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Aug 8 2010

The Rite of Ghouls: Why Chaos Magic Has a Bad Name

Chaos Magic is often misunderstood and far too complex a subject too explain in a blog post. The writings of Phil Hine are probably the most useful books on Chaos Magic for those of us who are interested in expanding our repertoire but not interested in still pretending that we’re part of some counter-culture the world in general and Christians in particular spend their every waking moment fretting over as we fundamentally change their very perception of reality. No offense to certain people.

Condensed Chaos and The Pseudonomicon should be in the library of every practitioner no matter their tradition.

A short yet incomplete explanation of the theory behind Chaos Magic is that Magic doesn’t need “truth” to work, that is to say that a Magician with good magical technique could make any ritual work even if that ritual was written up on the fly and based on fiction. The fact that the mythology used in the ritual is “false” is irrelevant to whether or not you can produce results. There is much more of course to the tradition, but for most practitioners there’s no need to go into it. But having looked at the basics one wonders how Chaos Magic has gotten such a sinister and dubious reputation in some circles.

Aside from the snideness of most of the Chaos Magicians I’ve met, which coupled with their inability to make small talk and their desire to be seen as intellectuals makes for truly awful diner conversation, Chaos Magic’s reputation as being something just a little less unseemly devil worship comes from the seeming dominance of  Lovecraftian themes among the Chaoticist (as they used to term themselves) which for most practitioners made little sense. The universe H.P. Lovecraft created in his fiction was populated by entities who cared little for humanity, and Magicians whose sanity was lost when confronted with the horrific truth of man’s insignificance and irrelevance in the cosmos.

Why this fictional mythology appeals to Chaos Magicians is beyond most people outside the tradition. Lovecraft’s universe was fully formed is one argument, including the writing of incantations into some stories, so writing rituals for it is easier than using others. That the Chaos Magician can produce results using Lovecratian themes is, to those of us who’ve seen it, proof that in this at least Chaos Magic has some merit. But some results are hardly worth the effort, and can be spiritually if not physically dangerous.

Which brings me to The Rite of Ghouls, which has floated around the web for at least a decade and a half now. While Spell and Ritual is about practical, magical techniques and not religion, it is impossible to address this ritual without delving into morality on some level. In the more than a quarter century I have practiced magic, first as a Wiccan and having experimented with many schools after that, I have come upon maybe three or four rituals which went beyond the bounds of the selfish egoism or “Black Magic” and seemed to be designed only to create spiritual pollution for lack of a better phrase. All lacked the “pay-off” that we petty sorcerers crave, helping the practitioner gain nothing more than “initiation” into some cult or another at best.

The Rite of Ghouls doesn’t even promise that!

Like the works of Kenneth Grant and his “Lovecratian/Typhonian current” (think Outer Gateways) The Rite of Ghouls (whose supposed author “Ryan Parker” claims is partly an homage to him) seeks to destroy the spirit of the celebrant in a quasi-religious mystical communion with some representation of horror so that he can “transcend” taboos. While we mere Warlocks and Witches spend years building our personal power to drive our “hedge magics” the proponents of The Rite of Ghouls, deeply misunderstanding the Eastern concept of the Left-hand Path, are relinquishing themselves to true darkness by attempting to alter their souls in accordance with an Internet-spread rite written by a person they don’t even know exists.

Hyperbole? If you say so but over the years I’ve had several people ask me about this ritual and my response now and forever is this. I would never participate in this unholy mixture of role playing, nihilism and pseudo-possession. Anyone asking you to participate in this rite is probably a pervert looking to get in your pants and that’s the best case scenario. Just because something has appeared on the Internet does not make it legitimate so please, use some common sense and say no if someone invites you to a blood and offal soaked gang bang.

I hesitate to put the rite up but I have found it in three additional places and have seen it floating around forums for years. If just one person could tell me of how this helped them I’d be interested in hearing from them. I suspect it’s done little but helped the sexually dysfunctional live out their cannibal fantasy in a way that won’t get them arrested. Read if you dare and don’t worry if you get a little nauseous before you can finish, I did too the first time. And notice that unlike many rituals there is no “closing” or “grounding” afterward. I would ask anyone thinking of participating in this rite ruminate on that:

Ryan Parker – Rite Of The Ghouls

Aug 7 2010

The Star Ruby Ritual

Aleister Crowley’s Star Ruby Ritual is one Thelemic Rite many non-Thelemites are curious about, sensing perhaps that it is something they can work into their repertoire of magical practice. For we non-Thelemites there are actually two slightly different versions, the first appearing in The Book of Lies and a later modification appearing in Magic in Theory and Practice. Simply put, the Star Ruby is a replacement for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram that many occultists will be familiar with. Both are banishments meant to sanctify an area for the magician, though many use them by themselves for cleansing areas.

Many Pagans mistakenly believe the Star Ruby is a “Pagan” alternative to the Lesser Banishing because Crowley removed the Hebrew phrases and Judeo-Christian trappings of much of the ritual, but this is wrong. I am not an expert on Thelema (though I have known some Thelemites over the years) but I find that Crowley’s Star Ruby doesn’t “fit” into any ceremonies that are explicitly Pagan. Ceremonial Magicians may have an easier time blending the Star Ruby into their rituals, but since they wouldn’t be bothered by the Judeo-Christian trappings of the Lesser Banishing there wouldn’t be much point. I think that the Star Ruby is best used by people following in Crowley’s magical footsteps, which usually leads to Thelema, although I have known a couple of Magicians who utilized Crowley but never fully embraced his philosophy.

For non-Thelemites I don’t think the Star Ruby is a good replacement for the Lesser Banishing.

But your experience may be different from mine so I present to you the Star Ruby. In magic there is indeed a right way and a wrong way to do things. There are, however, always slight differences in ritual performance from person to person so I am going to embed a couple of different videos so you can get a feel for the what’s important and what is more a matter of style. The Magickal Review has a  transcription complete with mp3s so you can hear the correct pronunciations. Here’s a republication of an analysis of the rite that should give you more insight into its construction and whether or not it fits into your practice.

This first video is from Wade Laszlo (of The Unholy) and is the shortest for you Witches on the go: Continue reading