Practicing witch Sarah Lyons, the author of Revolutionary Witchcraft, is often asked, “How do you start doing this stuff?” Her answer, in full, is her forthcoming illustrated book, How to Study Magic: A Guide to History, Lore, and Building Your Own Practice.
This exclusive excerpt will introduce you to the fascinating world of Chaos Magic and provide step-by-step instructions on making a servitor. How to Study Magic will be available for pre-order now, with its official release on November 15th.
Chaos Magic: Embracing a Postmodern Approach to Magic
Let’s begin by clarifying something right away: it’s called magic, not magik, magick, or majick. This book is not being written in the 1990s.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s delve into chaos magic and explore why some people spell it with a “k.”
Unlike other paths we’ll explore later in this book, chaos magic is the youngest form of magic we’ll be looking at. With its foundational texts written in the last few decades and its ideas and language being relatively modern, chaos magic is a postmodern form of magic. Despite not being the ultimate form of magic that individuals may want to stick with, chaos magic provides an accessible starting point for newcomers.
Living in a predominantly unmagical world, chaos magic introduces the concept of “consensus reality.” Consensus reality refers to the dominant views about the nature of what is considered “real.” Ideas about gender, sexuality, money, values, politics, and even citizenship fall under the umbrella of consensus reality. Breaking away from consensus reality and taking control of one’s own destiny requires years of deconditioning through rituals and reshaping of thoughts. In my experience, the language and philosophy of chaos magic serve as effective tools in this process, making magic more accessible.
Emerging in the UK in the 1970s alongside the punk movement, chaos magic took a radical approach to the occult that was somewhat controversial at the time. Unlike other magical practices that emphasized strict adherence to rituals and hierarchical structures, chaos magic claimed that anyone can do magic. They believed that the universal “tech” of magic is essentially the same worldwide, just with different variations and costumes. Chaos magic broke down the barriers of exclusivity and allowed regular people to explore and practice magic.
Unlike religious practices, chaos magic is not concerned with morality or religious dogma. It dismantles magic into a technology, discarding anything that doesn’t contribute to the efficacy of magic. Chaos magic embraces an eclectic approach, where gods hold no more importance than rock stars, pop culture figures, or fictional characters. It acknowledges that reality is a blend of overlapping belief systems, and it thrives in navigating this landscape of the mind.
In this chapter, we will explore the core principles, ideas, and history of chaos magic. By understanding these principles, magic will become more tangible, enabling you to grasp and practice other forms of magic more easily.
Chaos in a Nutshell
Chaos magic is highly individualized and rejects all forms of dogma. However, we can identify some fundamental principles that help define chaos magic:
- No Dogma: Chaos magicians reject the notion that strict rules need to be followed. However, adhering to rules may be helpful in achieving specific magical goals.
- A Reliance on Personal Experience: To become proficient at magic, you must actively practice it. Your approach to magic may differ from others, but discipline is necessary to improve.
- Decondition Yourself: We are bombarded with societal ideas about who we are and what our lives should be. Breaking away from these ideas allows you to identify what serves you and what doesn’t, reducing attachment to dogma.
- Diverse Approaches: Recognize that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Experimentation and trial and error are essential in finding what works for you.
- Gnosis: In chaos magic, gnosis refers to the ability to shift consciousness at will. This state of mind helps you tap into the magical realm consciously.
It’s All About Results
During the rise of chaos magic, the occult scene in the UK was dominated by specific magical orders with strict ideas about what magic is and how it should be practiced. Chaos magic emerged as a reaction to this, advocating for a DIY approach accessible to everyone. It highlights the customizable aspect of magic, enabling individuals to personalize their practice. Experimentation and tracking results through a magical journal play a significant role in chaos magic.
Activity: Making a Servitor
A servitor is an inspirited sigil or thoughtform that is given a name and personality. Unlike regular sigils, servitors are long-term companions that can assist with specific tasks. Creating a servitor involves crafting a sigil, charging it, and establishing an altar for it to reside. This activity requires:
- A pen or marker
- A glass of water
- Optional art supplies like glitter, glue, images from magazines or the internet, etc.
The process involves crafting a sigil, charging it with energy, and setting up an altar for the servitor. The servitor’s purpose is to assist you in accomplishing specific goals or desires. As you gain experience, you can create additional servitors for more specific tasks.
Remember, if you no longer need a servitor, it is essential to acknowledge its contribution and dispose of it respectfully.
By embracing chaos magic, you embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and personal empowerment. The principles and practices of chaos magic will serve as a foundation for exploring and understanding other forms of magic. Let your imagination run wild as you navigate the magical realm, armed with the tools of chaos magic.