I am honoured to publish this guest blog from arguably the first ‘independent’ Chaos magician; Julian Wilde, whose Grimoire of Chaos Magic (1985) remains an influential classic today.
I wrote in Grimoire of Chaos Magick so many decades ago that we all have to come to desolation row at some point, that bloated, self interested magical organisations will fail and that ability is more important than learning. I haven’t changed my mind.
I haven’t written anything like this for a long time. But I trust Nathaniel. I know his path and his heart. So here it is, my take, for what it’s worth.
Let’s keep it simple, shall we? No arcane lingo, no mangled Latin, no semi-psychological semantics. Clean, clear and direct.
We become what we hate. Our shadow draws inexorably towards that hated object – the fresh air and exercise type, the complacent professorial buffoon, the materialistic NIMBY. Against all professed preferences we are dragged at some point to that uncomfortable entrenchment.
And don’t bother to protest that it could never happen to you. It will. It’s part of the magic process, part of the inward growth – and any internal spur or burr – ingrowing toenails, tooth decay, cancers – they‘re all painful.
Life is a series of choices, of course. Some choices we make, some we don’t even know we’re making at the time. Either way, often the justifications for the choices come after the event. Our conscious minds don’t experience the three or four tenths of a second time lag between making a decision and becoming aware of making it.
We are, or become, what we choose or what we settle for.
Those who assert that this means that life is a matter of will are sadly mistaken. This kind of hubris will be punished. Those who think they can exploit others, including children and animals, will find that the world doesn’t work this way, or if it does, it eventually recoils our events back onto us with a force that’s (perhaps deservedly) heartbreaking.
Most people skid along on the surface of things. Their eyes, their ears, their fingers – they bounce off objects and people and situations. They don’t know what they’re seeing, or experiencing. Their sense organs are just organs of projection. Not enough data comes back. They think they know the apple – they just smell the skin. No depth. And where we’re heading, boys and girls, depth is all.
Indulge me. Picture in your mind’s eye a dark, shadowy subterranean cavern, the world of Pluto, Dis, Mahakala – any denizen of the underworld. It might be a classical bat cave, a urine reeking tube station, it doesn’t matter. Just go there. Now, this is the way it’s going to be…
You stand naked, cold, unable to move. You are judged. You don’t know why or for what. You are found wanting. No alibi, no excuse for any of your past actions, attitudes and choices is acceptable. You have no plea, nothing to bargain with, nothing to trade. You and all that you are and all you have is not enough. This is desolation. This is something in the face of which your will is totally inadequate.
This is not a masochistic exercise, an intriguing mental excursion. This WILL happen to you. This should happen to you. This is not a failure. This is a stage in the growing.
You can’t offer an alibi, you are not allowed, or are unable to speak. You can’t offer any kind of excuse, justification, any kind of “but..” You have nothing that anyone here wants – and they don’t want you either.
Twice upon a time I have signed my name in fearful piss and tears in this place. Twice upon a time I have swallowed the past and all that I expected. Twice upon a time I have swallowed all worlds, this one and any future worlds. Twice upon a time I have crossed that dark river of forgetfulness – there and back again – twice.
It all goes inside, inside – and this is how it comes out. Nothing changes and nothing stays the same. I am changed and I am not changed enough. This is also desolation. I am ejected, depleted, excreted from one world yet unable to be reborn into another, not able to bridge that void with what I carry. This is also desolation.
Rulers of the Underworld. These are psychic vortices. If we attempt to sail in those dark winds, if we venture or are carried too near these whirlpools of the psyche by arrogance, recklessness or carelessness we get sucked in. But why are these beings also called wealth bringers? What is it they can give you that you are capable of accepting? It’s not wisdom, or knowledge or some kind of power. You couldn’t hold that lightning in a jar.
I hate riddlers. I’ve become one. I hate people that ask questions and don’t at least offer a clue to an answer. I’ve become one.
But this isn’t to look clever. I give not a toss. I’m being sincere. I find no pleasure in anyone’s tears, pain or anxiety. This WILL happen. This should happen. This is not a failing.
But. Where’s your magical will now? The more you enter mythology, the less “you” there will be. And yet we have to live through these mythologems, these splinters of myth in order to find the treasures within. Every shake of the kaleidoscope brings a new pattern. And yet the same. How can this be? Because they are all a splinter of the same myth, the same venture into the Underworld. Something ventured, something gained. And lost.
Dis has something for you. How do you earn it? By desolation I’m afraid. By leaving the comfortable and/or exciting notions of what Khaos is. What you are. What magick is. And the gift these dwellers bring? Probably the same changes as I experienced. Lose it all, gain it all, realise nothing has changed and yet everything is different. Doesn’t sound like much – and it isn’t. It’s also everything. Fucking riddles!
See you in the Underworld. x