Magick—defined by Aleister Crowley as “the art and science of causing change in conformity with will”—has always been the vital core of all of the projects we undertake at The Disinformation Company. Whether via our website, publishing activities or our TV series, the idea of being able to “influence” reality in some beneficial way is what drives our activities. I’ve always considered The Disinformation Company Ltd. and our various activities to constitute a very complex spell. Some sorcerers use painting or music or fiction to work their magick, but I quite like the idea of having a “magick business”—both literally and figuratively—as the canvas that I perform my magick on. It works on a lot of levels, metaphorically speaking, for me to consider myself to be a magical businessman, if you see what I am saying. It’s a fairly unfettered way to see your place in the world and doesn’t exactly limit your imagination.

I’m sure Willy Wonka would agree. Well, it works for me, at least.

“All Cretes are liars” – Epimenides the Crete, inventor of the paradox.

For this anthology I’ve—quite obviously—cribbed the title from Crowley’s cryptic 1913 book of the same name. I liked the irony and it dovetailing so neatly with the Disinformation brand (“Disinformation,” a term usually associated with the CIA, means “a mixture of truth and lies” used as an information smokescreen), so Book of Lies seemed a natural. A book that announces itself as a book of lies would have to have the truth hidden somewhere in it, right?2 Also, since Crowley looms so large over my way of thinking, it’s fitting to pay tribute. Again and again during the preparations

for this volume, I’ve looked over copies of his occult journal, The Equinox, and I am conscious that this collection and its sequels follow in its tradition. Here, I’m interested most of all in presenting “modern” magick as opposed to “museum” magick and feel that all too often the occult books being published today are merely a rehash of what has gone on before with nary an ounce of new energy or new ideas coming into the fold. Not since the innovations of Chaos Magick in the ’80s has anyone really come along with a go at trying to redefine magick for the modern era and offer a working toolkit. This is my attempt, my version.

And if it is your first dip into occult literature, I do hope this book is like having a nuclear bomb go off behind your eyeballs or a razorblade slashed across your brain.

However, because this book is an anthology—the work of many people—and showcases so many radical belief systems, rebel biographies and “alt histories,” I get to elegantly sidestep the notion that I, personally, am trying to tell anyone “THIS is how you should practice magick” as this is certainly not my intention. No one can do that for you and I would not presume to try. How can anyone possibly know more about your magick than you do? It’s about what works for you. If you get results, then it must be working. Over time you’ll see your targets hit with greater accuracy, but there is NO SET WAY OF DOING ANYTHING IN MAGICK. I can assure you that I, too, am making it all up as I go along. Even as my aim gets better and better as I get older and become more creative with my spell casting, I will say it again: I am still improvising. This book endeavors to showcase strategies that work for other people and create a cookbook for subversion, but feel free to riff on the recipes.3 It’s the only way forward, to discover your own true orbit in life and what works for you. The editorial selection attempts to broaden the cultural definition of what magick is—and what it is not—by including many disparate voices, some not normally viewed as working in the occult arena (painters, rock stars, comic book writers, computer programmers). Some of the names in the book will be familiar, others not, but the communal reason that they all coexist between the covers of Disinformation’s Book of Lies is because they are doing something different and inspiring, bringing to light an obscure subject or else they are writing on a familiar topic and presenting a side of things not usually seen. This collection represents, for me, the strongest line up of magical thought that I could find today and presents some

of the most potent magical thinkers of our time in its pages.

When you are in the book publishing business, at a certain point—hopefully early on—you need to ask yourself “Who is going to read this book? Who is it for?” This anthology is for the person who is like I was back then: searching for something, groping for something magical in their lives, but not quite finding it in the rehashed medievalism and ‘incense and affirmations’ school of what passes for occult literature. This book intends to fuel a certain kind of fire in a certain type of person. I know that I’d be happy if I stumbled upon it, so I consider that a good sign.

And if it is your first dip into occult literature, I do hope this book is like having a nuclear bomb go off behind your eyeballs or a razorblade slashed across your brain.

