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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Magical Combat

I’ve been re-reading some advice from the great Frater Stokastikos regarding magical defense. Some of that advice is in line with what I have discovered or observed to be true on my own. Continue reading

In or Through Time

Donald Michael Kraig Presents a very interesting way of viewing and interacting with time: a personal Timeline.

While it is easily possible to map out historical events over time, it is interesting to note that we each have a personal time line. Even though we don’t constantly think about it, when asked we can see our lives as a linear series of events***. Interestingly, this is not merely philosophical. There is actually a physical location to our personal concept of time. Here is a simple exercise to discover your personal time line.

Step One. Think of a happy event from five years ago. Now, going with your first thought, point to where you hold that memory. It may be to your left or right, above or below you, in front of you or behind you. There is no right or wrong here, it’s just a location. If you can’t quickly determine where that past event is located in space, try to locate another event earlier in time, perhaps your birthday party from when you were five years old. If, after a few tries, you cannot locate a past event in space, ask yourself, “If I could locate this past event in space, where would it be?” Point to it quickly. Go with your first thought.

Step Two. Now imagine something taking place in the future. Going with your first thought, point to where you think it will be. If this doesn’t come quickly and easily, try a different event you hope will occur in your future. If its spatial location still doesn’t come quickly and easily, ask yourself, “If I could locate this future event in space, where would it be?” Again, point to it quickly. Go with your first thought.

Step Three. Imagine a line going from that past point in space to the future point in space. This is your personal time line.

I’m a big fan of Pete Carroll‘s theory that time is multi-dimensional, and that what we experience as the present is actually an intersection of probable pasts and probable futures. But Kraig’s model still works even with this understanding, with one problem: I don’t see a line to the future, I see several. My awareness of the probabilistic nature of time and my rejection of determinism don’t seem to let me keep that future location/time to a single option. Some of them are “heavier” or “thicker,” which I’m assuming means more probable, and some of them are very thin and trail off.

Oh, and my line doesn’t seem to go through me, but kind of by me. And Kraig addresses that as well.

For most people, the line is straight. It may go from right to left or left to right. It may go from your front to your back or vice versa. The present may be within you. That is, you may see the past behind you, the present going through part of your body, and the future being ahead of you. This may be on a diagonal. It may go from a lower height (relative to your body) in the past to a greater height in the future. Others may discover that the entire time line is outside of them. They can see it in front of them or turn to see it behind them, running from side to side. Or perhaps it runs along either of your sides, going from back to front or front to back, but never touches you.

[…]

For some people, their time line is completely outside of their bodies. They can see the entire line—past, present, and future—to their sides, in front or behind them, above or below them, etc. At no time does this imagined time line go through their bodies. [Most often, the time line for people in this group forms a line in front of them, going from left to right.]

To be a member of the second group, the time line goes right through you with the present being within you. My personal time line goes from a past that is below the center of my back, to a present that is within me at my heart, and on to a future that extends up and ahead of me. [The most common form of time line is like this, going from back to front with the present being within the body, but unlike my time line it is level.]

My timeline goes from left to right, swinging from somewhat behind me to in front of me and to the right. I think some of this is due to the orientation of my body as I sit at my computer: in facing north, and having spent the last seven years of my life in location west of here, I would expect my line to come from my left. The movement off to the right has interesting implications as to where I may end up living in the next year (although one of the potential lines curves back to the left).

And the fact that my line(s) moves past me but not through me is also interesting, and Kraig assigns significance to this.

If you experience your time line as completely outside of you, NLP describes you as being a Through Time person. The characteristics of a Through Time person include:

  • You are very aware of the value of time.
  • You are very good at planning.
  • You are precise at meeting deadlines.
  • Once you plan something for the future, you can quickly lose interest in it.
  • You may have little connection with the present and often ask what day it is.
  • Problems from the past can bother you for a long time.
  • You’re great at remembering past events.
  • You’re great at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, moon phases, etc.
  • You’re a great researcher.
  • You probably like “oldies” music.
  • You are punctual. If you’re late, you know it and may feel guilty.
  • You may often look at a watch or clock to check the time, although you probably have an internal clock that very accurately knows the time.
  • You have little patience for people who delay you.
  • Perhaps the most important question in your life about anything is, “When?” Answers that involve the past or future are far more interesting than those that involve the present.

