Crowley introduced to the English speaking occult scene an attitude that embraced science and rejected dogma. He also taught that every man and woman was a star, and that we each had no higher purpose than to do our own will. His work would prove influential on the early Chaos magic scene in a number of ways.
Austin Osman Spare
An acquaintance of Crowley and one time member of his magical order that later fell out with him to pursue his own magical path. His concept of 'Kia', something similar to the 'Tao' of Taoism, entered its way into chaos magic, as did modified forms of his technique of results sorcery using sigils constructed from letters of the English alphabet.
These days often called 'non-linear dynamics', this branch of mathematics and science is the origin of such ideas as 'strange attractors', the butterfly effect and fractals that found their way into many chaos magic writings and rituals.
The religion of Eris, the goddess of Chaos and Confusion. Started in the 1950's by a couple of Californians. Popularised in the fiction of Robert Anton Wilson. Became a major influence on the Chaos magic scene. A love for wacky philosophical humour, paradox and a penchant for playful conspiracy being its main contributions.
The fantasy author did not intentionally contribute anything to chaos magic. He none-the-less created the eight arrowed 'sigil of chaos' for his fiction, a symbol that became adopted as the main sigil for chaos not just in chaos magic, but also in various role playing games, musical movements and comics. Similar symbols exist throughout history in various cultures, although none were clearly associated with chaos.
Results magic was an experimental magical movement that formed in the 1970's Britain by Peter J Carroll, Ray Sherwin and some others. Influenced by the work of Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley and Witchcraft. It had as its emphasis the performance of magic for the attainment of measurable results, as opposed to the magical scene they were able to contact at the time, which either took the form of the religious worship of deities, or the pursuit of what they saw as a difficult to measure of goal of becoming a better person. Working magic for results was nothing new or unique of course, humans have done this in all religions and cultures throughout all of recorded history.
Incorporating influence from the Chaos mathematics, fantasy fiction and Discordianism it later changed its name to Chaos magic.
Groups and orders
Chaos magic was always a politically diverse movement, and right from the beginning differences in organisational style appeared. The internet was a haven for the more decentralised groups, which included Z(Cluster) and AutonomatriX.
A brief reading list to get a beginner started on the subject.
Theory and Practise
- Understanding Chaos Magic ~ Jaq D Hawkins
A complete alphabetised list of all published chaos magic books.
Peter J Carroll
- Advanced Magick for Beginners
- Words made Flesh
- Blast your way to megabucks with my secret sex power formula
- What I did in my Holidays
- The good the bad the funny
- Little book of demons
Jaq D Hawkins
- Condensed Chaos
- Prime Chaos
D J Lawrence
- The Chaos Cookbook (ed)
- Hands on Chaos Magic
Robert Anton Wilson
- Prometheus Rising
- Cosmic Trigger