GOETIC MAGIC

IMG_8492Last night I went to a workshop with Lon Milo DuQuette in Copenhagen on Goetic magic. There were about 30 people attending, and it seemed that I was the only one people hadn’t seen before. Except for Lon. He gave me a big hug and we talked about the most neutral American accent: ‘Indiana,’ he suggested. ‘People from Indiana don’t sound like anything in particular, just American.’ Right. I knew Lon was in good shape. The rest asked me: ‘How do you know Lon?’ And I said, ‘I read him.’ ‘Have you met him before?’, they wanted to know, and I said ‘yes.’ And then to the million-dollar question? ‘Why aren’t you part of the lodge?’ I gave a long answer.

At the end of the day, however, I thought that my answer tied in with the very point that Lon made, namely that since this is the only ONE universe we’re part of and work with, there’s no point in hierarchies, or making distinctions between working with God and the angels, the Devil and the demons, or for a lodge. ‘You have to rise above it all,’ Lon said, and then continued: ‘Solomon did it too.’ ‘And by the way,’ he also pointed out in a rant, ‘there is no historical figure named Solomon. It’s all fiction. But we’re all hard-wired to the archetype. The builder of the temple. The one who commanded the demons to help him achieve God’s great plan. So he’s real enough’. Indeed.

One of the questions from the audience at the end of the talk revolved around the relevance for today of using antiquated rituals in works of conjuration. I liked Lon’s answer, that although anyone is free to use whatever works for them in a magical circle, it is worth considering how ‘we are all 19th century magicians with a penchant for medieval magic. We are all Chaldeans. We are all already antiquated.’ Now, what Lon was talking about was time, and how time in magic is something other than what we make of it in our daily lives. In magic, cause can easily come before effect, and some other things can also occur simultaneously even in spite of whatever we happen to enunciate, conjure, put a spell on, or act theatrically for the sake of appearing cool about living.

I liked where this thought led me, namely, to considering what we know about time, both in physics and then also metaphysics. If you take the quantum physics idea about time, then you get what Lon was saying. While time itself is not an absolute quantity, time bound with space forms ‘spacetime’ that allows us to determine how different physical processes in different spatial locations interact. In this sense, time by itself is ‘no-time’. Hence, if you don’t consider this aspect of time to also be no-time at the same time, then you’ll be looking for ‘relevance.’ This, in magic, you can never ask for. This is the very rule of magic. What you do is not ‘relevant’ in the time or context that makes sense to you or anybody else. What you do is not ‘new’ or ‘antiquated,’ but rather, bound up with the sense of being the very ‘spacetime’ that you also try to observe or influence.

But there is also a paradox at the heart of this. In ‘spacetime’ – let us call it your own head, to keep with Lon’s great dictum: ‘It’s all in your head, you just have no idea how big your head is’ – what you think that you’re doing, a magical act, a conjuration, spell work, heal, kill the vicar, and so on, is in fact nothing. As you’re already all this work, part of all this ‘spacetime’, you have no influence whatsoever. Or rather, you have influence, but not in the sense that you think you do. I think that this is the part that gives the chaos magicians a hard time, as they think that they can ‘influence’ everything. Bullshit, in my humble opinion.  The whole point is to work magic out of the consideration that you’re both the observer and the observed, and that in fact at neither point do you have a say in it. You can step into that circle, and order the demon to sit nicely in the triangle, but at the end of the day, if there’s any magical working that’s working, then that is the magic that you put on yourself. Not the universe as external to yourself. Not hell as something you so awesomely can visit and come back from. You only always work on yourself. You ‘mutate’ yourself, as Lon put it. That’s the magic, and that’s the point.

IMG_8494‘Goetia is you,’ Lon said, and this instantly made me think of why I’m not in a lodge, asking for initiations and following dogmatic rules. For all of Aleister Crowley’s love talk, which I hope I get, I don’t get the point of there having to be an adept head bestowing blessings on the aspirants. Ruling and commanding. If the point is to mutate yourself, then you can only achieve this in your own aloneness.

Pertaining to Goetic magic, what I get from Lon’s talks and writings is the following: When you conjure demons, you conjure yourself. You work with yourself as a God or as the universe. For better or worse. It’s all in the confrontation with your shadow – to speak psychoanalytically – though this shadow is not a lesser version of yourself. Consequently, what we call a confrontation is actually not. Either you are part of the universe as one (even when there may be several of them), or you’re not. If you don’t think that you’re part of the earth you tread on, the telluric forces that you work with, then you’re stuck in making dualistic distinctions: good and evil, angels and demons.

IMG_8487In a way, Lon’s approach to Goetia is an old shamanic approach. When you ask for something in your life, or when you ask for your life to turn around, whatever you invoke, evoke, or banish will change YOU, not the thing you ask for. Here I appreciated Lon’s insight that what constitutes the magic is your own adventure. Your being mutated, your having changed, is the adventure. That adventure is the magic.

In other words, Goetic magic is very simple. There’s no such thing as evil in the grand picture. Evil is invented because people have a specific agenda. As it disturbs most people to NOT have an agenda, they invent all sorts of systems, dogma, hierarchies, and power relations. The idea is always to get ‘nothing’ out of it. Nothing is the very ‘spacetime’ of your own head, and the only thing that will get your magic going. Anything else is called involved magic, biased magic, or magic for an agenda that’s invested in personal interest.

