Meet Dr. Peter Duchemin, PhD – a practitioner of esoteric Tarot with over 25 years of experience. Specializing in calendar magick from an eclectic, non-emanationist perspective, Peter is the author of over 30 magickal calendars and the developer of an original approach called MetaMagick. This approach utilizes these calendars to harness potent spiritual energies in alignment with the movement of the heavens. But Peter’s talents extend far beyond the realm of Tarot and magick – he is also a former professional stage magician, clown, and circus performer with a skillset inspired by Tarot archetypes. In exciting news, Dr. Duchemin has recently launched a new course on Perseus called Meta Magick Skrying. In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the fascinating life and work of Dr. Peter Duchemin.
PAA: Welcome, please introduce yourself and how you came to be on this path.
Peter: Hi, my name is Dr. Peter Duchemin, and I have been practicing magick since the mid 1990’s. I sometimes use the magickal name “Abraxis Nothing”. Like many others, I think, this Work found me – I had not had the happiest childhood and I was rebellious and searching for a more meaningful world-view than what mainstream culture was providing – I was surrounded by the counterculture (and the occulture) – the punk/industrial/rave metal scene in Canada in the 90’s. I always gravitated towards magic and towards the figure of the mage – I even got reasonably skilled at sleight of hand and prestidigitation, and made a living doing it for few years.
Anyways, my path really started when I met an adept magickian named Steve C. – I was 19, so that was in 1995 – and that really catalyzed me: even though I had dabbled before, lightly, Steve introduced me to Crowley, to the Tree of Life, to the Golden Dawn and all that, and I was hooked. I went full tilt into study and practice (some would say recklessly)– the Chaos Magick paradigm was around at this time, also, and I read the Illuminatus! Trilogy, as well as Liber Null and Psychonaut – so basically in the first three years of my occult adventure, I ended up with a really ecclectic fusion of traditional and chaos magicks. I guess this set the pace for everything else.
This all coincided with me doing an undergrad degree in Religious Studies, Philosophy (and unofficially – linguistics) between 1996 and 2003. So basically I cut my teeth on all these wild ideas – chased them obsessively between the ages of 19 and 26 (the Late 90’s to early 2000’s) – and they all kindof alchemized together in the context of a counterculture scene of activists, punks, hippies, rappers, anti-capitalist protestors, psy-trance ravers, “mayan calendar dreamspell” enthusiasts, experimental artists, nerds, weirdos and post-structural philosophers. So that’s how my initiation began, really, even though there were earlier hints, going all the way back to my childhood that I would be taking this route (I used to read play with Tarot and read books on Crowley when I was like, 7 or 8 – but I don’t really count that stage as my practice – maybe I should?).
Anyways, my primary initiation from 19-26 was a messy affair, and full of experiments and big ideas and rather risky adventures (both physical and spiritual). At the age of 27 (in 2003), I moved across the country to a different city, and that year was really the pivot-point after which I depended mostly on my own personal gnosis to determine my path. Maybe that’s when I became “adept”, I dunno – at any rate, that’s when I launched my first magickal calendar – an 88 day mercury calendar called “the Thoth Count”, launched on Dec 19th, 2003, as Mercury crossed its north draconic node. That was without a doubt the catalyst of everything to come. From here on in it got deeper, and weirder, and more ecclectic. I joined the Horus Maat Lodge. I designed (channeled?) a dozen or more occult calendrical systems. I made a deep dive into the formula of Abrahadabra (418). I joined a circus and toured around.
On the academic front I ended up pursing a Masters in Humanities at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, followed shorly after by an Interdisciplinary PhD in which I basically sketched out the groundwork for what I now call “metamagick”. My path led me through the academic process, but at the same time it seemed to have a mind of its own. I think I ended up using the three-teired structure of the university system as a self-inititation schema – the PhD qualifies as a Magister Templi initiation, if I could be permitted to draw the analogy. I have always been a magickian who draws analogies from the events around me to the initation dynamics of the more structured orders, as I learned about them in my research. This is how I have self-initiated.
So yeah, almost 30 years later, and here I am. I feel like the path has chosen me to communicate and contribute my experience and perspective, now that we are in the midst of an unprecedented global magickal resurgence. I will do whatever I can to help this process realize its truest, fullest trajectory. I think it will transform our entire species completely.
PAA: If you had to describe the type of Magician you are what would you say?
Peter: Labels aren’t my favorite thing, so I won’t label my approach as such, but it could could be described as an open-system take on magick and magickal systems. Almost a mycelial interpretation. I am highly syncretic, and work with traditional systems like the I Ching, Qabalah, Tarot, Enochian, Runes, etc… but I also tend to use the Chaos magick ethos as a solvent that allows me to cross boundaries between traditions and not to associate myself too rigidly with any traditional school as such. I am working with what I call a “magickal interlanguage”.
Anyways, I learned how to support this approach philosophically and theoretically while in school, so I feel quite steeped in a kind of molecular, almost science-fictiony method of working with magickal symbols, entities and practices: at the threshold where science, spirituality, and imagination meet. I basically have a hyperdimensional take on the way the magician’s actions affect their experience. I say that we Mages are creative engineers of events – and we find ourselves exploring a multiverse of possibilities.
