revel exclusively in magical

definitions of existence. The roads of excess may yet lead to the

place of wisdom, and many indeterminate things can happen on the way

to thermodynamic equilibrium. It is vain to seek solid ground on

which to stand. Solidity is an illusion, as is the foot which stands

on it, and the self which thinks it owns either is the most

transparent illusion of all.

 

 The heavy vessels of faith are holed and sinking along with all

lifeboats and ingenious rafts. So will you shop at the supermarket

of sensation and let your consumer preferences define your true

self? Or will you in a bold and lighthearted fashion, thieve from

both for the fun of it? For belief is a tool for achieving whatever

one chooses to consider important or pleasurable, and sensation has

no other purpose than sensation. Thus help yourself to them without

paying the price. Sacrifice Truth for Freedom at every opportunity.

The greatest fun, freedom and achievement lies not being yourself.

There is little merit in simply being whomsoever you were destined

to be by accident of birth and circumstance. Hell is the condition

of having no alternatives.

 

 Reject then the obscenities of contrived uniformity, order and

purpose. Turn and face the tidal wave of Chaos from which

philosophers have been fleeing in terror for millennia. Leap in and

come out surfing its crest, sporting amidst the limitless weirdness

and mystery in all things, for those who reject false certainties.

Thank Chaos we shall never exhaust it. Create, destroy, enjoy,

IO CHAOS!

Friday, 19 September 2014 13:52

The Neo-Platonic Chocolate Screwdriver

Abstract. In this paper we examine the question of why so many of those interested in magic, esoterics and metaphysical matters seem quite unaccomplished or dysfunctional on the material plane and so frequently penniless.

Hey, how come that so many of those wizards who pursue insider insights into reality seem so bad at actually dealing with reality? In past aeons most of them made a comfortable if dangerous living.

We find that the fault lies mainly in their continuing adherence to the antique and now largely ineffective Neoplatonic paradigm which has become something of a ‘Chocolate Screwdriver’, in desperate need of replacement with a more effective tool.

(Rhetorical note, a Chocolate Screwdriver stands as emblematic of a tool with extremely limited uses; it will serve to stir the sacrament of Apophenia (Dark Cocoa) for a while, but for little else.)

 

 

 


And so, on to The Paradigm Problem: -

Adapting our ideas and brain functions for the long and painful climb from hunter gathering lifestyles to exploiters of general relativity and quantum physics has not proved straightforward or easy. We still bear the scars and vestiges of our neurological and psychological adaptations.

Platonism rose to become the esoteric metaphysic of choice in the Hellenic west during the last few centuries B.C. because it provided a more effective mental tool than the animist and spiritist thinking that had informed pagan societies as they became progressively more urbanised.

Animist and spiritist thinking remains concrete, phenomenological, and immanent-ist. All phenomena exist ‘just as they are because they are’ and they have powers intrinsic to themselves. Yet these powers can remain subject to transfer by contagion, as for example when a shaman or priest dresses in a bear’s skin to borrow its ‘powers’. Such thinking still influences modern humans to some small extent.

Platonism supports abstract thinking. By positing the separate existence of the ‘essences’ of phenomena it allowed people to conceptualise such things as ‘the personal self’, and interesting abstract ideas like ‘justice’ and ‘mathematical principles’. It also supported the rise of monotheistic religion by positing the idea of a supreme essence, from which lesser essences devolve. Basically in Platonism ‘whatever you can think of’ acquires some sort of a transcendental reality as an ‘essence’, and sometimes as a ‘sentient essence’ as well.

However despite that it encourages abstract thinking, Platonism exhibits a serious flaw, most of its ideas remain untestable and unfalsifiable. The Platonists strove to create a corpus of ideas based merely on self-consistency, with insufficient reference to observed reality.

Neoplatonism, which arose in first few the centuries A.D, devolved from Platonism and it extended the basic idea of essences into all sorts of esoteric realms where it gave rise to Hermeticism, Kabballah, and Gnosticism. In these the essences multiply to create complicated schemes of emanations and archetypes based on pagan style deities, archons, demiurges, and a supreme transcendental monad or whatever.

