Forgive the title, I am struggling here. I've been thinking (which is usually dangerous), that I should start putting my stuff out there for others to see/use. I'm not saying my way is the best, but it works for me. People have asked me about it, but how do you teach something that is as individual and automatic as drawing breath?
I can't. So instead of trying to teach and share in the traditional manner, I'll just put to paper (alright, binary code) bits and peices of how my Chaos Magic works in its natural environment. I promise this series will be live and thoroughly fucked up. No pre editing, no notes, just my take on my take, as it comes off my thinkjelly.
The first topic is going to be my own little contribution to the Pattern of Chaos. the Five Keys.
Five things that unlock the gates of magic, and allow bergs to make magic. I'll first say that I take magic to be (as much as I loathe the git) synonomous with Crowley's. "Causing confomity in reality through Will." I add, "Causing conformity in reality through Will, by Imagination."
Imagination is a big part of what we do. Or at least it should be. By my reckoning. We possess the power to shape the world, to make the stuff of dreams real, why not have a bit of imagination about it? Instead of going about the Work the same way you read in a book, Try a few ways yourself, try to come up with a new solution. Be like Edison, find ten thousand ways that don't work before you find a new way that does.
So its surprising that Imagination is not the first key. Ha! Nope. Nor is it the even the second key. But I feel it is a good place to start. without Imagination, the other keys lose a lot of their potential.
The First Key, however is critical to the effective production of magic. Conviction. There's belief, then there's Belief. Conviction is that Belief. a belief held so tightly that it is utterly unassailable. Nothing can tear it down. It is nigh fact. Somewhere beyond faith, and belief lies that intense land of Conviction. As a Chaos Mage, I (we) use belief as a tool, so we need to have something beyond the tool to empower the Work. This Conviction is not in the tools we use, but in the raw outcome of our Work. It is the unassailable belief that our magic will work, and produce X result, regardless of the tools we used to get there. It is a tricky thing though to get to that level of belief, and that is where most of us fall short in our Work. We leave tiny cracks in our edifice of Conviction, eroding that mighty monolith of will with "maybe's" and "what-if's". Or maybe just the simple thought-demon that what we're trying is "impossible". With Conviction in the result, and the full weight of Will behind us, everything is possible.
The Second Key, Discipline, is the duty of a Magician. It is the body of knowledge of methodologies and codes of conduct that reinforce and increase Will. Discipline is the molding of the self to the higher being. Self Control, tempering the fiery passions in the furnace of Will. It is the instruction in methods of behavior that make us ready to enact our Will upon the world. Discipline is the teachings of peers, the meditations, the hours of training, the breathing exercises, the trances, the fasting, the practice, all slowly reinforcing and honing our Will into something capable of being wielded with Conviction to bend the rules of reality.
Now we have that much vaunted Third Key: Imagination. Imagination is the ability to form mental images and associations. It is forming concepts and sensations in a moment when they are not percieved by the normal senses. A healthy Imagination is essential to making sense of the world around us, making unconscious associations and perceptions where there is no other stimuli. This mental image allows us to problem solve by mental simulation. And it is in this application of Imagination that we focus our efforts as magicians. By having well developed imaginative associations and perceptions, the mental simulations are endless, one only need be picked and enforced. The result is imagined, then enacted by Conviction through Discipline.
The Fourth Key: Gnosis. Where Discipline is the science of Magic, Gnosis is the art. Gnosis is the introspective understanding of the nuomenal world. It is intuition, communion with the greater reality. It is that brief glimpse into the infinite and supernatural world. It is the experiential arm of the Work. Gnosis is a very personal thing, it is experiences, sights, sounds, smells, and stimuli of the nuomenal world, it can't be taught, or even properly described. It is also that altered state of consciousness when the Work is most natural. It is the ability to enter that state, as well as the understanding gained therein.
The Final Key. The Fifth Key: Subtlety. Probably the most difficult Key to grasp, it is so much more than the Fourth Hermetic Quartermary "To Keep Silent". The Key of Subtlety is using all of the tools at your disposal to bypass the Psychic Filters, first of your own mind, then the filters in Reality. It is the Ritual and Craft we use to fool reality into playing by our rules. It is less about being secretive, but all about being a trickster on a cosmic scale, the grand Illusionist. Real sleight of mind.
I hope that wasn''t all too bad. There's more coming. I promise.