The closest thing I come to being affiliated with any group is with the Horus Maat Lodge – the open experimental ethos of this lodge appeals to me more than any other group as such. But even so, I see myself as a kind of eccentric sattelite on a weird orbit that occasionally passes through, but does not confine itself to that space. A friend of the lodge but not a card carrying member, so to speak. That being said, I do truly resonate with the Work that Nema and the HML developed, and I consider myself part of the “double-current” (or triple, or quadruple, or quintuple…).
Methodologically, my main tool is calendars – I build custom esoteric calendrics based on the orbits of different planets: I have developed an occult calendar system that I call the Ibisystem Apocalyptic Orrery. So if you HAD to label me, I supposed you would call me a calendar magickian, or a time magickian– but yeah, it’s not easy to reduce a practice like this to one label or category.
PAA: What is magick? How would you define it?
Peter: I have called my approach Meta-Magick, and I define it as “the pressure of Art, brought to bear on Time”. I view it as an activity of shaping “that which becomes into existence” through intelligent actions and structured contemplations that allow us to manifest true, spontaneous creativity at the “junction point of reality” – that is to say, the present moment. In order for this art-pressure to be effective, it has to be cleared of lesser, reactive qualities, and needs to be buttressed, or fortified by a strong, independent organization of consciousness. It’s all about attentional control. It is my thinking that many of the cultural programs currently in play in our society operate to hamper, dilute, or otherwise undermine the kind of empowered consciousness-organization that is needed to make a true impact – to exert true pressure on the flow of time. We are outsourcing our rich inner worlds to an external, market-driven simulation. I think the magickian’s job is to build up powerful and robust inner world-spaces that allow us a degree of independence from this cultural noise-field.
At the same time, my definition is phrased in this way to draw attention to what I think are the major dominating enchantments that we as humans experience – and these are our calendars. Calendars set the fundamental parameters that we all share – they sculpt time, they sculpt our lives. This a phenomenon I call Calendar Hypnosis. It can be empowering, but it can also be disempowering.
The most obvious example of a disempowering calendar hypnosis is that generated by the Gregorian calendar, which seems designed to render people reactive with relation to the flow of eternity, and robs them of the capacity to truly meet the universe in an active way at its uncoded horizon. I personally view the Gregorian calendar as being more-or-less identical with Philip K Dick’s “Black Iron Prison”, which he wrote about in VALIS, and in his Exegesis, and I view it as my mission in general to try to counteract this calendar’s dampening field. When an adept becomes chronologically independent from disempowering cultural narratives like the Gregorian calendar, they learn to wield a true capacity to shape reality that both comes from, and flows into eternity. For me, magick is about realizing this capacity both individually and collectively. Just like Phillip Dick, I think that we can channel assistance from the future – from future liberated timelines – that will support us in dismantling the time prison of ideology that separates us from our natural capacity to express and be expressed by eternity.
Meta-Magick was developed to support time magick: I believe if we recognize that our arts shape time, and that that is what’s really at stake, then we will start to learn how to weave far reaching enchantments on a scale of richness and ambitiousness that might not be otherwise possible to concieve of. Hopefully we can use this to successfully cross through the collective ordeal that we are currently facing.
PAA: How do you connect your academic studies/PhD with your magickal work as a practitioner?
Peter: My academic path – my path through academia – was atypical. For one thing, I came from an old academic family: English professors going back several generations. There was a strong commitment to learning for the sake of learning – and a kind of dismissal of the idea that education must serve a “practical purpose” ie, getting a traditional job as such. For this reason, I always prioritized learning itself – and forwent many opportunities to advance my career as such. I always researched for pleasure. My grandfather was thrilled, for example, that I was studying philosophy – and very much wanted to debate it with me. I never really felt pressured to sacrifice the quest for knowledge to financially or socially pragmatic goals. The learning process was, and is the goal.
This kind of approach – and the fact that the university environment felt like my natural habitat- meant that my occult practice was never alienated from my studies – in a way my studies were there to feed my practice and not the other way around. I found myself gravitating towards fields such as communications, and thinkers such as Deleuze and Guattari – active perspectives that support making creative interventions – artistic, poetic, conceptual – into contemporary states of affairs: having an effect on time.
The result is that I never developed the notion that I was studying neutrally from a distance – ultimately I was always looking to build up a vocabulary and methodology that fed into my magickal practice: and that’s what happened. My PhD became an experiment in reframing how to think of magick – blending elements of prestidigitation with political philosophy with semiotics – “reverse engineering” occultism to some degree, and then coming out on the other side with a magickal system (or assemblage of systems), that suits my sensibilities. So basically I always pursued academic learning in terms of how it could help me build the metamagickal methodology that I felt driven to articulate. Like I said before, I used the university structure as a framework of self-initiation.
