The Chaos Warrior, Magickian and Psychopath
"I've got a pretty little mouth underneath all the foaming"
This piece contains strong language in places, and strong concepts; both of which, especially the latter, may be disturbing to some readers. It is also very long by comparison to other free things on this site- getting on for 6000 words. This article started out as being a brief review of Christopher Hyatt’s book; The Psychopath’s Bible (for link to buy see end of article), but the larger matters raised expanded out of all proportion and so it got bigger and bigger, dealing with good and evil; you know, those kind of monstrously huge questions... and Hyatt’s book became rather a side-issue.
I’ve particularly taken the angle from a magickal perspective - seeing as a lot of the readers of this site are involved in, or know something about it. It’s not a ‘moral high ground from which to judge the herd mentality’ as some egotistical mages and gurus would have it, rather it is just a different perspective, and probably equally skewed as any other.
“Chaos magic began to acquire a ‘sinister’ reputation... its ‘pick’n’mix/D.I.Y’ approach to magic was frowned upon by the ‘traditionalist’ schools... many people associated chaos with ‘anarchy’ and other negative associations, and ... some chaos magic publications were hyped as being ‘blasphemous, sinister and dangerous’ in a way that they were not, which proved all the same to be an attractive glamour for those who required such a boost to the ego.” (Phil Hine, Oven Ready Chaos, 1997,On-Line, p 10)
Especially when you start messing with dark Lovecraftian entities with more tentacles than you can count...
Hyatt’s book can be interpreted as a nasty, if not paranoid, take on the darker, Nietschean literal edge of Thelema- in the sense of “the slaves shall serve”, and Hyatt is perhaps best known as being a psychologist and magickal-discordian writer who was involved with working with Aleister Crowley’s former secretary (and himself latterly a psychotherapist) the late Israel Regardie in a lot of occult publications, through New Falcon Press in the USA.
“Out of Chaos arise the two prime forces of existence... the light power and the dark... these twin forces lie at the root of all mystic quests and all forms of magical and mundane action... They are the basic spiritual principles of the universe... adherents of one will always call the other black” (Peter J Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut. York Beach, Maine. Weiser. 1987, p 96)
So I decided to include a selection of what contemporary Chaos magicians and a few others think about the whole good-evil shebang, and threw in some of my own thoughts. Again, this is not a comfortable read: turn back here if easily offended. Before reading this it would be very useful for you to have read dear Uncle Ramsay’s online essay about New Age Man and ‘The Slime Warrior’, in his ‘What I Did...’ which is not online, but you can buy the print book from the link at the end of the article.
Still here? OK- the traditional ‘third warning’, as given in some initiatory schools: this is not a ‘fluffy’ article; it’s very nasty in places, proceed by your own will and your own acceptance of the consequences.
Hyatt proposes that the psychopath be called ‘the toxic magician’, and that he or she is fully aware of, and actively, amorally utilises the fact, popularised by Robert Anton Wilson www.rawilson.com that ‘you know how dumb the average bloke is, right? Well by definition (from the Bell Curve of IQ) half of the bastards are dumber than THAT!”. In other words, there are a lot of sheep out there to be fleeced, depending on the ingenuity and intent of the operator- i.e. if you are a “bad person” or not, or if your “morals” are “suspect”...
“That the question of prosaic morality and the gimcrack considerations of ‘white’ and ‘black’ magick should still seriously enter into the field of modern occultism is absurd. Only those people who are incapable of facing reality need to hold it back with blinkered beliefs about the immorality of ‘black’ magick. Such warnings smack of repressed desire, and reveal a twisted psychology which mistrusts itself so completely that it automatically condemns others who claim to use such power with impunity, unable to accept there can be such purity of intention.” (Stephen Sennitt, Liber Koth. Logos Press, Mexborough, Yorkshire, 1997, p 9-10)
So, we ask again in the good old (new?) 21st century, that post-modern chestnut of a question: what is Evil? A question that has baffled the best-educated minds of many generations, and the rest of us as well. I doubt that there is a philosophical solution, but everyone seems to have his or her own. What’s yours? A very suitable subject for bashing around in the forum (link below) , I think?
