Saturday, March 11, 2017

It's All Real. Now What?



There's a famous exchange in the recent Star Wars sequel The Force Awakens in which Han Solo announces to the young rebels Rey and Finn that the Force and the Jedi-- mystical concepts that had come to be seen as superstitious nonsense by most people-- were all real. That the legends about them were "all true." 

Han says "I thought it was all a bunch of mumbo-jumbo," but that, "the crazy thing is that it's true. All of it."

This is a great tagline for a popcorn movie, a rallying cry for all those real-life Jedi out there. But there's a flip side to the equation, maybe one that a lot of people might not factor in to their calculations.

Han's benediction can't help but remind me of a warning passed on by rocket scientist Ed Forman-- close friend and confidant to Jack Parsons-- to his daughter when she cracked open one of the magical texts Forman inherited from Parsons.

“It’s all real, it all works,” Forman said about Magic. “Don’t touch it. You’ll get yourself in real trouble."
Words to live by.
You see, if the Jedi and the Force are real so too are the Sith and the Dark Side. If the Aeons are real so too are the Archons. If angels are real so are demons.  

Consumer economics have conditioned we moderns to believe that we pick and choose among the endlessly-expanding menu of options and discard the bits we find problematic. But if you believe that Magic is a science- or even religion-- then you have to follow its rules.


Magic is like any other system, you can't go and randomly chuck out huge chunks of code and expect it to work properly. Look at how religions tend to collapse once they start trying to discard all the nasty bits of programming- the Devil, sin, punishment and the rest.


PRINCES AND PRINCIPALITIES
Magic, as we've come to understand it today, is based in no small part on Medieval grimoires, a good number of which are essentially handbooks for coaxing the princes, dukes and earls of Hell into doing your bidding. 
This all dates back to Babylon when Pazuzu- yes, that Pazuzu- was regarded by magicians in the Near East as a nasty but useful demon you could enlist in your wars against other demons. 
Babylonians had a lot of problems with demons.
Now I don't know about you but I don't see a "prince of Hell" as a pushover or a soft touch. I'm thinking they drive a hard bargain for their services. Whether you see demons as objectively real or as unconscious projections doesn't really matter once they figure out where your tender points lie.* 

HOT CAN BURN
Magic is "hot," or so they tell me, and the we're seeing the kind of curatorial custodianship applied to it that a generation raised on a libraries of data available with a mouse-click from birth apply to every single cultural epiphenomenon that bubbles to the surface. The scope and breadth of the ability to process and collate data once considered trivial or irrelevant can boggle the mind when viewed from a distance.  But where is it really going?
Interest in magic seems inevitable to a generation raised on Harry Potter and Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, which made Magic so palpable and seductive,  but one has to wonder if this is just the latest ephemeral obsession-- like vinyl collecting or organized skepticism-- or something more durable?
The reason I ask is that I'm old enough to have lived through a couple of occult revivals now. I can't question the facility or intellectual firepower of a lot of people who've applied themselves to magic  (certainly not the people who've committed themselves to it), most of them are a lot smarter than me. 
But I do have serious reservations about the power of Magic itself. If you believe that it's real and that it works you have to understand that it's not something you can walk away from once you get tired of it. And Magic is something that's fucked up the lives of some of the best and the brightest the world has ever known. 

