I woke up with a bowl of queso in my lap and a tortilla nestled between my armpit and the couch cushion.
My body feels like it’s been hit by a truck and I haven’t been to the gym in three days.
It sounds weird, but I think I’m finally getting better.
A year ago I started practicing Chaos Magick.
Every morning I would wake up, take out my notepad, and cast spells.
I was a magician and I harnessed the energy of the universe to create reality.
Chaos Magick is a form of mindfulness that allows a person to manifest things into existence.
It involves a lot of journaling (spell crafting) and symbols of affirmation (sigil crafting).
But for the magic to work, a spellcaster must be willing to shed their societally induced beliefs to create their own.
It’s like if Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Self Actualization had a baby with the Laws of Attraction but that baby was a giant ginger jew sitting on his porch believing in magic so he could feel better about himself and pursue his dreams.
It sounds pretty sad, but it’s true…
Which brings me to the next principle of Chaos Magick: nothing is true.
The chaos magician must be willing to assume that everything they read, see, or hear is bullshit.
So when Fox News tells you that there’s a nationwide pandemic of young people eating Tide pods…
You can call bullshit.
Your dad tells you that the government influences every decision we make and we’re all destined to a life of subconscious servitude.
Bullshit on that too.
You can even stop believing in germs. I did and it’s been great. I haven’t been sick all year. (I’ll probably be sick in a week.)
A prospective Chaos Magician must assume nothing is true unless believing it will help the magician move closer towards realizing their dreams.
You have to ask yourself:
Will believing this idea make me feel better, or worse?
If it makes you feel worse, a Chaos Magician has free reign to call bullshit, ignore whatever it was, and move on believing however they want.
I would pick out character traits I wanted to invoke and use them as an example to strive for:
Samuel L. Jackson- cool under pressure.
The Dude- unconcerned with societal expectations.
Don Draper- creativity, confidence, and assertiveness in his actions.
For the more practical stuff, I would pick out artists and entrepreneurs to invoke:
Elon Musk- tenacity to pursue his vision for the future.
Trent Reznor- courage to share emotional vulnerability.
Scary Spice- her ferocious demeanor and catlike reflexes.
I didn’t really pray to Scary Spice. But I could have. And that’s what’s great about chaos magic.
While I was casting spells, cool shit happened on the reg.
I learned how to write and became a published author.
I taught myself to draw and designed a social network.
I spoke at tech conferences and attracted a team of people who were down for the cause.
The spells I crafted, and the sigils I invoked, had worked:
My dreams had manifested.
Chaos Magicians take action towards creating their desired reality, and over time, the magician becomes the ideas they believe in. They begin to act “as if” they are already an artist, entrepreneur, or a Spice Girl.
So, if you want to be someone like Trent Reznor, you have to ask yourself: what does someone like Trent Reznor do?
He writes lyrics, sings, and performs in front of people.
If you want to be like Elon Musk, you ask yourself: What does an an entrepreneur do?
They research their target market, write out their ideas, and critically assess them. They test their theories in the real world.
It’s also very similar to getting sober. If you’re a drug addict and you want to be sober, what do you do?
You do what people who have recovered from drug addiction do.
You go to 12 step meetings, you share with the group, and you call people to talk about your feelings.
Then one day you wake up and you aren’t thinking about getting high anymore. You wake up happy and content.
So you keep doing what you’ve been doing.
Rinse and repeat. Obsession and craving removed. You are now recovered.
You can do all this stuff without believing in anything, but it’s pretty tough. Chaos Magick gives you the permission to believe in what you want so you can become the things you think about.
Here’s a quote from Gandhi: “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”
One day you wake up with a company bank account, a gig at Red Rocks, and prosthetic cat ears. (Spice up your life.)
The act of becoming manifests dreams into reality.
Everything I worked for came to fruition.
I felt all powerful, floating through space as my mind influenced reality.
Then one day, I woke up feeling different.
I had gotten everything I wanted. I had become the person I imagined, but internally, I felt nothing.
Everything I loved felt stale and I had a sneaking suspicion that my life, my own consciousness, was just a floating speck of insignificance in a vast cosmic ocean.
Nothing mattered and everything I thought I was supposed to do felt wrong.
The magic I wielded had deteriorated my sense of being.
When you’re taught the principles of Chaos Magick, they advise you to take it slow and ease into the craft.
They tell you that a novice magician should be extra sensitive when wielding the power.
That you should take baby steps as you practice intentions and creative visualizations.
I ignored all of the advice.
I went full on wizard and the energy I harnessed eventually imploded, leaving me beaten, broken, and confused.
I had become an idea of a person, an idea of a way I’d like to be, and had totally disconnected from my true nature.
I was unable to separate my authentic self from the imaginative reality I had created.
So my body did it for me. It cracked me into a state of depression.
When the depression hit, I meandered in and out of an existential angst, but still, I held on to the belief that I could get myself through it. That I could use my spellpowers to get my shit together.
I tried to magic my way back to homeostasis but it didn’t work.
I’d have energy one day, and then the next, I’d be totally incapable of doing anything besides watching space documentaries and eating peanut butter quesadillas.
I woke up one morning and realized I had to assume only one belief:
I’m totally fucked.
My mind raced and I prayed constantly. I repeated the serenity prayer over and over in my head until I had forgotten what I was even thinking about.
I watched prison documentaries.
I couldn’t understand how they could be in a cage, smiling and talking, while I was sitting on a couch with the free-will to go anywhere and do anything but was absolutely incapable of moving.
I dipped a tortilla in peanut butter, thought about how the inmates couldn’t dip tortillas in peanut butter, and a single tear fell down my cheek.
The next day, I went to group therapy.
I told them that I was in an existential crisis and the only thing I’ve been able to do was show up for stuff. I went on a nonsensical tangent about the meaninglessness of life. I told them that I was sick of thinking about myself and I just wanted to be normal again.
I stopped speaking and the eyes of the group settled on me, expectantly waiting for a conclusion to my outburst of emotional angst.
I pulled out my phone and read a quote:
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
My throat choked up and I started to cry.
My body felt sponged, decompressed of all emotion. I wasn’t thinking, I wasn’t feeling, I was just sitting; totally disconnected from the “me” that had just spoken.
As the group continued to speak, my body settled into the moment. A pincushion of warmth spread from my heart to my head and I felt a shift happening.
I realized that the group was giving me something I had been unable to give myself…
And for the first time in a long time, I felt like everything was going to be ok. I felt like I had been given an answer…
But the answer didn’t come from my head, it came from my heart:
Fuck Chaos Magick.
The next day I stopped casting spells.
I stopped praying to the spirit of Don Draper.
I stopped believing in the ferocious nature and catlike reflexes of Scary Spice.
I stopped setting intentions and creatively visualizing experiences I wanted to have.
Instead, I read books and listened to podcasts. I wrote raps and played video games.
I stopped thinking with my mind and started listening to my body.
My curiosity came back and I noticed that my brain operates more efficiently when I’m not directing it.
I watched Jim Carey YouTube videos and I agreed:
I can’t try to be anyone other than me.
I woke up with a bowl of queso on my lap and a half eaten tortilla resting between my armpit and the couch cushion.
I stumbled upstairs for a glass of chocolate milk and sat down to write.
But this time, I didn’t write to cast spells…
I wrote to write this.