The Spheres of Chaos – Noosphere

Lucifer, that bright Son of the Morning, teaches in Crowley’s poem that ‘the key to joy is disobedience’. What does this mean? In context of The Spheres of Chaos we worked with the Luciferian spirit (this time using bodywork and trance dance, rooting us in the other three spheres) to explore the Noosphere. The Noosphere is the realm of ideas, of complex language. It is the world where, quite literally, nothing is true and everything is permitted. We can create paradoxes and word plays that disobey the material strictures of the previous realms of the Geosphere, Biospheres and Anthropshere. All communications are lies, edits of reality, cut-ups, impossible visions. I can tell you that there is an object which is a black flame. A statement that makes sense in language and yet, when we really set to imagine what that means, is pretty tricky. What about if I tell you that there is an object which is totally red and also totally yellow? Again the words make sense but the object cannot be easily imagined. And, away from the realm of objects, things become even more unruly. In the beginning was the word which, especially in its written form, was a pharmakon.

Strike a Light

Strike a Light

Language, with its set of fairly simple rules, gives rise to unending complexity. Analogous to the way DNA operates we speak of memes, concepts that flow through the Noosphere. The Noosphere is the network, the web of communications that now span the entire globe. It is the messages, the truth and lies, the ever shifting perspective of cultures. The realm of ideas is limitless and, though our thoughts are undoubtedly grounded in our physicality as humans, our language, our ideas spawn new forms and allow us to understand ourselves in new ways. Algorithmic intelligence  sifting our big data, has been achieved. Artificial intelligence may not be far behind. I wonder what will happen when our machines come alive, or when we have interfaced with them even more pervasively and deeply? When we are fully embedded in the flow of a global conversation?

In terms of our human ‘break’ from the Biosphere, it is not language itself that marks us apart but the complexity of the way in which we do it. More than this, writing (a skill that lay sleeping in human neurology for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years) popped up, in a crazy aeonic stylee, in a number of places on our planet within a few centuries of each other. Writing is the gift of Lucifer. Promethean, we have stolen the fire from heaven. The god-like ability to make worlds with our words.

Just like Lucifer (our fallen angel) the energy (for want of better word) of this sphere is a descending one. It has a stellar quality, perhaps connecting it to our astronomical sciences which inform that (apparently) universal language of mathematics. Numbers and calculation (the basis of Statecraft; to run a large culture counting and detailed record keeping is essential) are the probable origin of writing. Though we might like to claim that Thoth invented writing, it seems the first evidence for human literary production is not religious texts or poetry but rather shopping lists and tax returns.

Ideas floating around in the Noosphere include things like ‘the self’. This psychic structure is the narrative attached to our bodies but which emerges in large part from our interaction with others, we are this conversation conducted within and around us.

The following soundtrack was used during our ritual. This includes the work of Troum, Ovnimoon and DJ Krust & Saul Williams


The Spheres of Chaos – Anthrosphere

The heart of the Spheres of Chaos model is the Anthrosphere, also knows as the Opusphere (the world of the works of humanity) or the Technosphere. Here we recognise the peculiar way in which we, Homo sapiens, influence the Geosphere and Biosphere. With our amazing ability to make and control fire we have literally changed every part of the planet. One example of this is the way in which archaeologists, when using radio carbon dating techniques, give dates as ‘BP’ meaning Before Present. And when is the present exactly? The answer is January 1st 1950; following our detonation of the first atomic bombs we’ve spread radioactive isotopes across the whole world. After 1950 the carbon dating system is screwed, no dates established using that technique after that year can be trusted (and this will apply for a very, very long time).

This is the reason why, in geological terms, the era we’re living in is the Anthropocene – a period that many scientists consider begins with the industrial revolution. In the Anthrosphere we appreciate ourselves as deeply technological entities, throwing off tools, structures, wastes and behaviours into the world. Our technology circles the planet, looking back with unblinking satellite eye on the Geopshere and Biosphere. Techniques including animal domestication, farming, vaccination and written language have allowed us to proliferate in great numbers. Our biology itself is profoundly influenced by our technology; humans are coctivores, our gut’s structure reflects our millennia long love of cooked food. We change our bodies with piercing, tattooing, pharmaceuticals, artificial limbs and Google glasses.

The god of this centre (in our Left Hand Path analysis of the Spheres) is Set. Here is the god who is an exemplar of our deviation and division from other life-forms in the Biosphere. Set’s symbols include the knife and the scissors, those implements we use to cut the cord between the mother and child. Set is typically imagined as a bit kinky, a bit weird (in Norse culture we might say he is a bit ergi). He is god of the exotic, of metals, and of oil. He is associated with the colour red. The colour of hot, glowing iron from which we forge our tools and our machines.

Brave new world

Brave new world

Our work with Set and the Anthrosphere consisted of a freestyle shamanic opening up, to allow communication with this power. To do this we pulled out all the techno-esoteric stops; strobe lights, smoke machine, and Die Elektischen Vorspiele (an excellent track used in the rituals of The Temple of Set).

How do we acknowledge the ‘Gift of Set’ our individuating Self while at the same time appreciating that we are nourished by, and depend on others (other people, the Biosphere and Geosphere)? This is the great challenge of our species.