The history of Magic is like a Greek tragedy, a parade of incredible minds who paid a heavy price for trying to crash Olympus. John Dee is a good example. Paracelsus is another. More recently, we have Crowley and Parsons. All of these guys were brilliant polymaths and under different circumstances probably would be sitting in the history books next to the Newtons, Galileos and Einsteins. It didn't work out that way.
 A lot of otherwise brilliant magicians seemed to break or ignore a cardinal magical rule somewhere or other and end paying a steep price for it. You could add even John Keel and Robert Anton Wilson to the list if you want to grow the category a bit. 
I'm not trying to discourage interest in or involvement with Magic. I'm not trying to pretend that I could. What I'm saying is that I think it's a lot more powerful- and potentially destructive- than the fluff pieces in the lifestyle sections of mainstream media outlets would lead you to believe. Chalk it up to the power of suggestion if you prefer but the results will probably be the same.
I'm probably preaching to the converted here but it seems to be worth repeating nonetheless. If it's real and it's powerful than it can cut your fingers off, just like any power tool. And given how deep this new generation of curators have gotten with it, the potential for damage only grows.
There could be entirely materialistic explanations for Magic's reality; the power of suggestion again or the subtle and complex machinations of the Unconscious. But that doesn't make the effects any less real or potentially dangerous. 
Which is why I think anyone who takes Magic seriously is better off in the hands of an experienced practitioner, someone who knows where all the bodies are buried and the traps are laid (see note for humble suggestion).
I bring all this up because Magic- however you choose to define it- seems to pop its cheery little head up in times of chaos. And we seem to be tiptoeing on the edge of a volcano of chaos this country hasn't seen in a hundred and fifty years. Not just America but around the world as well. The conditions are rife.
And this chaos is being stoked and manipulated by all kinds of players on all points of all different spectrums; political, cultural, economic, etc. You may have noticed that the spy war I alluded to shortly after the 2016 election has gone mainstream now and we've been bombarded with all kinds of meme magic and agitprop ever since. 
I'm sure it will all end well.
Have you noticed how the one-two punch of Trump's "Obama spying" tweetstorm and Wikileak's Vault 7 CIA surveillance revelations seem to have knocked the extremely well-funded, extremely highly-coordinated and extremely well-aimed "Russia Hacking" media campaign down for the count?
You think that wasn't its own kind of magic spell? Think again.

NOT HOLDING
So Trickster magic is alive and well in Washington, apparently. If you look you'll see a new class of magicians out there, who are using very weird and highly-attuned sigil magic as weapons in this not-so-secret war we're seeing play out in the media.
So now what? Is the Trickster ascendant or is Chrononzon rising too?

Chaos magicians see the Dweller of the Abyss as a liberating force and I'm worried that a lot of others may too, even if they don't necessarily acknowledge Chrononzon by name. The world may look much the same in your daily life for the most part but you can just sense that spinning vortex at your periphery, can't you? 

Yeats prophesied a Center that no longer held and it's become de rigeur among the smart set to "rebel" against that Center. So much so that "rebelling" is now mainstream. But how do you rebel against a Center that no longer objectively exists? Is it a meaningful gesture or just an empty ritual of a fading past, when rebellion had actual consequences? 

Maybe we'll come to learn that a collective Center is as important to the body politic as your "center" is to your physical body. It will be too late by then, of course.

It's at times like these-- when faith is lost in the old certainties, or centers-- that Magic and the paranormal poke their heads up from the sand. When the gods break their contracts it seems there are always ambitious understudies willing to do a little business on the side.

The Greek Magical Papyri date back to a time when the Empire was collapsing and religious conflict was erupting into street battles all over major city centers. Mesopotamia was the venue for a never-ending struggle of nations and subsequently produced some of the most startling Magic history ever recorded (Babylonian religion and Babylonian magic are inseparable). The grimoires arose during the times of the Crusades, against the backdrop of an epic struggle between Christendom and Islam. 

The spiritual supermarket of New York's Burned-Over District can be traced back to the Great Disappointment, when everyone seemed to whip themselves up in anticipation of a Second Coming that never came. Similarly, the occult revival of the 19th Century took place under massive dislocation, human misery and uncertainty, despite a large-scale Christian revival.

With societal and economic pressures building everywhere you look it's inevitable that Magic is going to find a new audience. The question then becomes what is Magic, and are there new forms of it ready to emerge, and can it operate without belief in a supernatural agency. 

Meme Magic is certainly one, Chaos Magic is recent enough to still be considered new and of course there's Synchromysticism, which bridges the two, arguably.


THE PMA

But there's also that distinctly American Hermeticism (as Gordon White calls it) that stuck its neck out during the darkest days of the Depression and that's Positive Thinking.  Mitch Horowitz has written extensively on this, tracing it back to the New Thought movement of the late 19th Century. 

In fact I was reading some Napoleon Hill recently and was thunderstruck by its flat-out, no-apologies magical character. I mean, flat-out wishcraft. Hill was even known to traffic with spirits, that's how magically-oriented he was.  Positive Thinking and its tributaries get a bad rap in the New Age age but I still think there's some suitable power there. 

There's so much negative thinking in the air a little bit of positive might just be a nice corrective. I don't know about you but I sure could use a bit myself, maybe not as a staple but as a side dish. And it might be a damn sight healthier than cutting deals with demons.




