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                                      Defining Chaos 
                                       By: Mark Chao
             Chaos, according to the `Oxford English Dictionary' means: 
          1. A gaping void, yawning gulf, chasm, or abyss. 
          2.  The  `formless void'  of primordial  matter,  the `great  deep' or
          'abyss' out of which the cosmos or order of the universe was evolved. 

                There are  a  couple of  additional  definitions, but  they  are
          to this  discussion.  When chaos  is used in magic, there  is no place
          confusion or disorder. 

             Chaos is the creative principle behind all magic.  When a magical 
          ritual  is performed, regardless of  `tradition' or other variables in
          elements  of performance,  a magical  energy is  created and  put into
          motion to 
          cause  something  to  happen.    In  his  book,  `Sorcery  as  Virtual
          Stephen Mace cites a scientific precedent for this creative principle.
          I quote: 
                "To  keep it  simple, let  us confine  our  example to  just two
          the pointlike carriers of negative charge.  Let us say they are a part
          of  the solar wind--beta particles, as it were--streaming out from the
          sun  at thousands of  miles a second.   Say that these  two came close
          enough that their negative charges interact, causing them to repel one
          another.  How do they accomplish this change in momentum? 

             "According to quantum electrodynamics, they do it by exchanging 
          a "virtual" photon.  One electron spawns it, the other absorbs it, and
          so  do they  repel each  other.   The photon  is "virtual"  because it
          cannot be seen by an  outside observer, being wholly contained  in the
          interaction.   But it is real enough,  and the emission and absorption
          of virtual photons is how the electromagnetic interaction operates. 

             "The question which is relevant to our purpose here is where does 
          the  photon come from.  It does not come out of one electron and lodge
          in the other, as if it were a bullet fired from one rock into another.
          The  electrons themselves  are  unchanged, except  for their  momenta.
          Rather,  the photon  is created out  of nothing  by the  strain of the
          interaction.  According to current theory, when the two electrons come
          close their  waveforms interact, either cancelling  out or reinforcing
          one another. 
          Waveforms are intimately tied to characteristics like electric charge,
          and we could thus expect  the charges on the two electrons  to change.
          But  electron  charge  does  not vary;  it  is  always  1.602  x (-19)
          coulombs.  Instead  the virtual photons  appear out of the  vacuum and
          act  to readjust  the system.   The  stress spawns  them and  by their
          creation is the stress resolved". 

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          Austin Spare understood this principle in regard to magical phenomena 
          long before scientists discovered photons or began  experiments in the
          area of chaos science. 

          Austin Osman Spare-some history 
                Austin Spare was born at  midnight, Dec. 31st, 1886 in a  London
          suburb called  Snow Hill.  His father was a London policeman, often on
          night duty. 

                Spare showeda natural talent for drawing at an early age, and in
          1901-1904 left school  to serve an  apprenticeship in a  stained-glass
          but continued his education at Art College in Lambeth.  In 1904 he won
          scholarship  to the  Royal  College of  Art.   In  that  year he  also
          exhibited a picture in the Royal Academy for the first time. 

            In  1905  he published  his  first book,  `Earth  Inferno'.   It was
          meant to be  a book of drawings, but included commentaries that showed
          some  of  his insight  and spiritual  leanings.   John  Singer Sargent
          hailed  him as a  genius at  age 17.   At an  unspecified time  in his
          adolescence,  Spare was  initiated into  a witch  cult by  a sorceress
          named Mrs. Patterson, whom  Spare referred to as his  "second mother".
          In 1908 he held  an exhibition at Bruton Gallery.  In  1910 he spent a
          short time as a member of the Golden Dawn.  Becoming disenchanted with
          them,  he later joined Crowley's Argentum Astrum.  The association did
          not  last long.   Crowley was said  to have  considered Spare to  be a
          Black  Magician.  In  1909  Spare  began  creation  of  the  `Book  of
          Pleasure'.   In  1912 his  reputation was growing  rapidly in  the art
          world. In  1913 he published the `Book of Pleasure'.  It is considered
          to  be  his  most  important  magical   work,  and  includes  detailed
          instructions  for his system of sigilization  and the "death postures"
          that he is  well known for.   1914-1918 he served  as an official  war
          artist.  He was posted to  Egypt which had a great  effect on him.  In
          1921, he  published `Focus of Life', another book of drawings with his
          unique and magical commentaries. 

