by Joel Biroco
from "The Exorcist of Revolution" (1986)
What is this world of hatred and strife and war and hatred and strife and war. Is it, perchance, a world of hatred and strife and war and of hatred and strife and war. The answer is YES it fucking well is and I want out. I want the underground of life where I am now, the underground of life. But where is this you may ask and how can I get there. Well, if you are working then walk Out straight away, get on a bus and go home and say fuck you employer and be quick with my last pay cheque. Say fuck to giving notice, if you can't walk out just like that then you won't be able to hack the underground. Then get yourself a garret to starve in and sign on the dole. Be prepared for being fucked around for weeks and months before you see any money, especially if you walked out on your job. Now say to yourself I'm finished with all that shit. So that's about the equivalent of dipping your big toe into the waters of the underground before wading in. Now stuff your central nervous system with hallucinogens listening to Beethoven's Ninth/The Cure/just about anything at full blast for months. Buy a second-hand aquarium and set it up in your garret, it doesn't matter if the glass is cracked you're going to use it for growing psilocybin cubensis mushrooms. When the weather gets warmer start sowing the marijuana seeds. Think of yourself as being on the run from the law, or forever one step ahead of the posse, or the landlord of a brothel. You're not "living" any more, you're "holding out". Then find an artform in which to work, start drawing in pen and ink, buy a battered typewriter. Become reclusive, don't shave, grow a beard, keep your hair unkempt, throw things on the floor, keep chickens in your room. Recite "Property is theft" ten times a day or until it seems obvious. Read books like Dostoyevsky's "Notes from Underground", Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London", Raoul Vaneigem's "The Revolution of Everyday Life" and Miyamoto Musashi's "A Book of Five Rings. Swot up on your Burroughs, Beckett, Celine, Kerousc, Coctesu, Rimbaud, Hesse, Poe, Baudelaire, Lautreamont, Nietzsche, Joyce, Stein. That's a decent start, now the water's up to your waist and the tide seems to be taking you further away from the shore and "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" seems strangely subversive. Now read "Desert Island BIFF" just to make absolutely sure you don't turn into a jerk. At this stage there are two directions you can go in - back to your parents' home and beg to be taken back in because you've found the big wide world too harsh, or onward. Or the former followed by the latter if you need a breathing space. Now get stuck into Crowley, read "Magick" and "The Magical Record of the Beast 666". Read the works of Austin Osman Spare and start casting sigils. Spend more on incense than clothes. In fact don't buy any new clothes at all. Give money to tramps even though you can't afford to on the grounds that you might be a tramp yourself one day and you're the kind of person who will be able to help you out of a jam. This is the way you start to see the world of the underground. Wall all around Central London every week or two and simply observe. Just stand and stare. Sit on the pavement in Covent Garden all day long watching people come an go, watch street entertainers and practice saying you're broke when asked for money merely by the look on your face, do it until it no longer feels like an affectation of poverty, feel what is rich about being poor. Never spend more than a fiver in one go unless it's in order to distribute your art, print your writings or produce a magazine. Eat less meals if by doing so you can have a more diverse range of Letraset at your disposal. Learn what can be done with lentils. After a while you'll start to experience the underground as a real place, and you'll get more and more enmeshed in it, then will come the point at which you can start making your own rules, you don't have to be a tramp, you don't have to be living with bedbugs for your only company, but as a result of enduring this kind of lifestyle for a while you'll learn to see what the underground is and you'll be able to move freely within it. You won't need more than a glance to pick out the pimps the plain-clothes cops the pushers the three-card-monty lookouts the spivs the touts the knifeboys the freelance journalists the computer whizz-kids looking for recruitment by a master criminal, all these people will tell you what they are uncontrollably. You, on the other hand, as a chaos magician, will have the subjective impression you project to others completely under control, you can at will project the aura of any one of the above and more, or blend invisibly as just another face in the crowd, according to your desires and purpose. Here is the secret of the underground - to merge - to stalk it without affectation. You can only merge into something when you know what it is you're trying to merge into, and there is nowhere where there are more lessons to be learnt than the underground, it exists on a different magical plane to that environment frequented by those who try to be magicians in the hustle and bustle of commuters, the nine-to-fivers. Magick works with greater effectiveness in the underground because the urgency caused by chaos is substantially greater than that experienced by those who immerse their lives in the framework of an imposed order. Just as an ordinary man has the potential to become a hero when thrust into a dangerous position by fate that he would have thought he was not up to if there had been time to think about it, so can an average magician become a great magician when his environment is chaos, the difference being that the chaos is deliberately procured and approached slowly and stealthily like one might try to walk past a sleeping tiger. One places oneself in dangerous situations carefully in order to gain the co-operation and strength of the tiger, and eventually its stealth - the merging with one's surroundings in order to walk unseen and unheard, to literally pounce upon the object of your desires. That is chaos magick.
