This blog is about Chaos. Not chaos, but Chaos (Kaos).
As Wikipedia puts it, “Chaos magic is a school of the modern magical tradition which emphasizes the pragmatic use of belief systems and the creation of new and unorthodox methods.” The foundations are set forward in Liber Kaos by Peter J. Carrol. It’s worth buying a printed version. It’s a fabulous resource and training manual for anyone interested.
Check out the resources page for some links to great information about Chaos and other forms of magic.
I’ve had a lot of questions about my background, and a few total misconceptions, so I figured I’d better put something on here about me to avoid all the confusion.
I was raised in a fairly relaxed Christian household. We went to Church on Sunday, but that was about all we ever heard about religion within our house. My Father came from a Baptist upbringing, but never liked their doctrines, so we always seemed to end up at the Methodist Church. We hosted church parties, ran the recycling program, hosted choir practice on Thursday nights, and I even helped out in the nursery when I was young.
My Mother’s family were all immigrants (she was first generation US born), and they never spoke of their religious beliefs in any way. Looking back, it was probably because they were not Christians at all. But it didn’t really matter as religion played no part in our daily lives, it was just a place to go on Sunday and hear stories.
So, I was pretty neutral towards religion and Christianity, as the environment I experienced it in was really relaxed and accepting. But then, tragedy struck. My mother had been struggling with bipolar disorder (back then they called it manic depression), and she took her own life. They simply didn’t have the medical treatments available back then that we do now, and she was an incredibly severe case. She had over a dozen failed attempts that were thwarted over the course of a decade before she was successful. The doctors saw it coming and were simply helpless to do anything about it.
After my mother’s death, I got to see the true face of religion rear its ugly head. As a kid of 11 years old I got to hear all sorts of wonderful, soothing things about how my mother was going to burn in hell/purgatory/limbo/etc because she took her own life. Just what a mourning child needs to hear within days of it happening. These events, along with never having God beaten into me, quickly led me to total Atheism, where I remained (happily) for many, many years.
In my early twenties I started looking around to see if there was more out there, and I found some incredibly interesting things that didn’t fit well with Atheism. I was being opened to a whole new world that existed beyond what my eyes could see. But, what is it, and how do I rationalize it in my mind?
That question led me all over the place. I gave Christianity another whirl, and I actually enjoyed the group I ran with. I went to mass every Sunday, did volunteer work, worked with the youth group, and even played piano for the Saturday night mass. The problem was, I didn’t believe in a lick of it. Do you know how comical it feels inside to be a ninja with Catholic Apologetics and not believe one damn word that is coming out of your mouth?
I slowly moved away from the church (again) and just started looking for my own answers, without having to be a part of a fixed belief system. I read every bit of information I could get my hands on, and they all had really interesting bits in them, but anything centered around an organized religion always had too much flotsam floating about with the good pieces.
This all eventually led me to: Nothing. There was just too much crap out there to sift through for one person. My final conclusion was that there is just too much stuff out there to fully understand it. This didn’t stop me from still gleaning all the information I could about beliefs and other esoteric systems, but I stopped looking for that ‘one’ answer to which all things would become clear.
Due to a series of paranormal events, I started looking heavily into magick and the occult. I didn’t really believe in the validity of the majority of it, but during a conversation with my wife, I had an idea. If we were going to gain information about something that is very non-traditional in its definition, why shouldn’t we use non-traditional tools and beliefs to gain information about it and deal with it. Kind of a ‘fight fire with fire’ concept on a more spiritual level.
That eventually led me to the Liber Kaos by Peter J. Carroll. I was already a huge fanboy of chaos mathematics, so anything that bore its name was at least worth a read. Carroll’s explanation of how everything is particles and energy and blah blah blah…*yawn*. I wasn’t terribly exited about yet another fruity belief system until I hit a very special concept in the book. The concept that belief is what makes things happen, not truth. It’s the power of the will and the subconscious that really changes thing in the universe, so it doesn’t matter what you believe in, as long as you believe.
This actually helped me reconcile something that had bothered me for a long time: In most major systems of belief they had fairly credible examples of believers having miraculous things happening in the name of their chosen deity. If many of these beliefs are diametrically opposed to each other, how in the hell can they all be right? The answer: They are all wrong. Every single one of them. What matters is that they believe. And if a person chose to do it, they could believe in the same thing and get a similar result.
The other thing I really liked about the Liber Kaos is that he didn’t push a single dogma. He left it entirely open so I could insert the bits and pieces I have learned over the years. The Liber KKK portion of the book was also right up my alley because it was systematic, and encouraged testing and verification. It allowed me to figure out what worked, and what didn’t, without violating some sort of rule that would cause my soul to sit in a specific place for a fixed period of time after I die. Carroll also encouraged the creation of God-forms, which I’m particularly fond of as I don’t like being associated with the ancillary beliefs of most deities.
So, I started my training, I started a blog, and the rest is enshrined on WordPress.com. Yes, there are still a lot of missing pieces, even with the length of this background. Just know this: Chaos was not my first entry into, or success with, the ‘occult’, it was just the first thing that allowed all of what I know to fit under one umbrella, and that allows my umbrella to be changed as I deem necessary. For that reason alone, I proudly call myself a Chaote.
Don’t let the name fool you. I’m not a goth, or even close to it. On any given day, the average person would look at me and figure I was a businessman. They would be accurate in that assumption too. I have a B.B.A. in Accountancy (Magna Cum Laude), but I work as an artist for a good-sized local company. There are even times that I wear a tie.
Then ‘Dark Side’ part of the name came from an online comment when I was first starting in the occult. I asked what place blood had in magic and people freaked out. They apparently thought that using blood was inherently evil. I tend to avoid evil energies as much as I can because, while they can be quite powerful, they seem to act in very spastic ways. At least in these early years of my practice, I want to deal with things that are a bit less volatile.