Chaotic Icons

Skeptical by nature if not practice, I have long considered a staunchly agnostic stance to be my default setting between magickal operations. Nothing is true, and very little is real. In this, I suppose that I am similar to many who once held the chaos current as an ersatz guide. When belief is simply seen as a tool to be adopted and discarded as the need arises there is little room for either worship or dogma unless a direct benefit can be derived from doing so. Yet the further down the rabbit hole that I tumble, the more I experience direct contact with entities that resemble the gods and goddesses of classical folklore.

Ever the iconoclast, I am not happy to simply accept their existence wholesale. I want to dig beneath the obvious trappings of devotion and worship to isolate the process whereby such godforms can find purchase within a modern, more questioning context. It may seem a pointless consideration as long as the results keep rolling in, and were I still a card carrying chaote I would no doubt agree. But I have moved towards a purer postmodernism in recent months, and begun demanding more integrity from my adopted systems of belief. Ultimately, when it comes to magick, I am the one who makes the rules.

If we discard the accepted argument that the deities and demons of classical myth are venerated ancestors, fallen angels, omnipotent creator spirits or just the froth from some great cosmic egg, many alternative hypotheses present themselves. Of these, I have found two to be the most plausible. The first involves internal processes that remain so, leading to something approaching a reductionist or nihilistic view of the unseen world. The second takes those same godforms and flings them with intent forward into the material realm for all to see. Transformative in nature, this latter option is also the more daunting prospect, demanding a greater level of responsibility from those who are aware of its existence.

Under the first theory, we find the gods as sociological constructs appealing to some hidden aspect of our personal natures. They are little better than internalised memes that the skilled mage or blind believer can call upon to adopt those aspects within themselves as and when required. Such a system, which in truth owes much to the Psychological model of magick, demands that said spirits have no finite existence of their own, simply forming one way among so very many that the human psyche defends itself against failure or adversity. My working name for this version of the universe is Lovecraft’s law, as it highlights the fictional nature of such creations.

In line with this naming convention, the second theory I am presenting here today is called Cthulhu’s law. It argues that the gods are projected thought forms, fed by those who are interested in them and gifted an odd, mechanical semblance of life by the continued interest of both believers and the uninitiated alike. What makes this view unique among my peers, and places it firmly within the Information Model of magick, is the lack of distinction between followers and fanboys that it allows. The mental energy, dreams and nightmares of every person who has ever stopped to think about a particular concept is what empowers it, not the purity of their belief system. That their mind stuff oozes into the fabric of reality while focused on a given topic is enough.

All books mentioning a certain entity become a Bible, every fan website apocrypha. What started out of convenience as a simple bastardising of memetic theory soon led me to a world view whereby internal archetypes are capable of gaining purchase in the supposedly real world. As supporting evidence, I cite the many delightfully odd followers of Cthulhu to the witness stand. Few can argue against their success in working with a deity that has no real existence outside of the writing of a shy and starving recluse who himself fervently denied that his sleeping squid faced ball of blubber and fish sticks had any basis in fact. Yet when they call on this spirit of madness, they do get results.

Sadly, the truly devoted followers of the Great Old Ones are nowhere near numerous enough to generate the mental energy required when empowering such a pantheon of gibbering nightmares against the prevailing normality of every day life. But Cthulhu’s Law states that they do not need to be. All they must do is become adept enough at crafting devotional and ritualistic practices that allow them to hijack the existing lakes of thought which are already waiting untapped in the cultural zeitgeist. Thus each fandom becomes a potential magickal current, and every godform nothing more than a creation of the group mind.