Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult
Richard Metzger (Editor),
Grant Morrison (Introduction),
Michael Moynihan (Contributor),
Tracy R. Twyman (Goodreads Author) (Contributor),
Vere Chappell (Contributor),
Mark Pesce (Contributor),
Genesis P-Orridge (Contributor),
Paul Laffoley (Contributor),
Daniel Pinchbeck (Contributor),
Nevill Drury (Contributor),
Donald Tyson (Contributor),
Erik Davis (Contributor)
An imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC
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Copyright © 2003 The Disinformation Company Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. Originally published by The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2003. ISBN: 978-0-9713942-7-8. Reviewers may quote brief passages.
All the articles in this book are copyright © by their respective authors and/or original publishers, except as specified herein, and we note and thank them for their kind permission.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available upon request
Book design: Tomo Makiura, Paul Pollard, and Kate Bingaman for P&M, NY
Cover design by Jim Warner
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WE COME TO IT [WISDOM] … A MAGICAL CALL TO ARMS
Magic, you say?
Me, I’m a hard-nosed skeptic, when all’s said and done. Try as I might, I can’t find any convincing evidence to support the notion that flying saucers come from other planets to visit us, I don’t “believe” in reincarnation, the Loch Ness Monster, ghosts of the dead, news reports, the objectivity of Science or the literal truth of Bible stories. In an overloaded, supersaturated mediasphere, my own best compass is the evidence of my senses.
Having said that, in the course of 24 years of almost daily occult practice and exploration, some very bizarre things have manifested in front of my lovely, flaring nostrils and I’ve been forced to alter my view of life, death and “reality” accordingly.
Because whether you “believe” in it or not, whether you like it or not, magic WORKS (I use the devalued word “magic” precisely because I’m amused by its associations with illusion, conjuring and deception, whereas Richard Metzger prefers to use the High-spelling form “magick,” in honor of the heroic and misunderstood Aleister Crowley who broke centuries of Church- imposed silence and obscurity when he published the “secrets” and techniques of magic in his great, democratic work Magick in Theory and Practice, published in 1929). Magic has worked for all of the contributors to this book, as you will see, and it can work for everyone. Personally, I don’t need to know HOW it works—although I have bucket loads of colorful theories—just as I don’t seem to need to know how my TV works in order to watch it, or how a Jumbo Jet stays up when I’m dozing through in-flight entertainment at 35,000 feet. What I do know for sure, based on the evidence of my senses and on many years of skeptical enquiry, is that magic allows us to take control of our own development as human beings. Magic allows us to see the world entire in a fresh and endlessly significant light and demands of us a vital and dynamic collaboration with our environment. Magic brings coherence and structure to psychological “breakdowns,” psychedelic experiences or transpersonal encounters. Magic allows us to personify our
fears and failures as demons and outlines time-honored methods of bargaining with these feelings or banishing them. Magic is the sane response to a world filled with corporate ghost-gods, roaming, mindless laws and peering surveillance lenses. Above all, magic is about achieving results. It’s about manipulating real-time events, dealing with devious “spirits” and other autonomous energy sources. It’s about conjuring dead pop icons to do your bidding and writing it all down so that it reads like an exciting adventure story and changes the world around it. Magic is glamorous, dark and charismatic. “Magic” is the hopelessly inadequate Standard English word for a long-established technology which permits access to the “operating codes” underlying the current physical universe. Becoming a “magician” is a developmental skill, like learning to talk, to reason, to empathize or to see perspective.
Magic, in short, is Life as it is meant to be Lived by adults.
Disinformation’s Book of Lies is a 21st century grimoire, a How To book designed to inspire the young magician-warriors of this new and turbulent century. In the apparent derangement of our times, this book is both a call to arms and an armory also. Read on, get tooled up, get out there… and start bending reality.
And welcome, one and all, to the New Magical Century.
“The best place to hide something is right out in the open. No one ever thinks to look there.”
