Written for the Infinity Network’s Ezine: http://www.4shared.com/document/G888U64G/Infinity_Network_Ezine_Summer_.html
Hands-on Chaos Magic by Andrieh Vitimus
Hands-on chaos magic is a book intended for the beginner chaote magician, yet is one that any magician interested in the chaos magic current can benefit from. It covers all of the basic tenants of the practical side of chaos magic in an easy to understand format. While certainly possible to be completed on a solo and individual basis, a large amount of the book is geared towards in-person group work, often requiring at the least a partner. The book is divided into 35 chapters, with an exercise list in the beginning- I ended up marking dividing lines and writing in the margins what chapters each exercise belonged to for easier reference, but found that some of the exercises were not listed, while others that were listed were not actual exercises. Despite this, I found it fairly useful.
Chapter 1 is titled “Disclaimer, warnings, definitions, and other oddities of writing,” and in this section I starred the good and bad reasons to take up magic, as I think these are important for people to consider. I also really liked this quote: “The “automaton” robot is, roughly, the set of habits and conditions that allow us to automatically complete many tasks without thinking about them” (page 3).
The next one is “Making time for magic and relaxing.” I starred one passages in this section, the second paragraph on page 8 about the societal constraints around magic.
Chapter 3 is about breathing, and lists a variety of of breathing styles, while the next chapter seems to carry on in a similar manner to Liber Null with body positions. The fifth chapter is sensory exercises that also seem to build- I think all of these seem to stack upon each other in succession. They’re certainly useful for the beginner magician (or the lazy magician who gave up on holding still for 30 minutes), but I can see that a lot of people would choose to skip these.
The next chapter is “Using Cognitive Science and NLP in Our Magic,” and is the first hint of the NLP emphasize of this book. This book was my first introduction to NLP, and thus, I heavily marked up this section. For those of you who may not be familiar, like I was, “NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) is a system to study how people encode information and perception into memory and, in some cases, meaning” (page 35). This works for magic because we “encode our experiences into memory using the five senses, and the patterns those senses make determine the general meaning of the experiences.” My favorite piece of information in this chapter is “A gesture, word, scent, or bit of sensory information can be conditioned to re-create a state of mind, especially if that state of mind leaves a strong enough impression or if an anchor is repeated enough” (page 40).
Chapter 7 is a short chapter about looking within and finding the sources of the patterns and habits that are a part of our lives. It sends a reminder that not all of the habits and voices in our minds are originally our own. And the next one is “conditioning success,” a chapter that offers up suggestions to help achieve more successful magic.
Chapter 9, “Energy Manipulation I,” is the beginning of the energy work chapters that appear periodically throughout the book. It lists a few exercises to help with beginning energy work, and the book builds off of these exercises. I found the energy model component of this book to be a bit heavy since the beginning magician who can master this model seems to be a rarity, and I personally had a great deal of trouble. Since there is such an emphasize on visualization not being the only sense of use in magic, I found it disappointing that the only model discussed was the energy model. I think it would’ve been beneficial for alternative means of servitor creation, for instance, to be presented.
The next chapter is banishings, and the ones listed are great for the quick and simple banishing that sometimes is needed. I starred the fast guidelines for making your own, and really enjoyed the patronus charm banishing (and it’s play on the Harry Potter paradigm).
Chapter 11 is titled “Why is Trance needed in magic?” and is one of the more beneficial chapters in the book. The primary use of trance is to induce a “singularity in the conscious mind [that] is the mechanism to tell the subconscious mind what is desired (and to get it to act)” (page 70). I really liked the lists of inhibitory and excitatory trance states.
Next is another of the energy manipulation chapters, which builds upon the last one.
13 is “Shards of the Self and the Shadow,” and my favorite quote from this was “experience the joy of creation daily and become your own indestructible phoenix” (page 84). The Solo Ritual Framework in this chapter (page 88) is my favorite ritual in this book. It challenges you to face yourself – with a guide, and incorporates a number of the elements needed for a full ritual- it may even be the most complete ritual in this book.
Chapters 14 and 15 are more energy manipulation chapters.
16 is “Sigil Creation,” and defines a sigil as “an encapsulation of a desire in the form of a statement of intent that is not immediately recognizable by the conscious mind” (page 109). Chapter 17 and chapter 18 also continue this focus on sigil work, while chapter 19 focuses on anchoring sigils. I was a little disappointed in these chapters; I felt the definition of a sigil was too vague and broad, and while there is a good layout of the basics of the primary modes of sigil work, I felt it left some things to be desired. It would have been nice to have heard a little bit about why sigil magic is so important to chaos magic, or even a little bit of the history behind sigils. I did like this explanation of the alphabet of desire as “a personal alphabet of sigils or mantras to produce desired states of mind and enter them at will by using the different personal keys to your subconscious” (page 137).
