I am not suggesting that there is a real or even a ghostly, Platonic Mount Olympus where Hollywood deities sit around a magic pool watching the affairs of mortals and pausing only to leap down whenever one of us “believes” in them hard enough. There may well be for all I know but it seems a complicated way to explain something quite simple. The truth is that there doesn’t HAVE to be a Mount Olympus for you to encounter Hermes or something just like him using a different name. You don’t even have to “believe” in Greek gods to summon any number of them. Hermes personifies a Big Idea and all you have to do is think him fervently and he’ll appear so hard and so fast in your mind that you will know him instantly.

People tend to become possessed by gods arbitrarily because they do not recognize them as such; a man can be overwhelmed with anger (the Greek god Ares), we can all be “beside ourselves” with passion (Aphrodite) or grief (Hades). In life we encounter these Big Ideas every day but we no longer use the word “god” to describe them. The magician consciously evokes these states and renames them gods in order to separate them from his or her Self,

in order to study them and learn.

You may wish to connect with Hermes if you’re beginning a novel or giving a speech or simply want to entertain a new beau with your incredible repartee.

HOW MANY HERMES?

The form the Big Idea takes depends upon your tradition or desire. The beautiful electric youth of the Greeks is a well-known image in Western cultures, having been appropriated for everything from Golden Age FLASH comics to the logo of the INTERFLORA chain of florists. Other cultures personify speed, wit and illusion slightly differently but the basic complex of ideas remains the same worldwide: velocity, words, writing, magic, trickery, cleverness, are all the qualities we would associate with Hermes, but in India this Big Idea is embodied not as a tin-hatted swift runner but as a plump youth with an elephant head and a broken tusk with which he writes the ongoing story of the universe. This is Ganesh, the scribe of the Hindu pantheon.

In Egypt, the same Big Idea is called Thoth, who created the symbols on the Tarot deck. In the Icelandic tradition, Odin or Wotan is the Lord of Lightning and communications. (Like the VDUs we stare at every day, Wotan is one- eyed and on his shoulders sit the ravens Thought and Memory who bring him instantaneous data from around the world. He can be very handy in this form, if you need to discipline an unruly PC).

Hermes, Mercury, Odin, Ganesh, Thoth; all these names represent variant embodiments on themes of Communication and speed.

Reductionists may come to an understanding of magic by considering “Mount Olympus” as a metaphor for the collective Human head.

EXPERIMENT:

Pick a traditional god or demon from a book on magic or mythology and learn all you can about your chosen subject. I suggest you start with a benign deity unless you’re stupid or hard and want to get into some nasty dirty psychic business, in which case pick a demon from one of the medieval grimoires and hope you’re strong enough to handle the intense negative feelings “demons” embody.

However, I’d suggest starting first with Hermes, the god of Magic, in his guise as Ganesh. Ganesh is known as a smasher of obstacles and part of his complex is that he opens the way into the magical world, so it’s always good to get his acquaintance first if you’re serious about following a magical path.

Call fervently upon Hermes. Luxuriate in his attributes. Drink coffee or Red Bull in his name or take a line of speed, depending on your levels of drug abuse. Fill your head with speedy images of jet planes, jet cars and bullet trains. Play “Ray of Light” by Madonna and call down Hermes. Surround yourself with FLASH comics and call down Hermes.

Tell him how very wonderful he is in your own words, and then call him into yourself, building a bridge between your own ever-growing feelings of brilliance and the descending energies of the Big Idea.

The arrival of the god will be unmistakable: you should experience a sense of presence or even mild possession (remember what this MEANS; we are “possessed” by Venus when LOVE destroys our reason. We are all possessed by Mars when ANGER blinds us. Learn to recognize the specific feelings which the word “possession” describes. This will allow you to study your chosen Big Idea and its effects on the human nervous system at close quarters without becoming too frightened or emotionally overwhelmed.)

You may hear a distinct voice inside your head which seems to have a strange-yet-familiar quality of “Otherness” or separateness. Ask questions and make note of the replies in your head. Remember anything specific you hear and write it down no matter how strange it seems. Maintain the sense of contact, question and response for as long as you’re able and see what you can learn.

Remember Hermes is a trickster also and has a love of language and games, so be prepared for clever wordplay and riddles when you contact this Big Idea. Sometimes the rapid torrent of puns and jokes can seem like a nightmare of fractal iterations but if you’re going to play with Hermes, be ready to think fast and impress with your wit.