-Robert Anton Wilson
“Can you teach me how to do a magic trick?”
At first this question used to really flummox me—did they expect me to do like a card trick? A little sleight of hand perhaps? What did they expect me to whip out and impress them with? By now I’m used to this line of inquiry and interestingly, the question is always asked with complete sincerity, never with sarcasm or scorn, just an open attitude to the idea of “magick.” In situations where my reputation has preceded me, I think this is kind of fun. I’ve even come to enjoy this question, as it sure beats making normal small talk.
So the first time I ever jerked off, it was to a picture of a butt- naked Maxine Sanders, Queen of the Witches. I think this explains a lot about me, actually…
But to answer the question, well, yes, I can teach you how to do a magick, uh, trick that will most assuredly bring you dependable results (within reason) and I can likely explain it to you within 10 minutes time. If you did what I told you, things would start happening, but before you go feeling all impressed with yourself, if you’d ask someone to teach you a song on the piano in 10 minutes, they could do so, but you’d still only be playing “Chopsticks.”
Just to put that into perspective…
For some reason, I have always considered myself to be a warlock. Even when I was very young. I don’t know why, really, but it is true. I have had
this self-identity for as long as I can recall. There was never a time when I didn’t feel this way. I don’t remember how I gravitated towards magick in the first place, but when I was a little kid I really loved Bewitched. These were people who I could relate to and all the comics I liked had heroes who were sorcerers and warlocks: Dr. Strange, Adam Warlock, and Captain Marvel.1 My parents even have a Super8 film of me dressed in a “wizard” costume replete with cloak and Merlin cap, reading my “grimoire” and “scrying” into a makeshift crystal ball that doubled as a funky early ’70s ashtray. I was about five years old when this was shot. Thirty some years later I look back on this and laugh at how consistent I have been. The older I get the more I see a fairly straight trajectory from there to here. It’s weird to contemplate it.
One strong shove in the direction of magick might have something to do with a book called Witchcraft, Magic and the Supernatural, a full color hardback picture book that came out in the 1970s with a bloody goat head on the front cover and an Austin Spare painting of a demon on the back. Since the audience for such a book was undoubtedly on the young side, this book—like many such occult tomes published by Octopus Books—had several pictures of foxy “sky-clad” witches nestled within its pages to attract more horny young buyers. I convinced my mother to purchase this book for me at the mall. I smiled sweetly, such a good little boy.
So the first time I ever jerked off, it was to a picture of a butt-naked Maxine Sanders, Queen of the Witches.
I think this explains a lot about me, actually…
When I was younger and first starting to read up on the occult, I was always puzzled why it all seemed to be so “ancient”—I’d read book after book looking for something to latch onto, but little of it had much relevance to my life and my interests. Latin incantations, wands, daggers, robes and the various occult “props” all seemed pointless to me and very ineffectual ways of making magick happen. I’d read about purification rituals, “casting circle,” the “Mass” of this or that, “hand fasting” and all of this stuff that magicians were supposed to do, but where was the sorcery? When does it get to the part where it explains how to make shit happen? That’s the part that I was interested in and it was the only part I was ever interested in. Forget about all this hokey Dungeons and Dragons robe-wearing nonsense, I wanted results.
I recall watching Kenneth Anger’s films for the first time and grasping
intuitively how his films were ritual on celluloid, constructed with magical efficacy foremost in mind. Color, music, pacing and especially his choice of actors (such as Anais Nin, Marjorie Cameron, Marianne Faithful and others) who he viewed as “elementals,” all figured into making Anger’s cinematic spells so potent and brilliant. There was also the angle of how, because they existed on film and could be screened over and over again all over the world, they were incantations of especial power. I was awestruck by what I was seeing and I learned a great lesson about “making” magick through a careful study of Anger’s work and through this influence, in part, I continued to move towards combining my career ambitions of working in film, television and publishing with my private magical interests.