I’ve spoken before about The notion of aeons, written about in Peter J. Carroll’s Liber Null, though this is one of those chapters, and concepts, that has been largely forgotten in the popularization of Chaos Magic.
According to Carroll, humanity has passed through four great Ages or “aeons.” And the fifth, he says, “may develop into an Aquarian Age or a totalitarian tyranny” (p. 102.). We cannot know yet.
The first aeon, says Carroll, “was an age of Shamanism and Magic” in which man needed psychic forces in order for the “puny naked” human being to survive “the dangers of a hostile environment.”
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Now, I know that there are other systems of initiation that have nine degrees, thirty-three degrees, or some other number. But, here, I’m going to focus on the most common, the most traditional, and, I would argue, the archetypal system: that of three degrees.
For those who don’t know, “degrees,” in this context, are rituals of initiation — into, and through a particular group or society that will convey certain teachings about how to live life spiritually and how to develop one’s Self.
When we speak about “three degrees of initiation” you probably immediately think of Craft Freemasonry with its degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. However, there are other esoteric, spiritual organizations and movements that also have three degrees. These include Wicca; the modern Druid Order of Bardes, Ovates, and Druids; the Aesthetic Rose+Croix Order of the Temple and the Grail (which goes back to the French mystic and aesthete Josephin Peladan, (1858-1918)); some Christian esoteric Martinist Orders; and the Order of Knight Masons; among others.
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It might seem a rather bombastic claim to speak of the “forgotten teachings of Chaos Magic.” Take a look on Youtube or surf the net for anything related to that modern occult movement and you will find a lot of people either making insider jokes about magic (perhaps referencing Harry Potter) or talking about how to create sigils (by writing out a statement of desire (i.e., what you want to happen) deleting the repeated letters, and then abstracting the remaining letters into a kind of symbol or sign). It all looks quite trivial and, frankly, a bit silly.
Leaving aside the odd obscure classic, such as Ramsey Dukes’s SSOTBME: An Essay On Magic, the books that both defined and launched Chaos Magic were Peter J. Carroll’s Liber Null and Psychonaut (later repackaged as one book by Weiser). And in them are brief instructions on how to make sigils, as well as chapters on meditation, banishing, the evocation of spirits, invocation, and so on. (If you are specifically interested in sigil magic, and are looking for a more in-depth and advanced work on the subject, also check out Frater U.:D.:’s classic Practical Sigil Magic.)
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