            In 1921-1924 Spare was at the height of  his artistic success, then,
          in 1924 he  published the `Anathema  of Zos', in which  he effectively
          excommunicated himself  from his  false and trendy  artistic "friends"
          and benefactors.   He returned to South  London and obscurity  to find
          the freedom to develop his philosophy, art and magic.

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             In 1947 Spare met Kenneth Grant and became actively involved with
          other well-known occultists of the period.  In 1948-1956 he began work
          on a
          definitive Grimoire of the Zos Kia Cultus, which is referred to in his
          various  writings.   This  is unfinished  and  being synthesized  from
          Spare's  papers by Kenneth Grant, who inherited all of Spare's papers.
          Much of this information was included in `Images and Oracles of Austin
          Osman  Spare' by Kenneth Grant,  but there are  some unpublished works
          which Grant plans to publish after completion of his Typhonian series.

             References for this section are mostly from Christopher Bray's
          introduction to `The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare' and from
          `Excess Spare', which is a compilation by TOPY of photocopied articles
          about Spare from various sources.

          The Magic of Austin Osman Spare 
             Spare's art and magic were closely related.  It is reputed that 
          there are messages in his drawings about his magical philosophy.  One 
          particular picture of Mrs. Patterson has reportedly been seen to move;
          the eyes opening and closing.   Spare is best known for  his system of
          using sigils.   Being an artist, he was very visually oriented. 

           The system basically consists of writing down the desire, preferably 
          in your own  magical alphabet, eliminating all repeated  letters, then
          forming a design of the remaining single letters.  The sigil must then
          be charged.  There is  a variety of specific ways to do  this, but the
          key  element is  to achieve  a state  of "vacuity"  which can  be done
          through exhaustion, sexual release or several other methods. 

           This creates a `vacuum' or `void' much like the condition described 
          in the  introduction to  this discussion,  and it  is filled  with the
          energy  of  the magician.    The  sigil, being  now  charged,  must be
          forgotten so  that the sub-conscious  mind may work on  it without the
          distractions  and dissipation  of energy  that the  conscious  mind is
          subject  to.  Spare recognized that magic comes from the sub-conscious
          mind of the magician, not some outside `spirits' or `gods'. 

           Christopher Bray has this to say about Spare's methods in his 
          introduction to `The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare': 
             "So in his art and writing, Spare is putting us in the mood; or 
          showing by example what attitude we need to adopt to approach the 
          `angle of departure of consciousness in order to enter the infinite. 
           What pitch of consciousness we need to gain success. 

             "One must beware making dogma, for Spare went to great pains to 
          exclude it  as much  as  possible to  achieve  success in  his  magic;
          however a 
          number of basic assumptions underpin chaos magic. 

             "Chaos is the universal potential of creative force, which is 
          constantly  engaged  in  trying to  seep  through  the  cracks of  our
          personal  and   collective   realities.     It   is   the   power   of

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             "Shamanism is innate within every one of us and can be tapped if 
          we qualify by adjusting our  perception/attitude and making our  being
          ready to accept the spontaneous.  Achieving Gnosis, or hitting the 
          `angle of departure of consciousness and time', is a knack rather 
          than a skill." 

             There are other methods to utilize the same concept that Spare 
          explains for  us.  Magicians since Spare  have written about their own
          methods  and explanations  of his  method quite  frequently  in occult
          magazines, mostly in  Great Britain.  Spare is certainly not the first
          person  in history to practice  this sort of magic,  but he is the one
          who has dubbed it (appropriately), Chaos. 
          Chaos since A.O.S. 
             Austin Spare died May 15, 1956, but his magic did not die with 
          him.  There have  been select groups of magicians  practicing versions
          of Chaos 
          ever since, especially  in Northern England  and Germany.  In  1976, a
          couple  of dozen Chaos Magicians,  including Peter J.  Carroll and Ray
          Sherwin,  announced  the  formation  of  a  new  magical  Order,   the
          Illuminates Of Thanateros.  The intention  of the group was to have an
          Order where  degrees expressed  attainment rather than  authority, and
          hierarchy beyond just organizational requirements was non-existent. 

           There are those who say that this lofty ambition has failed and that 
          the Order has since  slipped into a hierarchical power  structure; Ray
          Sherwin  "excommunicated"  himself  for  this reason,  but  the  Order
          continues  and   is  identified   as  the  only   international  Chaos
          organization to date. 

