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The Magical Trances
Sacrilege: Destroying the Sacred
Heresy: Alternative Definitions
Iconoclasm: Breaking Images
Bioaestheticism: The Body
PETER J. CARROLL
With Illustrations by Andrew David
To all those Psychonauts with whom I have stood in midnight forests,
in temples, in subterranean chambers, and atop mountains,
invoking the Mysteries . . .
I wish to gratefully acknowledge all the people who, over the years, have helped make this book possible. To Ray Sherwin, who helped make the first version of Liber Null available for students of the IOT in 1978, and who worked with me to produce the revised version of 1981; to Christopher Bray of the Sorceror's Apprentice, who helped keep Liber Null in print and produced a limited edition of Psychonaut, and who helped by making these available to students through his bookstore; to Andrew David, who did the illustrations for Liber Null; and to Brian Ward, who did the illustrations for Psychonaut. My thanks to you all. The present edition is a completely updated and edited version, which makes both works available in one binding.
Liber Null was written for the serious occult student, and therefore contains some powerful rituals. These rituals and exercises should be performed by readers who are in good health. If one suffers from heart disease, epilepsy, or any chronic disease, please do not use the material in this book. The author and the publisher will not accept any responsibility for misuse of this material, nor will they accept any responsibility for anything that may occur when readers use the exercises discussed here.
An IOT Publication in Class 4°, 3° and 2°
The Order and the Quest
The Alphabet of Desire
The magic of the IOT is an intensely practical, personal, experimental art. Two major themes run through this book: that altered states of consciousness are the key to unlocking one's magical abilities; and that these abilities can be developed without any symbolic system except reality itself.
The magical style of thinking is explored with chapters on alternative belief and the alphabet of desire.
A natural inclination toward the darker side of magic is as good a point as any from which to begin the ultimate quest, and half this book is devoted to the black arts.
Independently of ancient dusty books and mystification the vital elements of many traditions conspire here to create a living art.
The Illuminates of Thanateros are the magical heirs to the Zos Kia Cultus and the A .'. A .'. This book, written originally as a sourcebook for the IOT, is now being released for those who wish to work alone and for those seeking admission to the Order. Although the initiate is referred to as "he" throughout, the reader should understand that this is merely in keeping with the traditional style of magical texts of this type, and that this course of study by no means excludes women.
Diagram 1. The survival of the magical tradition.
The Order and the Quest
The secrets of magic are universal and of such a practical physical nature as to defy simple explanation. Those beings who realize and practice such secrets are said to have achieved mastership. Masters will, at various points in history, inspire adepts to create magic, mystic, religious, or even secular orders to bring others to mastership. Such orders have at certain times openly called themselves the Illuminati; at other times secrecy has seemed more prudent. The mysteries can only be preserved by constant revelation. In this, the IOT continues a tradition perhaps seven thousand years old, yet the Order in the outer has no history, although it is constituted as a satrap of the Illuminati.
In the Order with no past there is nowhere to conceal the future from the present. It takes its name from the gods of sex, Eros, and death, Thanatos. Apart from being humanity's two greatest obsessions and motivating forces, sex and death represent the positive and negative methods of attaining magical consciousness. Illumination refers to the inspiration, enlightenment, and liberation resulting from success with these methods.
The specific purpose for which the IOT is constituted is to help determining in what form the as yet embryonic fifth aeon will manifest. Its task, although historic, consists in disseminating magical knowledge to individuals. For at no time since the first aeon has humanity stood in such need of these abilities to see its way forward.
There is no formal hierarchy in the IOT. There is a division of activity depending on ability as it develops.
Students strengthen their magical will against the strongest possible adversary — their own minds. They explore the possibilities of changing themselves at will and explore their own occult abilities in dream and magical activity.
Initiates familiarize themselves with all forms of occult attainment and seek to perfect themselves in some particular form of magic. They should also find others capable of aspiring to the Order and offer them help.