I think these ideas deserve a wider readership.

It’s only when these sorts of thought forms can be fully externalized in the culture that we can expect to see the emergence of a mutant race. I am very interested in seeing this happen and this collection represents a nudge in that direction.

Which side are you on?

Editor’s Note: The essays herein were culled from a variety of places; excerpts from both new and out of print books, the Internet, old magazines I’d been keeping for years not knowing when they might come in handy and several new pieces appearing here for the first time. I should probably mention that none of the writers are indicating with their involvement that they agree with or approve of the work of any other author also appearing in the book. This is not the case and for the most part, few of them had any idea whose work their writing might be sitting alongside.

Endnotes:

  1. The “cosmic” ‘70s Captain Marvel written by Jim Starlin, not “Shazam.” I hated him.
  2. See Crowley’s Liber B vel Magi for more on this topic.
  3. Listen to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and hear the way this man prayed with his saxophone. Beatific emotion pours out of his horn. You can see a similar thing in The Mystery of Picasso film, watching him paint.

Incredible. This is magick in action, but these skills were not developed overnight. You can’t escape putting the work in.

Special thanks go out to Michael Moynihan for his kind help and editorial suggestions and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge for providing us with all of the amazing Burroughs and Gysin images from his personal collection as well as always being an inspiration to me since I was a teenager. It’s very gratifying that he has always been so supportive to my various projects. Thanks also to Grant Morrison, and Kristan Anderson, to Tomo Makiura, Paul Pollard and Kate Bingaman for the design and layout of this book, Nimrod Erez, Bradley Novicoff, Mogg Morgan at Mandrake of Oxford, Ben Meyers at Autonomedia, Nicholas Tharcher at New Falcon Publications, Eric Simonoff, Gerry Howard, Philip Gwyn Jones, Mark McCarthy, Eva Wisten, Peter H. Gilmore, Douglas Walla at Kent Gallery, Kirsten Anderson at Roq la Rue Gallery, Fiona Horne, Dean Chamberlain and Stacy Valis, Jon Graham and Cynthia Fowles of Inner Traditions, Brian Butler, Mike Backes, Shann Dornhecker, Greg Bishop, Ina Howard, Katherine Gates, Erik Pauser, Leen Al-Bassam, Ralph Bernardo, Russ Kick, Lee Hoffman, Alex Burns, Naomi Nelson and my business partner in Disinformation, Gary Baddeley, for all of his help with this manuscript.

MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

POP MAGIC!

GRANT MORRISON

POP MAGIC! is Magic! For the People. Pop Magic! is Naked Magic! Pop Magic! lifts the 7 veils and shows you the tits of the Infinite.

THINKING ABOUT IT

All you need to begin the practice of magic is concentration, imagination and the ability to laugh at yourself and learn from mistakes. Some people like to dress up as Egyptians or monks to get themselves in the mood; others wear animal masks or Barbarella costumes. The use of ritual paraphernalia functions as an aid to the imagination only.

Anything you can imagine, anything you can symbolize, can be made to produce magical changes in your environment.

FIRST STEPS ON THE PATH

Magic is easy to do. Dozens of rulebooks and instruction manuals are available in the occult or “mind, body and spirit” sections of most modern bookstores. Many of the older manuals were written during times when a powerful and vindictive Church apparatus was attempting to suppress all roads to the truth but most of them are generally so heavily coded and disguised behind arcane symbol systems that it’s hardly worth the bother— except for an idea of how other people used THEIR imaginative powers to interpret non-ordinary contacts and communications.

Aleister Crowley—magic’s Picasso—wrote this and I can’t say it any better than he did:

“In this book it is spoken of the sephiroth and the paths, of spirits and conjurations, of gods, spheres, and planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things, certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned

against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them.”

This is the most important rule of all which is why it’s here at the start. As you continue to learn and develop your own psychocosms and styles of magical practice, as you encounter stranger and stranger denizens of the Hellworlds and Hyperworlds, you’ll come back to these words of wisdom again and again with a fresh understanding each time.

HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN

Simple. Declare yourself a magician, behave like a magician, practice magic every day.

Be honest about your progress, your successes and failures. Tripping on 500 mushrooms might loosen your astral sphincter a little but it will not generally confer upon you any of the benefits of the magic I’m discussing here. Magic is about what you bring BACK from the Shining Realms of the Uberconscious. The magician dives into the Immense Other in search of tips and hints and treasures s/he can bring home to enrich life in the solid world. And if necessary, Fake it till you make it.

Declare yourself a magician, behave like a magician, practice magic every day.

HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN 2

Read lots of books on the subject to get in the mood. Talking about magic with non-magicians is like talking to virgins about shagging. Reading about magic is like reading about sex; it will get you horny for the real thing but it won’t give you nearly as much fun.

Reading will give you a feel for what’s crap and what can usefully be adapted to your own style. Develop discrimination. Don’t buy into cults, aliens, paranoia, or complacency. Learn whom to trust and whom to steer clear of.

HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN 3

Put down the books, stop making excuses and START.

MAGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS

Magical consciousness is a particular way of seeing and interacting with the real world. I experience it as what I can only describe as a “head-click,” a feeling of absolute certainty accompanying a perceptual shift which gives real world transactions the numinous, uncanny feeling of dreams. Magical consciousness is a way of experiencing and participating with the local environment in a heightened, significant manner, similar to the effects of some drug trips, Salvador Dali’s “Paranoiac/critical” method, near death experiences, etc. Many apparently precognitive and telepathic latencies become more active during periods of magical consciousness. This is the state in which tea leaves are read, curses are cast, goals are scored, poems are written.

Magical Consciousness can be practiced until it merges with and becomes everyday consciousness. Maintained at these levels it could interfere with your lifestyle unless you have one which supports long periods of richly associative thought.

EXPERIMENT:

As a first exercise in magical consciousness spend five minutes looking at everything around you as if ALL OF IT was trying to tell you something very important. How did that light bulb come to be here exactly? Why does the murder victim in the newspaper have the same unusual surname as your father-in-law? Why did the phone ring, just at that moment and what were you thinking when it did? What’s that water stain on the wall of the building opposite? How does it make you feel?

Five minutes of focus during which everything is significant, everything is luminous and heavy with meaning, like the objects seen in dreams.

Go.

EXPERIMENT:

Next, relax, go for a walk and interpret everything you see on the way as a message from the Infinite to you. Watch for patterns in the flight of birds. Make oracular sentences from the letters on car number plates. Look at the way buildings move against the skyline. Pay attention to noises on the streets,

graffiti sigils, voices cut into rapid, almost subliminal commands and pleas. Listen between the lines. Walk as far and for as long as you feel comfortable in this open state. The more aimless, the more you walk for the pleasure of pure experience, the further into magical consciousness you will be immersed.

Reading about magic is like reading about sex; it will get you horny for the real thing but it won’t give you nearly as much fun.

Magical consciousness resembles states of light meditation, “hypnagogic” pre-sleep trance or alpha wave brain activity.

APPLIED MAGIC

Is about making things happen and performing the necessary experiments. In these endeavors we do not need to know HOW magic works, only that it does. We prove this by doing the work, recording the results and sharing our information with other magicians. Theoretical magic is all the mad ideas you come up with to explain what’s happening to you. Applied magic is what makes them happen.

THE MAGICAL RECORD

Always keep a journal of your experiments. It’s easy to forget things you’ve done or to miss interesting little connections and correspondences. Make a note of everything, from the intent to the fulfillment. Make a note of dates, times, moods, successes and failures.

Study YOURSELF the way a hunter studies prey. Exploit your own weaknesses to create desired changes within yourself.

BANISHING

Banishing is a way of preparing a space for ritual use. There are many elaborate banishing rituals available, ranging across the full spectrum of pomposity. Think of banishing as the installation of virus protection software. The banishing is a kind of vaccination against infection from Beyond.