Frater Sar Kaotec
Frater Sar Kaotec’s true identity is uncertain, many identify him with the writer, philosopher and anarchist Steve Ash, a seasoned practioner of magic. Though as the latter himself has admitted this name itself is a mere nom de plume.
Birth and Family
Born in Clapham sometime in the mid 60s. His paternal grandmother was a fairground fortune teller and alleged sorceress of Romany (or possibly Sinti) origin. Apparently of a tribe of canal boat gypsies of German origin, before settling in South London at the beginning of the last century. His paternal grandfather, was a ‘performing horse’ trainer from Somerset, with no obvious occult connections (though Kaotec often hints of Horseman's Word connections). He does appear to have been a lineal, though socially branched out, descendent of Norman-Burgundian Sir John St Leger however, a Master of the English Templars, from whom was also descended several historical Occultists and Freemasons, including the first woman Freemason, Elizabeth St. Leger, daughter of the Jacobite Viscount Doneraile; her kinsman Colonel Jack St Leger of the Dublin Hell Fire Club; John St Leger Grand Master of Grand Lodge of England in 1780s; geomant and proto Druid, William Stukley; American Theosophist Katherine Westcott Tingley; probably W. W. Westcott, a founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; Ruth St Leger-Gordon, author of Folklore and Witchcraft on Dartmoor; and possibly ‘Ann Leger’ a French witch burnt at the stake in the 17th century. His maternal grandmother was descended from a Sephardic Jewish herbalist, seemingly versed in some unknown Kabbalist tradition, while the grandfather was of English peasant stock of the Knight family, an American branch of this family having married into the Towne family, victims of the Salem witch trials, and were themselves briefly suspected of witchcraft. Esotericism was a unsurprisingly a casual interest on both sides of his family, who were generally agnostic Christians.
This background may have influenced Kaotec's belief that controllable psychic ability (we may all have it unconsciously) requires a mental component coded by a rare recessive gene required from both parents. A gene once responsible for the 'bloodline' claims of witches, 'sacred royal dynasties' and other magical lineages, but now more widely difused into the population.
As a child he was haunted by several recurrent ‘nocturnal visitors’, later remembered as a swarthy, ‘Sumerian’ high priestess (or perhaps god-form) in traditional dress; a hissing merman and doll like, bald dwarf. These beings appeared shortly after the death of his gypsy grandmother, and appeared to be trying to communicate something to him. They seemed to emerge from a dark corner of his room and stand at the foot or side of his bed. He later learnt how to banish them and performed his own ad hoc banishing rituals on a nightly basis until his early teens. Whether this was a cause or effect of his childhood interest in horror stories and science fiction is not remembered. He later discovered that many of his friends in the occult community had similar experience and now regards this a requirement for a very common form of inner plane initiation and transmission of power.
At around this time he also developed an interest in Greek Myth after reading the Odyssey of Homer.
As a teenager he was occassionally plagued by paranormal phenomena, such as poltergeists and other spooks. He also experienced his first UFO 'Encounters of the Second Kind' at this age, which further shaped his interests in science fiction and horror. Following a brief flirtation with ET based UFOlogy, this led to an interest in Forteana, the Paranormal and eventually Esotericism.
Forteana, the Paranormal and Punk Rock
A brief flirtation with UFOlogy, connected with ans early love of science fiction, had culminated with a facination with the works of Fortean Ufologist John Keel, who had concluded that UFOs and their occupants were in reality what has been variously called ultraterrestrial or intraterrestrial, non-physical manifestations from another dimension parallel to Earth space. These beings had been variously rationalised historically as gods, elementals, demons and spirits and were the source of Mankind’s myths. From then on in he became a dedicated Fortean, increasingly taking a paranormal perspective. This would also lead him to the works of Robert Anton Wilson, which he initially rejected as too vague and relativistic, as at this stage he was still a truthseeker, but came to love in later years.
At this time he also began reading the more popular works of psychics and mediums, leading to a study of Spiritualism and Theosophy.
He also became a very young Punk Rocker (1st generation), which shifted his tastes towards darker magic and attitudes, and it was probably now that he read H P Lovecraft for the first time.
In his later teens he became aware of Occultism and studied as much of the subject as he could in as many fields as possible, writing copious notes, some of which would never see the light of day again. He was also fascinated by the odd feeling that he was re-reading what he already knew, and had a strange intuitive feel for what was genuine and bullshit in Occult and New Age writing. He would also begin to have dreams in which entities from folklore and mythology imparted information to him, that he could barely remember in waking life. At this stage he put UFOlogy and Spiritualistic viewpoints behind him. A previous obsession with science also moved towards a more religious and artistic subjectivity, and he became a practising Magician and Gnostic (or his own interpretation of from study and dream). However he never lost his respect for science. Our method is science our aim is religion as Crowley said.
