Properly Prepared – Initiations into Freemasonry and Chaos Witchcraft

This week I took my Third Degree initiation and became a Master Mason, which was nice.

As someone who has already gone through Wiccan, OTO, IOT and other initiatory rites I found the Masonic initiation process fascinating and deeply moving. As anyone who has been paying attention to the history of esotericism knows, many key elements of contemporary ‘western’ initiatory ritual (being blindfold and bound, actual or symbolic nakedness, a challenge with a weapon at the threshold of the sacred space) along with much of the specific language (such as ‘The Charge’, the formal presentation of ‘working tools’ and phrases such as ‘So Mote it Be!’) are derived from Freemasonry.

For those of a salacious (or insane) persuasion Freemasonry undoubtedly conjures up fantasies of a baby-eating, one-world governing, lizard brotherhood. The truth is rather less outré. Freemasonry exists primarily as an inclusive (ie multi-denominational) ritual structure at the core of something which is essentially an affinity group based on mutual aid. That’s why there were so many Freemasons (and indeed other organisations such as the Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, the Ancient Order of Druids and the Ancient Order of Foresters) in early modern Britain. These groups provided their members with financial and social support in times of trouble before the creation of welfare state and social security systems. (Which, it’s worth remembering, is a valuable all-inclusive structure: One my ancestors fought for having endured exploitation by the plutocratic class during the times of enclosure and the industrial revolution.)

Woodland regalia

Woodland regalia

The rituals within Freemasonry, whether they are the Three Degrees or the side-degrees (such as The Royal Arch) are typically initiations. This emphasis on initiation is continued by the Masonic-Thelemic mashup of practice provided by the OTO, and indeed this focus on initiation found in some styles of Wicca. (In its most curious manifestation this shades off into, in my view, a bizarre emphasis by some ‘hard Gard‘ practitioners on maintaining an imagined lineage of practice back to Gerald Gardner who, as any fule kno, along with Crowley, made up Wicca in the first place, predominately out of his own head.)

Freemasonic rituals are learnt by heart, and this is key to the practice. In a chaos magic sense the ‘esoteric tech’ being deployed is that of achieving memorisation, while at the same time, keeping the ritual sounding fresh and alive (especially when these words are spoken to the candidate during initiation).

The corpus of Masonic ritual texts is extensive, with much of the material being contained in The Blue Book (which naturally comes in many variations depending on the Lodge, region and nation in question). Unsurprisingly, given the period in history in which this system was developed (the United Grand Lodge in Britain is about to celebrate its 300th year anniversary) the art of memory is central to the system. I’ve met Freemasons who have memorised The Blue Book completely and, when examined, can recall the text, in any order, with >97% accuracy. Now that’s certainly one way to ‘build the temple’ (or pyramid, see below) of practice!

While Freemasonry relies on the cultivation of exact memory my own practice is usually quite different.

Another day, another initiation; This time with me as one of the initiators.

I was approached by a magician from London who asked if he could undergo an initiatory process within the envelope of Chaos Craft. His motivation wasn’t so much to be part of ‘our club’ but rather to use an approach to magic he digs (ie that witchcraft meets experimental magic vibe) as part of his own self-transformative process. Sometimes an initiation isn’t into something, as much as it is about a process; a desire for a ceremonial act that both recognises where we are at, and instigates a new cycle of change and development at an individual level.

Challenging times

Challenging times

Our candidate having completed his preparatory work, bravely made his way from the big city to deepest darkest Devon. That evening we read through the ritual, a variation of the one given in Chaos Craft. Since our candidate had also read the rite (and because we tend to favour an open source approach) we took a little time in my kitchen to run through the ceremonial plan with him present:

“So, we make the space. Do some stuff to open, maybe the chaosphere banishing.”

“What 8.1?”

“Or is it 1.8? Anyhow, yeah, up and down once, then 8 thingies at each direction widdershins”

“Then say some stuff about the wheel of the year and pull in the powers from each direction…”

Our informality was obvious. In our group (in this case me, Nikki Wyrd and Steve Dee) we’ve worked together for so many years we can use a simple short-hand. But as I explained to our guest and candidate:

“Don’t worry, we talk about this like it’s throw away stuff, but we’ll be using some serious focus when we’re in the temple.”