“Like Crowley, his more conventional peer, Spare showed that the way forward meant totally abandoning the stifling morality and religious accretions which had attached themselves to occultism. His sinister reputation rested on the fact that he was true to himself and would accept no restrictions conferred by society’s transient values” (Stephen Sennitt, Liber Koth. Ibid, p 9)
In the course of deciding just what to write it happened that a particular CD was played a lot- and had a great deal of resonance to the subject material: I’ve used the words (in boxes below) from the most highly relevant Nick Cave song to break up the paragraphs- the lyrics were taken from a Cave tribute site and so I assume they are considered to be public domain- if anyone knows different please let us know. As some kind of absolution for using the words there is a link to buy the CD at the end of this piece, and it’s great if you’re of that turn of mind; dark lyrics, some jolly tunes, a body count to rival any Schwarzenegger film and about the only place you’re likely to hear the fragrant and lovely Kylie Minogue and the somewhat less lovely (although fragrant in a different way I expect) Shane McGowan singing on the same record.
Hyatt says that every toxic magician, every manipulator, knows exactly where they are on the food chain at any given time. ‘While most modern magicians are horrified with the notion of controlling others, it is what the toxic magician excels at- it is being controlled by the status quo that horrifies him or her’.
I have also used a lot of book quotes in here. I trust that I have not misrepresented those authors whom I have sampled, nor an I implying that anyone named or quoted is a psychopath or evil (or, indeed, sane and/or righteous; as that may offend them equally) and the quotes are certainly not to be read and assumed to be linked in any way to the song lyrics or any other quotes with which they are transposed- ‘there are no jokes or hidden meanings concealed therein’, as the saying goes; it’s just a bit of playing around with cut-up techniques. Don’t take my interpretations for gospel- acquire and read their whole book(s) if in any doubt as to the meaning of the quotes.
And if you are wondering whether you are ‘fluffy’ or not, there is a fun questionnaire on the web at http://www.geocities.com/not_all_there_93/humour.html
“White Magic leans more toward the acquisition of wisdom and a general feeling of faith in the universe. The Black form is concerned more with the acquisition of power and is reflective of a basic faith in oneself. The end results are likely to be not dissimilar, for the paths meet in a way impossible to describe.” (Peter J Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut, ibid, p 25)
I live in a town called Millhaven , And it's small and it's mean and it's cold, but if you come around just as the sun goes down you can watch the whole town turn to gold...It's around about then that I used to go a-roaming, All God's children they all gotta die.
You might say that Marilyn Manson is evil? Don’t make me laugh! A third-rate Alice Cooper copyist with a few mates in the Church of Satan. Rock’n’Roll was once a bit of a threat, but now it’s just another mask of business corporations. Expect the Marilyn Manson Xmas album and duets with Cliff Richard anytime now.... The toxic magician will not be a Manson fan, but they may well be preying on Mansonites- that kind of nihilistic surrender makes them ‘food’.
My name is Loretta but I prefer Lottie, I'm closing in on my fifteenth year, and if you think you have seen a pair of eyes more green- then you sure didn't see them around hereMy hair is yellow and I'm always a-combing, Mama often told me we all got to die.
Hitler was supposed to be evil; but as the misconception goes ‘at least he got the trains to run on time...’ And he was possessed by demons, right? Hmmm...
Brennan describes a supposed encounter between Hitler and a demon, supposedly based on a written account by an aide: “He (Hitler) wakes up in the night, screaming and in convulsions. He calls for help, and appears to be half paralyzed. He is seized with panic... ‘It’s he, it’s he... he’s come for me!’ Suddenly he uttered a string of meaningless figures, then words and scraps of sentences...He used strange expressions strung together in bizarre disorder...His lips were white; he was sweating profusely... then suddenly he screamed ‘There! There! Over in the corner! He is there!’ all the time stamping his feet and shouting” (J.H. Brennan, Occult Reich. London. Futura. 1974, p 58-59). The strange, disordered words are presumed to be a spell to control the demon.
