Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Things I Learned From Chaos Magick.

Nothing is Real and Everything is Permitted. 

I am 14 years old, and kneeling at my altar. On it are effigies of Sekhmet and Anubis. At some point in time these spirits have presented themselves to me in dreams and visions - and for all I knew (or cared) the images they presented were wholly valid. I did not stop to run these spirits through the wringer and make them declare themselves to me. I did not test or argue with them. I accepted that the faces they gave to me were the faces they wanted me to see.

I went forward with the knowledge that at any point in time I could be proven wrong, and that the flexibility of my paradigm would allow for that without fundamental damage to it.  And for probably ten years the flexibility was never tested. And then one day I evoked "My Mother", and her face was hard, and her hair was not ringlets of black mane, but serpents. And a bolt went through my heart "This is a Gorgon, not a Kemetic goddess." And I looked to "My Father" - and I no longer saw a Jackal-headed man. I saw a man wearing a wolf-skin.

"Well, fuck" I said "Are y'all still okay with being called Sekhmet and Anubis... or... ?"

Being a pretty rigid polytheist, and a "spiritual impressionist" I don't personally get much traction or satisfaction from the idea that Sekhmet and the Gorgon are actually the same being, having divided itself thus. I don't much believe the being is -actually- a gorgon, either. But to explain that gets hairier by the minute.

What I get traction from is that when I began as a 'pagan' I was heavily into the Kemetic aesthetic, and that the spirits who wanted to contact me did so with those images to better establish contact (to later guide me to where they actually resided). Similarly, I do not get any traction from the idea that Sekhmet-who-is-Sekhmet sometimes appears as a Gorgon, but rather that maybe she is a busy being who sends her faithful spirits to intercede for her. Furthermore, I doubt very much that Not-Sekhmet is a gorgon. Currently I'm in a very Greco-Roman aesthetic, y'see. She is who and what she is, and unveils herself in the layers of a bloom - and I don't have any particular attachment, referring to her in epithets and actions rather than nailing her, or them, or it, down to a single image that is easily digestible.

It's also possible that Sekhmet was there, and then handed me off. A flexible worldview assists in there being no devastation. 

The Corollary
Everything is Real and Nothing is Permitted. 

If approaching Chaos as a "show me" mode, it is reprehensible to me to discard accumulated data in favor of an arbitrary paradigm shift. Or, rather "If a spirit proves itself to be real, it would be stupid of me to ignore it, mistreat it, or set it aside in the name of 'sticking to the program'... because this is Chaos magic, and there is no damnedable program."

It is from this ethos that springs my real, deep, dislike and anger toward people who treat The Art and The Craft as though it's Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition. The struggle to grasp even a single thread in the tapestry of the spirit world is a serious one, and the effort devoted to it is very real. Discarding that, or pretending toward it strikes me as anathema (like burning books, painting an antique table with high-gloss latex house paint, or inviting yourself to a bite of my dinner).

To approach my niche in the world is like approaching a foreign kingdom. One travels through the villages of the smallfolk first - and one would do best to treat them as kings in their own land. And eventually, one meets the various regents and nobility. And perhaps, by that point, one has truly earned the right to be among them - to entreat or speak with them. And hopefully has learned to behave in a way that does not lead to beheading or imprisonment.

Because it's best to remember that even the most noble, altruistic, and righteous king has in his retinue some fellow or other that is hot tempered, slow to forgive, and carries a large, sharp, axe.


  1. Complicated post. I'm going to have to think about that. Thanks. :)

  2. Oh, this resonates. Not with a gentle thrum, but with a deep, heavy, thunder that makes me want to cry and puke and laugh hysterically.

    1. I thank you for your ever-intelligent, skeptical and wholly realistic dwellings on your experiences, Scylla.
      You assure me that not the whole of Pagandom is compounded of idjits.

      Terri in Joburg

  3. Your blog entry is timely. You are a spirit speaking to me right now.

    Your approach sounds a little bit like my approach. My paradigm shifts are rarely of my own making. I'm on a ride and I respect that the ride is dangerous and that I better follow the rules as they appear to me, or else. Sure, I hate rules, but somehow I know where I am in a spot where the rules cannot be bent, and they are rules not of human making. When I ask my Goddess if she is that goddess over there that also speaks to me, I always get the answer, "No, but her lessons are my lessons too." Even if those lessons seem to conflict, if I am patient and let them pull me in both directions for a bit, I will get to where She wants me to be. At least I hope so.

  4. Your reality is whatever you make it!

  5. You guys are corny.