*NOTE: This requirement expects you to describe methods you find most appealing, not the ones you most commonly use. I mention this because there is some stigma attached to the modes I find most appealing, and I would like to state that, except for Chaos Magic (which I use often), I very rarely have applied the other modes, and when I have, I have generally applied things I have learned from
studying those modes, not the modes themselves.
Chaos magic is a mode that I find remarkably appealing, and it is my primary method of working magic. Chaos magic is magic without a solid belief system, without set rules, and with a single, strong focus: results. The best way to describe chaos magic is as "results-driven" magic: it is magic that gets results, and it is the pursuit of those results that makes it truly special and unique among magical systems.
Rather than focusing on the traditional "hows" and "whys" of magic, it focuses solely on the "whats": What do I want to accomplish? What is the end result? What cause can I use to create the effect I want?
It is the asking of these questions and the neglect of the traditional questions that makes chaos magic so unique.
This focus on results tends to rip away a lot of the normal "trappings" of magic: magic is no longer a difficult, arcane, pompous affair. It is now simplified, devoid of the hidden rules that control magic in most paradigms, and common in its application. Deities are removed from the picture, beliefs are re-shaped, and the concept of "belief" as something desirable for the sake of "faith" is completely discarded: "belief" is now nothing more spectacular than a tool of the magician, useful only to achieve her aim.
As a result of this "stripping down" of the various systems of magic, something called "paradigmal piracy" is created. This sort of "high seas" magic is a system of raiding the belief systems of others for useful things, discarding anything that is not immediately useful, and occasionally keeping something just because it "looks pretty". A Chaote (chaos magician) might expend a lot of effort in order to obtain the one, valuable piece of his puzzle to finally obtain his results: they have been known to study for years with covens or local groups in order to discover useful methods of achieving their aims. This often leads to Chaotes being labeled jerks (or
worse), because often the Chaote will leave the tradition's teachings behind as soon as he has what he wants, or else he will simply pick and choose what he wants to learn.
Chaos magic, though, has a central advantage of opening up a wide variety of
possibilities that no other tradition of magic can offer: not only are you suddenly able to work in any religious tradition or magical tradition in the known world, but you are also able to work in any tradition that can be made up with equal effect and comfort.
While every Chaote knows that Cthulhu, for instance, is a fictional creation of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a Chaote is also completely capable of working with Cthulhu should he find a result he desires that matches with the Mythos.
I have spent several years now, nearly as many as I have been in ADF, using chaos magic. Primarily, I utilize the piracy aspects of this system, learning to navigate the waters of belief and weather the storms of change. It has given me a system of tools for interacting with other pantheons, both in ADF ritual and in every day life. I have no issues working in any other religion in general, and switching from a Gaulish to Irish, Norse, or Vedic pantheon is simple within ADF, so simple that I do not feel disconnected from any ritual I attend simply because I don't know the deities involved.
I have also learned a lot about respect for others' belief systems, which seems a bit backwards sometimes. The wide experience of encountering and using the beliefs of others is what has really given me a handle on this, and that has been a
primary use of this mode of magic for me over the years.
Sex magic, for me, has always been a "magic of potential" rather than a "magic of practice." I have studied it extensively, and enjoy holding long, explicit (yet matter of fact) conversations about this mode of magic, but I have rarely ventured into the physical realms of trying to use it with or without a partner.
Centrally, I like to think on the possibilities sex and sex magic can create and sustain. I enjoy looking at the concepts involved, thinking about why they work, and finding creative ways to apply them to other forms of magic. My own opinions on sex, though, are that sex is not something to be shared with just anyone, and the level of pickiness I have for my partners has impressed a number of people.
I do not find that this magic is religious in nature. There is a lot of information out there on "sacred sexualities" and various other statements that generally just rub me the wrong way: talk of the lingam and yoni just fails at being sexual and mostly just sounds funny to me. Instead, I prefer to see this magic as strongly
independent of religion for the most part, though I can generally see how religion can be worked in. I just don't see it as a primary motivator.
Of course, I cannot go far into this explanation of "appealing modes" without mentioning the obvious: I am interested in sex, and my interest in sex magic is an extension of this particular interest. It's an occasion of combining two things that I like to think about and practice in one neat package.
Part of my interest is in sex as both creative and as loving. Sex is loving, of course, because of the love we put into it. Sex is creative, of course, not only because of the obvious aspect of the creation of new life, but also because sexual fantasy and sex in general spark creative thought (often, this thought is uncontrolled and undirected, and I'll get to that in a second). And so we end up with an act that is both loving and creative, and there's not much bad you can say about such an act.