Wrong... if you ascribe demonic possession to Hitler it had to go on for a couple of decades, which is unlikely, given that case histories of the seemingly few ‘real’ possessions show a comprehensive possession period of around 2-3 years as a maximum, and this being mostly so debilitating that taking over a country, making reasonably coherent decisions of state and then successfully invading most of Europe would be a little too taxing for most possess-ees. It also removes at a stroke any concept of free will from the equation, so if he was possessed then he wasn’t evil.... And what about Adolf’s minions, who were all ‘just following orders’...? Were they possessed too?
You must have heard about The Curse Of Millhaven- how last Christmas Bill Blake's little boy didn't come home, they found him the next week up in One Mile Creek, his head bashed in and his pockets full of stones... well, just imagine all the wailing and moaning, even little Billy Blake's boy, he had to die.
“Sacrifice has been used in the past to create fear or terror...blood sacrifice is most effective and most easily controlled by the use of one’s own blood... however, the power to control blood sacrifice usually brings with it the wisdom to avoid it in favour of other methods” (Peter J Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut. ibid, p 40)
“The toxic magician is not the cause of human suffering. Human suffering is the norm”. Hyatt, page 78.
This is a stance taken in some forms of Buddhism, too.
And just how do you measure fear? In an article elsewhere on occultebooks.com, Kate Hoolu suggests: “there is no reliable unit of measure of fear (although decibels of scream has been suggested!)”.
Then Professor O'Rye from Millhaven High found nailed to his door his prize-winning terrier...the next day the old fool brought little Biko to school and we all had to watch as he buried her- his eulogy to Biko had all the tears a-flowing, Even God's little creatures, they have to die.
What about Torquemada? De Sade? Hindley and Brady in the UK, Ed Gein in the US, that cannibal bloke in Russia? We’re not getting any closer, are we? Individual and instantly recognisable examples really only serve to indicate how few real ones there may be, if we have the definition right.... Whereas Hyatt has it that the psychopath lurks everywhere, in large numbers.... and his is a very plausible argument.
Our little town fell into a state of shock- a lot of people were saying things that made little sense- then the next thing you know the head of Handyman Joe was found in the fountain of the Mayor's residence: foul play can really get a small town going, even God's children all have to die.
Dear old Aleister Crowley of course was labeled as the wickedest man in the world, and generally considered by the press to be evil. His gnomic sex magick jokes about his very regular ‘child sacrifice’ (as a metaphor for masturbation) didn’t help his Public Relations face, and this is still ignorantly trotted out in lurid tabloid stories about black magic, in the guise of ‘proof’. But really Evil? Noooooooooooooooooo..... sure, he messed a few people up, but doesn’t everyone? He did at least have the consideration to deliberately never learn to drive, in the interests of general public safety.
Then, in a cruel twist of fate, old Mrs Colgate was stabbed but the job was not complete. The last thing she said before the cops pronounced her dead was, "My killer is Loretta and she lives across the street!" Twenty cops burst through my door without even phoning, the young ones, the old ones, they all gotta die.
“While we might echo the words of Hassan I Sabbah that ‘Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted’, acting totally from this premise is likely to bring you into conflict with those individuals and authorities who have pretty fixed views on what ISN’T permitted.” (Hine, Oven Ready Chaos, ibid, p 45, emphasis added)
Intent is a big factor in questions of good and evil. As the saying goes, a knife is neutral, you can use it to stab someone to death or perform life-saving surgery. Same knife, different outcome. Try to imagine walking around with a knife, either dressed in street clothes or robes and think what might happen... Even someone in operating theatre garb carrying a scalpel on the street is going to stir up some disquiet.
And of course there are all the moral dilemma-thought experiments: “suppose you can travel back in time and kill Hitler, would you do it?”
Try that one on a fluffy, pacifist friend... ha ha.
More complex matters arise... the ‘traditional’ Wiccan dogma is words to the effect of “providing it harms no-one, do what thou wilt”... which is fine up to a point, but I like to add the codicil of “unless it’s in self-defence, then anything goes and the last one left standing wins, motherfuckers”- this attitude has upset a few of my witchy friends, defining self-defence is also a moot point- especially when it comes to pre-emptive, preventative actions. Difficult ethical decisions, and this is central to a novel about Black Magic in 1990s Britain that I’m dawdling along, trying to write.