IMG_8486Now, this may run counter to all discourses on magic, or the power invested in engaging in symbolic action with intent, but as far as I can see the whole idea of nothing is the very way to go about it. Call it Zen magic. Call it being part of Georg Cantor’s real numbers line, the line of the greater infinity than the others we know of. Call it being Lon Milo DuQuette. Call it Lon Milo DuQuette being myself. Call it being touched. After his talk, Lon changed his profile picture on Facebook with a picture in which I look like I’m photo bombing him. What a great touch. That is precisely the very point.

IMG_8506For more magic, read Lon’s books. Read his Low Magic book – one of my favorites. Or buy them all, like I did. Go and have a chat with him, or participate in a workshop. Or listen to him sing. You may find out just how lucky you are and how mutated you are in his gyroscope. Be the universe. Be Lon’s Datura tree, the one that spoke to him on his walks after he lost all that fat, and which he now refers to constantly. Be everything. Be nothing. Be magic.

§

Due thanks go to Fortune Buchholz for this one. If she hadn’t reminded me of Lon’s schedule while in Denmark one hour before his talk, I would still be sitting in my living room, perhaps reading one of his books instead of being in his actual presence. Always grand to see the man. Thank you all.

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Photo: Mike Ditlevsen

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12 Comments

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  1. Awesome write up! 😀

  2. SOME COMMENTS LEFT ON FB:

    Diane Brandt Wilkes: I could read you all day. I love your mind.
    14 hours ago · Like · 1

    Camelia Elias: He he, thanks. I’m just living the magical life, that’s all.
    14 hours ago · Like · 1

    Diane Brandt Wilkes: I also love Lon.
    14 hours ago · Like

    Camelia Elias: Yeah, he always says something that gets me going. And what I like the best is when I get the impression that I’m the only one in the room that gets it. He, he, such arrogance on my part. I call it magical arrogance.
    14 hours ago · Like · 2

    William Baker: Thank you, Camelia, for these wonderful thoughts. As I was reading this article, again and again the Transparent Intelligence ascribed to the tarot card, The Magician came to my mind. And I have now Lon Milo to add to my long reading list.
    2 hrs · Like

    Camelia Elias: Great William. Make sure you also get a hold of Lon’s own Tarot of Ceremonial Magic. It’s one of the few truly esoteric tarots out there.
    Just now · Like

  3. My fave LMDQ books: Everyday Oracles (which includes his incredible translation of the I Ching), Chicken Qabala, and Low Magic.

  4. More to learn. Always at just the right time. Or no-time.

  5. I missed this one when you posted it. It reminded me of a fabulous dream-vision I had around 1994. The setting is this: At this time I was working with a bunch of visiting Spirits who showed up one night and asked me to do work for them. I wasn’t really sure about it, so I asked them to keep visiting my dreams while we worked out what they wanted, and if I was willing to help them. This went on for a couple of months. Eventually we came to terms, and I did the rite they wanted, out on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, with a big bonfire. I sat and smoked and got high afterwords watching the fire, and another, different Spirit walked out of the fire, tipped his hat to me, and walked on into the City.

    The dream-vision was this, and came a few days after the ritual: Those same Spirits, all in a house. Drinking coffee, smoking, sitting at a kitchen table and looking at a big book of magic- some strange version of the Goetia. And I am watching from ceiling-level, eye in the sky. They are looking at the sigils & seals, talking about what they want and who might help them. They turn the page, and get very excited at what they see- but they are all leaned over the book, and I can’t see it. They settle back down, and I can see that they are looking at a seal that is composed of two of my tattoos! It was suddenly clear to me that I was the same as they were- a possibly helpful Spirit who could perhaps be convinced to give aid. And I knew then that I had been in/evoked to help them. I found (and still find) this incredibly pleasing!

    Blessings-

    Aidan

    • Such wonderful working, Aidan. From spirit perspective you are a spirit. You breathe. Even what you think is your body it isn’t. It’s all ‘not reality.’ This is something that Niels Bohr and his gang of physicists have figured out. So you made the right realization. And you are now working out of that realization too. That is the only reality. Very fortunate. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Hi, reading the above I had such a strange deja vu, I had the same kind of idea just before reading silfrsith’s reply this morning (been pondering the goetia again lately).

        Years ago quite a few people who didnt know each other kept telling me that they saw me at places I could not have been, some told me I did strange things like shapeshift and or disappear. Of course I ran through all the options I could think of at the time, conspiracy firstly (but the people in question did not know each other), madness, astral travel, but I never had any memory of these events and all the people that told me about them claimed I was very physical and not a ghost or ethereal.

        About six years ago it came to my attention that there was a Wizard and his son who evoked an entity (I,m not exactly sure what they wanted to summon) But apparently what rose out of the floor was me! All involved were shit scared of me, and I could not understand why, until they came out with the story that I am what they summoned.

        I know this sounds terribly crazy, but who is to say that we are not all gods of some sort?

        And in light of Silfrsmith’s reply, perhaps we are on to something here. I mean the universe is perhaps all mind and maybe we are just as real or unreal as anything else.

      • Hello, Joe. Over here we kind of like the crazy. Scientific positivism bores me to death. In analogy to the scientific world, let me just reiterate what everyone already knows: all we ever do is predict. Our place in the universe, the role of the universe in our lives, and so on. Ask Einstein, or Bohr, a Wall Street guy with a Harvard Business School degree, or even better, a nice fortune teller with respect for herself. I rather like the idea of being two places at the same time. Let us stick to that magic. Why the heck not? What have we got to lose? Our reputation in the world? Give me a break. Enjoy your projections, astral or otherwise.

  6. Hahaha, I agree. Why not indeed. A breath of fresh air you are indeed! Thank you.

  7. I would love to read about your thoughts on Chaos Magick.

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