If you experience your time line as going through you, NLP describes you as being an In Time person. The characteristics of an In Time person tend to be the opposite of those of a Through Time person and include:

  • You are the life of a party.
  • You only look at a watch or clock if you have to.
  • You get engrossed in what you’re doing and tend to lose track of time.
  • Being late to meetings and appointments is common. You may keep an appointment book (or have a secretary do it for you).
  • You may look at your appointment book and be shocked at everything you have planned.
  • You’re not good at planning.
  • If asked what you’re doing next weekend, you either haven’t planned it or can’t remember what you’ve obligated yourself to do.
  • You tend not to plan ahead.
  • You like to keep your options open.
  • You focus on the present and “live in the now.”
  • You enjoy whatever comes your way.
  • In the future, you may regret things you did in the past, but you don’t worry about it.
  • “Get over it” and “put it behind you” are two of your favorite types of expressions.

As with any binary system, there are some minor problems with this model. I have many characteristics of the “Through Time” personality, but some of the “In Time” as well. (Might this be related to how “close” the line gets without touching? Nah, most likely law of probabilities. I have many more of the Through characteristics than the In.)

This is an interesting exercise that suggests not only that we can perceive our awareness of time, but as Kraig suggests, we can work to change it. I can see traits on both of those lists that seem useful, and others that might seem not so useful. I’d imagine that practicing some of the traits of one personality style might help temper the other’s extremes.

I’m also curious as to how this exercise might be used to influence future possibilities. Perhaps making an effort to shift the future location of the line (or strengthen one possible line over others) would have tangible results.

Dedication to the Gods

Satyr Magos at Journey through the Obsidian Dream has a rather personal account of the culmination of his self-initiation/dedication:

As a lifelong solitary practitioner, I had never undergone any formal training or initiation. And although the work I have done over the last two years, formalizing and re-examining my training and practice, certainly counts for something, I had little idea what to expect. Would the ritual be transformative? Would it simply be an acknowledgement of my personal progress? Would it even work given the disparate practices of the people I had assist me?

The answer, in the end, was “yes” to all of the above.

Over the course of the ritual, I came into closer contact that I had ever anticipated with the gods I serve. I lost one guide, grown impatient with my slow progress. I … acquired? Was awarded? Met? What is the correct verb here? … another guide during my descent, and made amends with a Titan whom I had accidentally slighted. I was unmade and reassembled. Twice.

Recently I’ve become aware of complications in my own magical practice brought about by my newfound religious devotion. I dedicated myself to Mars and the Roman gods last March — an activity I undertook following several months of preparatory offerings and devotions. I am still working out the details of my devotional system, but make daily offerings to Mars, Venus, and Jupiter, with weekly offerings to the other gods of the pantheon depending on the day of the week. It seems to be working for now, but I imagine it will have even more meaning and power behind it when I establish a festival calendar.

Here’s the problem I’m having — adapting my magical practice to my new pantheon.

I’ve identified as a Chaos Magician for some 15 years now. Adapting from one magical practice to another hasn’t been too difficult for me, and I believe that Pete Carroll’s Chaos Magical Theory offers a satisfactory mechanism for how magic works and how it relates to physics. But I encountered one of the limitations of Chaos Magic: in my willingness to view beliefs as tools, I remained essentially an agnostic magician, and never had to fully deal with complete devotion to any one system of religious beliefs. (Perhaps that represents a failing on my part for not taking paradigm shifting to a high enough level. I suppose that discussion will come another day.)

There are two magical systems that I have dealt with extensively. One is a little known magical system known as Whytar (I can almost assure you that you haven’t heard of it), and the other is the more traditional Golden Dawn Hermetic system. Of the two, the latter has given me the most concrete results in terms of ritual work.

And I find that I can’t use it anymore. At least not without extensive modification.

Sure, I could switch paradigms and work in that system again, but to do so would miss out on a major point of religious devotion: dedication to the worship of a deity. I could work with ceremonial magic, but it would potentially offend my patron deity, and would certainly offend the Hebrew God that is the centerpiece of the Golden Dawn system. So I am left with two possibilities: 1) Drop the Golden Dawn system altogether; 2) Attempt to completely rework the system to fit with the Roman Pantheon.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I have not fully researched my ritual options. Surely, someone has already adapted ceremonial magic rituals to Greek of Roman pantheons. Maybe I should look harder first?

Perhaps I have failed as a Chaos Magician at another level: because of my comfort and success with the Golden Dawn system, I have not fully developed my abilities with other ritual systems. Whytar is great for energy work and other basic manipulations, and I’ve had some great successes with spellwork, but it has no real set ritual structure (at least I haven’t built one with it). Unlike Jeffrey, who works with shamanic visions and impromptu ritual work, I have little experience in such techniques. So I am left resorting to tweaked rituals I am familiar with, or developing new ones whole cloth.

I do, however, have a resource I never relied upon before. I can ask the gods and see what they suggest.