Yes, it is I, Lottie. The Curse Of Millhaven- I've struck horror in the heart of this town- like my eyes ain't green and my hair ain't yellow: it's more like the other way around...I’ve got a pretty little mouth underneath all the foaming, Sooner or later we all gotta die.
Michael Bertiaux, using the terms universe A and universe B for the worlds on either side of the magickal concept of the abyss, (we are in Universe A), comments on evil:
“Evil does not exist in Universe ‘A’, and in Universe ‘B’ it does not exist. However when there is a relationship between the two universes, there is a possibility of evil coming into the world, into Universe ‘A’. That is why magicians who work along the lines of seeking contact with Universe ‘B’ are sometimes in a situation where they convey the impression of being ‘Black Magicians’ or else of being ‘dangerously evil’ or ‘perverse and unnatural’” (in Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden, Skoob, London, 1994, p 251).
And of course the tabloid public perception is that we are all evil anyway- that magic is black, black, black... and it’s in the papers, so it must be true, right?
Since I was no bigger than a weevil they've been saying I was evil, that if "bad" was a boot, that I'd fit it...that I'm a wicked young lady, but I've been trying hard lately... AWW FUCK IT! I'M A MONSTER, I ADMIT IT! It makes me so mad my blood really starts a-going, Mama always told me that we all gotta die.
The spoof and pseudonymous Satanist Hugo L’Estrange provides a useful platform for the expression of outwardly noxious ideas of magical and social behaviour, expressed in a humorous form to defuse the likely outcry which there would have been had his views been perhaps offered as a ‘serious’ magazine column, or even as practical suggestions for magickal working. However some folk just can’t take (or often, even SEE) a joke, so I asked ‘Hugo’ how much the original columns in the 1980s had upset the occult fraternity:
“(We had) very little mail response ...in (Aquarian)Arrow - I made some up myself. It really suited the readership. Many people said they only bought Arrow for the column! I did get one person who took it seriously and asked to be introduced to a Satanic order. I prepared a spoof response which was a recommendation to contact his local Pentecostal Church - pointing out that they were very paranoid about their cover being blown so he would have to go along with their public facade for at least a year before they introduced him to the 'inner satanic elite' - but I never sent it off because I'd decided it would have to go out on notepaper from The Bell Inn at Aston Clinton (a former lodging of Aleister Crowley), and I never got there in time. The Hermetic Journal was a different matter, far more precious. It (the Satanist’s Diary) only ran to one edition there ... it met a lot of shock reactions”.
A correspondent complained, apparently in all sincerity, that having such a Diary in the Hermetic Journal was “like pissing in a church”. This may have been an isolated case, as the diary had other occultists guessing as to how much levity was involved, it seems:
“Years later (under my ‘real’ name, not as ‘Hugo’) I met someone at some astrology event. We discovered an interest in alchemy. The Hermetic Journal came up and the guy said ‘you know there was always one thing that puzzled me about that mag, one issue contained a piece by a Satanist and it never happened again - did you hear about that? I've always wondered what was behind it and whether it was for real’ ” (Hugo L’Estrange, personal communication, June 2002).
Yeah, I drowned the Blakey kid, stabbed Mrs. Colgate, I admit, did the handyman with his circular saw in his garden shed, but I never crucified little Biko, that was two junior high school psychos- Stinky Bohoon and his friend with the pumpkin-sized head, but I'll sing to the lot, now you got me going... All God's children have all gotta die.
“Chaos, the life force of the universe, is not human-hearted. Therefore the wizard cannot be human-hearted when he seeks to tap the force of the universe. He performs monstrous and arbitrary acts to loosen the hold of human limitations upon himself.” (Peter J Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut. ibid, p 66)
Hyatt advises (p 84) “people will always associate whatever precedes an event as the cause of that event. As such always let your presence precede a happy occurrence and always let someone else precede a painful one.” This book is a very advanced overview of human psychology, game theory etc., and how to use those elements of human nature to your own advantage- a non-moral, neo-Darwinistic evolutionary overview of what makes us tick, and how sometimes we can be made to ‘tock’ instead.