If, on the other hand, there’s only a faint hint of unearthly presence or none at all, don’t worry. Try again with Ganesh, Odin or a god you feel more in tune with. Keep doing the experiment until you succeed in generating the required state of mind. It’s not difficult; if you can make yourself Angry or Sad or

Happy just by thinking about something (and most of us can), then you are already capable of summoning gods and Big Ideas.

DEMONS ARE…

No more, no less than the way you feel inside after you’ve been dumped by a beloved or exposed by one’s peers as a freak or any of the other negative value defaults we have access to as human beings. Hell is ONLY the Cringe Eternal and the Place of Our Self’s Undoing. When Nietzsche proclaimed “God is dead!” he forgot to add that Satan is also dead and we are Free from all that antique tat.

EXPERIMENT:

Use the techniques you’ve learned to summon classical gods and demons and apply them to beings you KNOW for sure can’t be real, like Jack Kirby’s comic book gods, H. P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos monsters, Pokemon characters, or Clive Barker’s Cenobites. You will discover that you can evoke any of these outlandish characters to physical appearance. In place of Hermes, the messenger god, it’s possible to summon the same complex in a quite different cultural drag—I advise at least one invocation of the speedy mercurial force of Hermes in the form of Metron, the computer-like intellectual explorer from Jack Kirby’s New Gods comic books. I’ve had a great deal of success contacting the Kirby Gods, including a memorable encounter with the Big Idea of Righteous Anger in its aspect as “Orion” on the endless, cosmic battlefields of the Fourth World. Summon warrior strength and martial energy in the form of Orion by surrounding yourself with images from Kirby comics, by playing “Mars” from the “Planets Suite” or the Beatles “Revolution #9” or simply the sounds of gunfire and bombs from a special effects record.

Summon James Bond before a date by playing the themes to Goldfinger and

Thunderball while dressing in a tuxedo.

Or try summoning Dionysus, god of creative delirium, in his Trickster aspect, as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective from the Jim Carrey films—surround yourself with your own pets or toy animals, play the movies, imitate the actor’s distinctive moves and use them to formulate a physical sigil which you can enact within in your designated ritual space. Do this until you BECOME

Dionysus as Ace Ventura. Record what happens to your sense of self and think of ways to use these new “godlike” qualities you have summoned into yourself (or brought forth from your “subconscious” depending on which model you choose to explain your experiences).

Think of these new qualities or gods as applications and upload them when you need to use them. The more you run the application the more convincing and intrinsic to Self it seems to become. This is why actors sometimes find it difficult to “come down” from roles and why magicians often feel possessed by gods or demons. Applications are being run.

You will soon realize that gods are “qualities” or default states of consciousness available to everyone.

With much practice you will become proficient at accessing these states in yourself. Do not, however, assume that these states are ONLY internal psychological processes. The Big Ideas have been here long before you and will be here long after you are gone. They can be regarded as immensely powerful autonomous qualities and should be respected as such. Summoning too much ANGER into your life can make you a bore and a bully, summoning too much COMMUNICATION at the expense of other qualities can make you a conversation-hogging pedant and so on.

There is always danger when one “god” is worshipped in favor of all others. If you summon Ace Ventura you may find yourself becoming not funny and creative but annoying. If you summon Clive Barker’s fictional Cenobites just to see whether or not I’m punting absolute nonsense, be prepared to deal with powerful issues of domination, torture, submission and pain for these value states define the operational parameters of Cenobites.

Summon James Bond before a date by playing the themes to

Goldfinger and Thunderball while dressing in a tuxedo.

HEALING

My preferred method for healing is the Spiritualist “laying on of hands” technique which involves a simple homemade prayer to the congregation of dead “healers” or “veterinarians” who inhabit the “the other side” and are said to be willing to help us in times of need. This prayer is accompanied by intense concentration and visualization of the healing process. I’ve always

found it works very well and can be most effective in conjunction with sigils.

EXPERIMENT:

Visit your local Spiritualist Church, if you have one, and ask to see a demonstration of this powerful healing method.

DUDE, WHERE’S MY EGO?

The “ego”—in the negative sense—is that ossified sense of a stable, unchanging “self” which people use as a defense against the Fear of Change and Death. It’s SELF as a suit of armor; protective and comforting at times SELF doesn’t allow much room to maneuver, make effective contact or adapt to new situations. Otherwise, the Ego, with a big “E” can be a useful tool like everything else lying around here. Ego creates the heroic drive towards the Transcendence which CONSUMES AND RESOLVES that drive into a higher context.