Adepts seek perfection in all aspects of personal magical power, wisdom and liberation.
Masters seek to realize the aims of the Order by whatever forms of action or non-action they deem appropriate.
Diagram 1 is an exposition of the survival of magical traditions from the first aeon to the fifth. For an extended discussion of the aeonics involved, consult "The Millenium".
SYLLABUS OF THE
THIS COURSE IS an exercise in the disciplines of magical trance, a form of mind control having similarities to yoga, personal metamorphosis, and the basic techniques of magic. Success with these techniques is a prerequisite for any real progress with the initiate 3° syllabus.
A magical diary is the magician's most essential and powerful tool. It should be large enough to allow a full page for each day. Students should record the time, duration and degree of success of any practice undertaken. They should make notes about environmental factors conducive (or otherwise) to the work.
Those wishing to notify the Order of their intention to begin the work are invited to do so via the publisher.
To work magic effectively, the ability to concentrate the attention must be built up until the mind can enter a trance-like condition. This is accomplished in a number of stages: absolute motionlessness of the body, regulation of the breathing, stopping of thoughts, concentration on sound, concentration on objects, and concentration on mental images.
Arrange the body in any comfortable position and try to remain in that position for as long as possible. Try not to blink or move the tongue or fingers or any part of the body at all. Do not let the mind run away on long trains of thought but rather observe oneself passively. What appeared to be a comfortable position may become agonizing with time, but persist! Set aside some time each day for this practice and take advantage of any opportunity of inactivity which may arise.
Record the results in the magical diary. One should not be satisfied with less than five minutes. When fifteen have been achieved, proceed to regulation of the breathing.
Stay as motionless as possible and begin to deliberately make the breathing slower and deeper. The aim is to use the entire capacity of the lungs but without any undue muscular effort or strain. The lungs may be held empty or full between exhalation and inhalation to lengthen the cycle. The important thing is that the mind should direct its complete attention to the breath cycle. When this can be done for thirty minutes, proceed to not-thinking.
The exercises of motionlessness and breathing may improve health, but they have no other intrinsic value aside from being a preparation for not-thinking, the beginnings of the magical trance condition. While motionless and breathing deeply, begin to withdraw the mind from any thoughts which arise. The attempt to do this inevitably reveals the mind to be a raging tempest of activity. Only the greatest determination can win even a few seconds of mental silence, but even this is quite a triumph. Aim for complete vigilance over the arising of thoughts and try to lengthen the periods of total quiescence.
Like the physical motionlessness, this mental motionlessness should be practiced at set times and also whenever a period of inactivity presents itself. The results should be recorded in your diary.
Magic is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will. The will can only become magically effective when the mind is focused and not interfering with the will. The mind must first discipline itself to focus its entire attention on some meaningless phenomenon. If an attempt is made to focus on some form of desire, the effect is short circuited by lust of result. Egotistical identification, fear of failure, and the reciprocal desire not to achieve desire, arising from our dual nature, destroy the result.
Therefore, when selecting topics for concentration, choose subjects of no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional, or useful significance — meaningless things.
The legend of the evil-eye derives from the ability of wizards and sorcerers to give a fixed dead stare. This ability can be practiced against any object — a mark on a wall, something in the distance, a star in the night sky — anything. To hold an object with an absolutely fixed, unwavering gaze for more than a few moments proves extraordinarily difficult, yet it must be persisted in for hours at a time. Every attempt by the eye to distort the object, every attempt by the mind to find something else to think of, must be resisted. Eventually it is possible to extract occult secrets from things by this technique, but the ability must be developed by working with meaningless objects.
The part of the mind in which verbal thoughts arise is brought under magical control by concentration on sounds mentally imagined. Any simple sound of one or more syllables is selected, for example, Aum or Om, Abrahadabra, Yod He Vau He, Aum Mani Padme Hum, Zazas Zazas, Nasatanada Zazas. The chosen sound is repeated over and over in the mind to block all other thoughts. No matter how inappropriate the choice of sound may seem to have been, you must persist with it. Eventually the sound may seem to repeat itself automatically and may even occur in sleep. These are encouraging signs. Sound concentration is the key to words of power and certain forms of spell casting.