I’m not a historian or a philologist: I’m a future oriented practice-driven magickal philosopher. I’m fed on science fiction and mythology, and I think we are active participants in the unfolding of our collective reality – I have devoted myself to imagining, and living within – the frames of reference that our current crisis requires. I would even say that there is a political urgency to it. For instance, a few years back the great luminary, Ursula K. LeGuin, issued a mission statement to writers and artists charging us with the task of imagining the futures that we will need to make thinkable for humanity to continue to exist: to imagine paths beyond consumer capitalism. I take this charge quite seriously. Whatever it is we will need to pass through this moment in our planet’s history – we don’t have it yet. Traditional magic has not supplied it, religion has not supplied it, science has not supplied it. We are teetering on an incredible and terrifying threshold, and I believe we have to synthesize a new consciousness and a new mind altogether – to see far outside the problems as we have framed them so far. We need to be the imaginers that find the way through and across our collective human abyss.
If academia has taught me anything it is that we need it ALL – the historical record, the religious perspectives, the ancient incantations, the scientific method – all the pieces of the puzzle, from all the different world-views that have attempted to tackle the problem of existence – but we need to do more than just catalog it: we need to apply it towards a total reframing of reality – culturally, technologically, politically… This means taking risks, inventing systems, pursuing goals: applying the pressure of our arts to Time itself. We need to perform a great alchemy upon ourselves as a species, and on the cultures that have carried us this far. We need to transform it ALL, and yet waste none of it.
So for me, academia is a very good, positive thing: the academies train us to think well and they help us preserve the pieces we need to be working with… BUT… the Work is universal – global: it’s happening everywhere, we cannot pretend that specialists are going to be able to do what needs to be done with it all. For that we need true magicians – polymaths – enlightened generalists, creatives and visionaries – and no institution can hold that kind of volatile, free energy in check. We need to step outside of those walls, at the same time as we stand up for what is happening within them.
A mage needs a scrupulous and intense education – but also an ethos of daring, I think. I used my time in academia to build the groundwork for the magickal systems I now deploy in practical, non-academic work. It was a very fruitful experience, and I have an enduring respect for Academia, flaws and all.
PAA: Having read some of your work prior to this interview I wanted to ask about magical squares and how they are utilized by a magician. Also perhaps an introduction to the idea of what happens when a mystical system comes together with a mathematical figure, I found this fascinating.
Peter: Right – so my approach leans very heavily on magic squares – and not just squares: circles, stars, hexagon-arrays, torii, tesseracts, and more. This is very different from what most Western magicians will be familiar with – the system of planetary Kamea. While I do have some techniques that work with the Kamea, I view those figures as a subset of the larger body of mathematical objects that are relevant to magick . Essentially, when you compose (or discover) a mathematically magical array – you are putting a series of some kind into a unique shape and order that is optimized to have a special emergent property – the magic sum. The magic sum is like an overtone that emerges when the elements are arranged “just right” – as if the figure is akin to a bell, or singing bowl, which has been carefully crafted – optimized – such that as a whole, when struck, it “sings forth” an energy that is more than the sum of its parts. Not every array of numbers or patterns can do that: this is why magic squares, circles, stars and other figures are so precious. So I have been on a quest, of sorts – for many years – collecting figures that support my practice of meta-structuring conventional magickal systems. When you interface a magickal system like the Runes, or I Ching, or Kabbalah, into a magic square or star – it blossoms in an incredible way, so basically, I feed these systems into appropriate mathematical frameworks and I see what emerges.
This blossoming triggers what I call Metamagickal Fields. Magickal systems, when channeled through mathematically magical objects emanate a special kind of “filter” on events and phenomena that organizes those events and phenomena into integrated fields of influence. The magickian who is at the centre of such a field (or nest of fields) is in a sense resonating with that field’s structure – and that resonance is affecting time. This is because such a field modulates the “aperature shape” of the present as “the future potential” flows through it and becomes cast as “the past actual”. This is how reality happens. Our fields are like a mold that continuously produces the past from out of the future.
So practically speaking it looks like this: if, for example, as we will be learning to do in the Meta Magick Scrying Course, we build up our magickal circle to map onto the famous Lo Shu (known in the Western “Kamea” system as the Magick Square of Saturn), then we are fortifying that circle with the strength and power and integration of the magick square – which resonates to the magic sum of 15. What is more is that we are providing a coupling point – between that square and other figures, so that the field generated by the Lo Shu might “plug-in” to another field generated by another mathemagical figure – in a process similar to molecular bonding – or evocative of the “electron clouds” that we see in modern chemistry. This is also covered in the video course. I should add that it has been pointed by Cliff Pickover in The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars that the patterns of magic sums which show up in the various figures are evocative of Chladni patterns: the resonance patterns we see in sand when we vibrate it to a certain frequency – or cimatics – the patterns that appear on the surface of water when it is similary vibrated with specific frequencies.
My thinking is that magic figures like the Lo Shu apply a virtual pressure to the “surface” of time in the form of ripples, standing waves, resonances and affiliations, that allow us to “apply the pressure of art” to time. In other words, what I practice and teach is how to scry these magick figures – we go into them in trance and come back with images, associations, symbols, and dream-like imaginings. We load emotional and aesthetic content onto them. That emotional content then, charges the field – it provides us with an interface between our consciousness and the raw becoming of events – it gives us a kind of resonating magickal “border of the soul” which has a definite coherence, shape, pattern, and consistency. Such a robust “light body” is what is needed to break through the various caked-on layers of reactivity, psychic pollution, delusion and distraction that keep us from truly expressing our presence to eternity.