NOTE: Gordon "Gandalf" White at Rune Soup is offering online courses at his site and already has a number of modules up for you to study. This isn't all just a long-winded ad for his services, just a humble recommendation of a place to go if you're looking for a serious teacher whom I implicitly trust.


* This is exactly my brief with Satanism. A lot of apologists want to excuse it all as harmless fun, and it probably is for the educated Bohos who toy around with the trappings. But its iconography and messaging have a habit of inspiring others to take all the death-and-sacrifice signaling not so much as a LARP and more as a license to kill. 

42 comments:

  1. Personally, i dont like centrists, i think they are cowards who uphold the corporate and oligarchical status quo.
    I come from a generation that has been lied to and ignored and mocked repeatedly, wmd's in Iraq, bailing out the bankers, google the word millennial and see how many click bait articles blaming us every time a baby boomer stubs their toe lol.
    I could see how someone might want that back, that normalcy and safety, but that was a lie, a show, a bunch of cheesy kumbaya fuckery.
    Millennials never had safety, normalcy, we live with our parents, we cant buy a house or car, we cant get jobs, we live under mountains of unpayable debt. All at the same time free access to unlimited information through the internet, all while the wealth is accumulating at the top, all while we are being replaced by robots.

    All the establishment institutions have done nothing for us, why not troll them, why not do whatever we can to fuck up their plans.


    There is an old saying on 4chan, "I did it for the lulz"


    What is magick anyways?

    My own personal experience is its about putting your will, your desire, your emotions through a process, there are many ways to do this, ritual, ceremony, memes, art. Then you use that process and push it into the hive mind of humanity, this is so much easier with the internet. Its so fast, so many people, all around the world experiencing it all at the same time. What is a meme anyways, its a fancy word for idea, its a thought form, millions of people around the world charging up the thought form until it effects reality, until you start seeing weird synchronicities.

    Okay, thousands of years ago the gnostics came up with the meme that this reality is a prison that we must escape. That idea is used in a movie called the matrix, millions of people watch it, fast forward to 2017 and you have all these tech elites claiming the world is a computer simulation.



    Ahh, thats meme magic my friend.

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    1. I have the intuitive feeling that someone or something or some great idea is going to come out of the Millennial generation. When? No idea. But I can feel it on the horizon, just outside of sight, waiting...

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    2. That idea might be Nazism tbqh fam. People want to be families, clans, and tribes again, instead of surrendering their identity to corporation-friendly globalist monoculture.

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    3. Who directed the Matrix movies and what did they do later on? Did they have something pressing up thorough their subconscious telling them that the whole world was 'wrong', a 'splinter in the mind, driving them insane', or did they have a biochemical/neurological condition that they were able to medically resolve, and now for them the world is no longer such a prison and they are able to feel more at home in their own bodies?
      Who are the really insane people? They who obviously grappled with some deep philosophy in putting together their movies, or the ones that only watched the Matrix movies as teenagers and then disappeared down the 'rabbit hole' into a cyberpunk/singularity/rationalism/scepticism subculture?

      I don't think the world is a simulation, it's not a flat earth, there probably aren't reptilian overlords, there are very powerful families with different blood types and genetic capabilities, but they don't create a David Icke style hologram, they are just very very experienced with meme magic so most of the time they win and you lose.
      Human civilisations run in fairly predictable cycles over periods of hundreds of years. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again, Zion has been destroyed and the matrix reloaded 6 times before with a slightly different Neo appearing each time.
      You can maybe blame your parents if you come out slightly LGBT, but they were probably only doing their best under difficult circumstances too.

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    4. You could very well be right, Edward. The more you study ancient history the more you see yourself in a very old mirror. Yourself and your culture. Like I said you won't get much comfort by studying the rise and fall of nations in Mesopotamia. The Sumerians ruled the roost for 3000 years or so then gave way to a musical chair succession of invader kings. But strangely enough the Sumerian culture seemed to endure, largely intact. They were long forgotten but their gods, language, government and customs dominated their replacements for millennia. Makes you wonder.