Hermeticism and Dropping Out
He briefly toyed with Witchcraft but was unimpressed with Wicca. He became interested in Hermeticism, Kabbalism, Rosicrucianism, Thelema and Tantra in the mid Eighties and studied these intensely making his first occult contacts at this time, both on the inner and outer planes. However he remained a solo practioner till the mid Nineties. Briefly employed first as a Hospital Lab Technician then as a Computer Programmer he became disillusioned with the rat race and capitalist society and resigned. Around this time he also trained to be an Astrologer and was awarded a Diploma from the Mayo School of Astrology. He briefly practised the art professionally under the name Steve Crown, but lack of financial resources ended the project. He also studied the Tarot and other forms of divination at this time. Following this period of workplace exploitation, the failure to find a viable commercial alternative, and a traumatic relationship, with subsequent psychological fallout from all of them, he underwent a psychic transformation and committed himself to a countercultural existance and projects of social reform.
Anarchism and Luciferian Satanism
Always a political radical since his Punk youth, he had been a ‘gut anarchist’ since his teens, but for pragmatic reasons in his naivity had initially sided with Revolutionary Communism as the best bet for smashing Capitalism. However he never seriously studied politics or joined any groups until the mid Nineties. At this late stage he also studied Green eco-politics and adopted some of their ideas, while rejecting their social conservatism and moralism. However on meeting authoritarian Socialists he was appalled by their near fascism and soon gravited to Libertarian Socialism and Anarchism, making contact with the London Anarchist Forum (a non-aligned discussion group with which he later became a coordinator for several years, and still works closely with). Through contacts made here he came to believe that Anarchism was the only sane and functional form of political and social organisation, and became an active figure in the British Anarchist movement, with which he still maintains a close contact. He also came to be very much influenced by Situationist (and Surrealist) theory now. Developing his own ideas as usual, he became a maverick in Anarchist circles, developing an ultra radical form of Anarchist Nihilism, influenced by both Situationism and early pre-fanatical Russian Nihilism, for which he achieved a fringe support base. However he maintained a solidarity pact with all those who rejected hierarchy and the State, and was highly active in the early Mayday events and other Anti Capitalist and Anti Fascist initiatives in the movement. However mellowing slightly in later years he would move on in a more conventional individualistic direction, though was still influenced by the ideas of Stirner and Nietzsche. He currently tries to unite Anarchist Individualism with Social Anarchism, using a Malatestan model, though in a Countercultural rather than Workerist context.
On becoming polically conscious he also developed a healthy disgust for bourgeois banality and moral hypocracy and the artificiality of mainstream western society, and in an esoteric context briefly toyed with Luciferian Satanism.
In the late Nineties he began a serious study of Philosophy which ultimately led to university study and a Masters in Philosophy and the History of Science at Kings College London and the London School of Economics. He specialised in studies of consciousness, the philosophy of psychology, quantum physics, scientific method and the philosophy of biology, as well of course as politics and ethics. This study radically changed all his views and he became an agnostic on all spiritual matters, if not an outright atheist, rejected all religion and briefly adopted a Humanist perpective (though later rejected its materialist dogmatism and cult of rationalism).
His attitude to science became ambivalent, after a close academic study of it, in that while rejecting scientism as another 'religion', as well as most of the current methodologies and ontologies of science, he none the less came to regard science - understoof as an undefined method of scepticism, empirical exploration and experimental testing - as the only road to knowledge. Although recognising the crucial role played by human intuition in this enterprise. Good science also maintained an instrumentalist position, that rejected ‘absolute truth’, that he came to greatly value.
His metaphysics developed into a form of Panpsychism (Rational Animism more or less) based on an Immanent, Mind-Matter Aspect Dualism and Process ontology, rather than any kind of narrow Physicalism or its opposite in Idealist Transcendentalism, or Essentialist position.
He also came to believe that no one could be free who hadn’t explored the world philosophically, and realised that it was multi-perspectival process. Though rationally discovered that reason was unreliable and of limited use in contrast with the superior powers of instinct and intuition. He came to see the World as ultimately a Mystery. However he maintained a faith in reason as a great discriminator between the various limited perpectives we could achieve on it, and a sharpener of mind in this context. It was in this period he discerned the ill digested Neo-Platonism, Pythagoreanism, Heracliteanism, Nietzscheanism and Hegelianism within Occult philosophy and set about attempting to rectify it. He concluded that this had been an 'Illuminating' educational experience
Magical Disillusion and Chaos Magic
Finally involving himself with Pagan and Magical groups at the turn of the last century, he found most of them lacking from a philosophical and ideological perspective, and often from a psychiatric perspective too. Failing to muster much respect for those occultists he initially met, he studied the key texts that influenced the contemporary scene, taking from them what he could, and reassessed his earlier occult studies. Finally focussing on the works of Austin Osman Spare, and a handful of more iconoclastic writers, as well as maintaining a degree of respect for the early works of Aleister Crowley, he settled on a Thelema influenced form of Chaos Magic as his main ideology. Though also maintained a spiritual perspective from an anarchic Ophite Gnostic position (that rejected established society as ‘evil’, but not the material world or nature). Later he would realise the limits of both Thelema and Chaos Magic and attempt to move on.