As our meta-magick fields get stronger, deeper and more layered, we can learn to build more and more powerful innerspaces – memory palaces, astral temples, Merkabahs (chariots) and the like which afford us a freedom to create the world authentically from out of our natural connection – rather than just reactively reproducing the worlds that the predatory ideologies are constantly seeking to force us to reproduce. I use mathematically magickal figures to help us amplify the inherent consistency and structural strength of magickal and mystical vocabulary-sets, and to allow them to be connected modularly in novel ways in an open space of experimentation, where the ultimate goal is to realize ourselves creatively, without interference, on the horizon of eternity.
PAA: What role does the Qabalah play in your work and what is your approach to it? By approach I mean is it closer to the Golden Dawn or perhaps the Franz Bardon approach to this art.
Peter: So the Qabalah is a major part of my work. My first initiations into Magick were through the Qabalistic system that was worked by the Golden Dawn and then modified by Crowley. I learned Tarot from the Thoth deck. I spent a good part of a year memorizing Crowley’s 777 tables. This Qabalistic model was the first magical modality that I truly internalized. I use gematria extensively to analyse formulae and to create spells. I use the Tree of Life to pathwork the Tarot and build up the inner body of light. I also delve into some of the Hebrew Kabbalah ideas: in particular, I am very drawn to the myth of the TzimTzum and the philosophy of the Tikkun Olam – where the adept’s mission is to recover sparks of the original light of the divine that have becomed trapped in the shells of reification and illusion. That is absolutely essential to what I am doing and what I think we should be doing as occultists: counteracting the delusional fragmentation that our minds, our languages, our dualistic systems are always conjuring up all around us, learning how to realize -in the present- that we are true, living expressions of the eternal field of possibility. This is how we do the Work, in my opinion, and this is the Way. I learned on the Golden Dawn, and so in general, I approach this through the version of the Tree of Life that they made so popular; the Kircher Tree, but I am also aware of other arrangements – the Lurianic, the Gra, and of other approaches: Franz Bardon’s, for example. I have not, however, worked with his material at all so I cannot really comment on it. One day I will likely make a study of it.
PAA: What other systems of magick do you work with? Can you comment on what each system contributes to your work?
Peter: I work with Qabalah, Abracadabra, Tarot, Enochian, I Ching, Ogham, Runes, the Mayan Calendar, and Chaos Magick, and with other systems that emerge from out of the interplay of all these. There’s no ultimate limit as to who can play. It is helpful to view all these systems as contributing layers of a complex, interlocking field that surrounds, buffers, and modulates the moment of presence: like a series of envelopments, each with their own special contribution to the whole.
The Qabalistic Tarot is the backbone of it all: the 22 major arcana are the keys to the mythepoetics that is most basic to my world-view and understanding. They may be arranged in many different ways – the Abrahadabra triangle, the Chartres labyrinth, the Platonic solids, the Merkabah. The tree of life itself can developed into a fractal snowflake, as we see in the work of Charles Stanfield Jones – Frater Achad – who showed us some brilliant geometric integrations in Anatomy of the Body of God.
This Qabalistic core gets considerably extended by the Enochian system – which I have adapted in a unique way to fit my calendar magick paradigm. In particular, the Enochian watchtower system is a way of greatly extending and intensifying the 22 trump energies of the Tarot, and gives us a very powerful and sensitive “antenna” for connecting to visionary experience and traveling to rare zones of perception. Enochian complexifies and then reintegrates the basic fields supplied by the Tarot Trumps. It is as if the coherence of the system gets shattered into pieces and then reassembled, so that the adept becomes intimately familiar with each energy on at far higher degree of granulation than before. It is like Lego for occultists.
The I Ching is a mathematically airtight system of transformations that bears strong analogies to our biological code. Certain features of I Ching map perfectly onto the structure of DNA and onto the stages of biological morphogenesis. The I Ching contributes an adaptive nature to one’s fields that lets them flow across circumstance without disaster. Where the Qabalah and Enochian dominate a vertical axis, I Ching plays out across a Horizontal plane.
Ogham is also a very very interesting magickal modality. It is associated with Trees, particularly, but it is much more than that. The system allows us to grow a kind of organic inner world – a memory forest – and supports the whole Bardic ethos of weaving magick into storytelling, poetry, and oration. I see its role in the overall system as contributing a more fleshly layer – counteracting the highly urban code that we get from Enochian, and softening it. I see it as a way to restore immanence to spaces that have suffered from too much “transcendental” energy. It allows for a more natural, shadow-mottled, organic space to be cultivated. It is an invitation to the spirits of the land – the Fae – in particular, to join in with the process of magickal re-organization. It adds an ecological dimension that is very beautiful.
The Runes are graphically very powerful – they seem to deploy force directly, graphically, and where a system like, say, the Qabalah tends to produce an archive of numbers and worlds and magickal math energies, the runes feel like they bend and move forces directly. The way they form into bindrunes and staves is so straightforward and powerful. They bring a very direct, “monocular” flavor to the extended magick of intention. It is no coincidence that most of them can be traced out onto the paths which interconnect metaphysical schemata like the Tree of Life and the Tetractys of the Decad. The runes are very potent in terms of influencing the relations between things.