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    5. The Center is not "centrism". Centrism is a focus group mutation that sprung up in the post-Watergate era as transnational corporations took over the reins of government once and for all. Looking to bleach politics of any content that might conflict with their economic agendas we saw the rise of "centrism", the Democratic Leadership Council, Bill Clinton, neocons, neolibs, and other miscreants.

      By "Center" I mean the institutions that used to undergird civic society, that acted as a counterbalance to the power of state and corporate power. Ways in which people could coalesce and support one another, especially in times of crisis or need.

      I definitely don't mean "centrists".

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  2. Nice article Chris.

    Pyschotherapy as prep for aspiring magicians was something Israel Regardie felt strongly about. See his Golden Dawn...

    Magic naturally comes with precautionary measures to protect the practitioner. And goetic rituals like the ones you allude to early in the piece come with warnings that often scare people off. But those sort of workings make up a small portion of what's referred to as magic.

    A lot of 'magic' we know today has Rosicrucian roots. Which is undeniably Christian mysticism. And this stream deals mainly with raising consciousness to be of better service to humanity.

    The effect magic has on the practitioner depends on that person entirely.

    S

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    1. Christianity and magic have a lot more to discuss- and a lot more history in common- than either wants to admit. I'm of the opinion that ancient Babylonian Magic- specifically anti-demon exorcism ritual- was hard-baked into High Church liturgy from the beginning. The "smells and the bells", in other words. What that means for the world today is an open question.

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    2. Rosicrucianism included a lot of white supremacist nonsense.

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  3. Synchromysticism,is certainly a bridge from chaos and meme magical thinking. There are certain ritualistic ideas, like Tibetan mysticism one can stand in a circle in seeking refuge. The circle is important in many aspects of magic. Sympathetic magic and contagious magic requires a great amount of wish fulfilment. Synchronicities let us know that the universe has many magical constructs. It is our work to be aware of them. The more you see the more you will see. 87

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Well, Synchronicity is the one of most tangible magical phenomena we have to study, if we're rigorous about it. And I'm one of those people who actually believe that the more rigorous you are about it the more it will respond to you. It's not something I can begin to explain I just know it works.

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  4. Hey, I've been reading your writing here for near ten years now, and have never posted a comment. I just felt like saying thanks for writing. Without fail, yours is always a welcome voice among the many
    -Samuel B.
    Keep up the great work, Chris!

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    1. Thank you, Samuel. It's good to hear from you.

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  5. Magic, at least the Mediterranean variety, seems to be branded as a form of weapons technology. The effort is thoroughly focused on this material existence, with the goal of improving the usual areas of human concern. As such, modern magic is devoid of any concerns relating to deeper issues, except perhaps in an abstract way.
    It's important to remember that magic was once very much a part of mysticism, and by extension, religion. Remember, the transubstantiation? Yep, magic.
    How about Plotinus taking the Gnostics to task for practicing rituals he saw as magic? We aren't talking philters and stage tricks, but genuine rituals to bring the faithful into direct numinous experience, just like that described in The Stranger, a gospel from the Nag Hammadi Library.
    Clearly, Marcus the Magician earned the ire of bishop Irenaeus not just because he stole all those pretty French chicks away from the church, but because he had them falling into trance and chanting prophecies.
    To this day, Irenaeus is perceived as a stuck up twit, and Marcus remains one awesome dude.
    But I diverge. The point is that mysticism, the science of the soul, the striving of the seeker for that direct divine knowledge and experience was intertwined with magic on a very fundamental level.
    Contrast this to the lack of anything spiritual in the Harry Potter series.
    Crowley, for all his obsession with the new aeon, never left anything but a commentary on how not to be a spiritual person. For that matter, the best Dion Fortune could muster was to try to reconcile her magical calling with the Christian faith.
    Perhaps magic is just a weapons technology, and if that is so then it must be wielded by a hand guided by more than material fascination.
    Else the end is less than inspiring.

    MK

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    1. Well it's funny you should mention Magic as a weapons technology because it's not limited to the Mediterranean by any means. You know that famous Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh? Well, that was essentially a magical library and those texts were compiled in order to help the king in his imperial work. And as you probably know, the early history of Christianity and Gnosticism is a lot more magical than we're otherwise led to believe- it was the pragmatic Romans who excised most of the more explicit magical content from the faith, as was their practice (the Romans frowned quite severely upon any magic not explicitly used in service to Rome).