Unfortunately Neoplatonism comes with few mechanisms for discerning between useful and useless abstractions, and it quite rapidly became fixated upon the supposed ‘essences’ of things like earth, air, fire, and water, or upon the supposed ‘essences’ of the classical ‘planets’ and the ‘essences’ of twelve zodiacal divisions of the ecliptic. Despite the very poor explanatory and predictive power of such schemes of ‘essences’ this style of thinking persisted for nearly two thousand years. It still persists as a rather sloppy form of common speech and thinking. We tend to attribute classes of attributes or ‘essences’ to phenomena as a kind of shortcut in our thinking. Phenomena remain mutable, not fixed by essence. People change continually throughout life, culture and circumstance determines behaviour far more profoundly than star-sign or race. We obviously don’t actually have fixed selves or souls or ‘essences’. Watch a child grow, or more disturbingly, watch dementia take an elderly person.

The attempt to discern the nature of the supposed ‘essence’ underlying the entire universe has involved a great deal of anthropomorphic projection and wishful thinking and it has left us with the chocolate screwdriver idea of a monotheistic God with a capital G. It may promise comfort and control, but what in heck does God actually DO apart from that? Huge natural disasters and small tawdry miracles?

Do gods and goddesses and spirits and demons actually exist as anything other than imaginary friends? As imaginary friends they can still serve to inspire and empower us as I repeatedly point out in The Esotericon and Portals of Chaos, and I have several of them myself, but where lies the extraordinary evidence required to go beyond that into the belief in their objective existence?

Astrology appeared as another chocolate screwdriver, or perhaps worse. The idea that each twelfth of humanity has certain characteristics dependent on conditions of birth now seems as indefensible as racism. It has no predictive power whatsoever beyond the obvious calendrical/seasonal associations.

Neoplatonism represents an improvement on crude animism & spritism but it now seems a debilitating and ineffective way of thinking.

Its corpus of ideas remains more or less untestable and unfalsifiable for whenever it appears to give poor results it tends to spawn ever more complex and evasive explanations, and as a general principle any unfalsifiable idea of this kind has very little predictive power at all.

The translation of the bible into vernacular languages provoked people to question the Neoplatonic assumptions that became incorporated into it during the first few centuries A.D. This led to Protestantism and the beginning of the end of the whole Neoplatonist paradigm which Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity had bought into. A British Protestant Parliament eventually required that any prospective member of its parliament would have to refute the doctrine of transubstantiation, the idea that a consecrated host actually embodied the actual ‘essence’ of the sacrificed body and blood of Christ, and instead compromise with the idea that it merely symbolised it.

This might seem an uncontentious and trivial theological point to many today, but the idea behind it led to the abandonment of Neoplatonism and Aristotelian theory (derived from pure thinking largely uninformed by objective observation), and this led to Empirical Science, the Royal Society, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, some Freedom of Conscience, and eventually to Democracy of a sort. Parallel developments took place over much of north-western Europe, despite ferocious Papal resistance initially.

The magical revival of the 1880s, initiated mainly by Macgregor Mathers of the Golden Dawn, represents the last high water mark of Neoplatonic thought, and from it most of the western esoteric traditions of the twentieth century descend. However the cracks in it already seemed visible at the time and a recession of the high tide seemed inevitable. Psychological insights into the mechanisms of esoterics began to arise upon the examination of oriental mystical practices and the Golden Dawn manuscripts and practices seem to imply in places that the adept can more or less manufacture gods and spirits to order, as many of them effectively went on to do so.

Plus of course most of the occultists of the late nineteenth century revival adopted Neoplatonism as a Romantic alternative to the Mechanistic thinking which came with the Industrial Revolution, Darwinism, Thermodynamics, and the emerging Social Sciences. They mostly came from such privileged backgrounds that ineffectual styles of thought did not immediately incur serious consequences, and some of their art came out rather well.

Yet the Neoplatonic theory of ‘essences’ or abstract ‘forms’ ceases to provide an competitive mental tool in a world increasingly dominated by evidence based Mechanistic thinking.