It must be remembered that you can’t go beyond your ego until you’ve developed one to go beyond. The ego, as Individual Self, is scaffolding for what we can call super-self or the memeplex (to use Susan Blackmore’s term for what we call “personality” —see The Meme Machine (Oxford University Press, May 2000) for more on Dr. Blackmore’s revolutionary theory). Scaffolding is a necessary part of any construction project but for the last couple of hundred years we’ve been encouraged to mistake the scaffolding for the building. The individual sovereign self once seemed such a developmental prize that it’s now very difficult to let go of it without incurring amusing existential extinction traumas, but like all other stages of growth it IS just a stage and must be surpassed.

Demoting the concept of the “individual” by deliberately engineering multiple, conferring “egos,” personae, memeplexes or selves is intended, at least by me, as a method of breaking up the existential, calcified, individual “Self” into more fluid Multiple Personality constellations, by exposing “the personality” as just one behavioral option from a menu of many.

THE ABYSS

Aleister Crowley embodied the destruction of Egoic Self structures as Choronzon, the Devil 333. Choronzon, we are told, is the all-devouring

guardian of “the Abyss” (The Abyss being a suitably dramatic and evocative term for an experiential “gap” in human consciousness.) The term can be applied to that state of mind during which Individual Egoic Self- consciousness begins to cannibalize itself rather than confront the usually frightening fact that Personality is not “real” in the existential sense and is simply a behavioral strategy.

Most of us have had some small experience of the gigantic boundary complex Mega-ChoronzonnoznorohC-ageM; the Choronzonic Encounter is present in the relentless, dull self-interrogation of amphetamine comedowns or fevers, near-death experiences. Think of the chattering mind, annihilating itself in unstoppable self-examination and you will hear the voice of Choronzon.

Choronzon then, is Existential Self at the last gasp, munching out its own brains, seeking nourishment and finding only the riddle of the Bottom That Is Bottomless. Choronzon is when there is nothing left but to die to nothingness. Beyond Choronzon, concepts of personality and identity cannot survive. Beyond Choronzon we are no longer our Self. The “personality” on the brink of the Abyss will do anything, say anything and find any excuse to avoid taking this disintegrating step into “non-being.”

Choronzon is when there is nothing left but to die to nothingness. Beyond Choronzon, concepts of personality and identity cannot survive. Beyond Choronzon we are no longer our Self.

Most of us in the increasingly popular Western Consumerist traditions tend to wait until we die before even considering Choronzon. Since we can only assume that Egoic Self-sense is devoured whole in whatever blaze of guilt or fury or self-denial or peace perfect peace our last flood of endorphins allows in the 5 minutes before brain death, the moment of death seems to me to be a particularly vulnerable one in which to also have to face Existential terror for the first time.

Better to go there early and scout out the scenery. To die before dying is one of the great Ordeals of the magical path.

The Abyss, then, is that limit of Self consciousness where meaning surrenders and reverses into its own absolute opposite and is there consumed

in “Choronzonic Acid,” a hypersolvent so powerful it dissolves the SelfitSelf. Here you will encounter the immense SELF/NOT SELF boundary wall on the edge of Egoic Consciousness and be obliterated against it. The Abyss is a hiatus in awareness, where notions of identity, race, being and territory are consumed in an agonizing fury of contradiction.

Magicians who have successfully “crossed” the Abyss are considered no longer human, in the sense that survival of this ordeal necessitates the breaking down of SELF into multiple personality complexes.

EXPERIMENT:

The so-called “Oath of the Abyss,” is a corrosive encounter with Choronzonic forces inside the personality. It is not something to be undertaken lightly and I’d suggest many years of magical practice before attempting anything as stupid and as glamorous as destroying your carefully- established SELF. The rewards of a successful crossing of the Abyss are many but a failed attempt can leave the magician broken inside, consumed by doubt, fear and insecurity and quite useless to his or her community…

REVOLT INTO MAGIC!

Becoming a magician is in itself a revolutionary act with far-reaching consequences. Before you set out to destroy “the System,” however, first remember that we made it and in our own interests. We sustain it constantly, either in agreement, with our support, or in opposition with our dissent. The opponents of the System are as much a function of the System as its defenders. The System is a ghost assembled in the minds of human beings operating within “the System.” It is a virtual parent we made to look after us. We made it very big and difficult to see in its entirety and we serve it and nourish it every day. Are there ever any years when no doctors or policemen are born? Why do artists rarely want to become policemen?

For every McDonald’s you blow up, “they” will build two. Instead of slapping a wad of Semtex between the Happy Meals and the plastic tray, work your way up through the ranks, take over the board of Directors and turn the company into an international laughing stock.

For every McDonald’s you blow up, “they” will build two. Instead of