Color Magic

I’m probably not going to talk about what you think I’m going to talk about. At least not in the way that you expect.

Chaos Magicians love the number eight, being related easily to the chaosphere they hold so irreverently dear.

Pete Carroll has taken this and applied it to a color classification for “types” or “styles” of magic.

(Note: If you have read Liber Kaos already, this will be familiar.)

Carroll has identified eight colors, having stolen Terry Pratchet’s invented color of octarine and assigned it as the color of magic. In short, octarine is the color that you imagine pure magic to be. Carroll described it as a type of electric pinkish-purple. I see it as a deep silver-green color. It is different for everyone. And because Carroll repeatedly denounces astrology as worthless, he lists astrological associations with each of these colors as well (although he advises you not to use them).

He attributes octarine to “pure” magic, black to death magic, blue to wealth magic, green to love magic, yellow to ego magic, purple or silver to sex magic, orange to thinking magic, and red to war magic. Each of these categories represents not necessarily a direct color association employed in those types of magic, but a way of classifying various categories of magic based upon desired outcomes and means of operation. More significantly, however, is the way this color theory ties in to Carroll’s idea of the self being an amalgam of various selves and personalities which compete for primary attention — each of these categories of magic plays to a different “self” that exists within  the magician’s psyche.

Again, the irony is that the color associations seem to be primarily astrological, as Carroll is famous for denouncing astrology as worthless. But the associations of yellow to Sol, green to Venus, blue to Jupiter, black to Saturn, Orange to Mercury, red to Mars, and silver to Luna all fit very well and make correspondences much easier to develop.

This is a rather cursory explanation of this schema, and there is a lot more to be covered here. I will be treating each color separately in future posts so that I can go into more detail, so stay tuned.

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6 responses to “Color Magic

  1. Pingback: Color Magic | Practical Pagans

  2. I am too lazy to look to see if there’s any correspondence between Carroll’s scheme and the one in Bonewits’s _Real Magic_.

    I’ve gotten a lot out of PJC’a opus, and some good stuff out of Hine; I still use the techniques in Fr. U .: D.:’s _ Practical Sigil Magic. On the whole, though, I’m getting much more mileage out of traditional methods. I don’t generally think of Chaos Magic as a thing any more.

    • I’m not familiar with Bonewits’s scheme, so I can’t comment. Carroll’s scheme is related to the mode of gnosis he believes to be most effective in operating in those areas of magic, which is probably why he includes the astrological association.

      I’m going to disagree with you on the decline of Chaos Magic, though. I’ve seen it referred to and included in a lot of books on magic in general: Penzcak and Kraig both talk about it in their newer stuff. And a number of techniques developed by Chaos Magicians, especially Spare’s sigil techniques, are quite popular. I’d also consider much of the attention Pop Culture Paganism is getting now to be a result of Chaote thinking. So it’s still out there and influential (as far as I know Carroll’s Arcanorum College is still very active as well), although I will concede that much of it has been watered down.

      I think it is a very sad thing that one of the most useful aspects of Chaos Magic — Ego Magic — is the one most ignored.

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