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  6. I'm the first person to say that being paranoid without good reason is a waste of time. But, on the other hand, history says very clearly that on times like this, magicians really should be paranoid.

    I think what Gordon is up to sounds like a good idea. BUT... I wasn't even comfortable writing a story of magical fiction up on the Internet for everyone to see when the archdruid pretty much looked at me straight in the eye and asked for it. OK, part of it was that I felt too much of a newbie to do that. But another part of it was that even then I could tell there were some serious disturbances in the force, and do I really think this is a great time to start a magical blog, even fictional magic, without a very good reason to do so? I don't think so.

    I'm not sure about any way of getting my credit card separated form my real-life identity. So, I'm sure that Gordon's project is entirely worthwhile, but I really have to give it a pass.

    On the other hand, I would really like to help and collaborate on something of that nature. Just as I have copper-plated guarantees that I can be entirely anonymous.

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    1. You do what you're comfortable doing, Maria. I'm just passing along a recommendation. In the end it comes down to you. I can vouch for Gordon as much as I can vouch for anyone but if you can't go there then that's your path. In the end that's what counts.

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  7. Amen Chris. Watch what you mess with and who you have a drink with. This is no "Hold my beer and watch this" kind of situation. Keep it clean. There is much to Positively Imagine.

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    1. There is indeed, Delorus. There's too much darkness around, we could use a nice sunny day or two, metaphorically speaking. Somehow that became trite and uncool and that's something that has to be turned back.

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  8. Hey Chris,

    I think the nuance and detail in this post might go over some peoples heads and you might find a kind of kneejerk reaction from certain quarters of the petulant 'no-door-shall-remain-closed-to-me' kind. But, and this is crucial, as someone who has been both gifted and deeply scarred by magick and the larger supernatural world I think a little conservatism and caution is incredibly useful regarding these territories. Magick can fuck you up and ruin your life if you don't know what your doing. It's not a LARP or a parlour game, or some postmodern 'thing' that you can maintain a safe distance from behind your wi-fi and Twitter and Facebook feeds. If you warp or bend reality you can get noticed by all kinds of things.

    Most of these things are ambivalent, some are benevolent, but some will want to straight up eat you and everyone you love. I'm not saying these things to scare people or dissuade them from magical practice, because as I see it if it's in you it's in you. But like any territory worth exploring it should be treated with respect and due diligence. I think a lot of people don't really believe in evil. They live incredibly comfortable lives untouched by such things and so evil becomes a mere intellectual exercise. Such folks tend to think they can deconstruct, explain away or rehabilitate anything. But if recent Deep State revelations have shown us anything at all it's that such forces have colonized much of our world. Unless you've met a serial killer or a rapist or a pedophile or a cannibal you can live in your luxurious intellectual bubble, but if you have had such encounters you know how abyss-dark certain entities can be. You know all too well - because the scars will never let you forget - just how ugly and predatory and dehumanizing real evil is. I'm not suggesting here that dark entities are just waiting in the wings for you to cast your first spell, but such entities do exist and you might be unfortunate enough to cross paths with them on occasion.

    Anyway, one last thing I want to mention is the notion you brought up about Choronzon. As I said in the FB group, in my opinion the true Angel of the Abyss is not a liberating force. He's a caution, the oldest warning, a Gnosis of what the absence of love can truly become. Don't turn the key unless you know exactly what the fuck you're doing. This shit ain't no joke, or some Grant Morrison Invisibles postmodern parlour game. It's real life, with very real consequences. Choronzon, Abaddon, Samael, the Nameless One -- every culture or spirituality figures the War of Imagination differently. The gods of some become the demons of others, but the understanding that the war itself is very real should NEVER be cast aside. How do we attempt to figure or conceptualize this battle for our souls and our consciousness, and the very real shades of Light and Darkness within it? Are we going to let vampiric predatory elites conceptualize and ghostwrite that terrain on our behalf? I hope not. The real force of liberation and alchemy is within, at the Inner Gates. All is within, truly. And it's here within each one of us that the largest portion of human work needs to be done, if we're ever going to get the fuck out of this archonic nightmare-factory. Know Thyself.

    Peace

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    1. Top comment. I've seen that abyss as well, it's neither a joke nor an abstraction.

      Love overcomes all.