Only perhaps when we don’t understand a mechanism, or where mechanism seems absent and the phenomena seem random, does it seem worth trying the Neoplatonic paradigm, because it developed for precisely such purposes.

If you try and interact with people or machinery or institutions or natural phenomena on the basis that they operate on supposed intrinsic essences you will interact less effectually unless your theory of essences has an equal sophistication to theories of mechanism.


 

Essentialist type thinking had many seriously deleterious consequences, for example look at the underlying scheme of Humoral Medicine shown above. It derives from the ideas of Empoedocles' 'elements' and it survived as standard medical theory from the time of Hippocrates till the 19th century. Few of the concepts on it relate very directly to any definite observable physical substances, rather they relate vaguely to the supposed essences of substances. Only the tendency for most people to recover from most medical conditions regardless of ineffectual or mildly injurious 'treatments' kept it alive for 2 millenia. 

This has created a big problem for the alternative types who re-adopted Neoplatonism in the late twentieth century esoteric revival. They often didn’t have the same resources as the wealthy Victorian bohemian classes had, and the western world had become far more demanding of adherence to a Mechanistic outlook. You can barely survive and prosper in it now without decent arithmetic, endless form filling, and button pushing.

Of course some people order most of their daily lives with Mechanistic thinking and reserve the Neoplatonic style for their religious, mystical and artistic interests. However the more they let the Neoplatonic style influence their everyday activities the more of a mess they seem to get into by using a set of unfalsifiable ideas that have very low predictive power.

If you cannot really test the idea that a certain phenomenon somehow represents a manifestation of the metaphysical elemental essence of say ‘earth’ then the whole concept has very little predictive or decision making power.

The magnificent edifice of late nineteenth century esoterics that Mathers created left a dual legacy. Some accepted parts of it wholesale and continue to paper over the cracks in the Neoplatonism that it partly exposes. Others accepted its welcome eclecticism and have since gone on to struggle with its metaphysical framework and update it.

One of the great challenges for Magical theorists lies in developing a metaphysic that remains compatible with Science and Existentialism.

Existentialism, for all its association with association with verbose and miserable French left bank philosophers, comes down to basically the insight that phenomena don’t actually have essences. We don’t have souls or real selves and neither do things in general, phenomena consist just of what they actually do, they don’t also have a separate abstract form of ‘being’, except in our minds.

So if phenomena lack any form of ‘otherness’ what can you base occultism or esoterics or magical ideas on?

Fortunately Science itself now comes to the rescue in a way that it couldn’t have done a century ago.

Unfortunately this new paradigm can often sound as contra-intuitive to the non-scientist as Neoplatonism now does to someone trained in science.

Basically, all physical phenomena do have an ‘otherness’ as well, but it consists of a ‘wave-function’ that we cannot directly observe. This may not sound as exciting as the idea that every phenomenon has an associated ‘spirit’ or ‘essence’, but it has far more explanatory and predictive power and it actually leads to more effective Magic,( and to more effective Science as well incidentally).

 

The wave function of any phenomenon carries information about the possible pasts, parallel superposed presents, and possible futures of that phenomenon. Moreover the wave function can have non-local effects in space and time and interact with other wave functions.

To a rough approximation we can regard wave functions as information that phenomena emit about their probable behaviour and also as information that has a probability based effect on the behaviour of phenomena.

You don’t need to try and ‘emit’ or ‘receive’ wave functions directly to accomplish magic, your thoughts and actions will do that on their own.

Some debate rages over the metaphysical status of wave functions, which we conventionally denote as Ψ, Psi.

Psi-epistemologists regard them as merely our abstractions about the unobservable factors that most simply explain our observations.

Psi-ontologists regard them as rather more real, (for a given value of ‘real’).

Existentialists don’t mind either way, it’s what they do that counts.

The nature of matter and its wave functions remains deeply mysterious, we can probably never really say what either ‘is’, for we can only achieve answers by analogy, or in terms of ‘similar to that’ or ‘different to this’. Indeed we can only really get sensible answers to the question of ‘what do they actually do?’

