Post Chaos Magic Part 2: PLUS SIZE MODELS!


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.


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.


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!


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.




About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to
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15 Responses to Post Chaos Magic Part 2: PLUS SIZE MODELS!

  1. Nice Nema painting to illustrate your post! …nice points you made as well… (it is after all To MEGA Therion, not To Meta Therion :)
    In Nomine N’Aton 939

  2. Scott says:

    I spent years jumping around these or similar models wondering to myself: Where is the “all of the above” option? or even the “none of the above” option. I’ve always felt that one of the trade mark skills to any witch, magician, energy worker, ect was to be able to hold multiple and even conflicting models and views in their head at the same time, not divide everything up into small parts and ignore the big picture.

    So thank you for a wonderful and insightful post

  3. Lonnie says:

    I hate those models. They never made much sense to me. They feel as of I’m supposed to choose one of these tiny little boxes to work with. No thanks.
    I agree completely with your first point. The multiverse is so incredibly mind bending! I get more magic, mystery, and a sense of awe from listening to brilliant minds in Physics dumb it down for me.
    Embrace the mystery. I’m on it.

  4. How wonderful this planet we all share as our home,
    with the robins in the springtime and the worms in the loam;
    Every single salmon has swum in the sea,
    and every single molecule is divinity.

    I like the engine model/modality. My magic relies on chi/energy to work well, but it also has taken a serious boost-up since I recognized the role that Spirits play in the whole system; information theory plays a huge role in how I do magic, and if information didn’t have a role, it wouldn’t work. And I need the mind “I” have in order to connect with the magic as it ‘is’.

    There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, though. Without rare earth metals, you can’t make spark plugs; without astrology, our magic tends to be slightly askew. Without chromium steel, your car don’t shine; without a little prestidigitation and legerdemain, the magic tends to have less flash and less buy-in from other attendees, and tends to be less effective.

    It seems to be the case that as much as “it’s all one thing”, there are many magical sub-systems and sub-stations that add to the complexity and beauty of the whole, and it’s impossible for us to know all of the elements that feed into the subtleties of that whole.

  5. runeworker says:

    I just always thought the meta model was the all encompassing model, that recognizes everything and lets you do what is pragmatic in the moment. But I like the Plus Size Model, (which made me laugh loudly when I read it. Awesome)

  6. wyrdling says:

    The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon…
    Obsession with models is like being enrapt by the map and ignoring the landscape…
    Reboot: Everything is true, Everything is valid!

  7. Zorku says:

    First off, and completely irrelevant to any points I am going to make:
    This lead me into the portmanteau “megamorphosis,” the situation that happens about ten minutes from the end of any power rangers episode.

    Maybe the people in the magic community that come up with these meta models are kind of being dicks about what “meta” means but I’d think instead of insisting that water is 100% of what drives the car forward that currently the lack of it in the radiator is the bottleneck that’s stopping other components from running, and will remain the real issue holding it back within a certain level of water in the radiator. Likewise an excess of water in the fuel tank, or within the cabin could likewise prevent an adequate level of gasoline from being enough to move the car forward.

    Than and models aren’t ever supposed to tell you exactly what’s going on with reality, just a very accurate picture of it, provided that variables remain within assume ranges (like how you assume that a car’s battery is not filled with tapioca pudding but rather that the anode and cathode stick into reservoirs of metalic ion compounds that can transfer a charge between each other with at least a couple of amps to drive the process. No sane model for car batteries is going to describe this tapioca situation- the closest they would get is when the battery charge is depleted, but these are far from identical.)
    Anyone that thinks they are making a model to describe exactly what is happening in reality and everything that can influence it… has no business coming up with models.

    Technically we’re not supposed to need higher scale explanations that the subatomic particles, it’s just that the level of calculation to deal with some many particles is quite oppressive when you want to work with comparably large scales. Plus it’s a total bitch to get accurate enough measurements to mirror real world objects- the smallest errors tend to magnify through the interactions so the whole thing falls apart if you don’t have it perfect, which is probably not just difficult but actually impossible for such particles.

    If you’re especially familiar with mathematics though, a lot of the emergent properties that arise from these fundamental bits are not quite so difficult to get at from that level. I doubt you can make all of chess strategy readily visible from just the description of the way the pieces can move, but it isn’t all so far out of reach either.

    Lastly I’m having a bit of difficulty recognizing what you mean by energy. How is it separate from the mind or spirits? I get that you might not be able to give real world examples of “pure mind” devoid of any presence of the others but I would have thought that spirit referred to everything going on with a person that wasn’t just all that material fluff that has so little to do with magic. That the mind is a spirit or that spirits are everything about the mind other than mundane energy.
    (Sure I think these descriptions are all a bit silly but still, I’m not trying to impose my views here but understand how you piece it all together.)
    But anyway it is a bit of a problem because I only know how spiritual people define these things in relation to each other- generally one being a category that contains the other two.

    • Zorku says:

      If nothing else can anybody clear up the mind spirit energy triumvirate for me?

      • inominandum says:

        I am headed to bed. But basically when I am talking spirits, I mean non-physical entities.

        Energy is a bit of a sticky wicket as it does not really mean energy in the sense of physics – that is more or less a metaphor. But think Chi in Martial arts, or Prana in Yoga, but taken to a more subtle level and your are on the right track.

        I do apologize for not having the time to comment as much as I would like.

        • Zorku says:

          Those still place it inside the category of mind, though I guess if you think that spirits can also have varying aptitudes for channeling energy (as opposed to being made entirely of it or not at all of it,) then it’s sort of fair to call it an independent category on its own.

          With chi though, I usually get the impression that it is (defined to be) exactly the same thing as anything else in the mind, just with some specific organization that allows it to create these various extra-material effects, over the usual background noise.

  8. Well said.

    I have long been struck with the parallel between academic deconstruction/post structural movements and the analogous logic of the chaos magick movement. Both were a dialectical response to a theory that had become unhelpfully reified, stuck. Both served their purpose of taking the Legos apart, and what is next is Apollonian play and the resulting diversity functional structures.

  9. Kurt says:

    Though a little bit offtopic… any chance we get to see Archonoclast or Zangthal up again?

    • inominandum says:

      Zangthal – Maybe.

      Archonoclast – No. My interest in mystical Christianity steered away from Gnosticism (at least in that 2nd century, dualistic, demiurge and archon sense) very shortly after beginning that blog. Nowadays my thinking is again much more Buddhist overall, and the Christian mystery for me now revolved around the ideas of the sovereign Priest King and rebuilding the temple within. This figure is most importantly represented by Melchizedek and Christ, but also in later tradition such as the figure of Prestor John.

  10. Pingback: PCM Project Update « The Razors' Edge | everything is true, everything is permitted.

  11. Immanuel 644 says:

    a brilliant post and summarizes my own frustrations with this nonsense. I think people were struggling too hard with this nonsense to justify their experiences fitting in with their preconceived notions of what magick is and should be… and thge psychological model has done more damage to magick than the others. I have seen many aspirants progression completely bottleneck because of their bullheaded adherence to “it is all in my head, I just don’t know how big it is” line of reasoning. As above, so below doesn’t mean… you are all there is and just as you are the god of your own reality so is Lydia of her own, independent reality and by the axiom of Hermes Trismegistos… the same is true of Gabriel and Asmodeus….

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