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    2. Well I think what you're getting at, Raj, is that there are a lot of insulators that shield a lot of people involving themselves in Magic- as essential novitiates, mind you- that won't be as apparent further down the road. There are the insulators of youth, inexperience, wealth, privilege. When you've latched onto Magic as the new thing, as the way to escape the grinding reality of 21st Century technocratic reality, it can seem like a vast playground and a huge new stream of data to process and to throw around at parties. And that's all well and good. But the problem becomes when the honeymoon wears off. I don't think it's something you can just walk away from because all those magical fun moments can very quickly turn sour and then bad magic starts to run your life. This is especially true if you mess around with grimoires and demonwork. This isn't conjecture or grumbling here- this is all pretty well known and pretty well established in the literature. A lot of really good magicians took a wrong turn without realizing it and ended up ruining their lives. I don't want to be Debbie Downer here and I'm not trying to discourage people- I'm just encouraging people to read the fine print. And yes, all this could be entirely psychological and explainable through naturalistic means if you prefer it that way. But the end results remain the same.

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  9. I'm curious about what your take is on the Situationists, seems to a large degree what they achieved in Paris '68 was very much in the vein of applied magick; at the very least they managed to weaponize a lot of what the Surrealists came up with & the similarities to meme magick & chaos magick are striking. Not to mention the whole criteria you laid out regarding societal upheaval being very relavent to what occurred there. Also, interestingly enough, while the Situationists & assorted protesters were doing their thing, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal, & a few other writers & artists had formed a radical performance art group called PANIC that was doing what amounted to large scale magickal rituals in the streets disguised as Happenings. Some pretty intense things went down as one might imagine. Just thought I'd mention it.

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    1. Here's a decent intro to the Panic movement, which lasted from 1962-1973:

      http://www.guerrillazoo.com/what-is-panic.html

      Quote:

      “Panic. This is a reference to the god ‘Pan’ - The Panic Movement is a sexual act in its totality.” - Marcel Marceau

      "Panic Movement (Mouvement panique) was a collective formed by Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roland Topor in Paris, France in 1962. Inspired by and named after the god Pan, and influenced by Luis Buñuel and Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, the group concentrated on chaotic happenings containing performance art and surreal imagery, designed to be shocking, as a response to surrealism becoming petite bourgeoisie and to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty."

      For another example of their performances, check out:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaNEp3jnGmA

      Something else to consider, Situationism was very influential on a whole lot of movements that came afterwards (esp. with regards to its tactics of detournement & derive), from punk to chaos magick to discordianism & beyond. Speaking of which, discordianism is apparently making a comeback:

      https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/the-discordian-revival-chaos-festival

      Even Alan Moore is getting in on the fun!

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    2. The Situationalists also had a major influence on the more interesting Punk rock groups. They themselves were heavily influenced by Dada and took the provocative "happenings" of the Dadaists (with whom Bunuel and Artaud were affiliated) to the next level- from the galleries to the streets. The Panic movement is a bit of a different animal in that you have Jodorowsky and a more occult orientation and you get a heavy tinge of that leftover Morning of the Magicians vibe, a bit more spiritual than the more explicitly Marxist Situationalists would ever want to be. But it all seemed to fly in the superheated milieu of aspiring Paris revolutionaries, even if there was probably very deep distrust between the factions. Now you have a submovement of Marxist magicians which goes to show that post-Postmodernism has completely dispensed with the idea of integral category.

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  10. Chris... per your: "I'm sure it will all end well" comment above... if your martini-like humor were any drier... there would be dust on the olive! Great post & keep up the good work. Keeping a sense of humor is essential in the undertakings your post suggests. On a personal note: Don't let your bouts with chronic pain diminish that rapier wit of yours! It is essential to your great service to our synchromystic community. As the great philosopher, Wavy Gravy says... "If you don't have a sense of humor, it just isn't funny any more!" I remain a big fan...

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    1. Cheers, Jack. Maybe it's all a joke, on some cosmic scale. The old Zen madmen seemed to think so. Synchromysticism is inherently humorous, you can't help but laugh when the symbols start lining up like Tetris blocks. It's all so improbable but there it is.