Orgasms, of course, are amazingly powerful forces. We all know this because we seek out that experience almost as often as we seek out the experience of religion. Chaotes call the state of orgasm a state of "gnosis", which is the Greek word for "knowledge". It is in the moment of orgasm that we are open to imprinting, to changing our reality in many ways.
Sex magic is centrally concerned with directing and channeling the forces of love and creativity, both experienced during orgasm, into an expression of Will and intent.
I do not use this sort of magic often: for me, it is mostly an extension of my chaos magic work, rather than as a mode all its own (though I find it personally distinct from other modes). It is, as I mentioned above, mostly something private, personal, rather than something shared. I have a feeling that this is because I have a definite worry about my own personal intent when I start to think about sex magic: I ask myself why I am doing this kind of magic. At the back of my mind is the ever-present notion that I'm just doing this to "get laid", which is not at all a proper reason to do sex magic. It is too powerful to use without thought.
My primary use of this form of magic is as an extension of sigil magic, which I first learned my freshman year of college. The easiest method of firing a sigil is to orgasm (because that is the easiest way to
achieve gnosis), and so sex magic figures primarily into that process, rather than any other process.
Defixiones, more commonly called "curse tablets" or "agonistic spells", have interested me since I first heard of them in Fritz Graf's course on magic, taught at Ohio State. I fell in love with their simple complexities, the nuances of their creation and casting, and the theories behind them.
"Defixiones" is a Greek word, but it can be applied to any sort of curse tablet you might come across. Generic defixiones might be made of lead, inscribed on both sides, impaled with a nail, buried with a dead child, and addressed to a variety of
The tablets are made of lead because lead is a heavy, base metal. Often, the text of the message references the material of the tablet: "May you be weighted down as this tablet is weighted," it might say, or, "As this tablet sinks to the bottom of the well, so may your dreams." The tablet itself was a sort of physical representation of the effect it will have.
Most of the time, the tablet will be inscribed over its entire surface, usually exhorting a number of deities, powers, and spirits to visit various terrors or pains upon the target, who is nearly always named (though occasionally, the name is unknown, so "whomever" replaces the name of the victim). It is interesting to see just how many powers a magus will summon to exact his revenge or attack his enemy.
Often, there is a square hole in the tablet, and an inscription that reads something like, "As I drive this nail into the tablet, so too may N son of N become
immobilized and be unable to move or rise up." Here again the ritual action mirrors that of the action expected at from the spirits and powers: as the tablet is nailed to the ground (or a tree, or whatever), so too is the victim.
Often, defixiones are buried with children or women who died before giving birth. They may also be buried with persons who died a violent death. There is an idea in the Greek world that these sorts of dead are still hanging around, and so they are often "given" the tablets in order to "deliver" them to the proper location, or to exact the revenge or anger listed on the tablet.
A truly interesting aspect (indeed, possibly the most interesting aspect to me) of this magic is the postal address. Many of these tablets are addressed to a deity, such as Hades, or Hermes, or other
chthonic deities. The idea here is that the deities of the underworld are most likely to be the deities who can solve the problem in the manner described (and in the manner that will grant you the most satisfaction). Many do read very much like postal addresses, starting with words like, "To Hades, God of the Underworld, Upon his Throne." This gives the messenger (often a deceased person) instructions on where to take the tablet so that the correct action can be taken.
While I don't cast curses or write defixiones, I do find a lot of application for the theories behind the tablets. At Trillium a few years ago, I addressed a letter to Eris and burned it in the fire: addressing the letter helped me with the perception that the letter and its contents would get to Eris.
I have also used a lot of what I know about the curse tablets to create amulets and to create protective spells that focus on binding spells, and the use of bright, shining metals has helped a lot in the creation of amulets through the same sympathetic principles that the curse tablets utilize.
Apuleius, Apology. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/apuleius/
Betz, Hans Deiter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells:
Texts. University Of Chicago Press; 2nd edition. 1997
Graf, Fritz. Magic in the Ancient World. trans. Franklin Philip
Little Sister of the Order. Why Chaos Magicians Are Such Assholes.
Posted by Max K on alt.magick.chaos on Mon, 19 Jun 2000 05:39:14 -0700
Luck, Georg. Arcana Mundi.
Ratatosk, Fra. Chaos Magick Theory. http://iota.goetia.net/chaos.php