(And we did.)

Star system

Star system

At the end of the Chaos Craft initiation the new initiate is asked to declare an identity for themselves with a (magical) name and (personally chosen) title. In advance of the rite I could see our candidate diligently reading through this section of the text (and generally looking for those places in the order of ceremony where he had to say stuff), so I explained:

“Each piece of text here is a guide to what might be expressed at this point in the ritual. Don’t worry about the exact words. Think of the writing more like place-holders for what we hope will be expressed in each part of the ceremony”.

This free-form approach to ritual is much more common in (for want of better words) ‘shamanic’ styles of work, in contrast with the rote-learning Hermetic-Masonic styles of ceremony. While shamanic style rites may require memorisation (many archaic cultures have great traditions of learning stories, geologies and songs by heart, and the Chaos Craft initiation itself requires the memorisation of a Barbaric Invocation) the emphasis is on what I call ‘saying what needs to be said in the moment’. The words on the page are like guidance notes; serving suggestions for what happens as the ceremony unfolds. In terms of the esoteric tech this is a method-acting, spontaneous approach.

Obviously contrasting these approaches isn’t a value judgement; memorised ritual has it’s place, as does a more improvised style. And a good blend of both approaches is what the successful occultist aims to cultivate. Like Crowley says:”The Magician must build all that he has into his pyramid; and if that pyramid is to touch the stars, how broad must be the base!”

May your pyramid touch the stars!

JV

 

Chaos Craft Reviewed

Reviewed by Charles Barrie

Before reading Chaos Craft, my general perception of contemporary Chaos Magic was as a highly creative and practical, often amusing, yet more or less shallow philosophy; largely lacking a living relationship with the evolving world, biological and spiritual.

Chaos Craft, however, through a collection of essays on life, spiritual practice and ritual craft, conveys a far different sense of the chaos approach to magic. The perspective offered – which is presented as a journey around the wheel of seasons and colours of magic (after Peter Carroll) – is rooted in traditional magic, practice and craft; and is both politically and ecologically aware.

image004

Wheel of Chaos

Key to the inclusiveness of this perspective is the eclectic magical and philosophical pedigree of its two authors, Julian Vayne and Steve Dee. Both are active practitioners and researchers, and have many years of experience in a number of initiatory traditions, including AMOOKOS, the IOT and Wicca. Together with Nikki Wyrd, the pair also run the excellent Blog of Baphomet. Furthermore, Dee, for whom Chaos Craft is his first book, brings the unique approach of being both a working psychotherapist and a former Anglican priest in training.

From this position of research, initiated practice, and hard won experience, Vayne and Dee discuss a wide range of vital magical topics through a broad range of disciplines: witchcraft, Lovecraft’s mythos, shamanism, Buddhist praxis, western mysticism, alchemy, tantra, Gnosticism, pop-magic (love the Nina Simone working), ecstatic practice and psychotherapy (Israel Regardie would be pleased). The content explores, among other things: meditation and mindfulness, cognitive liberty, initiation, ritual practice, group work, applied animism, sexuality, and the family life of a magician.

The essays draw from Blog of Baphomet highlights, with new pieces and contributions from the work of Vayne and Dee’s magical group ‘The Western Watchtower’. They are presented as a revolution around the axis of the neo-pagan Sabbat festivals, each interval of the year viewed through the lens of one of Peter Carroll’s eight colours of magic. I found this musing on how the quality of magic changes as the earth turns the book’s greatest gift, as it encouraged me to find my own magical calendar, lift my head from books and pay attention to the outside world again.

Rather than a listing of techniques and ‘how to’s’ (though it is certainly full of interesting tips), Chaos Craft instead elucidates a living magical worldview; traditional yet totally dynamic, reflective and on the edge of one’s own experience. Through the approach of this ‘mongrel’ (their term) Book of Shadows, the need to integrate one’s spiritual path into daily life is made clear, and the discussion on ‘Slow Chaos’ encourages us to relax into the spheres of the seasons and days and experience life more deeply.