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  11. Humanity will eventually grasp the essence of true alchemy, because Love commands it. Just look around, the vampires cower at the truth of it. It's not just about what we can do, it's about what we are. What we really are. Don't despair. A very complex, multivalent war is being fought for our liberation. This war on earth right now is only the visible aspect of that vast war in heaven. I mean that quite literally.

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    1. Yes, when you step back from the daily carnage you can almost see it all operating on a very ancient timetable. Everyone said things were going to get worse before they get better, we even have computer models for that now. There are all kinds of magic in the world, it's a question of plugging into the stream that can get you through.

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    2. I totally agree. That's why I'm not anti-religion or anti-faith. You can pick up the Bible, Torah, Quran, Upanishads, etc, and find real wisdom and comfort in them, if you allow yourself to remain open to it. The truth is still in them, even when corrupted or rewritten, but we have to read between the lines. We need to employ discernment and critical-thinking coupled with an unhardened heart. Love, Joy, Community, Family, Empathy, Passion, tenderness, learning -- all these things are of the true light, the real God. But it's easy to get lost in the labyrinth and start thinking like a fundamentalist; condemning others with different stories and faiths whilst claiming to have licensed exclusive rights on the Most High.

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  12. Hey Chris, JB here from the rarely updated Meta-Logic Café.

    As you may remember, I committed suicide a little over 6 years ago (wrote a detailed article about it ("You wanna know how I got these scars?"). I remained a piece of cold, dead meat for about 6 hours, then impossibly came back, scaring the s**t out of my roommates, the cops and the paramedics (who had already declared me dead and were taking my temperature to determine when it happened).

    Well, while I was on the other side, I saw Pan up in his cosmic realm of Chokmah. Then I fell into Daath, the bottomless pit, where I was reunited with my aunt, who had all-ways loved me as her own son, and who had also committed suicide 4 years earlier.

    My mother swore to me that her sister's voice was speaking through me when she first came to visit me at the hospital. I was very weak, unconscious, and apparently being used as a hollow reed by a departed loved one. My aunt was apologizing over and over again for how selfish she had been (she killed herself by turning her car around and driving straight into oncoming traffic; she had a history of chronic depression and pill abuse).

    So: The Great God Pan, made of stars, smiling upon me, then a journey into the depths of the Abyss, bringing back a lost soul to this world as personal proof. I was never religious or superstitious or new age or anything, but I now know, NOT "believe", but KNOW that we live in an Arthur Machen/H.P. Lovecraft sort of dream/nightmare anti-mythological reality, and I honestly don't know how to feel about that.

    So magic might just be real, is what I'm saying.

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    1. Thank you JB for posting this. This is very reminiscent of an experience I've had.

      The first time I took the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin I had a experience with the pan "energy" as follows: life long depressive, first time psilocybin user, small amount of unknown quantity (20$, I suspect a gram at most) where I sat with 3 of my friends and listened to John Mock's Celtic Portraits.

      Now for a week straight prior I had been practicing the kundalini yoga I ran across on the internet trying to raise the energy by posture, muscle clenching and breath work. Sitting with my friends I felt like we were forming the base of a pyramid and an intense feeling over took me by the base of my spine and abdomen that can only be described as intensely SEXUAL. Now I didn't get a hard on, no, nothing of that sense. I wasn't even trying to meditate or do the kundalini work but this intense feeling rose up from my usual cross-legged seat all up my chest and surge into my forehead where the third eye is said to be located. At that time I felt as if the energy was spurting out of my forehead in two horns and as my eyes were closed I saw a million points of white light coalesce in front of me and spell out in capital letters hugely in my minds eye "NOX" then that faded and I had the distinct impression I was seeing into some kind of clockwork mechanical, time-space where the basis of reality was shaped and that vision faded into the less intense moments of the trip which quickly winded down to be quite easy to manage.

      Interestingly enough on cartoon central's adult swim 10s of minutes later they were doing their baphomet Mr. Pickles advert and that was creepy as it got. Also I didn't really understand Crowley's works until that moment. No sir. Wasn't even keenly aware of his city of pyramids and "NOX" formula despite having read over his works in my teenage years.

      Became a religious fundamentalist for awhile trying to put it in perspective but now I'm just "normal" and don't try to live by anything besides knowing what might be. Robert Anton Wilson helped me come to terms with it.

      They say magic is a basis of dead language which I assume means the unconscious mind is largely at play.