Combine the (quantum) insight of the wave function mechanism with the psychological explanation of gods and spirits, (remembering that we have quite astonishing subconscious abilities and worlds within us), and you to replace the old PPM (Platonic Pagan-Monotheist) paradigm with a QNP (Quantum Neo-Pagan) paradigm for esoterics and magic, it comes unburdened of superstition, prejudicial thinking about supposed ‘essences’, and dubious explanatory schemes masquerading as wisdom and doubtful mysteries.

In QNP style magic the magicians attempt to interact with actual physical phenomena by exploiting the wave functions that connect every existing thing to every other existing thing to some degree, not by attempting to interact with them via their supposed essences. Symbolism may help as mental shorthand and to access the subconscious but we should not mistake the symbol for the thing it represents, nor should we mistake the imagined essence as more fundamental than the thing we abstract it from, for this tends to lead to merely imaginary results.

In QNP style magic the magicians attempt to interact with entities as though they consisted of bits of their own personality or of other creature’s personalities, with the proviso that such things can have non-local and parapsychological effects as well as psychological effects.

In practise many of the procedures of PPN and QNP magic remain similar. Enchantment, Divination, Evocation, and Invocation continue as before but the emphasis shifts away from interacting with the supposed essences of phenomena towards interacting with the phenomena as perceived, and towards more of an expectation of actual physical results.

 

Mysteries come in three varieties:

Good questions to which we don’t yet have any answers.

Good questions to which we have answers that don’t really make sense.

Questions that involve dubious assumptions and to which we have answers that don’t really make sense either.


Science and good magic have mysteries in all three categories. Neoplatonism has no mysteries of the first type; it has ‘explanations’ for everything.

Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, explained that while there are many cups in the world, there is only one `idea' of a cup, and this cup-ness precedes the existence of all particular cups.

"I can see the cup on the table," interrupted Diogenes, "but I can't see the `cup-ness'".

"That's because you have the eyes to see the cup," said Plato, "but", tapping his head with his forefinger, "you don't have the intellect with which to comprehend `cup-ness'."

Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, "Is it empty?"

Plato nodded.

"Where is the `emptiness' which precedes this empty cup?" asked Diogenes.

Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato's head with his finger, said "I think you will find here is the `emptiness'."
Modify message
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:59

Chaos Magic in a Nutshell

In Chaos Magic we treat Belief as a Tool of Magic, rather than as an end in itself.

Hassan I Sabbah: -‘Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted.’ -  (Attributed to the Old Man of the Mountains.)

Psychology: -Thoughts are not Facts.  Belief attracts Confirmation. - (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Positive Thinking).

Chaos Magic: -Nothing has Ultimate Truth. Anything Remains Possible. NUTARP! - (We prefer the precision of V–Prime language and thought. After all, nothing really ‘is’ anything else.)

Of course in a probability based universe such as this, some things remain more possible than others. Fortunately we can precisely calculate how much probability distortion a given act of magic will produce using the following equations of magic: -

 

{{\rm{P}}_{{\rm{\Psi }}}} = P{\rm{ }} + {\rm{ }}\left( {1 - P} \right){{\rm{\Psi }}^{\frac{1}{{\rm{P}}}}}           {{\rm{P}}_{{\rm{\Psi }}}} = P - P{{\rm{\Psi }}^{1/\left( {1 - {\rm{P}}} \right)}}

(spell)                                        (antispell)

 

Where {{\rm{P}}_{{\rm{\Psi }}}}means the probability of accomplishing something with magic; and P equals the probability of the events natural occurrence, and Ψ equals the amount of magic applied to the situation. ‘Spell’ refers to enchantment to encourage something to happen, and ‘Antispell’ refers to enchantment to prevent something from occurring. In divination P simply represents the probability of guessing the answer by chance alone.

The equations of magic give rise to three dimensional graphs, the first of which, traditionally known as The Tripod of Stokastikos, shows that even an event with zero probability of natural occurrence can occur under the influence of sufficient magic.