Chaos Craft, through its presentation of the group work of The Western Watchtower and their egalitarian, anarchistic approach to leadership, also reinforces the importance of sangha, community and sharing on the magical path, even as an otherwise lone practitioner. Living a magical life in the modern world involves knowing how to follow your own directive, whilst also being able to interact, navigate, and collaborate with those around you. Further to this, in presenting the magic of Chaos Craft, the Authors feel no need to attack muggles, or overly focus on the distinction between their approach and that of any other, allowing the content a wide relevance.

The responsiveness and creativity of the Chaos Craft perspective on magic gave me a timely prompt to take the next step in my own practice, and begin to freely design rituals that worked for me within the context of the landscape and seasons, and my reactions to them. I view the book as a muse rather than a manual and it strengthened my confidence in the fact that I had the capacity to generate my own ritual, and draw from my experiences a personal symbolic reference palette, a language that I know the spirits hear and understand, due to the deep feeling that it just makes sense.

Crafty chaos star

Crafty chaos star

Chaos craft is a context, a worldview which allows us to be fully present to the world around us, gaze us into the future to manifest our chosen reality, while having the full force of our collective ancestry and the powers of all spheres of existence as our allies. It speaks of the rebirth of a natural magical culture.

Through taking a very personal approach, Vayne and Dee create an intimacy that seems a more apt vehicle for conveying magical knowledge than a dry tome full of tables and charts. Personal secrets are perhaps more valuable, more useful than increasingly abstracted secrets held in tradition.

In contrast to politics and posturing, Chaos Craft brings a sense of service back to magic, which is a key aspect of what inspired me to the path in the first place; service to the unfolding, living, deep Earth.

Demonstrating the living vibrant nature of chaos magic, witchcraft and tantra, the book rests in balance between a traditionalist approach, an honoring of initiation and empowerment and the postmodern chaos understanding of magical technology and the power of paradigms. Bringing a chaos approach to traditional crafts supports an understanding of their underlying tech, allowing for colloquialisms; individual and shared dialects of practice stemming from timeless roots.

The book invites us to create our own magical form, one that is contingent with our traditions (of which it is but the latest iteration), and with the living magical landscape. A form that is thus able to draw power from the deep evolutionary process that has brought it into being. Such living traditions are able to evolve with time, connecting past and future; distinct and independent, yet forming a continuity with the living powers from which they spring.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to find a more natural approach to magic, and those who are wishing to deepen their understanding of the connection between their practice and the greater cosmos of which they are a vital part.

Chaos Craft is now available on Amazon as well as direct from us.

Charles Barrie has explored his own magical context through a number of Western magic, masonic and yogic traditions. He currently works in conservation, community development and environmental education, and tries to live his magic in daily life through an active relationship with the Pandaemonic All and service to both earth and community. He also plays bass guitar for New Zealand band Bella Cajon, who can be found at www.bellacajon.com

Golden magick

Chaos gold

(Meanwhile more shameless self promotion proudly presents…)

Nikki Wyrd will be leading a workshop entitled Baphomet 101 at The Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness Salon‘s event Neuro-Magica: Weaving Ecology, Cosmos & Consciousness: A three-day retreat exploring the liminal space bridging science and magic, from Thursday (evening) 8th – Sunday (evening) 11th September. This retreat has sold out! Keep an eye open for future exciting events on the ECC facebook page HERE.

On the 5th of November Julian Vayne will be leading a workshop at Treadwells, London on Altered States of Magic, details HERE and then a few days later on November 8th will be addressing the University of Kent Psychedelic Society on Psychedelics and Magic see Facebook and HERE.

What I Did On My Holidays

Sometimes it’s good to get away from facebook and the ceaseless barrage of emails, to retreat in order to advance (as they say in Tai Chi). Slipping into the deep data-stream of the landscape  refreshes the mind, the heart and the soul. So for Easter this year I travelled down to West Penwith in Cornwall to hang out with my dear friend Greg Humphries the ‘Wizard of the Woods’.

