This is the second in our series of Chaos Magick Interviews (see the first here). Matt was very kind to answer our questions and provide some insight into what Chaos Magick means to him. We hope you enjoy this interview and if you do please let us know in the comments. After you have read the interview, do head over to Matts website and see what he has to offer.
PAA: Please briefly introduce yourself and your magical journey.
Matt: I’m Matt, and I started doing chaos magick in 2015. I like to work with technology and pop culture a lot.
PAA: What brought you to Chaos Magic?
Matt: I was following the West Memphis 3 case pretty closely because I was the outcast in my hometown as well, when I happened across an interview with Damien Echols that made magick sound really practically useful for once. One google rabbit-hole later and I was a chaos magician. It’s the first thing I had ever read or heard about “magic” that made sense rather than sounding ludicrous. I was a pretty big skeptic before finding it. I had people try to get me to try this or that and it all just sounded dumb before, haha.
PAA: How would you describe Chaos Magic and how does it differ from other more ‘traditional’ forms of magic.
Matt: Chaos magick is kind of like applying the scientific method to magick except we are seeking subjective truth instead of objective truth. You experiment with something, record the results, tweak it and try again, all with the goal of finding how to be most effective. This process leads you to what works for you, and perhaps more importantly, away from what doesn’t work for you. Traditional magick is usually much more “Do exactly this” where chaos magick is more like throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
PAA: Is there a central approach to Chaos magic that is accepted as CM or is it very much an eclectic approach which differs for each person. For example would two CM’s have similar knowledge from a central curriculum or would it be completely random?
Matt: To answer this we have to get into the meta model. Chaos magick is not a system of magick exactly, it’s like a way of approaching other systems of magick. A really good analogy if you are into martial arts is Jeet Kune Do, which is a philosophy of approaching the martial arts rather than a rote list of maneuvers.
So on the one hand on the meta level, there is a collection of ideas that are more or less generally shared, but on the other hand, they are ideas about building a unique and personal magical practice that will vary a lot from person to person. So down here in the model it’s very different, but up in the meta-model there is a lot more overlap.
You mentioned “eclectic” so I would like to address that too, there’s like a whole other type of magic user called an “eclectic witch” or “eclectic magician” or “eclectic (whatever)” and they might look similar to chaos magick from the outside looking in, but usually the “why” makes them very different.
Eclectic practitioners usually have one static set of beliefs that doesn’t exactly or perfectly fit with any particular path, so they collect techniques that fit their beliefs from other styles of magick. Chaos magicians also collect techniques from other styles of magick but it’s not because it fits with any static set of beliefs we hold dear, it is because we can change our beliefs to use any of those techniques, which gives us a bigger toolbox than most.
PAA: What is your approach to Chaos magic?
Matt: Experiment with the goal of finding what gets the best results for me.
PAA: How does Chaos magic approach the following subjects:
1) Stillness of the Mind , Concentration and Visualization
2) Working with Energy and the 4 Elements
3) Working with Akasha
4) Working with beings – here we get into the discussion of whether Evocations are evoking real beings or evoking things from our own subconscious.
Matt: It approaches all of these in the same way: “find what works best for you and do it that way”
1) I’ve seen everything from the exact opposite of stillness of the mind from my ADD magicians, to techniques for magicians with aphantasia who cannot visualize anything.
2) In chaos magick you could look at energy as anything from The Force, to circuits in a simulation. We don’t claim to have objective answers just useful lenses for viewing phenomenon. I think you see where this is going without going down the whole list.
PAA: From what I have read prior to this interview a central tenet to Chaos magic appears to be using belief as a tool. What can you tell us about this? Does this mean it is enough to believe we are in contact with an entity to make it so? Or is it more about creating a bridge from where we are to where we wish to go?
Matt: It’s about practicing to be able to change your beliefs, so that when you do a working with Zeus, you believe in Zeus, but when you do a working with Yahweh, you believe in Yahweh. And like all good tools, you get to put them down when they aren’t right for the job at hand, so if either of those assholes ask you to make a human sacrifice or hate gays or something stupid you can just switch back to a more useful belief instead of riding dogma all the way to the end like a lot of non-chaos-magicians do. You get to have your cake and eat it too.
Believe when it is helpful, but unlike people stuck in those dogmas you get to stop believing when it stops being helpful. Some people don’t think it’s “really” possible, but I think they just suck at it and are projecting that onto everyone else. Look at extreme method acting if you don’t think a person can change their beliefs, perspectives, world views.
The primary danger there is it works TOO well sometimes (like with an unhealthy character an actor is playing, and they develop unhealthy views or beliefs from it). It can also be used for it’s own sake. Sometimes you don’t need to change your belief to do any certain spell or ritual, it’s just helpful in and of itself to change what you believe. Look at sports psychology for example.
PAA: Can you share about some of your work with Chaos magic – successes and failures?
Matt: I don’t believe in failures I believe in making realistic goals, given my skillset and sometimes not being finished because it didn’t work YET. Failure is very temporary if you aren’t trying something stupid like flying around shooting fireballs. My biggest successes have been personal growth/healing and manifesting a lucrative career and life for my family.
PAA: What else should people know about Chaos magic?
Matt: It’s very misunderstood, even sometimes by people claiming to do it. If you are serious, do a lot of reading from various sources instead of just listening to someone because that person may be an idiot. I may be an idiot, how would I know? Don’t take my word for anything, go study, haha.
PAA: For those wanting to learn more where should they go? Robert Anton Wilson? Austin Osman Spare?
Matt: Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine is very good imo.
PAA: Do you have any websites or social media you would like to share?
PAA: Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us here at Perseus Arcane Academy.