There are still other systems that flow into all this – the Mayan Tzolkin, the sigilistics of Austin Spare, the Ars Magna of Ramon Llull, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Chinese acupuncture meridians, the formula of Abrahadabra etc…. but in general what is important to see is that they are connecting into a system of fields – interlocking and contributing their expertise into a total, open-ended picture. They are not competing for space, they are not being “spliced”, they are not being flattened into a simple plane. They are being composed, decomposed, and recomposed in order to play with notions of how different magickal languages might process reality in diverse ways – and how those ways might be brought into coordination and cooperation. This is the real purpose of meta-magick: true synthesis…. and we can keep adding systems – we are composing a magickal interlanguage that is designed to accomodate each new layer of “code” as it is integrated. It is ultimately a profoundly open system – inviting the diverse magicks of the world to cooperate under its aegis.
PAA: Do you use Invocation and Evocation? If so, what is it that you believe you are evoking or invoking? Something from within your own consciousness or something that exists independently?
Peter: I use both invocation and evocation – although I feel like I need to qualify these ideas. They exist on one level of analysis – but not on every level. There is a domain from which invocation and evocation can be seen as indistinguishable – even non-existent. Basically invocation and evocation operate in the intermediate layers of reality – where selves are playing out and being articulated and refined.
Invocation is typically seen as drawing an infinite energy through you and into you- letting a god see through your eyes, and act through your deeds – and evocation is typically seeing as encountering a non-infinite energy “external” to you – establishing an alliance of some kind. The analogy could be made that that if you are about to go into combat, you might summon up an inner fury or frenzy – invoke a spirit of battle – that becomes the energy that you then emit and embody – you ARE the god (and if you are specifically calling on named gods that are congruent with this energy, so much the better!). Invocation is a Masque. In Heremetic Qabalah, we typically use the Hexagram to balance the different invocatory “streams” that we might draw on in this way – which is key – and assuming we do balance them, the whole thing comes together like a braid of infinities – the godforms are interwoven to form a whole that transcends them. This is what we could call “growing a balanced psychocosm” such that it may be efficiently transcended. The psychocosm is a Masquerade.
On the other hand, when we evoke, we are relating to a entity that is understood as outside us: we are approaching its territory and negotiating with it – without identifying our selves with it. This could be like finding the phone number of a good plumber and hiring them to do work for you – or it could be like borrowing sugar from your neighbors. You are building a relationship with a being that is not you. It is very good hygene to know the difference between invocation and evocation: it helps us build good boundaries and establish good relations, and it helps us be our most potent, versatile selves – in a way that recognizes other’s equal right to do so.
So, when it comes to magick, as general rule, you invoke gods and you evoke spirits: angels, demons, etc…Of course magicians have experimented with reversing this: invoking demons and angels, and evoking gods – and that is certainly possible… so it shows us that the external and the internal are not hard and fast divisions. The invokable can be evoked, and the evokable can be invoked: so where does that leave us?
In a weird way, the magick circle is like a moebius strip, and the magick sphere is like a Klein bottle. The line between outside and inside is blurrier than people think. It is not a sharp, impermeable division. Sometimes the “outside” and the “inside” exchange positions. Sometimes the mind and body swap roles. Are such dualisms even real in an absolute sense? Probably not.
So, when asked if I view evocation as being an inner psychological exercise, or a contact with independent entities, my answer is “yes”. The invocation/evocation dichotomy is a contingent one – that holds on a certain level of practice – but in the domains that exist beyond that tier of practice the “self” as an entity that is distinguishable from the “other” breaks down, and so does the invocation/evocation divide.
In the mystic plenum that suffuses mind and body, inside and outside, we can only speak of the displays – without boundary – that infinite potentiality plays out. Those displays include what contingent beings will relate to as invoked forces, but also what they will relate to as evoked entities… however at the true horizon, where the contingency of existence is drowned in eternity – there is no fundamental difference between any of this. The outside and the inside are equilibrated.
PAA: What is the main focus of Meta-Magick and how does it differ from traditional forms of magick?
Peter: As I said before, Meta-Magick is the “pressure of art brought to bear on time”. But let’s look deeper: what I mean by metamagick – and why I use it as a term – is a kindof redeployment of magickal method in the post-scientific age. Materialist science has reached the limits of its scope as an independent methodology, and for it to be salvaged, it needs to be reintegrated with other human approachs to reality – with myth, with philosophy, with art, with magick. Only by developing a meticulous blend – an alchemy of these different approaches, will we really find what we need to survive our current crisis. In other words, the magick that I feel this world needs is related to – but not identical with – the magick that we practiced a thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago. Meta-magick is a magick that integrates with experimental science as well as with art.
This is very much connected to a model of “four centres”, which I developed after reading Jean Gebser’s Ever Present Origin. It is as follows: briefly, I think that human consciousness has evolved in four great stages – structures – or aeons, if you will. These stages are all, on some level like points of departure from the “origin”, Tao, or Ainsof – the undifferentiated background of all reality. In the first evolutionary departure, as a species, we stabilized the compass rose as the centre of our reality and developed a kindof elementalist, magickal worldview that puts “where-we-stand” at the very centre of things – the axis mundi. We gained the power of map-making and orientation during this stage. This is what Gebser called the “magical structure”, and it is a very solipsistic, very primal, very elemental structure.