While chaos magic has been characterised by some as being a predominately urban style of occulture, the emphasis on gnosis (in the sense of direct, unmediated experience) meshes very well with practices such as seasonal celebrations, psychogeography and wild landscape inspired magics. In fact one of the earliest (and now rarest) of the first wave of chaos magick writings included a volume which one might argue was a spiritual forebear of the Chaos Craft project. The Cardinal Rites of Chaos details a series of seasonal ceremonies, calling on deities including Baphonet, Babalon, Eris and others. The use of multiple models of reality which is so essential to the chaos magic approach is clearly articulated in this text;

Chaos is the raw material with which we work. Cosmos
represents belief structures within that randomness and, as
such, is con- stantly changing. This was the first thing that
became clear when our group was started. A magician cannot
afford to use only one model of his relationship with chaos; he
needs different models for different functions and although it
would be convenient if these models were complementary they
often turn out to be contradictory.

The first leg of my journey deeper in to the west country begins with a visit to my artist friends and their burgeoning family in North Cornwall. In the morning, outside in a little glade, I make my petition to Pan as God of the magical British landscape, that me, my family and friends be blessed with fabulous and nourishing Easter holidays. (The wording of my spell, which included tobacco prayers and offerings of music and poetry from memory, is important. ‘Fabulous’ is from the latin ‘fabulosus‘ meaning ‘celebrated in fable’. Thus my intention is experience an Easter about which we could tell stories in years to come. These stories are imagined to emerge from ‘nourishing’ experiences, rather than being tales of woe.)

Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Our sojourn in West Penwith itself was punctuated by delightful walks with my friends and children, through muddy footpaths and woodlands, along streams and over moorlands. In the evening the fire roared and we watched movies and ate good food (on one night prepared by me and my eldest son).

On the West Penwith peninsular the sea is never far away and the sculpted forms of trees record the howling winds from the roaring Atlantic. The grass glows a vivid green and the sulphurous yellow of primroses spills wildly into the emerging season. Everyday we went out exploring, forging for wild food (one of the skills I’m pleased to possess), spotting plants and tracking animals.

Greg, me and my kids also spent one day building. At a local eco-friendly campsite that Greg helps manage we all set to with pruning saws, bill hooks and other tools. We cleared some land and cut back trees, making a space which would be used as a communal area for people camping on the site. Our plan was to erect a goal-post looking structure (some 3 metres high) and to use this as the main frame over which a tarpaulin would be stretched and tethered. The tarp would be sufficiently high and well ventilated so that a small fire could be safely lit beneath it. After a days work the space was clear and the chestnut poles had been prepared. Greg and I lifted these into position and packed the earth around them, stamping round and round in circles, pushing the earth down so that the structure was secure.

We made this

We made this

In common with most well adjusted kids my children really enjoyed this day. They knew they were free to leave and return to Greg’s house (a matter of a few yards away and occupied by his partner) whenever they wanted (or go elsewhere on the site to explore and play). However the prospect of building a shelter was a really appealing one and they spend over half a day, working hard, to help.

Completed wild camping space

Completed wild camping space

A few days later, during the full moon of Easter Friday, Greg and I were able to put our psychogeographical skills to good use. We have been on numerous walking adventures together (ranging over much of the North Cornish and Devonian coasts and to more exotic locations such as Nepal, where, in a Himalayas, we met the Secret Chiefs, but that, as they say is another story).

Walking out under the full moon (an eclipse moon for some of us on the planet) the air was still. The spring winds had dwindled and it was obvious that the next day would dawn bright and cold. Greg and I installed an Easter Egg hunt round the village. The first clue (to be discovered by the children in the living room of the house, along with various handy bits of advice and a compass) would lead them to the church yard to discover their first cache of eggs and another cryptic instruction. This would direct them to a green woodworking studio space that Greg uses. Having found the next set of eggs, and clue, they would set off to find the ‘fairy tree’ behind the local holy well. Rewarded with more eggs, further cunningly worded instructions, would direct them up the hill, towards the great stones which crown the nearby moorland. There they would find yet more eggs and a clue indicating that they should return to the house for the final prize (some big Easter Eggs of high quality organic chocolate hidden in Greg’s woodshed).

The colours of magic over West Penwith

The colours of magic over West Penwith

The children (my two and Greg’s daughter) know their way around the village very well. They rose early (unsurprisingly) and set off on their adventure (I woke too in time to see them leaving, with my youngest son the proud bearer of the backpack to collect eggs) setting off into the pale morning mist under the blazing sun. The tiny village is of course a safe environment for such an excursion and it wasn’t long before we heard them returning into the main part of the house, bearing large quantities of chocolate.