The part of the mind in which pictorial thoughts arise is brought under magical control by image concentration. A simple shape, such as a triangle, circle, square, cross, or crescent, is chosen and held in the mind's eye, without distortion, for as long as possible. Only the most determined efforts are likely to make the imagined form persist for any time. At first the image should be sought with the eyes closed. With practice it can be projected onto any blank surface. This technique is the basis of casting sigils and creating independent thought forms.
The three methods of attaining magical trance will only yield results if pursued with the most fanatical and morbid determination. These abilities are highly abnormal and usually inaccessible to human consciousness, as they demand such inhuman concentration, but the rewards are great. In the magical diary, record each day's formal work and whatever extra opportunities have been utilized. No page should be left blank.
The transmutation of the mind to magical consciousness has often been called the Great Work. It has a far-reaching purpose leading eventually to the discovery of the True Will. Even a slight ability to change oneself is more valuable than any power over the external universe. Metamorphosis is an exercise in willed restructuring of the mind.
All attempts to reorganize the mind involve a duality between conditions as they are and the preferred condition. Thus it is impossible to cultivate any virtue like spontaneity, joy, pious, pride, grace, or omnipotence without involving oneself in more conventionality, sorrow, guilt, sin, and impotence in the process. Religions are founded on the fallacy that one can or ought to have one without the other. High magic recognizes the dualistic condition but does not care whether life is bittersweet or sweet and sour; rather it seeks to achieve any arbitrary perceptual perspective at will.
Any state of mind might arbitrarily be chosen as an objective for transmutation, but there is a specific virtue to the ones given. The first is an antidote to the imbalance and possible madness of the magical trance. The second is a specific against obsession with the magical practices in the third section. They are:
Attaining these states of mind is accomplished by a process of ongoing meditation. One tries to enter into the spirit of the condition whenever possible and to think about the desired result at other times. By this method, a strong new mental habit can be established.
Consider laughter: it is the highest emotion, for it can contain any of the others from ecstasy to grief. It has no opposite. Crying is merely an underdeveloped form of it which cleanses the eyes and summons assistance to infants. Laughter is the only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played upon itself.
The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and ghastly events which surround one. It is not for us to question the universe's apparent lack of taste. Seek the emotion of laughter at what delights and amuses, seek it in whatever is neutral or meaningless, seek it even in what is horrific and revolting. Though it may be forced at first, one can learn to smile inwardly at all things.
Non-attachment/Non-disinterest best describes the magical condition of acting without lust of result. It is very difficult for humans to decide on something and then to do it purely for its own sake. Yet it is precisely this ability which is required to execute magical acts. Only single -pointed awareness will do. Attachment is to be understood both in the positive and negative sense, for aversion is its other face. Attachment to any attribute of oneself, one's personality, one's ambitions, one's relationships or sensory experiences — or equally, aversion to any of these — will prove limiting.
On the other hand, it is fatal to lose interest in these things for they are one's symbolic system or magical reality. Rather, one is attempting to touch the sensitive parts of one's reality more lightly in order to deny the spoiling hand of grasping desire and boredom. Thereby one may gain enough freedom to act magically.
In addition to these two meditations there is a third, more active, form of metamorphosis, and this involves one's everyday habits. However innocuous they might seem, habits in thought word, and deed are the anchor of the personality. The magician aims to pull up that anchor and cast himself free on the seas of chaos.
To proceed, select any minor habit at random and delete it from your behavior: at the same adopt any new habit at random. The choices should not involve anything of spiritual, egocentric, or emotional significance, nor should you select anything with any possibility of failure. By persisting with such simple beginnings you become capable of virtually anything.
All works of metamorphosis should be committed to the magical diary.
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