Unfortunately the ‘ingredients’ of Ψ do not equate to easily measurable phenomena: -

\Psi {\rm{ }} = {\rm{ }}GLSB

Where G equals Gnosis, two particular altered states of consciousness, L means the magical Link, S means Subliminal-isation of intent, and B means Belief.

For an extended commentary upon these equations and their uses see Liber Kaos and particularly The Octavo. Note that in all these equations of magic all factors can have a value from 0 to 1.

To achieve maximisation of all these factors the magician may in practise need wands, robes, visualisations, symbolic systems, siglis, barbaric languages, rituals, and other means of egress from normal states of mind, even though in theory a supreme exponent of magic could achieve it all whilst sitting quietly in a chair, rather like a mathematician working without pencil or paper, wastepaper basket, blackboard, geometry instruments, books of reference, or a computer.

In a technique somewhat analogous to a mathematician using the vast store of axioms, theorems and conjectures developed by other mathematicians and suggested by nature, magicians evoke and invoke various real and imaginary entities, archetypes, and egregores on the basis of the experimental belief that the universe probably contains something somewhere that knows how to do anything, or to confer any knowledge or ability the magician might require.

Just what that something might consist of remains a subject of ongoing debate and metaphysical taste. In some cultures magicians have appealed to the ancestors or the dead, or to the spirits of totemic animals or natural phenomena. In others they have invoked entities from the pantheons of pagan gods or the saints and lesser spirits of monotheistic religions.

Some contemporary magicians prefer to experiment with the belief that their own subconscious either contains astonishing knowledge and power and/or that it can somehow tap into such things using some sort of quantum non local psychic network. This can include sources of alien extra-terrestrial intelligence as well.

Either way, such ‘Spirit Guides’ seem best interfaced with by personifying them as animate entities, as our neurophysiology has largely evolved for just such forms of interaction.

Work with entities requires considerable skill and discrimination. As with people, some talk rubbish, behave unreliably, and have only menial abilities, whilst others display towering genius, have extraordinary abilities, and seem worth cultivating as lifelong friends and allies.

When evaluating work with entities the magician always needs to ask, ‘Do I get out at least as much or more than I put into this relationship, do my evoked servitors actually distort probability in the required direction, do my invoked gods and goddesses, daemons and demons actually inspire me to accomplish more than I could by ordinary means?’

Whilst the supreme exponent of magic could in principle invoke or evoke anything by pure will and imagination alone, many of us seem to end up with a temple full of such tools as circles and triangles, tomes of mythology, servitor ground-sleeves, and images and sculptures of ancient, syncretic, and synthetic god-forms and demon fetishes.

For an extensive Grimoire of entities suitable for Invocation and Evocation see  https://www.specularium.org/peter-j-carroll/the-epoch

All esoteric phenomena from gods to demons to spirits and spells consist of relationships between self and reality. There, I have given you the final secret of the Illuminati for free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 16:14

Stokastikos’ Problem Solving Page

Having answered the same three questions several hundred times in the same way over the last 3 decades I now place the answers in the public domain as I have a great many other matters to attend to. 

Magical Attack.  

Positive thinking works. Negative thinking works even better and Paranoia works absolutely brilliantly as a magical theory. If you imagine a conspiracy against you, you will soon end up manufacturing one for real. You will loose friends and allies and things will go wrong for you.  

I have come across very few examples of genuine magical attack in my entire career. In almost every case it boils down to the supposed victim getting things wildly out of proportion and letting their fear, guilt, or paranoia, or self importance run away with them.  

In my experience very few people have the skill and the motivation to launch a successful magical attack. If they do have that sort of skill they actually do something else instead. They simply work to change the behaviour of the person that creates a problem for them. Anyone with the skill and intelligence to perform real sorcery will turn an adversary into a resource rather than a casualty. Thieves are fools and murderers are romantics, for both could achieve their aims more effectively by other means. Serious capable sorcerers simply change people’s minds.

And that of course also provides the only real means of defence against it as well. 

Unrequited Love.  