By setting up this trail Greg and I were, I hope, transmitting in an embodied way the way we both sense landscape. For us it is a numinous thing, when approached correctly. These sleepy Cornish villages (or the little Devonian town in which I live) can be magical places, where characters such as Pan and the mysterious deep magic of nature (expressed so eloquently in the work of Alan Garner, Louise Lawrence, Susan Cooper and others) is very much alive.

Upon their return the children had one final request made of them. They were given an egg to hide for us adults and asked to provide us with a clue to its location. (We soon tracked it down in some bushes behind the bus stop just outside the house.) In this way, as two fathers, Greg and I were sharing our attitude to the universe, as a place of fun, exploration, curiosity, quest and magic in way that was fun and engaging. Moreover we were acknowledging the value of passing on this joyous, creative approach to others.

Greg inspecting one of his tree nurseries

Greg inspecting one of his tree nurseries

Later that day I sat with Greg as he instructed me in how to make fire by friction. We went through in great detail the bow, the drill, the ash pan and the simple and cunningly fashioned technology needed to make fire in the way our ancestors did. Using Greg’s fire set I had a go. The bow of the kit, beautifully carved, along with the block that holds the drill. Trying to get each component into alignment, balancing, pushing, pressing and moving the bow. ‘Slow long movements…you’ve got it going…now keep going, another twenty strokes…’ Carefully the burning ember was tipped into a ‘nest’ of newspaper and blown. I had made fire and we had just sufficient time to capture this moment on camera.

Man make fire

Man make fire

The next day we returned to Devon and there spent more days relaxing and enjoying the warm spring weather.

During this time I did a little explicitly esoteric practice; some mindfulness meditation, a little yoga and tai-chi, some prayers of thanks to the Great Spirit. But on reflection there’s a lot more magic here than simply just those moments, and certainly Pan had smiled on us. We had all been enriched by this time and came away with stories to tell. Now in my house a half-made fire lighting set sits by my own hearth. When I’ve completed it I’ll be able to make fire by friction. This may not be a tale of spooky goetic demons and high strangeness (though those things have their worth) but for me learning to make fire using a method that my stone-age ancestors would have recognised; now that’s magic.

JV

Chaos Craft: Kindle edition

Cue fanfare… Due to popular demand, we can announce that Julian Vayne & Steve Dee’s “Chaos Craft” will be available worldwide on Kindle from the 2nd February. Pre-order yours here today!

Click here for trailer!!!

Click here for trailer!!!

You will need to click through to your appropriate country’s branch of Amazon in order to see the price, and then you can press the “Buy” button. (Equivalent to US$7.50, €6.49, £4.95. You won’t be charged until Feb, when the book gets delivered automatically.) 

More info on the print edition here.

The content of the Kindle edition is identical to the printed book, with the addition that some pictures are now in colour.

Feedback on Chaos Craft from our customers has been universally high, with Treadwells’ Bookshop recently choosing it as their Pick of the Week.

Anyone who works with the Wheel of the Year 8-fold solar festival system, and/or has leanings towards Chaos Magick, should find much of interest to them. The book documents the birth of this ‘new tradition’, the inspirations of the collective which developed the Chaos Craft idea, and detailed descriptions of the practices created, as well as many thoughtful essays on a range of related subjects.

We invite you to post a comment below, if you have already bought this book!

Chaos Craft: The Book

Click here for trailer!!!

Click on the image to see our trailer!!!

Blending together the essences of Chaos Magic and modern Paganism, this book records the emergence of the new tradition of Chaos Craft. Many of the essays presented here were first brewed up in theblogofbaphomet.com. New pictures and fresh essays add spice to these existing writings. Some of which, previously unavailable, comprise the secret rituals of this unashamedly syncretic form of occultism.

The potion you may sample inside is infused with the flavours of Gurdjieff, mindfulness meditation, trance-bodywork, entheogenics, Wiccan and Sabbatic Craft. The mixture has been diligently stirred widdershins for two years as the Wheel of the Year cycled through the Colours of Chaos.