And nature is not ‘evil’ as such. The standard example given of the cruelty of nature is those species of wasps who lay their eggs in the heads of other insects; debilitating to, but not killing them, so that when the babies hatch out they have a live meal waiting. Not evil, just a brilliant piece of evolution. Some have compared this process, metaphorically, to modern education, too...
There were all the others, all our sisters and brothers; you assumed were accidents, and best forgotten- recall the children who broke through the ice on Lake Tahoo? Everyone assumed the "Warning" signs had followed them to the bottom: well, they're underneath the house where I do quite a bit of stowing...even twenty little children, they had to die.
And I have surprised even myself that I’ve got this far down the pages and still not mentioned September the 11th. Ah well, here goes- isn’t it odd that we don’t need to add the year for people to know what that date means? This is similarly to the UK date of 5th November- most Brits (and many a tourist) know it’s to do with the historical plot to blow up parliament (not so far from the aims of the significant participants in 11-9, yeah?), but few could give the year, when pressed, I suppose. Maybe in future people will have to add a ‘2001’ suffix to Sept 11th, but not for a few years I guess. OK: so were the hijackers Psychopaths? No. Not by any medical definition, anyhow. And Hyatt’s book (predating the event by some years) was deriding terrorists for their lack of ambition, and suggesting that no-one has had the organisational skills to get a portable nuke into Washington DC. The New Falcon Publishing website was apparently rather contrite about this after the attack.
And the fire of '91 that razed the Bella Vista slum- that was the biggest shit-fire this country's ever seen: insurance companies ruined, landlords getting sued- all cause of wee girl with a can of gasoline... those flames really roared when the wind started blowing... rich man, poor man, all got to die.
I myself had a dig at the difference between terrorist and government in my own book (online free - link at end of article) from 1995, where I compared the disproportionate reputation for evil and subsequent treatment of Carlos ‘the Jackal’ and the French Government:
“It is generally accepted that political terrorists are evil people; one such evil man recently arrested in the Middle East was then taken to a large "civilised" European country for trial for his crimes committed in that country. It was revealed that in about twenty years of activity he had planted bombs which damaged a lot of property, and had also killed around 80 people. Obviously a very dangerous and evil man. At the time of writing he was due to be tried by the judiciary of a country that in the previous twenty years or so had been involved in numerous wars and armed attacks on (often defenceless) civilians, the "terrorist-like" bombing and sinking of an unarmed ship belonging to an environmental protection organisation while it was anchored on the other side of the planet from the country involved; the murder of countless of their own citizens for political and ethnic reasons and the sales of millions of dollars' worth of armaments to a large number of other countries for use in war; and in some cases having supplied opposing sides in the same war.All of which begs the question-when is this country to be tried for its' crimes, and by whom? No, of course that won't happen, acts of business, politics and protection from aggressors are not evil, but terrorism is. It seems that the sheer magnitude of the horrible acts of nations blinds folk to their real nature; terrorists generally kill small numbers of people with at least some accuracy (i.e. the intended political, commercial or religious persons that they wish to make dead) and blow up specific targets. Nation states indulge themselves in blanket bombings and worldwide mass murder in the name of ‘security’.Personally I do not feel secure in such a situation!This is not intended as an approval of any terrorist group, but in context they seem to be that fabled beast "the lesser of two evils", when compared to many a national Government.”
I still believe that. Less than 3000 civilians were killed by terrorists on 9-11 and yet how many Afghan civilians and innocents by Western carpet bombing since? Including a wedding party allegedly bombed from a safe altitude. Considering the supposed superior military intelligence held by the West it’s not very terrorist-specific targeting- they have killed precisely how many of the bad guys? Much in the same inaccurate and slipshod way that the various ‘wars’ (or turkeyshoots, as you will) in Bosnia and the Gulf were carried out. Another Gulf War coming to your TV screens soon, I expect... probably about 8 months before the next US elections are due, to be cynical. In any true, honest and thoroughgoing war on all terrorists we would be bombing France, Britain, Eire... etc; this action so far smacks only of a war against ‘terrorists’ coming from an alleged ‘axis of evil’ who are not of the same RACE as the perceived ‘good guys’.
