Exploring Thelema and Chaos Magick, with Pete and Sef (Part 10)

Dear Sef,

Thank you for the pleasure of this debate. The IOT most certainly arose partly in response and partly in opposition to the OTO. We compete for a similar demographic on what you might call the off-white wing of the esoteric tradition. Only history will tell which ideas will stand the test of meme-evolution, I suspect elements of both may do so.

Firstly a few remarks about your previous points: –

Ah the inimitable Julian, yes one certainly has to admire his Chaoism, his fearless disregard for self-consistency when it comes to paradigm shifting, sexuality, lifestyle, and psychonautics sets an example to us all; we have honoured him in the image of Mercury in the Portals Deck.

I find the idea that Crowley led some sort of liberating sexual revolution absurd. There seems little evidence that actual human sexual activity has varied much across the ages. Every generation likes to think that it has discovered sex, largely because its parents’ generation has become more reticent about it with age. My grandmother’s papers revealed some astonishing facts about her youth. Georgian sexual attitudes would raise a few eyebrows today. When those Nelson style Georgian warships hove into Portsmouth, great hordes of women crowded the quaysides. An officer would go ashore to select the best pickings for his fellow officers and then allow the rest to swarm below decks where they would arraign themselves between the gun carriages to service the lower ranks queueing up with their pennies. The Victorians may have tried to present a certain façade of social nicety but it seems a gloss of pure hypocrisy; people had affairs and visited brothels as usual. Victorian society would have left Oscar Wilde to his boyfriends and rent boys if he hadn’t insisted on making such a flamboyant spectacle of himself with the young Alfred Lord Douglas. The idea of Crowley’s behaviour raising no objections nowadays seems a bit rich considering his activities with rent boys and his addiction to heroin, both of which attract far more opprobrium now. Crowley certainly had scenes with quite a few bohemian women and men, but they came from a bohemian sub-culture, he didn’t create bohemianism all by himself.

And now to your questions: –

You have watched 40 years of Chaos Magick blossom across the world; joined, created, and left Orders just as Crowley did; and our conversation here on the Blog of Baphomet has given a chance to air the insight that has brought. Do you foresee your own message as being equally prescient and far-reaching? Is Chaos Magick going to tell us as much about the next century or so as Crowley did with Thelema back in 1904? And what has been achieved so far?

To put it another way, as a member of the occult community, and a human being: What are the Chaotes doing for us? And what will become of them?

I see my message as more inevitable than prescient; I don’t think we can sustain the antique ideas of spirits and transcendence derived from the old Platonic-pagan-monotheist paradigm for much longer within esoterics. On the other hand we don’t want to see magic become some form of bald quantum parapsychology bereft of the psychological riches of the neo-pagan perspective.

I abhor and despise all religions and cults, including any that I may have inadvertently created myself. I’d go further than Crowley’s dictum that ‘every man and every woman is a star’, I’d like to see every man and every woman as their own Pope. To this end Chaos Magic encourages everyone to experimental belief, and the creation of their own rituals and their own miracles, by taking control of the underlying psychological, religious, and magical techniques and technologies.

And so far so good, despite the inevitable casualties. I see designer auto- esoterics evolving everywhere. People freely choose or create their own rituals, spells and experimental beliefs now without feeling the need to appeal to ‘spiritual’ authorities or transcendental concepts.

I do not know what will become of the Chaoists; enchantment seems a better policy than divination in a chaotic universe such as this.

Torus on the surface of a 4D rotating hypersphere

Mood movie: Torus on the surface of a 4D rotating hypersphere. Still taken from this video.

And concerning the nature of the universe; I’ve taken the huge risk of publishing alternative ideas in cosmological and quantum realms that have evolved in tandem with my magical thinking. In esoterics talk seems cheap and open to multiple interpretations; but in physics, ideas and equations lay open to direct and catastrophic falsification, which I continually solicit in the hope of the opportunity to revise appropriately.  I just hope I don’t die leaving behind something that gets seriously falsified, for that might cast a cloud over the rest of my work.

As to what the Chaoists do for the rest of the world, I can but point towards the activities of the Knights of Chaos, a small elite group that fights tyranny, religion, and ecocide with direct sorcery. That might seem mad, but someone’s got to do it, and so far the results seem very worthwhile.

I’d like to invite Nikki Wyrd to add a few words of her own on what happens in the Chaos Current these days:

Thanks Pete; the current Chaos current (which is far wider than, but includes, the IOT), has its individuals and its groups, all of which have incredibly varied aims; however as with many other groups of thinking people, the awareness of ‘environmental’ consequences and generally making the world a better place themed spells has prominence. Many of my colleagues have created careers (both in a mundane sense and a magickal one) which revolve around creating healthier, more creative and engaged people, or making products which stimulate the faculties (from music to research science). Many facilitate social groups, either online and/or more commonly in meatspace. Chaos magicians tend to Do quite a lot, and amongst my own peers, this means Doing things with others, looking to the future as our result as well as taking care to enjoy the route there. We were once described as “odd looking, but chatty” by a shopkeeper, and this fits well. How our influences as a collective will be judged by historians remains to be seen, from here we can claim only to spread a sense of responsibility for one’s selves, and a cheeky grin in the face of Control. NB This is not to say that enchantments for vast personal wealth do not take place. Nor, that some who identify as Chaos Magicians may in fact do nothing more than sit at home staring at the walls; however, I consider these a dying breed. NW

All the best, Pete.


And that concludes this mind expandingly brilliant debate from our two participants. We cannot thank them enough for the high quality of their contributions, the gentlemanly standards of their interrogative remarks, and the deep level of humour and thoughtfulness they have both displayed. Three cheers!!! Team Blog of Baphomet 

4 thoughts on “Exploring Thelema and Chaos Magick, with Pete and Sef (Part 10)

  1. thiebes says:

    Thanks to both participants for a very revealing conversation. The only question that remains from my POV is: Will Pete ever decide to tuck in and read some Crowley?

  2. Adrian says:

    Good work gentlemen. So good to see discourse on subjects so close to all our hearts discussed in such a refined and respectful manner. How fortunate we are to live in a culture that not only tolerates but encourages debate on matters spiritual. There are places in the world where such as we would meet a sticky end for even expressing such ideas, let alone comparing and contrasting them. This for me is a clear expression of the New Aeon, which stands on the shoulders of the twin giants of the renaissance and the enlightenment. Three cheers indeed!

  3. Sef Salem says:

    Thank you Pete, for this final reply and for all of the debate. It has been a privilege to have such public discourse with you, and to have the chance to elaborate, investigate, and test my own beliefs alongside asking questions of the Chaos current.

    Thanks also to Nikki and Julian for hosting the debate, and thank you Nikki for coming in to give an outline of the current direction of the IOT.

    I look forward to working with you all in the future, in cyberspace and otherwise.

    All the best and 93s!

    • Hi Sef, thanks for your thanks! 🙂

      I have to point out, rather pedantically, that my opinion only reflects on what I have observed, and merely describes chaos magicians I know as individuals, not an IOT direction… just to be clear on what I said… for the record… 😉

      93s! & 23s too,

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