To solve this one you will find it more effective to change yourself rather than the other person. A male needs to project power to appear attractive, power can appear in the form of intellect, wealth, social standing, or as some other strength. A female needs to project beauty and/or an engaging personality. So work on these, cast spells, and put yourself in the way of the target. If that doesn’t work then the other person remains unworthy of your efforts, and you can do better. Never try to get a broken love back, unless you can completely change the terms and conditions.  

Money.

Work + Money + Magical Spells = More Money.

However you can do it with any two of them. Do not blaspheme money by gambling. Invest only in activities where you can apply some work or magic to improve the outcome. Starting with money often actually proves disadvantageous as it can lead to a false sense of power. No business plan ever survives contact with the market, so remain flexible, keep as many options open as possible, examine any possible opportunity, and always try to keep some reserves, as in war.

In general a magician will find it more efficacious to conjure for the desired life experiences directly, any money required will usually then manifest as a side effect. Conjuring for the money to buy the desired experiences wastes time.

A general note on Magical Practise now follows, although we severely doubt that many will take much notice…..

Magic often appears as what some people try in desperation, having exhausted the possibilities of common sense, scientific knowledge, religion, or whatever. Thus many get led into the ‘Crisis Magician’ mode, where they resort to magic only in extremis, when all else has failed.

This seems an utterly misguided approach. If anyone can seriously entertain the possibility of exercising the various skills of Magic, then surely it seems logical to use it TO AUGMENT whatever else they want to achieve, rather than to reserve it for a desperate attempt to COMPENSATE for failure afterwards.

To live as a Magician, conjure in support of everything of significance that you do.

Do everything possible to achieve successful outcomes by ordinary means, and then throw in Magic AS WELL.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 16:12

Apophenia's Chaotic Torsion Pendulum

Dismayed by my tree surgeonâ€'s announcement that one of the ancient cherry trees in my gardens had virtually died, I resolved to immortalise part of it with a sculpture to the goddess Apophenia.

As her sculpture evolved from the wood over many months it seemed that she wanted to climb free of a clunky base and dance, so I resolved to mount her as a mobile.

Then an Apophenia wand that I had posted to Australia finally returned to me having circumnavigated the globe due to a misplaced number 8 on the address, and its incorporation seemed indicated.

Discussions about chaos mathematics and tetrahedrons on Arcanorium College also contributed to the final form of her sculpture which evolved into a lateral thinking and divination oracle shown on the accompanying video.

The chaotic torsion pendulum effect depends on having two linked pendulum weights, the goddess herself and the malachite sphere, with different rotation periods, as one spins it transfers torsion through the wire to the other and vice versa and the movement of the entire device remains hypersensitive to its initial conditions after the manner of the butterfly effect.

The operator takes readings from the various positions of the pointer as it momentarily comes to rest at various points in its spin cycle. This allows for the production of a string of results from a single spin cycle.

The video shows Apophenia set up with an I-Ching disk which gives also moving lines in the correct ratios. She also has disks to generate Binary Numbers, Ouranian-Barbaric words, and combinations of the Eight Colours of Magic.

We reserve these last two functions for private work but we provide a limited amount of free public oracle service by email for any question that interests us, and for which a Binary Number or an I-Ching Hexagram might provide an answer.

Note on Binary Numbers. Leibniz discovered them and most electronic information systems now run on them. All base 10 numbers have binary equivalents, viz:

0 = 0, 1 = 1, 2 = 10, 3 = 11, 4 = 100, 5 = 101, 6 = 110, 7 = 111, 8 = 1000,    

9 = 1001, 10 = 1010, 11 = 1011, 12 = 1100, 13 = 1101, 14 = 1110,          

15 = 1111, 16 = 10000, 17 = 10001, etc. 

Verify that 1111111 = 127, and you will have probably understood the principle.

Tell us the base ten value of 1010001 before requesting any binary answer, and specify the length of any binary answer requested.

I-Ching Hexagrams will appear from the bottom line up with 1 as Yang, and 0 as Yin. 1* represents moving Yang, and 0* represents moving Yin.

