by Fenwick Rysen
(Published in "Kaos Magick Journal" Summer, 1999)
I'm not sure whether I should be worried or not. You see, Chronos is a nice enough God of Time, but he is a bit old and I'm not sure he stands a chance against what's about to hit him. Of course, he has enslaved all of Western society to the clock, so maybe he deserves it, but still yet I feel kind of sorry for him.
You see, it all started when I began playing with the idea of time magick. Not that I'm responsible for what's coming, mind you--- I'll pass the blame off to Fotamecus before anyone blames me. I turned him loose a long time ago, and I take no responsibility for his actions, especially with him ranting "Chronos, your time has come" every time I see him. Perhaps I should explain.
My own involvement with time magick was actually quite accidental. One day I got to thinking about time and how it flows, and how each hour is supposed to be the same length as all the others. Yet this didn't make sense to me--- sometimes an hour flies by as if minutes, and other times it drags on for ages. The end result of the thinking ran something like this: If we can use magick in any area of our lives, and if Time is a mutable substance, why can't we use magick to mess around with time? And thinking usually gets me into trouble sooner or later.
So one afternoon, running behind schedule, the thought passed through my mind to use magick to speed the journey. Listening to the radio as I drove down the freeway, I created a suitable Statement of Intent: "Force Time Into Compression." Because driving doesn't lend itself well to artistic sigilization, I instead reduced it to a four-syllable mantra that I could chant to radio music: "Fotamecus". Despite little preparation, it worked exceptionally well, and I thought that this would be the end of it.
The next day a good friend of mine, Quinn the Mad Prophet (don't ask), approached me and asked about sigilization techniques a la Austin Spare. Requiring a demonstration sigil, I chose to use "Fotamecus", explaining the previous day's success with it. From the mantra, I created an artistic sigil that Quinn put in his wallet for future reference, inadvertantly placing himself under its influence. Many stories of truly rapid transit followed, culminating in a Metallica concert where Quinn's goal was to "suck up all that free gnosis."
All of that free gnosis that Quinn sucked up was dumped into the Fotamecus sigil to speed the trip home, and a two hour journey took only thirty minutes. Even more surprising, the energy was enough to push the sigil over the border to servitorhood. I've used this technique before, of feeding a sigil enough gnosis until it created an independent servitor, but neither the Mad Prophet nor I had ever done it by accident. So without a home and with nowhere to go, the Fotamecus servitor, young and unintelligent, started following us around. Whenever we needed to compress or expand time we would feed it a bit of gnosis and it would do the job. It started "growing up" as we fed it, growing a little more intelligent and a bit stronger each time we used it. We thought this good and well, for the stronger he got the better he did his job.
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1996, I crammed with six other chaotes into a van headed for Death Valley. Calling on Fotamecus while in the San Francisco Bay Area, we travelled fifty miles in fifteen minutes through both heavy traffic and the MacArthur Maze, the most dizzying interchange of highways known to man. Immediately after Fotamecus began to work, we lost a car of friends that had been following us.
Even though we killed 45 minutes at a rest stop afterwards, when we re-entered the freeway we met right up with the other car even though they had never stopped. We thought the magick had worked very well until we received the backlash later that day.
For time compressed, an equal amount of time was expanded. The balance was kept. Travelling at sixty miles an hour, a fifteen mile stretch of desert highway took nearly an hour to cross. If we had already reached our destination, the expansion would have been fine, but Fotamecus was only able to hold off the backlash from the initial compression for so long.
After several similar events we mulled over various ideas to correct the problem of backlash and hit upon the idea of viral servitors--- the key to a process of mutation that would allow Fotamecus to eventually grow beyond our control. We worked several rituals in which we altered the sigil to make it possible for Fotamecus to make copies of itself. These copies wired themselves into a network that made them incredibly effective at preventing unwanted side effects. If one of them needed to compress time and another to expand it they would pass it off to each other through the viral network, maintaining balance and reducing the possibility of backlash.
Our only problem was that we didn't limit how large the network could grow. There was no check against it--- nothing to keep it from getting out of our control. And the only problem with a reproducing virus is that sooner or later it mutates.
It was about this time that news of Fotamecus started spreading through the Internet, and an online graphic of the sigil was printed out by many for personal use. Hundreds of copies were spawned and the power of the Fotamecus Viral Servitor Network continued to grow.
As the network grew, so did the power of Fotamecus. The whole thing started acting less and less like a legion of indpendent servitors and more and more like an individual entity. He started showing greater signs of intelligence--- he would hold interesting conversations, show up when needed without request, and applied greater precision in his use of time manipulation to get the most mileage from the least effort. It became obvious to the Mad Prophet and I that he was slipping out of our control and was about to become something else. The mutation had begun, and there was little we could do to stop it.
Only a year after his initial creation, he ceased to be a network of pieces and became more than the sum of his parts. His parts were still identifiable, but they were becoming less and less distinct. The viral network itself was now stronger than the individual servitors, and looked more like a spirit in its own right with each passing day.