In the next evolutioary leap, we stabilized the geocentric cosmology as the framework or structure of our reality. We construed the whole world as being at the centre of a system of crystaline spheres and various heavens, and we built calendars and developed myths and epic poems and founded religions to consolidate all this. We fleshed out a whole mythopoeic economy of society and of psyche upon this Ptolymaic armature. This is what Gebser called the “mythic structure”.
In the next stage of our evolution, we began to concieve that the earth was mobile – and we started towards stabilizing the sun-centred cosmology as the framework of our reality. This innaugurated the modern age and enshrined reason and science as the most powerful way of working. This is what Gebser called the “Mental Structure.” I see that it hangs upon the Copernican framework.
As new structures evolve they need to find ways of negotiating, competing, or contrasting with the previous structures – sometimes this is done peaceably, but usually there is strife – such as when materialist atheism, working out of the mental structure tried to conflate the mythic and magical structures and dismiss them in one stroke – or when the mythic structure codified “acceptable religion” against the sorcery of the magical structure – in order to capture it and bring it into line. The way the different “centres” of universal framing interact with one another is a vital feature of our larger environment of consciousness, politics, society. Representatives of all these centres are present on the earth at this time, and much of our work has to do with negotiating their different relationships – the magical to the mythical, the mythical to the mental, the mental to the magickal, etc.
Each of these structures is what I think of as an independent psycho-cosmic economy. What is happening now, I believe, is that we are at the early stages of consolidating a new centre around which to construe our world – the galactic centre at Sagittarius A. This means that we are growing a new economy of consciousness. This migration from the solar/scientic/mental structure to a galactic scale structure is what Gebser called “the Integral Mutation”. We have yet to stabilize this integral structure – but what we will need to do to succeed is to re-write how the previous structures interact with one another: integrating them in new ways with new roles, like organs in a body. We will need to figure out how the previous psycho-cosmic economies merge into and are synthesized with this new, nascent level of development – to renegotiate the distribution dynamics of the four psycho-cosmic structures in order to build an integral vision. So what does this have to do with meta magick?
The integral structure needs magic, myth, and science – and it needs them all to work efficiently in their own spheres. We always have the option, now of becoming a specialist in any of those fields – elemental sorcery – mythopoeic storytelling – scientific research…. but we also have the option of becoming an integrator – of developing and practicing the arts of the compass, of the earth-centre, and of the sun-centre independently, and then braiding them together towards a galactic level of integration. This is what I mean by Meta Magick – this future-oriented evolutionary braiding of myth, magic, and science – and it looks very different than just a straight up reconstruction of past magicks (although such faithful reconstructions ARE valuable and needed). It looks a lot more lke what Nema and the Horus Maat Lodge were up to – channeling wisdom from a future timeline in which humanity has passed through the trial of its galactic initiation. Like I said before – we are cultivating the grammar of a magickal interlanguage – which comes from the future.
It’s not clear that we will survive this current initiation – but I feel we have to give it a good shot, and so meta-magick is how I understand a magick to function, when it is operating on a galactic level: and it is all about massaging the various different centres – compass rose, earth, sun, and galaxy – into a working, multi-tiered, organic synthesis.
PAA: Can you explain the concept of “belief management” in Meta-Magick and its role in achieving desired outcomes?
Peter: I think Peter Caroll, in Liber Null and Psychonaut said that what makes a Chaote is the meta-belief that belief governs reality. I think it is fair to say that Chaos Magic sewed (some of) the seeds of meta magick – and by definition Chaos Magic is a meta magick – but the Chaos Magic aesthetic can easily becomes a stumbling block for truly achieving the “meta”. It can become just another ideological option alongside others, if the full implications of its insight are not grasped.
Alan Chapman’s teriffic little book Advanced Magick for Beginners is a very very very useful read, and probably gets closer to what I am trying to do than Caroll’s work does. “Chaos magick”, when it is viewed as a rejection of traditional magick, and when it is framed as a “superior methodology” actually fails to achieve escape velocity. It becomes just another “identity marker” – unless we learn to use it in a very different way than how we approach traditional magic: as a universal magical solvent for operating in the spaces in-between traditionalist systems. On its own, Chaos magic lacks substance – but when we start to tincture traditional magickal modalities with it – then something very extraordinary happens.
Take, for example the classic problem attending a non-dual paradigm – the nondualist who opposes nonduality to duality is actually sucked right back into duality… Choosing nondualism over dualism is dualistic. True nondualism must include dualism – but in a way that adds an “indivisible remainder” – some elusive extra dimension that prevents dualism from ever closing its jaws completely. Thus, in many ways it changes nothing. And yet it changes everything. If we do not reject our dualistic world in exchange for a monistic one, but simply continue as we are – but open it up to a horizon of mystery that means that we know we can never exhaust reality with a formula – then our conventional world-views get animated with a breath from the infinite, so to speak: the dualistic reality drowns in a non-dualist sea.
The same is the case when a traditional mage entertains the methodological openness that chaos magick permits – without actually leaving their traditional practices. Those practices become enlivened by a great opening-up: the horizon of their expression becomes vastly enlarged. Their present is unchanged, but their future development is now much more open: like returning a potted plant to the wild.
