In 1976 in an abandoned ammunition dump dug deep into a mountain somewhere in the Rhineland, two magicians, one English, one German announced the formation of a magical order with the celebration of a Mass of Chaos in the company of a couple of dozen other magicians. Soon after we emerged from the bowels of the mountain a localized tornado hit the immediate area. This was but a small portent of things to come.
We left the mountain with no particular idea other than to form an Order such as had never existed before, that would break the existing mold and provide a vehicle for Chaos Magic. A year later some of us met in a splendid Austrian castle and formally arranged ourselves into the Magical Pact of the Illuminates of Thanateros, using as a basis a simple structure of four grades and five offices that I had devised in the meantime. Since then the Pact has evoked a veritable whirlwind of activity, and at the time of writing counts some sixteen temples in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and the USA. A meeting for all members is now held annually, usually at the same original castle (Burg Lockenhaus, Austria). It is always a wild experimental gathering during which plenty of hard work is being done. In devising a structure I sought mainly to avoid the mistakes of previous established orders such as the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis. A certain division of labor is essential just to ensure that people take responsibility for organizing that which needs organizing. Beyond that it seems an absurdity to form an order on the basis of one or a few persons adopting the role of great guru almighty. Their bluff must eventually be called, and such organizations are unlikely to advance beyond whatever set of ideas they start with. Crowley had to break with the Golden Dawn to make his own contribution to magic, and Austin Spare had to break with Crowley in his turn. Such progress through schism is an idiotic waste of time and effort. Any contemporary order which wishes to remain alive, exciting and innovative requires a structure or at least a communication network to exist at all, but dogmatic ideas, rigid hierarchies and fixed teachings and beliefs will kill its creative spirit rapidly. Thus in the Pact, the individual temples, which are its basic unit, experiment with whatever techniques, rituals and ideas they please, and exchange results and inspirations through newsletters, magazines, a computerized electronic mailbox system, inter-temple visits and the annual Pact meeting. There is thus a natural selection of ideas. Techniques, Spells and Rituals which are found to be really useful become used and expanded upon whilst the less effective material is forgotten. Those members who enter the Pact bubbling over with ideas are encouraged to put them into use immediately. Naturally in an organization such as this there is less emphasis on discipline than on enthusiasm and creativity. The Pact is more interested in those who can experience magic as a living thing, than in those who can merely follow instructions. Indeed the only power the Pact reserves over its members is the right of expulsion for extreme non-fraternal behavior or for bringing the Pact into danger. The Pact has but two aims. Firstly the pursuit of the Great Work of Magic and pleasures and profits attendant to this Quest. Secondly to act as a Psychohistoric Force in the Battle for the Aeon. To fulfill the first aim we provide communication facilities that enable us to work together and develop our own magics through the exchange of ideas and information. Esoterics should also be fun. If you don't enjoy doing magic you are probably doing something wrong. The profits are entirely whatever rewards individuals can make from their own magic. There are no membership fees and the annual Pact meeting is free and funded by seminars and exercitiums that some members hold for the general public plus any members who wish to attend. The somewhat grandiosely phrased Psychohistoric action in the Battle for the Aeon, consists mainly in spreading the philosophy of magical paradigm where we can, in print and by word of mouth, although we occasionally perform acts of magic to hasten things along.
The magical techniques and philosophy of the Pact are mainly Chaoist in inspiration. Chaos Magic calls for a concentration of the actual mechanics at work when planning acts of evocation, divination, enchantment, invocation and illumination. It is techniques and intention that are important in successful magic. The most Important Techniques are those which adjust subconscious belief. Subconscious belief controls both the self or selves and the world. So long as this is never forgotten one can structure a ritual or spell with just about any form of symbolism from Tibetan Tantra to Icelandic Runelore. And indeed, where else but in the Pact could you find magicians experimenting with Runic Sex Magic? Well perhaps you will find other examples. I notice the eclectic approach becoming ever more pervasive in esoterics. Insights and ideas are now poached shamelessly from one so-called tradition to another, but this is how it should be, and Chaos Magic boldly encourages the meta-tradition which takes anything and everything that is effective from all traditions to create an explosive mixture.
So, on with the pursuit of the Great Work of Magic, with whatever forms of Techno-Shamanism, Tantric Goetia or Greco-Egyptian Quantum Physics we can make work for us. There are worlds within us, and the universe is infinitely more weird, I'm sure, than all our theories put together. Hopefully, some of the explosives the Pact cooks up can propel us a little further into these strange domains. I have no idea how this years Pact meeting will unfold, except that there will be magicians from many lands seated in a huge circle ready to offer their specialties in everything from Buddhist sorcery through Norse wyrdcraft and Chaos mathematical investment schemes to Voodoo and Ice Magics. We have the technology and we're crazy enough to use it!