The full mutation took place during the hour long Midnight to Midnight when Pacific Daylight Time became Pacific Standard Time in October of 1997. Using mundane time expansion of an hour that didn't technically exist, we performed a ritual in his name that was designed to charge him with power for whatever use he saw fit. Seven people and one smashed clock were the only witnesses to the ritual.
For three days he just disappeared. Petitions for help went unanswered, conversations were one-way talks to nothingness. Divination confirmed that yes, he was still alive, but that no, he wasn't responding to anything. So we waited, and three days later he rose from the dead more changed than we had ever expected.
Many chaos magicians speak of spirits as spanning a continuum of power from the tiniest unintelligent servitor, to egregores of moderate power, to godforms capable of controlling entire cultures. In one popular theory, all godforms were at some time on the short end of the stick, and through constant use they amassed power and rose from servitor to egregore to full status as a godform. When asked how long this takes, many chaotes shrug and guess that each step takes decades or even centuries. I would say that this grossly underestimates the potential for their growth, for when we next saw Fotamecus he was no longer a puny little servitor but an egregore powerful enough to shrug us off and make his own demands.
I still don't know what allowed him to cross that boundary. I suspect that when you give a servitor enough energy from enough different people it will become an egregore, much as a sigil can become a servitor after being the recipient of strong gnosis. But similar egregores I had dealt with in the past had not been nearly as strong as Fotamecus had become, though it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise. By this time, there were hundreds of people using him daily around the world, each of them feeding him a little more power with each use. Along with the ritual performed during the Daylight Savings time-change, it was enough to push him over that border with change to spare. He reintegrated the individual parts as his limbs, while the network became his mind. Granted, he wasn't a very strong egregore yet, but he had plans of his own at this point, and he would have been difficult for any one individual to control.
Lucky for us he was friendly and wasn't about to take revenge for any perceived abuse suffered as a servitor. Instead he showed up, let us know of his egregore-hood and what was going on, and then faded into the background from where he would manipulate events. One could petition him in the same manner as before, but his skill at time manipulation had reached mastery. Oftentimes he showed up unrequested, giving help before we could think to ask for it. There were even times when he was strong enough to get us to our destinations before we had left for them. Certainly not the work of a puny servitor!
I don't see much of him anymore, but he does show up when I need him. He usually has a better idea of when I need him than I do. And sometimes he just drops by for a chat. At 2 a.m. sitting in a Denny's just a few weeks after attaining his egregore-hood, I had a particularly revealing conversation with him. It seems that he's not satisfied with being an egregore--- he wants to head for godhood and the only thing standing in his way is Chronos.
Chronos, god of fixed time--- his talismans are the timepieces that control our daily existence, his clocks are the prison guards to which we have become slaves. And never do we question his authority. But what could some upstart servitor with delusions of grandeur hope to offer?
In my own case, my full-time job became much more pleasant when I began to compress the entire day with his help. An eight-hour day felt like four or five, and this compression was fed back as expansion of my free time. A two hour lounge around the house often felt like three or four. If I needed more sleep, I would ask him to expand the night-time hours, and I would awake after five hours as if I had slept in late. So much for those last nagging doubts in my head that time is fixed and immutable. In this way does Fotamecus battle Chronos. We may be slaves to our clocks, but there is nothing to stop us from changing the flow of hours within those clocks.
Word has spread. More and more people are using Fotamecus every day, and with each new user he grows in power. Already he is plotting his attacks against Chronos with what seems to be a passionate hatred centered on vengeance for some unknown slight. He keeps muttering something about the millenium, and has told me on more than one occassion to keep an eye on London's Millenium Dome, which will hold more than 100,000 party-goers on December 31, 1999. Such comments are usually accompanied with the astral equivelant of a mischievous smile.
At this point I have a better relationship with him than I do with most gods I work with. And he seems to like me. Occasionally he pops up to tell me things to do for him, to get him out to more people or to give him ammunition for his war against Chronos. In return for a little publicity here and there, he helps me stretch those hours around the clock to get the most out of them. He even pokes me and prods me to write essays about him so that others will use him. By using his name as a mantra or by creating a ritual using his sigil to call him, he grows stronger day by day as new users feed him in return for his help. So sure, it may be neat to tell a story about how a servitor that Quinn and I accidentally created eventually ascended to egregorehood, but these days I feel more and more like I'm a servitor to Fotamecus that he feeds candy for being a good little magician. An odd relationship at best.
Fotamecus has been out of my control for a very long time now. I do worry a little bit about his war with Chronos--- I have absolutely no clue what he's got planned, and he's certainly not telling me. But to be perfectly honest, even if I am a bit worried, I've been enjoying the show. And with the millenium just around the corner it looks like it's only going to get better. This is what the Immanentization of the Eschaton is all about.