Cities of the future

Cities of the future


The Spheres of Chaos – Biosphere

The second realm in our sequence of The Spheres of Chaos is the Biosphere; the seething, fornicating, birthing and dying world of life. As the raw material of the Geosphere held the emergent complexity of life embedded as an implicate (and perhaps inevitable) force within it, so the Biosphere is the space within which our bodies are formed. It is in the next sphere, the Anthrosphere, that the centrality of humans and the products of our behaviours is described. But, as it says in The Book of Baphomet; ‘The Anthrosphere emerges from the Biosphere and remains critically dependent on it’. When we consider all life (using the model of the Five Spheres) we simultaneously acknowledge that we are part of this life, we are biological beings, and also (and here comes that Setian LHP vibe folks) that in some respects humans are radically different from the rest of Nature.

Within the Biosphere the twin serpents of DNA spin and twist, coding out millions of forms in continuously changing, morphing, adapting profusion. The constraints of the physical world anchor this wild multiplicity through adaptation to the environment. The sea of the late Triassic looked much like the sea of today and so the phenotype of ichthyosaurus reminds us of modern dolphins. Flesh adapts to the world in which it finds itself. One wave of gigantic reptilian life dies off (perhaps destroyed by a meteoric hammer blow) and new creatures flood in to the fill the evolutionary gaps. Ice-ages cover the Geosphere; life responds by getting all big and hairy.  But this relationship goes both ways.Through the subduction and cycling of the earth’s mantle the products of biology are folded within our planet. Coal and oil, the sleeping shadows of ancient life, rest deep in the earth. Flint, made from the bodies of archaic creatures, chalk sifted from the shells of innumerable prehistoric snails. And not only echos of life, there’s plenty of living things a long, long way down. Meanwhile high up in the atmosphere  (itself a mix of gases produced by biological activity)  tiny critters throng the skies. Our whole planet is touched by life.

The symbol connected with this sphere is the two-point up pentagram, sigil of Baphomet and of The Devil. Given the biological focus of this sphere we decided to work with this spirit as Pan, all-devourer and all-begetter. A God appearing in the sylvan landscape of childhood’s dream as The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and also as the insane sexual frenzy of Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan.

With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks

With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks

The recording below is of Aleister Crowley’s wonderful Hymn to Pan, one of the finest ritual poems of the 20th century. This was used as part of our ceremony.

Drumming, scourging, drinking and general wildness are perfect methods for connecting to this sphere.  The Biosphere witnesses our lust for life!



The Spheres of Chaos – Geosphere

In addition to the eight Sabbats of Chaos Craft another motif we’ve continued to use in our work has been that of the Five Spheres. This conceptual device, developed by Pete Carroll in consultation with Nikki Wyrd, links to the vowel sounds (I,E,A,O,U) that are incorporated in the ‘middle pillar’ part of the Gnostic Banishing rituals.  In these practices attention is given to the crown of the head (the Chaosphere), the throat (the Noosphere), the heart (the Anthrosphere), the belly (the Biosphere) and the base (the Geosphere). The whole system is described in detail towards the end of The Book of Baphomet.

We’ve started a series of rituals to explore each sphere. The first in the sequence is the Geosphere; the world of the rocks, the stones and the crystals (as the old Pagan chant puts it). This is place of the Elder Gods, and of our sense of hunger.

His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn.

His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn.

Each ceremony itself (so far we’ve done three rites) has included simple shamanic style techniques; the use of poetic text, drumming and silent meditation. Our aim; to commune with these different interpretations or layers of reality,  while bringing a distinctly Left Hand Path and Setian mindset to this work. I plan to post some of the material used in these rituals on this blog.

The Geosphere, imagined in terms of the life of a person, is our intrauterine and infantile existence. Looked at in cosmological terms, it is that great dyad of space and time. It another sense it is the realm of raw physics;

Hydrogen begat Helium,

Helium begat Carbon,

Carbon begat Oxygen

In terrestrial terms the symbol of this sphere is the equal armed cross + representing the physical earth upon which we stand. From the magnetosphere that shields us from the solar wind, down through the depths of the ocean, riding upon the backs of tectonic plates, and deeper, to the core of our planet (which glows at the same temperature as the surface of the sun). For our lived experience, as dwellers on the surface, it is the four directions, the crossroads.

The spirit of this sphere (in a Typhonian stylee) is the monster Leviathan and the poem we used is taken from The Book of Job. It is also the place of Apep or Apophis, the great dragon-serpent whom Set keeps at bay, protecting the sun in its nightly journey through the underworld. I sometimes imagine Apophis as entropy, that mighty stooping dragon who, within the narrative of the cosmological Standard Model, seeks to drag down complexity into a vast uniform heat death of elementary particles and radiations. Space and time gives birth to all things, and in the end (it seems) will destroy everything too. The all potential womb is also the all embracing tomb.

But for all this, biology and mind rises up (like Set) against (and within) this inky black darkness. We are mud that sat up and became sensate.

(In a perhaps less Setian style one might also point out that the universe, for all its faults, seems peculiarly adapted to the needs of the kind of physics and chemistry that allows for life. Our cosmos seems perfectly set up not only to permit but to encourage life. Were the weak force (or the others in that great fundamental quadruplicity) just a little weaker, and it could all have gone horribly wrong.)

If you fancy doing your own meditations on the Geosphere you could use the poem and soundtrack below. The recording was made during the ritual. Part of the background is a NASA production of the song of the earth in space. There’s also the sound of stones being ground together in the temple, resting upon the bones of a mighty whale.

Go Deep & Enjoy!