Chaos magick serves at its best when it is not polarized to the traditional systems at all – but crowns our ability to play those systems out in a greater context. I think Chapman really gets at this in his definition of magick: “the art and science of experiencing truth”.
So what is “belief management” in the context of this alchemy between Chaos Magic and the Traditions? The chaos mage who views themselves as fluidly modulating belief – through ritual, drama, sigil, etc…. are on the right track with where I am going with Meta Magick. We believe what we do – and we try to do what we believe. But belief is one of those things that is alot like “invocation and evocation” which I discussed earlier. It operates very effectively on one plane of analysis – but becomes somewhat pointless once we go beyond that that plane. “Belief” implies doubt. Believe is a stepping stone from ignorance towards knowledge. When you choose to believe in a thing, really you are just inviting it as a possibility. This is an excellent intermediate step. Knowing that we can modulate beliefs to target goals is a good first step – but we are going to ultimately have to abandon belief altogether in preference for direct experience.
The real goal is to reach past belief directly into knowledge – gnosis, if you will. This transformation reveals something much more important than belief management: attentional management. Belief management helps us approach our goals. Attention management creates worlds. It is possible to live without belief – but it is not possible to live without attention. We are literally made up of attention. The key is to address how we consolidate, focus, and organize it. So meta-magic is not really about belief – it is about building infrastructures of attention – which “beliefs”, of course, are – but at a point where we can transcend the limits of belief as an excercise: namely that it tends to negate what it perceives as its opposite.
Pure attention has no opposite – beliefs segue into it like duality segues into nonduality, like the formulatic and codified traditions segue into the open horizon of all possible expression – “chaos”, if you will. So that’s what we are looking to do here: take belief as a methodology and exhaust it completely – leaving only the purity of attention-architecture behind.
This is where the traditional systems have a value that perhaps the more literalist chaotes fail to recognize: because these systems have such massive historical inertia – they represent assemblages of detailed focus that have been integrated over centuries, if not millenia. They are circuitries of attention: highly sophisticated and robust filtering systems. They are way way way more potent than any one individual’s “alphabet of desire” could ever be. They are collective works – cathedrals of psychic energy. This is why we build our meta-magick fields with them. The traditional magickal systems support much more highly focused and intense magickal trajectories that the chaotics can on their own but together, they obtain a key to limitless open ended development. Belief management is the porch, but attention-management is the temple.
PAA: How does your approach to Meta-Magick differ from what people may think of as Meta Magick?
Peter: I have only a vague idea of what other people mean by Meta-Magick. I have only seen it used in a few different contexts. A google search shows that it is not in especially wide use.
The first time I heard “metamagic” was in the context of Douglas Hofstadters’s book Metamagical Themas, a title which is also an anagram for the phrase “mathematical games”. In the book, the author expresses that the various paradoxes and plays of words and ideas that he features operate as kind of meta-magic – even though he seems to learn towards the belief that this dispells them as a magic (which I do not – I think it actually animates them magickally). When I browsed the book, I was intrigued by the idea that we could explore magick through a scientific and philosophical lens – particularly when it came to recreational mathematics. So there is a resonance here – even though I think what I am doing is quite different: we definitely agree on the importance of mathematical games – and the vital role of recreational math.
I have also seen the term used in conjuction with Neuro Linguistic Programming – which often brands itself as a kind of instrumentalist, scientifically founded magic. I have taken a course on NLP and have encountered some of it’s enthusiatic practioners. I am torn. In one way I most certainly find it interesting and worthy of study – on the other hand I find it operates like “esotericism lite” – with certain instrumentative aspects of the magickal path being up-played (control, influence, power), and certain aspects being downplayed (wisdom, transcendence, contemplation). There’s a salesmany vibe that doesn’t quite sit with me – although I concede that it is methodologically useful.
One thing I’ve observed about NLP is that it involves a lot of reverse engineering – the technique was developed in the close study of the behavior of Milton Erickson and Virginia Satir: two therapists who manifested a kind of natural ability to influence and heal their subjects. In my experience the esoteric arts and sciences are a much fuller study of meta-magick than NLP, because of their antiquity and the overall naturalness they promote – there is an organic quality to them.
I am not an NLP practitioner but I acknowledge the method, and I can see why someone might call it a “metamagic”. I would not be at all against blending NLP techniques with this work – it could well be fruitful. My vision of Meta-Magick, nevertheless stands on its own: it is conceived of as a mode of time-influencing that attempts to braid mythical, magical, and scientific methodologies towards healing our relationship with eternity.
PAA: You have a course coming to Perseus, could you introduce it and let readers know what benefits they can expect from taking this course?
Peter: Yes. I will be offering a course called “Intro to Meta Magick Scrying”. So this is a very compact – seven module course in which I lead students through the stages of building a basic set of Metamagick fields. These fields are zones of consciousness which are supported by mathematically magick structures and that lock together to provide a stable centre for the metamagickian to work in. It is basically a crash course in building a Meta Magick Merkabah (the visionary chariot).