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    2. I'n sorry you had to plumb the Abyss to learn that lesson, JB. I hope that you've found some clarity more recently. A lot of repressed energies seem to have freed themselves these past few years and are having their way with us. It's a daily struggle, I'm the first to acknowledge that. The more sensitive and attuned you are the more susceptible you are to what's flying around out there. It sounds like you're on the rebound and I'm glad to hear it.

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  13. //The history of Magic is like a Greek tragedy, a parade of incredible minds who paid a heavy price for trying to crash Olympus. //

    I live in shoal of wrecked magical careers where I live. Being a rusty hulk of a once and possibly-future great vehicle in a pile of others like oneself, is not a sign of failure necessary, I console myself. It is a sign of not having been plowed under, deep-sixed or otherwise harvested for parts to the point of having no identity, or no contents, worth use. There's some awfully rare gems lolling in the grass or loosly covered by plastic here in the junk yard. You might have to roll a flop or two to get at them, though.

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    1. Magic can dash you against the rocks as surely as drug or drink. It just operates more subtly, more insidiously. If a unalloyed genius like John Dee was undone by it that should act as a dire warning for the rest of us.

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  14. Chris,

    Unrelated to this post, but could you upgrade you site by at least adding a chronological blog archive section on the right side of the page (for example like Recluse does on Visupview) ?
    I've just realized that for someone new to your site, it's impossible to assess the quantity and diversity of topics you've touched over the years.
    The right column of Visupview does a very good job on providing an overall view of the topics/major themes covered. The tag list with post counts is also a plus.

    Your site is really huge, and something should to be done to improve its readability.

    Hope you don’t take it wrong,

    David

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    1. Thanks David, I'm going to work on archiving the site this week. I had actually planned to do so once I got some other business taken care of.

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  15. Excellent post as per usual. I'm feeling the same way about the magical revival as I am about the entheogenic one.

    On the one hand, its exciting to see these subjects receive the most extensive attention they've gotten since the collapse of the counterculture. On the other hand, I'm unnerved by the rather cavalier attitude the new generation of gurus has towards them. Magic and vision quests are not things to be taken lightly. They are very serious and potentially dangerous pursuits that demand respect from anyone who choices to embark upon them. To not do so is to court disaster. And unfortunately, Millennials are largely being presented with the basest and most hedonistic approaches to these tools.

    I just rewatched "Videodrome" after you mentioned it in response to the last comment I left here, and I was totally blown away by how prophetic it seems now. Videodrome is quite an apt stand in for either magic or entheogens and how competing camps can manipulate them for good or ill.


    -Recluse

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  16. What's interesting is how much sound advice is out there in the public domain. I mean, surely everyone knows from pop culture:
    1.) Do not fuck with magic.
    2.) Do NOT fuck with it.
    3.) You can't use it for personal gain.
    4.) If you are stoopid enough to try a summoning, at least make sure you banish whatever you get. Even if you think you were unsuccessful.

    On another tack, (via) Moses:
    1.) No gods but the Ineffable.
    2.) This will take all your effort.
    3.) Don't even make pictures for yourselves. Of anything.

    That book is strangely vague as to the details of possible states of existence between us and the Ineffable. Which might explain the popularity of Tolkien, who fills in the gaps from Anglo-Saxon legend:
    1.) Some of them are VERY unpleasant
    2.) Some of these can inhabit innocuous-looking foci.
    3.) Some are by contrast very solid, but sleep under the mountains.
    4.) Purity of heart is what's required.

    And yet, and yet. People still fuck with it...

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  17. For years, whenever wide-eyed (often young) newbs on the internet ask how to contact gods, my answer has always been "you don't."

    And then I try to warn people that entities are real, they are not human, they don't ascribe to our view of morality and some of them will fuck with your life with the same ease with which people rearrange furniture.

    To date, I think my warning has scared off absolutely no one. Everyone thinks that their experience will be different, that they will get it right, that they will be special and the gods/whatever will love them. Never mind that to some of these entities love is sending you visions of them tearing your heart from your chest and eating it. (And expecting you to be grateful for this wonderful blessing they've bestowed upon you!)

    And when the inevitable does happen to them, they all want to put in back in the box. What can you do for them at that point, except shrug and say "I told you so?"

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