The explorations, the questions, the techniques and reflections presented here are part of an ongoing magical work. Like the figure of Baphomet hirself (patron deity of Chaos Craft), the elixir pouring from this cauldron is redolent with the rich alchemical scents of what modern magicians do.

Would you care for a sip?

Book and contents picture

Available now, collected together within a physical volume, we present fifty-six posts from The Blog of Baphomet’s two year project Chaos Craft. Combining the chaos magick 8 colour system, with the 8 festivals of the witchcraft wheel of the year, the authors recorded their own musings, the rituals created by their group, and some of the theoretical underpinnings of the group’s workings.

Including previously unpublished material; four new essays, a collection of poetic couplets describing the turning of the year, and with chapters detailing three additional key ritual practices, this volume provides a handy way to browse your favourite writings from those masters of thinking in depth about doing magick, and doing plenty of thoughtful magick, Julian Vayne and Steve Dee.

With a revised text, and many new original pictures, this collection allows the Chaos Craft hybrid to reveal itself as a vibrant, modern path rooted firmly in traditional ground. Written with gentle humour, erudite philosophy, repeated self-reflection and curiosity about what this path may lead to, Chaos Craft is nothing less than a journal of the emergence of a new tradition.

Book outside and inside picture

Comprising 257 pages with 69 b&w pictures, contained in a matt softback, the book provides a pleasurable way to access and browse some of your favourite writings.

Now available from your local Amazon website, for £12. Chaos Craft is also on Kindle, for £4.95.

Chaos Craft. The tradition of tomorrow, today.

What We Find Ourselves Doing…

A good friend of my once observed that we should pay more attention to what we find ourselves doing rather than what we think we should be doing. What my friend (who is both a therapist and magician) was pointing towards was that we often cause ourselves suffering through the endless cycle of searching, aspiration and acquisition. “If I just gain mastery of x, acquire this book or undertake this training then I will know who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing here!” Sadly this doesn’t really work does it? We might gain a temporary sugar-high from rebranding ourselves or spending far too much on fine books (or wines), but if your anything like me we end up caught in a solipsistic loop where we end up exhausted (and frankly bored) by our endless self-narrative.

My friend’s theory was that if we pause for a moment and reflect on the things that we actually do and enjoy doing (hence why we keep doing them), then we are probably getting close to understanding something about what we really desire. Desire often gets a bad press, but personally I feel that our problems with distraction and consumerism are often our attempts to flee from the cost that our real heart-longings might ask of us. The quick-fix is really no fix at all and contrasts radically with the type of awakening and attentive self-listening that will allow us to look down to the soil in which are personal roots are really bedded.

Such self-reflection is rarely easy and in making the effort to “tune-in” to these realities, we may have to turn-down or reject the versions of ourselves that others may want us to buy into. This willed antinomianism allows the creation of a space in which we might experience a greater sense of cognitive liberty in experimenting with our dreams. This is the demarcation of the magical circle – a lab in which we create the optimal conditions for self-examination. In waking up to “what we find ourselves doing” I have often opted for a period of elective self-limitation. In a world where endless choice and speed are valued, a period of monastic retreat often allows the cultivation of clarity.

Getting up to stuff in the magic laboratory

Getting up to stuff in the magic laboratory

As we push our hands down into the dark soil of our unconscious, we risk the possibility of contacting some of the core aspects of what drives us and those things that cause us to feel most alive. The discovery of this “dark matter” is rarely linear and the value of art, dreams and synchronicities should not be underestimated. Often the untidy syncretism of our altar spaces, reveal more to us than our ordered book shelves.

One of my personal routes to accessing such gnosis has been through the use of dance and shaking states. In seeking to loosen the tensions and defences that often get located in what Wilhelm Reich described as “body armour”; I often have a sense of a deeper instinctive knowing emerging in and through the body. When I move in response to the music my self-consciousness slowly melts away. This type of “shape –shifting” may well relate to the way in which the body allows us to process aspects of the self that the conscious mind struggles to make sense of. Interesting research is beginning to explore this territory, and it may be the “darker” more instinctive drivers of the early or “reptilian” brain get processed more effectively when we actively engage the body. As I dance I often feel that in my messy embodiment, I am making sense of my early and deepest drives (for more on this see “The Compassionate Mind” by Paul Gilbert and Peter Levine’s work on trauma).

