New Aeon Magic

By Peter J. Carroll

An ancient Chinese curse runs, "May you live in interesting times." Since the fall of the Roman Empire there have rarely been more interesting times than these. Whenever history becomes unstable and destinies hang in the balance. then magicians and messiahs appear everywhere. Our own civilization has moved into an epoch of permanent crisis and upheaval, and we are beset with a plague of wizards. They serve an historic purpose, for whenever a society undergoes radical change, alternative spiritualities proliferate, and from among these a culture will select its new world view.

It is for the wizards to determine how that new spirituality will manifest. Most will end up crying in the wilderness or being put to the stake in various ways, but a few will bequeath to humanity a greater gift than they realize. Orthodox hierarchical monotheistic religions are a spent force spiritually and intellectually, although there will be some bloody battles before they are completely finished. Science has brought power and ideas but not the wisdom or responsibility to handle them. The next great advance that humanity will make will be into the psychic domain. There are many encouraging signs that this is beginning to occur. In this new field of endeavor we shall rediscover much of the magical knowledge that the ancient shamans once possessed. Of course, we shall know it by different guises and will eventually expand on their knowledge immensely.

There is a twofold aspect to the most important magical work now being done. Foremost is an experimental investigation into the actual techniques as opposed to the mere symbolism of magic. The methods of magic are remarkably uniform throughout history and across cultures. It is time to unearth them and make them work. It is essential that what might be called a spirituality of magic is evolved. Magic must have its own flavor, its own worldview, and its own philosophy. There has always been a tendency to regard magic as an antique art. All shamanic systems consider themselves to be the repository of only a fraction of the power and knowledge that their traditions once held.

It seems that in the past reality was more chaotic and susceptible to magic.Even astrophysics and biology support the mythical view. To look at the furthest objects in the heavens is to look at the earliest events in teh universe. Here cataclysmic events of unbelievable violence and strangeness are occurring. The fossil record shows that our own planet once shook beneath the feet of immense and totally improbable dragons. It does seem that as the universe ages matter becomes more ordered and sensible and that the force of magic diminishes. This certainly seems true about the relationship between magic and matter. Except for the occasional metal bending maverick and the old shaman who still insists on walking across pits of fire, the grosser magical power seems to be receding. This is however only half the story. A profound change has occurred and the magic force is now manifesting with increasing strength on the psychic levels. The creativity of consciousness has mushroomed so enormously that the totality of human ideas seems to double with each decade. Science has not caused this; science is one of the many side effects, as are parallel explosions in art, music, and general creativity. On the magical level, the psychic powers are becoming much more accessible. Telepathy, clairvoyance, and astral travel were once won only at great cost by a select few through extreme measures. Now they are within reach of anyone armed with moderate determination.

The beginnings of the new psychic awareness have acquired a definite subversive flavor. Magic is aligning itself against oppressive forms of order in many fields. Magic is opposed to a psychiatry and medicine designed to patch up the damaged automaton and plug him back into the system. Instead it would rather that individuals learn to handle their own mental self-defense and treat their bodies with gentler remedies such as herbs. Magic rejects politics as no more than some people's perverse desire to dominate others. It does well to dissociate itself from this monkey squabble and advocates instead personal enlightenment and emancipation, which are the only real safeguards to freedom. Magic is anti-ideological because the main products of ideological solutions are repression and corpses. Magic is profoundly opposed to religion. Although a religion may appear benign when it is in decline, at least half of the madness and violent deaths of history have been caused by mindless adherence to religions. Magic is also opposed to the superstition that the world is wholly material and that men's actions are not intimately interwoven with the psychic sphere.

To oppose repressive forms of order which impose themselves by evil means, magic aligns itself to a vision of chaotic good. Magic's commitment to the good is reflected in its concern with individual freedom and consciousness and its interest in all other life forms on this planet.

The chaotic aspect of new aeon magic is psychological anarchy. It is a species of operation mindfuck applied to ourselves as much as the world. The aim is to produce inspiration and enlightenment through disordering our belief systems. Humor, random belief, counter-information, and disinformation are its techniques.

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