The exercises involve obtaining visions from the various “zones” that are delineated by the structures in question and then recording or mapping those visions onto provided templates. We use intention to set the target for scrying, and we use receptive intuition to obtain the images. At the end of the course, students who have done all the excercises will have a set of talismans which they have made that anchor and integrate the Meta Magick Fields. They will aslo have gained a good bit of experience in visionary projection, as well as a knowledge of some quite spiffy mathemagical objects and figures. In the process we will also be constructing a very specific magickal tool that will help them use the meta-magick fields to actively transmute obstacles and to “metabolize” different kinds of difficult energy into a meta-magickal perspective. By the end of the course, if they do all the work, they will have a fully operative set of metamagick fields that will be under their control.
It’s important to say that in this introductory course I won’t be covering anything to do with Qabalah, Enochian, or any of the other specific systems I work with. This course is just about the core practice of scrying magick squares – it is “neutral” in terms of systematic content: that being said, if this course with Perseus is successful, then I will likely want to develop some other courses that do go explore specific systems. For example, I’d like to showcase the metamagickal approach to Enochian, to the Ogham, to the Goetia and the Shem-Ha-Mephorash, and to the Qabalistic Tarot. We’ll see what happens.
I expect the Meta Magick Scrying course to take between 10 and 20 weeks to complete, and even though the videos are short – the exercises themselves will need to be digested and assimilated over some time: there is a lot to unpack.
The course concludes with a 28-day program of practice that uses all the tools and crystalizes them as a mode, or vehicle, for experiencing time through the filter of this personalized, meta-magickal set of artworks. Remember – metamagick is the pressure of art, brought to bear on time.
If you do this course, you will find yourself consolidated, quickened, and integrated – and you will begin to be able to work meta-magickally across multiple different traditions. This is a great investment for mages who want to begin to explore how the freedom of chaos magick and the depth of traditional magick can be mutually harnessed within an open, experimental field of play.
PAA: How was/is The Horus Maat Lodge important to you? And Maat Magick?
Peter: The HML was a very conducive environment for me to experiment with avant-garde magickal systems without fear of being scorned or disapproved of. Nema was an amazingly open and wise adept who created a totally unique community. The approach to magick is very cutting edge, yet also inclusive. Personally, I was directly contacted by Ma’at before ever knowing about the Horus Ma’at lodge – and I was subsequently led there by that very gnosis. I followed a highly personalized course of development which at some points jived with the ritual structure of the HML and at other points diverged – but it was always the case that Liber Pennae Penumbra (Nema’s channeled masterpiece) was a central and significant influence on my development as a mage, and that the project of grounding the N’aton timeline – the timeline in which we have survived our current ordeal – is the project I am ultimately working on. All my magickal efforts are aligned with this optimistic, inclusive, mature vision of how we must together take responsibility for our magickal, mental, social, and environmental development. So yeah. Meta-magick is my contribution to the double current. (If you enjoyed hearing about the HML – read an interview with another member of the HML here)
PAA: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Peter: Just that I’d like to invite interested students to check out the courses here at Perseus – and also mention that I run a free-to-join Tarot Incubator group called the Forest of Life -10,000 Tarots project. Basically, the idea is that – using a specially designed calendar – everybody focuses on a Tarot theme of the week, and is encouraged to make works that relate to that theme – decks, songs, poems, etc. My ultimate goal is to collectively make 10,000 Tarot decks using this remarkable system. Participant will have a community of creatives to engage with and also will be informed of classes, publications and other events that relate to my work. The way to get into this group is to sign up to my newsletter where I offer weekly Tarot spreads, and other useful knowledge. It is a good place to get a taste of my work, and to learn some practical Tarot tips. Subscribers will get an invitation to the Incubator.
Finally, there is my flagship – the Meta-Magick Tarot course – a 32 week perpetual class in Tarot, meta-magick and calendar magick (it is synchronized to the orbit of Venus). The next round of the class starts in October 2023 – so there is plenty of time to prepare. In essence, every week, through live classes and scrying meditations, we will explore a different Tarot theme, and cover both basic, as well as very advanced material. We will be producing a special meta-magick talisman together that is similar to what you will see in my course on Perseus. MMT is like a graduate level occult philosophy course, with a creative project as its focus. You will get access to over 400 pages of illustrated materials, over 30 hours of video, and weekly live instruction/meditation. Prepared and committed students will learn things that are not available elsewhere. As a whole, it is very much compatible with the video courses offered through Perseus, and they compliment one another perfectly (take the Perseus courses first and then you will have a huge advantage going into the MMT flagship course!).
Other than that, in the next few years I intend to be adding two more calendar-driven courses to include explorations timed to the orbits of both Mercury and Mars. These are huge adventures in art, magick and philosophy – but for those who are prepared to do the work, and attend consistently, they can be exceptionally rewarding. The overall vision is a magick that spans centuries and focuses on growing a new cultural synthesis in line with optimistic and compassionate universal values. These courses will get announced on my website when they become available.
PAA: Many thanks for spending time answering our questions.
Peter: My pleasure. Success to your Work.
Main Website: https://metamagickmatrix.myportfolio.com/
Courses: Meta Magick Tarot (myportfolio.com)
Newsletter Signup: The Forest of Life – 10,000 Tarots Newsletter (mailchi.mp)
Youtube: (18) Dr. Peter Duchemin – YouTube