Oh yes, and a digression about that inaccurate targeting in Bosnia- a computer-wise friend has suggested an intriguing possibility to me- there was an awful lot of Western military hardware shot at virtually anything-anyone in the 10 months leading up to the Millennium: leading to the possibly morbid speculation that the silicon chips in those bombs and missiles were not Y2K compliant, and realising this, the order had been made to use them up greedily and indiscriminately, including the missiles which were ‘duds’ – known to have technical faults before deployment, rather than have the embarrassment (financial and tactical) of scrapping them all on 1-1-2000. Plausible?
Well I confessed to all these crimes and they put me on trial, I was laughing when they took me away- off to the asylum in an old black Maria...it ain't home, but you know, it's fucking better than jail- it ain't such bad old place to happy-home in, all God's children they all gotta die.
“The trick is to see that joke... in the neutral and ghastly events which surround one... seek the emotion of laughter at what delights and amuses...in whatever is neutral or meaningless, ... in whatever is horrific and revolting...one can learn to smile inwardly at all things” (Peter J Carroll. Liber Null & Psychonaut. ibid, p 17)
Everyone has a dark side; which must be acknowledged. In some, myself possibly included, it is their BETTER side...
Now I got shrinks that will not rest with their endless Rorschach tests- I keep telling them they're out to get me: they ask me if I feel remorse and I answer, "Why of course! There is so much more I could have done if they'd let me!"- so it's Rorschach and Prozac and everything is groovy! All God's children they all have to die: I'm happy as a lark and everything is fine, yeah, everything is groovy and everything is fine: All God's children they gotta die.
“ ‘Automatic’ drawing gives your inner self a chance to get rid of repressed materials. This means that some of your drawings will seem terrible, sick, evil or disgusting. It’s not important whether you personally like them or not. The thing is there, and should be dealt with. Art gives you the chance to come to terms with...the demons that you’ve raised. Can you learn to look at them without fear or loathing? People who seek only beauty and harmony restrict themselves more than they can know. If you give body to your horrors you may heal yourself.” (Jan Fries, Visual Magick. Oxford. Mandrake. 1992, p 40; “demons” here meaning aspects of personality.)
I am conscious that this is (a) getting to be a very long piece, and (b) hasn’t reviewed Hyatt’s book per se. Well, yes it’s long. Tough, it’s a big subject, which can’t be done in five words or less. And Hyatt’s book is one of those compelling things, like looking at the scene of a car crash- horrible, but interesting, and I’m not sure I WANT to promote something that will increase the numbers of manipulators out there. We all do it at times of course, but this book is a manual of techniques that will make life a lot more interesting, and give some degree of daily power over people; which may or may not be a morally ‘right’ thing to do. Excellent psychology, well-written and very dark, subjectively. Equally it could be a self-defence manual (by being made aware of how the toxic magician works). So, it’s down to intent again. And Hyatt does warn of what happens when two toxic magicians meet...
Back to Evil: Ramsey Dukes has great essay about good and evil in ‘What I Did...’ (link to buy it below); and makes the very sensible point that no-one considers THEMSELVES to be evil- everyone thinks they themselves are doing good; even if the ‘other side’ labels them as evil.
A nice point on which to bring this rambling and lengthy discussion to an end. Please feel free to rant about this is the forum (link below) – this piece was never intended to be a definitive answer to anything; just to inspire some interesting questions. Over to you.....
“Despite the glamour, Chaos magicians are rarely completely amoral. One of the basic axioms of magical philosophy is that morality grows from within, once you have begun to know the difference between what you have learned to believe, and what you will to believe.” (Hine, Oven Ready Chaos, ibid, p 45)
You never know when you are speaking to the Devil, an Angel or an Illusion of either. Whatever any of those words mean. By the same standard, psychopaths aren’t necessarily evil, just different. And Hyatt is proposing to produce a Psychopath’s workbook- i.e. a practical manual of how to do it.
Pleasant dreams, my dears : )
Phil’s Oven Ready Chaos is free online (with a lot of other useful Chaos and Shamanic material) on his very excellent site
The page numbers given are from my print-out of the web file, and may be different on your printer, depending on page size, margins etc that you use.