I'd like to make a few things clear from the start: the various magical techniques discussed here and the examples given are not to be taken as comprising some kind of unalterable system. I think that was a mistake on the part of virtually all mystico-magical systems that came before the time of the present "Chaos current", and I wish to avoid that mistake. Anyone who finds themselves adhering slavishly to the methods and examples given here for any appreciable length of time is missing the point entirely. Chaos Magic can only be "learned" by experiencing it by whatever means available.

Chaos Magic as presented in this book is the ultimate "secret" magical system, because you are expected to devise your own personal system that truly cannot be known in it's entirety to anyone else but yourself. Those who consider themselves bad poets or inept scriptwriters are at least expected to be able to collage together workings from other sources and add their own personal touches.

This book is not written in a "linear" style. Each chapter is a self-contained essay on a particular facet of this very multi-faceted subject. The chapters can be read in any order, which I think is appropo for the subject.

These essays describe Chaos Magic as I have experienced it, and others who might call themselves Chaotes will likely disagree with some or all of what I present. I certainly hope so. We're as bad as the practioners of any other Art. That is the final paradox of Chaos Magic - it cannot be accurately described beyond a personal expression of Art. It is what it does, not what it says it does. This is the prevailing attitude, and I think it shows a healthy skepticism, which is the surest protection against the Arch Demon DOGMA. This does, however, account for the dearth of writings on the subject. All I can hope to do is transmit some basic knowledge to give you a jump-start to developing your own path.

So you will not find any "secret, unrevealed techniques of the ancient adepts" here -- the real adepts had their own techniques, and they likely wouldn't work as well for you anyway. The essence of magic is non-verbal and personally unique. The key is the imagination, and the doors are the altered states of consciousness. You can burn all the candles and chant all the incantations you want, but if your mind isn't transported to another place in the process, it isn't going to amount to much.

There are myriad ways to alter one's conscious perceptions in different directions, and part of the journey is learning how your consciousness functions and how to alter it in accordance with your magical intention. It's not like any old high will do for any given purpose. But there is generally more than one method suitable for a particular purpose, at least one of which is attainable by a dedicated practitioner. This also goes hand in hand with the ultimate goal of developing one's own style.

Drugs are totally unnecessary, although I know many Magicians who use drugs magically with great effect and cause neither themselves nor anyone else any harm. Neither is sex required, though it is a powerful way to alter one's state of mind (and definitely the most enjoyable!) and has great magical potential. Many of the "ultimate secrets" of occult orders involve the use of sexual energy for magical purposes, which goes along way toward explaining these groups fanatical secrecy requirements during their heyday in the Victorian Age.

Meditation is a powerful and useful practice, and mastering some form of it is a basic requirement to get anywhere with magical work. There are easily dozens of "schools" of meditation, and each one has something to offer to the Magician. The goal is to become proficient at a form of psychic quiessence, to aid one in attaining gnostic trance via mental inhibition. So it doesn't matter what form of meditation you decide to practice - choose one that fits your personal preference. A simple system of meditation will be detailed later, and the reading list at the end of the book suggests a few easily obtainable books that can get you started if you wish to teach yourself. Alternatively, there are many teachers and classes available to the public that can be used. Don't worry about whatever philosophical teachings that they may wish to "educate" you with in the course of learning their meditation system, for these can be easily discarded once the actual techniques are mastered. (Probably the least dogmatic of the popularly available styles is the Sylva Mind Control System.)

The advantage of mastering a meditation technique is that once it is learned, it is always available for use and requires little in the way of paraphenalia. Quite often simply being able to but oneself into a moderately deep trance state for a few moments is more than enough to provide the requiste gnostic trance to empower a magical working. The section on meditation in this book will provide you with a simple system to use that many people find very effective, and requires no great effort other than the determination to keep at it until you fet the hang of it. But if you have already invested time and effort in learning to chant "Om" until your third-eye chakra opens then by all means don't abandon it in favor of the system presented here.

Neither will you need to spend time, effort and money in gathering a collection of "magical tools", unless you happen to like working with such things. I do myself, so there is a chapter devoted to methods of devising magical tools. But I know many powerful magicians who can work bare-handed to tremendous effect. A few simple objects are recommended to use as focusing points, at least in the beginning of your work; and you will need some common everyday things like pen and paper. Beyond that, investing in fancy robes, crystal balls, magic wands and formidble looking swords is totally up to your personal taste. You won't be sent out at the first full moon of summer to locate a yew tree and remove the highest branch with a single stroke after depositing a drop of your own blood on it's roots.

Finally, I'll say right up front that this path isn't for everyone. This book is not an attempt to proselytise. As a rule, practicing Chaotes tend to be a rather elitist crowd in the first place, and the urge to "convert" others is probably much less present than even most neo-pagans and other magical types. If you aren't driven by your own Free Will you're not going to get very far anyway.

All you need is a personal commitment to learn to live in a magical reality.

In Chaos,
Joseph Max
1996 CE
Berkeley, California

Copyright ©1996 by Joseph Max. All rights reserved.