             The IOT has since spread to America.  There are smaller groups 
          of  Chaos  practitioners, as  well  as  individuals practicing  alone.
          Chaos since Spare  has taken on  a life of  its own.   It will  always
          continue  to  grow, that  is its  nature.   It  was only  natural that
          eventually the world of  science would begin to discover  the physical
          principles underlying  magic, although  the scientists who  are making
          these discoveries  still do  not realize  that this  is what they  are
          doing.  It is  interesting that they  have had the  wisdom to call  it
          chaos science... 

          In the abovw part  of my series on Chaos, I've made scant reference to
          the IOT due to lack of  information, however, in typical Murphy's  Law
          fashion,  a  letter  just arrived  filling  in  some  blank spots  and
          pointing out to me  that I made one mistake in  chronology.  The story
          In 1977/78 Ray Sherwin was editor and publisher of a magazine called
          `The New Equinox', which Pete Carroll was a regular contributor to.
           Unsatisfied with the choices of available magical groups in England
          at the  time, they formed the  IOT.  They advertised  in `New Equinox'
          and the
          group  formed and  progressed  as previously  explained.   Ray Sherwin
          dropped out before Pete Carroll went on  to form `The Pact'.  They are
          still  friends,  and   Pete  has  graciously  consented  to  write  an
          introduction  to Ray's newest edition  of `The Book  of Results' which
          will be available through TOPY soon.

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          Chaos Science
             Modern chaos science began in the 1960's when a handful of open-
          minded  scientists with  an  eye  for  pattern  realized  that  simple
          equations  fed into  a  computer could  model  patterns every  bit  as
          irregular and "chaotic" as a waterfall.   They were able to apply this
          to  weather  patterns, coastlines,  all  sorts  of natural  phenomena.
          Particular equations  would  result in  pictures  resembling  specific
          types  of leaves,  the  possibilities were  incredible.   Centers  and
          institutes  were founded  to specialize  in "non-linear  dynamics" and
          "complex systems."  Natural  phenomena, like the red spot  of Jupiter,
          could now be understood.  The common catch-terms that most people have
          heard by now; strange  attractors, fractals, etc., are related  to the
          study  of turbulence in  nature.  There  is not room  to go into these
          subjects in depth here,  and I recommend that those who are interested
          in this subject read `Chaos: making a new science' by James Gleick and
          `Turbulent Mirror' by John Briggs & F. David Peat.

             What we are concerned with here is how all this relates to magic.
          Many magicians, especially Chaos Magicians, have begun using these
          terms,   "fractal"  and   "strange  attractor",   in   their  everyday
          Most of those who do this have some understanding  of the relationship
          between magic  and this area  of science.   To put  it very simply,  a
          successful  magical  act causes  an  apparently  acausal  result.   In
          studying  turbulence, chaos  scientists have realized  that apparently
          acausal phenomena in nature are not  only the norm, but are measurable
          by  simple mathematical equations.  Irregularity is the  stuff life is
          made  of.    For  example,  in  the  study  of  heartbeat rhythms  and
          brain-wave  patterns, irregular  patterns are  measured from  normally
          functioning  organs,  while  steady,  regular patterns  are  a  direct
          symptom of a heart attack about to occur, or an epileptic fit.

            Referring  back  again to  "virtual"  photons,  a properly  executed
          release  of  energy   creates  a  "wave  form"   (visible  by  Kirlian
          photography) around  the magician  causing turbulence in  the aetheric
          space.  This turbulence will likely  cause a result, preferably as the
          magician has intended.  Once the energy is  released, control over the
          phenomena is out  of the magician's  hands, just as once  the equation
          has been  fed into the computer,  the design follows the  path set for

             The scientists who are working in this area would scoff at this
          explanation,  they have  no  idea that  they  are  in the  process  of
          discovering the physics  behind magic.   But then,  many common  place
          sciences of today, chemistry  for example, were once considered  to be
          magic.  Understanding this  subject requires, besides some reading,  a
          shift in  thinking.   We are  trained from  an early  age to think  in
          linear terms, but nature and  the chaos within it are non-linear,  and
          therefore  require non-linear thinking to be  understood.  This sounds
          simple, yet it reminds  me of a logic class I had in college.  We were
          doing simple Aristotelian  syllogisms.  All  we had to  do was to  put
          everyday language into equation form.  It sounds simple,and it is.

