Chaos Magic arose in not only in a multi-cultural world, but in a world that had become such a melting pot that even the most esoteric and secretive occult traditions were becoming public in an unprecedented manner. It is hard though for any westerner to shake off Christian programming, and part of that programming states that God is the one true source of power, and the more faith you have, the better access you have. The problem is that we can observe that people in other religions do magic too, including those that do not have the same god, or even any god at all. This poses a problem if we see the effectiveness of magic in other cultures and religions we must conclude that there is no one true way.
Chaos Magic handled this by stating that it is belief itself, rather than the object of belief that is they key to magic. This opened the way for all the strangeness of invoking Scrooge Mc Duck and such that we talked about in the last post in this series. Belief as a tool became the mantra of the Chaos Magician.
For reasons I have already touched on, many people found this not to be accurate. People found that they got results, and even unexpected treatment, from beings that they did not believe in. In some cases these were beings that they were not even aware of. Likewise, beings that they tries to psych themselves into believing in but which were not traditionally considered spirits or powers, tended not to yield the same results as those that were.
Just a reminder here: I am not saying that these were everyone’s findings. Clearly some people are still Chaos to the core. I am saying that it does represent the findings of a large section of people who tried Chaos Magic.
MAGIC’S NEXT TOP MODEL
Frater UD wrote an essay in 1991 that has had a profound effect on magic inside and outside the Chaos Current. I have often said that it is one of the single worst things to happen to the art in last 100 years. I am speaking about his article on Models of Magic.
In it he presents a 4+1 model of models. The four he lays out are the:
1. Spirit Model
2. Energy Model
3. Psychological Model
4. Information Model.
You can read his description of each, but your probably already have a good grasp on them. It is with his +1, that things get totally fucked up.
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN DO META
Frater UD posited the Meta model as a way of explaining why magicians adhering to each of these models work. He posits that the Meta Model is not really a model but an instruction on how to use the other models. “Always use the model most adequate to your aims” is the way he sums it up.
This sounds good right?
Wrong. It totally fucks up the whole thing.
Why? Because by suggesting the need for a meta model to bridge the gap between the other four, you have effectively suggested that the other four are models that attempt to explain ALL magic. By suggesting you need to use “A Model” in your magic, even if you get to jump from one to the other by being “meta”, you neglect the idea that all of these have separate but complementary roles in magic.While certainly some people did think this way, it was not the predominant thinking even just 15 years ago. When I was coming up it was a given that Spirits, Energy, Mind, and a more subtle Informational Level ALL had a role in magic.
It is also not particularly traditional despite assertions to the contrary. My primary training is in Tibetan Buddhism which has a strong emphasis on all of these factors playing different but complementary roles in thje same rite.
Think about it. Your car runs on gas, electricity, oil, and water. No gas and the engine wont run. No electric and it wont start. No oil and it will seize. No water and it will overheat. Suggesting that we need a “Meta Model” to deal with spirits, energy, mind, and information is like suggesting that we need to flip back and forth in believing our car works entirely by gas, entirely by oil, entirely by water, and entirely by electric.
In the past few years I have seen more misunderstanding, and even some actual harm, come from the need people feel to cleave to one model or another. It was not meant to be like that.
In Frater UD’s defense, he does warn against people getting too literal about the models. That warning seems to have largely fallen on deaf ears of people who are either looking for one grand way of explaining everything despite evidence to the contrary OR by people who really like to be meta about fricking everything. I am now at the point with “meta” in magic that I am with the names raven and shadow in Paganism: enough already!
SCREW META, BE MEGA
It is time to drop the over-thought and over-complicated. It is time to plus size our models! We don’t need to be meta. We can be Mega. One big issue I have with magical thought is that it makes the universe seem so small. One explanation for how magic works. One model with seven levels to cram all of existence into. Its BS. I would like to see the Post Chaos world adopt a Mega Model.
This Mega Model would state:
1. The Multiverse is no large that we not only dont know everything about, but we can’t know everything about it. At least not at our stage of human development.
2. The same applies to the nature of Gods and Spirits. The fact is that if you have a lot of experience with them they can behave like parts of your brain, like separate beings, like friends who are just hanging out, or like forces so great that it would be more accurate to say that we exist in thjeir brains rather than they in ours. In short lets EMBRACE THE MYSTERY instead of rushing top half assed explanations that don’t fit the evidence but which screw up our future experiments.
3. Spirits, mind, “energy”, etc all have a role in magic. Attempts to explain all magic with just one of them consistently fail. The exception might be Patrick Dunns Semiotic Model, but this is akin to stating that all things and constructyed of just a handful of subatomic particles and four forces. Technically correct on a very microcosmic level, but once the structures get complex enough, we need macro models to describe how to work with them. Perception may indeed be the underlying reality, but that does not negate or help very much woith the more relative reality that presents itself in terms of energy, spirits, astral work, and mental action.
4. By all means we shall attempt to explore and experiment and put forth ideas and models. The difference is that we must not allow our models, even the meta ones, to fool us into thinking that it is the absolute truth.