The next chapter is “An introduction to Talisman Work,” and is an alright guide to talisman work. I found it a little lacking in some portions; it seemed a bit more like a “research this yourself” guide, then an actual introduction. I did underline this though: “You can then empower the ingredients by using the methods we have already discussed and can visualize the sigil over the mixture, chant the mantra, and take on the state of mind while pushing the energy out into the mixture” (page 147).
Chapter 21 is “basic sympathetic magic,” and discusses the magical link as well as the process of linking.
The next chapter is “Basic Magical Tools,” and I found it to be a confusing addition to a book on chaos magic. While tools may be a necessary component for paradigm shifting, rarely do chaos rites themselves require tools. Despite this, I found a number of valuable lines in this chapter, among them “If you do the rituals by the book at first, you can register the effect the rituals have on your consciousness and then rework the original rituals to something more personal” (page 176). I also found the idea of using bottles to store pre-made spells an old yet ingenious concept.
Chapter 23 is a chapter on “Divination Energy Games.” This chapter was interesting. It detailed a similar process to the Intensive Deck Studies of tarot decks that are popular on the tarot forum, and a more personal form of the rune system that uses a personal alphabet of desire in place of the runic symbols.
24 is another energy manipulation chapter, with a noteworthy exercise- the animator game.
The next chapter, as well as chapter 26, cover Invocation theory. The definition of Invocation is “bringing forth a spirit, concept, or state of consciousness into the forefront of the mind” (page 204). I also found the general pattern of invocation helpful, on page 212. In chapter 26 I found this to be rather interesting: “Invocation… can be stacked in sequence to produce greater levels of trance and increasing levels of energy… You can stack different powers to create a certain resonance associated with your goal” (page 236).
Chapter 27 covers a few different things- Invocational Energy work, group work, and talisman work- and includes the concept of stacking invocations. I underlined this sentence: “The memory of an invocation is often enough to re-invoke an entity, as long as the entity is thought about hard enough in an altered state of consciousness, and each detail of the original invocation is remembered” (page 241). I also really liked the idea of having a physical talisman of a deity/entity.
28 and 29 cover evocation with a focus point. It covers circles and triangles as tools/methods used for evocation. I felt that the concepts behind the use of circles and triangles weren’t explained as well as they could’ve been- while it references the keys of solomon, all that was really said was that the circle was a form of protection and the triangle a focus point. On stacking invocations and evocations, I marked this: “We are taking on a state of consciousness (or energy pattern or combination of patterns), and then projecting and imagining a different state of consciousness (or energy pattern) in the evoked space while in a deep enough trance state to not question whether or not it is real” (page 274). I really liked the new spin on the spirit trap on page 276. I can see there being a wide variety of applications for this practice.
Chapters 30-32 cover entity creation. The messenger bird (and the statue tether of it) was one of the exercises I found the most practical and useful in the book. The process of attaching a sigil to one is explained here: “you want to try to signify the entire core of the idea or thing you want to work with. Then you want to sigilize this into a mantra of the situation, thing, or concept you want to work with” (page 304). While the methods were clearly laid out, it seemed to only cover the energy/information model, a method that I and others found to be a bit more difficult to use for servitor creation.
33 is titled “Beginning Astral Work,” and seems to carry into 34 as well. While I didn’t underline much, this chapter has a number of margin notes. On page 343 I likened the astral temple building to the movie “inception” (think of the architect). And on 347, I starred the guardian paragraph, writing in “Gargoyles and Chimera would be perfect for this.”
This next chapter is “Art and the stories we tell,” and covers some group astral work, as well as media and art, and the role magic plays in them. I underlined this sentence, which seems to sum up the universe pretty well: “The ultimate joke may be that the meaning of our lives is whatever we assign to it” (page 366). I starred the second full paragraph on page 368 about rewriting a story. I found it odd that the hypersigil method was not mentioned here- in its base form it is a narrative, and would certainly be the next step, building upon the basics of sigil work.
The final chapter is chapter 35, and offers up a nice wrap up of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The exercises are-on the whole- manageable, and easily done in less than an hour. The way the chapters build upon each other is excellent. This book provides an excellent base for a beginner magician, as well as for a magician who would just like to brush up on the basic elements of the chaos magic current. The only major disadvantages to this book were it’s heavy emphasize on the energy model (which is really only a disadvantage if you have trouble with the system), and that the sigil and talisman chapters seem a bit weak. Despite this, I would still recommend this book to anyone interested in learning a little more about chaos magic.