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            However,  it requires  a non-linear  thought process.   During  that
          over  the space  of  a  week, the  class  size dropped  from  48 to  9

           The computer programmers were the first to drop out.  Those of us
          who survived  that section went on  to earn high grades  in the class,
          but more importantly, found that we had achieved a permanent change in
          our thinking  processes.  Our  lives were changed  by that one  simple
          shift of perspective.

             Chaos science is still in the process of discovery, yet magicians
          have been  applying its principles for  at least as long  as they have
          been writing about  magic.  Once the principles  of this science begin
          to take  hold on the thinking  process, the magician  begins to notice
          everything  from the fractal patterns in smoke rising from a cigarette
          to  the patterns  of success  and failure  in magical  workings, which
          leads to an understanding of why it has succeeded or failed.  There is
          a diagram of a fractal design on the cover of `Kaos' magazine #11 (now
          out  of print) that would be a wonderful  example of magic at work and
          the many paths that the energy may follow...

          Defining Chaos Magic
             Chaos is not in itself, a system or philosophy.  It is rather an
          attitude that  one applies to one's  magic and philosophy.   It is the
          basis for  all magic,  as it is  the primal creative  force.   A Chaos
          Magician  learns a variety of  magical techniques, usually  as many as
          s/he can gain access to, but sees beyond the systems and dogmas to the
          physics  behind  the  magical  force  and  uses  whatever  methods are
          appealing to him/herself.
          Chaos does  not come with a specific Grimoire or even a prescribed set
          ethics.  For  this reason, it has been dubbed "left hand path" by some
          choose not to  understand that which is beyond  their own chosen path.
          There is  no set of specific  spells that are considered  to be `Chaos
          Magic spells'.  A Chaos Magician will use the same  spells as those of
          other paths, or those of his/ her own making.  Any and all methods and
          information  are  valid,  the  only  requirement  is  that  it  works.
          Mastering the role of the sub- conscious mind in magical operations is
          the  crux of it, and the state  called "vacuity" by Austin Osman Spare
          is the road to that end.  Anyone who  has participated in a successful
          ritual  has  experienced some  degree of  the  `high' that  this state

             An understanding of the scientific principles behind magic does
          not  necessarily  require a  college  degree in  physics  (although it
          wouldn't  hurt much, if the  linear attitude drilled  into the student
          could  be by-passed),  experience in  magical results  will bring  the
          necessary understanding.

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


             This series is directed toward the increasing numbers of people
          who have been asking, "What is Chaos Magic?"   It is very basic and by
          no means intended to be a complete explanation of any  of the elements
          discussed.  Many of  the principles of magic must  be self-discovered,
          my  only intent here is to try to define and pull together the various
          elements  associated with Chaos Magic into an intelligible whole.  For
          those who  wish to learn  more about this  subject, I have  prepared a
          suggested reading list for the last section, however, I must emphasize
          that there are always more sources than any one person knows about, so
          do not limit yourself to this list.  Chaos has no limits...

                         Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 


          For Further Reading:
          `The Book Of Pleasure' by Austin Osman Spare
          `Anathema Of Zos' by Austin Osman Spare
          available from:
               34 Cottage St. Box 69
               Easthampton, MA. 01027
               catalog on request
          `A Book Of Satyrs' by Austin Osman Spare
          `Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare' by Kenneth Grant
          `The Early Work of A.O.S.'
          `Excess Spare'
          `Stations In Time'
          available from;
               P.O. Box 18223
               Denver, CO. 80218
               write for information
          available from most bookstores (at least by special order):
          `Chaos: making a new science' by James Gleick
          `Turbulent Mirror' by John Briggs & F. David Peat
          `Liber Null & Psychonaut' by Peter J. Carroll
          `Practical Sigil Magick' by Frater U.D.
          Magazines dealing with Chaos Magic(k):
          Chaos International
          BM SORCERY
          London WC1N 3XX
          P.O. Box 89143
          Atlanta, GA. 30312
          P.O. Box 19566
          Cincinnati, OH. 45219
          Mezlim deals with a wide range  of magical traditions, but the  editor
          expressed  an interest in articles dealing with Chaos.  Articles about
          Chaos can
          be found in other Ceremonial Magick magazines as well, as the  editors
          see fit.

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