Sure, you can be a magician in the world of work and mundaneness but you'll never be the kind of magician you could have been, a chaos magician is an underground magician, those magicians who tell you that you can be a chaos magician whilst still tied to conformity are simply those magicians who lack the strength and conviction to let go of their conformity, for which they have battled for years to possess through a misguided allegiance to hard slog. They are excited by the idea of chaos and of plunging themselves into it but they are afraid of letting go and so they make of their chaos magick something without chaos, something which can be carried on over a weekend in order to fit in with the demands of a working routine. Don't let anyone convince you this is chaos magick, don't let anyone glamourise magick of a lesser character through use of the epithet "chaos". Chaos magick can't be marketed and sold to the masses, it can only be lived. Anything else is nine-to-five magick, which you may use for securing payrises and promotion.
What your life is immersed in will be what you use your magick to affect. If your life is immersed in the underground and you become concerned about such nebulous subjects as rebellion and revolution and romance your magick will naturally be directed into this arena and enable you to live what others are only content to talk about. This then is the underground. If you are holding down a steady job and pursuing a "career" it also stands to reason that your magick, your drives and desires, will be fuelled to take you in a direction you think you want to go in, to further you in what you are presently pursuing, without regard to your more romantic hopes of which you are so convinced that you never make the slightest effort to realise them. No, onward to your very own mortgage and bank loan for that wonderful car and the ever more rabid consumption which follows as a natural result of following the path that you are following. Such people recognise art only through the emotion of acute jealousy.
It can't be helped and it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter to me that is, but it might matter to you if this is you I am writing about. What is, after all, your motivation for getting into magick, your motivation for reading a CHAOS text. Insight? Power? Most power-hungry magicians fuck themselves up sooner or later, so no doubt it is insight you're after. Ask yourself what insight there is in pursuing a useless career, kidding yourself that your high-flight aspirations lead to wondrous marvels. I'm not talking to the doomed, manual labourers and people who dig the roads and read electricity meters, I'm talking to those who glorify dead-end jobs in publishing, the media, banking, social work, advertising, and convince themselves their lives have meaning, purpose, and, above all, that most magical of dead-end words - prospects. Ask yourself, just how long will it be before you start buying your first shares? What a life! Give me the turmoil of chaos anyday, rather allow my magick to resemble the goings-on in a subterranean Chinese kitchen cum alchemists cave than the goings-on in your average air-conditioned office complex. Do you think about these things? Do you think you ought to think about these things? What do you want your life to be, do you know most people never ever think about this, rather they settle for the short-term option qf seeing something develop out of a lifestyle they hate, their catharsis being the accumulation of material goods. Ask yourself, what will ever develop out of an existence you hate? Isn't it better to turn your back on all of it and plunge yourself into a lifestyle you love and say fuck to poverty this is what I want my life to be, let my art be my catharsis for the malaise such poverty invokes. Isn't it altogether more likely that something will eventually develop out of a lifestyle you love, that your need to raise yourself above poverty will eventually be satisfied, by magical means, because you have had the courage to throw yourself into the driving urgency of chaos. These are all important things to consider. By all means be a nine-to-five magician, you don't have to be a chaos magician, it's not compulsory, but don't be a nine-to-five magician if you secretly desire to be a chaos magician because one doesn't lead to the other. This is the fundamental difference between chaos magick and other forms of magick and why chaos is the magick for now, for as long as now lasts. The magick that evolves out of chaos magick (for even chaos magick will only last as long as it does) will be the treasure of those who have had the courage to embrace chaos now,all the rest will have to content themselves with the realisation that they will be peddling a bicycle with a puncture uphill for evermore. Chaos is happening now, not next week, not next month, not next year. You can't get into chaos later if you've come across it now, this is your one and only chance, the only people who can get into chaos later on are those who are yet to hear about it. Real Pied Piper of Hamelin stuff this. You see, chaos is that thing which is instantly recognised by those it is meant for, that is what it is all about. If you are reading this and saying to yourself now that this is for you then find that strength within yourself to grasp it and make it your own. If you are reading this now and saying this isn't for me then that is because it isn't for you, you're an outsider who has got ahold of this publication by an unfortunate accident, so back off, that is an appropriate reaction. We will feel no sense of loss not to have your company I assure you, we will happen without you and inspire of you. If you can't see the urgency and what needs to be done then you are blind and I cast a spell to cast you into the pit. May Satan spike you with his dung fork and place hydrofluoric acid in your contact lense containers. You bastards live through what we do and what we die for, so we have no sense of regret in cutting ourselves off from you and saying "Fuck You Conformist!" What is it you conform to but conformity itself? Fuck You!