In reconnecting to the “what is” of the moment, rather than becoming stuck we create the possibility of emergence coming from a place of depth. Stirred by the memory of some conversations with a Setian Priest, I keep returning   to the concept of how important “need-fire” is in the pursuit of my own initiatory work. Whether one self-defines as a magician or not, one of the primary indicators of whether a goal will reach fruition relates to the degree to which we are motivated by burning need. To follow a path of the basis of whim or fashion may provide a temporary distraction, but it is unlikely to adequately fuel significant transformation.

fuelling transformation

fuelling transformation

In many ways these observations connect to the “Chaos Craft” project (and forthcoming book) mentioned on this blog. In contrast to the often hyper-accelerated go-getting that one might associate with Chaos Magic, this project has sought to integrate the inescapability of the moment made manifest in time and the spirit of place. We make no claims to lineage or secrets shared on Grandma’s knee, rather this is a Witchcraft born of a connection to a raw coastline, the beating of drums and a desire to awaken. This is the Witchcraft we found ourselves doing.

To look into the mirror and truly see ourselves requires real bravery. To let go of the script of how it should be and to ask “What is it that I find myself doing…?” is truly revelatory. It may reveal the nature and extent of our current desires and also our need to escape from the current constraints that block our unfolding. There are no simple answers but it is a beginning.

SD

Weaving the Wyrd – movement sorcery technique

This is a technique that I occasionally like to deploy. Rarely is it a planned ritual but more often than not it emerges as something I do after sitting mediation or bodywork. It’s also a method that blends quite nicely with some entheogenic allies (where it’s safe and legal to do so of course). For me this approach works because as someone with a back ground in Wicca, and the mash-up with chaos magick that I call Chaos Craft, the eight-fold wheel of the year and eight directions models are structures that I have deeply internalised. (However I’m sure this tech could be easily adapted to use other models.)

Formally mark the beginning of the ritual by ringing a bell or some other technique.

Stand in the centre of the space, in mountain asana, and become aware of the paradox that you are both the narrative reality of the body and Self/Selves (Zos) and also the ‘container’ of the limitless, chaotic, all-becoming, the indescribably vacuity that is Kia. Become the axis mundi and also the swirling Ginnungagap of possibility at the heart of the magick circle.

Using free-form movement or dance (with or without an instrument such as a rattle or background music if available) begin to move round the space. Become aware of the circle of the space and the eight directions. Feel into the relationship between the axis in the centre, your movements in the space and the eight points. As you circle around, dancing and moving, bring your attention to the powers, symbolism and time of year you associate with each direction (as per the model developed in Chaos Craft or some other system).

As you pass each direction of the circle listen to what comes up for you. In a certain place you may find yourself having your attention drawn to loved ones, to projects you’re engaged in, to difficulties you or others are experiencing or other impressions. You may find these somehow link with the symbolism of the directions. For example in the (northern latitudes, British) Chaos Craft model South West is associated with Lammas, Red Magick, cutting back what is no longer needed, harvesting etc. Perhaps this station of the circle will make your mindful of those relationships you need to end, or transform? To parts of yourself you want to burn up so that the ash can fertilise new possibilities, and so on.

Moving round the circle begin to see that you are in fact inside the Web of Wyrd, and that you are the ‘technician of the sacred‘ in this space. Use you arms, legs, gestures, sound and words to cut, plait, smooth and spin the lines of synchronicity and magic in the way that you Will (try to see or feel these links as though they were actual threads, tendrils or psychedelic tracers). As you move round the space your body becomes the needle, the loom, the weaver of magical change, interacting between the symbolic envelope (the eight sabbats/directions/colours), the issues that arise in your awareness, and yourself as the active magician making change in this model of reality (Knowing that; As Above, So Below.)

Making magickal passes

Making magickal passes

Once you feel that you have brought these threads of possibility into a new harmonious state, slow down your circumnambulations and come to stand again in the centre.

Make a prayer of thanks, or in some other way recognise and big-up the transformative power of the universe.

Let your breathing come back to normal ring the bell or repeat the marker you used to enter sacred space at the start of the practice.

…and you’re back in the room.

JV