Tantra, Taoism and Sex Magic
Another crucial aspect in his development was a transition from theoretical Tantra, and the philosophical and sexual aspects of Taoism, to practical Sex Magick, both conventional and transgressive. This would lead to a rapid change of consciousness and increased skills in magical practise in the mid to late 90s. It would also ironically bring him back to the works of Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary he had read in his youth and which were now confirmed by experience. A brief but intense period of experimentation with psychedelics and other forms of consciousness modification followed. Which also led him back into Counterculture in the late Rave period.
Dionysianism, Magical Surrealism and Post-Chaos Magic
Having realised all religion was delusional and all science flawed he settled on a positive Existential approach in relation to an immanent, non-dualistic spirituality. This was also a period of increased interest in artistic expression in which the domains of Magic, Art and Spirituality merged. Connecting with specially selected friends and respected peers, in the late 90s, many of whom shared a surprisingly similar ethos and developmental trajectory, ideas and experiences were shared and pooled into what became known to them as Dionysianism (essentially the sum total of most of the above, contextualised in terms of the primal Dionysian Mysteries). This would lead to the formation of the Dionysian Underground. A group dedicated to the new perspective and a reform of Occultism on multiple levels, as well as an anarchic political commitment. Magically he soon rejected the abstractions and limiting dogmas of Chaos Magic in favour of what was termed Meta-Magick, by the peer circle he then moved in, essentially an attempt to reform Chaos Magick without rejecting its positive aspects of skepticism; perspectival pluralism; free-form intuitive magic; and a scientific approach; while bringing back to it a sense of existential spirituality; mystery; holistic panpsychicism (rather than the reductionism of 'results magic'); and a respect for spirit that had been lost to Chaos Magicians. This increasingly became a search for the mysterious foundation of magic and source of being, that led back to a primal sorcery that became an increasing part of his Dionysian practise. A practise that would also incorporate research that led to what became Neo-Enochian Sorcery. His current practise oscillates between non-rational, primeval witchcraft and shamanism, in search of the roots of magic - which at its extreme includes his work with the Eldritch Esoteric Order of Dagon - and an intellectual study and practise of 'High Magic', ultimately involving the project of Self Creation and the evolution of the Trans-Human. He is currently developing a syllabus of education and training for his recently formed Neo-Templar Illuminati Order, the Ordo Illumines Templi, to facillitate this latter work. All of this work is united by the complex 'archetypes' of Dionysos and the Dark Goddess.
Other Associations, Friends and Allies
His other friends and respected peers include Nathan Harris, one of the few witches he regards to be of authentic hereditary lineage; Sean Jedi of the heroic Paganarchy Network; David Beth of the maverick OTOA; John Harrigan of the inspired Foolish People occult theatre group; and the groundbreaking team at the Oracle Occult Magazine of Feral Sorceror David Blank. Plus a host of individual magicians of great talent across Europe and America, including Stephen Grasso, Britain's master of Voodoun; Jen Sirius, a Northamptonshire Witch; Terry Feather a seer from Alabama and Matt Lee of the seminal journal Razorsmile and many more. All of which he regards in their own way of manifesting aspects of the Dionysian.
He is also known for his psychogeographic, pagan tourist walks; astrology practise; and magical surrealist activity (with the Pink Fish Ensemble, the Aeon Film Collective, the Alfred Jarry Foundation, and friends in the London Biennale). He is also a member of the Foundation of Unrestricted Carnal Knowledge , based on post-Reichian Sex Pol and an inactive member of the international Sexual Freedom Coalition with which it is affiliated. He is also an associate of the psychedelic 'invisible college', the Parallel Youniversity.
He is currently writing five books: Shadow Magic, a Fey Sorcery (utilising his knowledge of eclectic Romany Elemental witchcraft and Neo-Enochian sorcery); The Secret Book of the Old Ones (about his Yog Sothothic work); The Erotic Tarot (concerned with the use of the Tarot in both erotic divination and Sex Magick); Counta-Culture, a Radical History; and Wyrd Walks, the Official Guide.
To be updated later
Oracle Occult Magazine
Arcane Trajectories as Frater Sar Kaotec
Picasso and the Harlequinade as Steve Ash
The Gate of the Beast (parts I and II) as Frater Indred
Enochian Magick Revisited (parts 1 and 2) as S.J. Westcott
Is Occultism Insane? as Steve Ash
Chimaera, A Journal of Electic Paganism
Black Sun Rising, as Maximus Innominandus
Journal for the Academic Study of Magic
Magic and Quantum Mechanics, as Steve Ash