Chaos magick has, truly, brought only a few new concepts and terms into the practice of magick. That these concepts are of paramount importance, however, demands that chaos magick be given a place, maybe even the utmost responsibility, in the growth of the art and science of magick this century. The concept of gnosis, what Spare called "vacuity", is among these most important concepts. I, for one, am firmly convinced that gnosis is essential to all successful magick, and somewhat distressed that most of the work on gnosis is fundamental: very rarely does one run across anything advanced in the area. To this end, I submit this paper.
Simply put, a gnosis is an altered state, in which the conscious mind shuts down its operation for whatever reason, and somehow allows us to manipulate reality. Or, at least, potentially manipulate reality. Perhaps the conscious mind actively inhibits the practice of magick. Perhaps, on the other hand, there is merely a quieter, subtler mind hidden under our conscious mind that requires the silence that gnosis promotes, for however long or short a span a time.
Different forms of gnosis can be divided into two categories, depending upon their nature. Note that the gnosis itself is identical in both categories: we are not speaking of two different gnosises, but of different methods of achieving the same gnosis. These categories are inhibitory and excitatory. Inhibitory gnosis comes about through a process of control: meditation, hypnosis, ritual. Excitatory gnosis comes about through an excitation of the body and mind to the point of exhaustion: orgasm, suffocation, pain. The gnosis is identical: what differentiates the experiences is the length of time the mage experiences the gnosis. In inhibitory gnosis, the experience can last hours, even days, theoretically. In contrast, excitatory gnosis lasts only a few minutes at best: just long enough for the body to accustom itself to the overload, or for the overloading sensations to pass. For instance, the gnosis of hypnosis can last as long as one remains in a hypnotized state -- there is no real upper limit, and with practice, one can extend the time indefinitely. The gnosis brought about by orgasm, however, lasts only until the orgasm is over, and the gnosis brought about by suffocation only until one passes out or begins to breathe. As for the gnosis brought about by pain, the body quickly accustoms itself to pain: by the time the endorphins have been released, the pain begins to lose its usefulness as a gnosis -- although the endorphins themselves can be a drug gnosis.
A drug gnosis is brought about, aptly enough, by the use of chemicals, legal or otherwise. Different chemicals tend to produce different depths and "flavors" of gnosis. I suspect, from my own research, that drug gnosis is somewhat "taintd not merely by rote, leading to better, stronger magick.
Finally, to be responsible, I must state that these methods might not work for everyone. It is conceivable -- unlikely, but possible -- that some mage may find his magick inhibited by trace or backwards, or even simultaneous, gnosis. Experiment, therefore, before using these methods, or Optimal Gnosis, in a matter of importance. A common sense caveat, probably, but important nonetheless.
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