Thus 10*0010 represents Hexagram 3 with a moving line, indicating a change to 110010.

 

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 16:07

The Octavo

Herewith The Octavo, by the grace of Apophenia, Ouranos, and all the other ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ mortals, goddesses, and gods,  who came to aid this project………..

The Octavo wrote itself in an attempt to find some common ground between many of the bits of objective reason and intuitive sorcery floating around in the noosphere and available to this longsuffering scribe who willingly accepted the challenge.

For the last 50 years some mystics and magicians have sought to justify their results and speculations in terms of quantum and cosmological physics, much as they sought to justify such speculations in terms of theological ideas in previous centuries. Unfortunately most of such attempts lacked rigor or much beyond a superficial familiarity with popularizations of advanced physical theories.

We hope that we have finally got it right and that we have shown the maths to demonstrate it. 
The Octavo does contain many falsifiable and/or confirmable hypotheses for our delectation. In particular it addresses the scale issue of how quantum and cosmological phenomena may influence the macroscopic realm in which we find ourselves incarnate.
Probably nobody will understand the full implications of The Octavo on a first reading. It took nearly 40 years to assemble this and it may well take some serious study and supplementary investigation to unravel it all. We hope that it constitute an egress into the magical, metaphysical, and scientific ideas of the future.

Hopefully it may keep magicians, philosophers, and scientists arguing and experimenting for some time.
Some may pretend to a superficial understanding, others may deride it as wildly tangential and obtuse to the traditional vision of what should concern magicians. However the hypothesis that only a critical analysis of the metaphysics underlying the theory and practice of magic can lead to progress in either informs this work. Only time will tell if this strategy proves useful.

Any respectable Octavo for any universe should traditionally contain just 8 timeless chapters; nevertheless this Roundworld Edition contains an excusable Zeroth introductory Chapter 0, and also perhaps an inexcusable Chapter (?) ‘The knights of Chaos’, which appears as Appendix 1, in lieu of a Chapter 9. This gives a purely contemporary view of what the wizards of planet earth may need to do in the next couple of decades to ensure that we still have a viable biosphere at this centuries end. Perhaps ‘Nothing has Truth’, but if ‘anything can Happen’, then we should give some thought
See below for the raw equation-spells of The Octavo, a picture of its cover and details of its availability.
 
Some of these spells relate to controversial cosmological matters and to equally controversial interpretations of quantum physics in terms of three-dimensional time, but each has a direct bearing on magical theory and practice. Plus some relate directly to probability manipulation
considerations in enchantment and divination whilst the last one deals with matters of ‘spirituality’ and ‘enlightenment’ in precise and quantifiable terms, perhaps for the first time ever.
Octarine fire may not immediately blaze from its pages, as would happen in the rather stronger magical field in Discworld, nevertheless careful study may provoke some surprising sparks within some minds.
The Octavo Grimoire itself contains a full explanatory exegesis of these rather terse and formidable looking spell-equations, some practical ritual models, and some fully explicated rituals in its appendices.    

Future Stokastic Projects?
Nobody would believe any autobiography, we have difficulty in believing it ourselves, and so we probably won’t bother. We do however intend to continue trying to nudge the next generation of magicians in potentially productive directions, to assist in the production of The Portals of Chaos, a series of multifunctional enchantment, divinatory, evocationary, invocationary and illuminatory tools in graphic form on moveable cards. (Artists, publishers, and some concepts already in place.)

This will not look anything like another mere tarot deck we might add! We do not intend to go loudly into the night with a self aggrandizing autobiography, a tarot, or a final impoverished demise in Hastings (what a dump), like several of our predecessors.
If anything comes up to seriously challenge the hypotheses in The Octavo, like a definitive proof of the existence of the Higg’s boson, super-symmetry particles, an immortal soul, or god, then we shall have much to do in a hurry.

Otherwise our last couple of probable decades of current incarnation seem ideally suited to an exploration of how to make starships using both magical-metaphysical and physical ideas, or to die trying. Okay so that looks like a long-shot against difficult odds, but then again, doesn’t life itself, so why the heck not?


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