Sigils and Servitors

practical experiments in chaos magic

Abandon ye all hope…

October 12, 2020 — Glyn Faulkner

Compared with all heavenly gifts, Faith, Hope, and Love stand highest

Positive depictions of hope are everywhere: from the Bible to Star Wars, from Land of Hope and Glory to Lord of the Rings.

So hope is good, right?

Well… maybe. Like the good chaos magicians we are, let’s unpick this unexamined assumption.

Clearly hope is heavily marketed, but who is it marketed to? Is it, for example, a vital part of the lives of the rich and powerful? Does Jeff Bezos sit around hoping for even more billions, or does he exploit every tax-loophole he can find while stamping down hard on his employees’ efforts to unionise? Do the shadowy power-brokers of Washington, London and Silicon Valley hope that the politicians and the public will vote in ways that centralise still more wealth and power into their hands, or do they ruthlessly bribe, lobby and manipulate to ensure that their schemes come to pass?

No, hoping isn’t necessary if you already see yourself as powerful because you can simply act, and deal with any setbacks that occur. Hope is very much the province of the powerless – it’s what you have left when power is gone.

But you are a magician. Your power doesn’t rely on money or possessions, and you always have it. Behind on the rent? Give your landlord an uncharacteristic attack of generosity. Facing-down insurmountable odds? Hit-up your favourite war-god for a favour. Chained to a wall? Put those spoon-bending skills to good use.

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes you just need to forget how shitty things are for a while, and hope can keep you going in these moments. But so can drugs, and like drugs hope should be used rarely and with caution: take an occasional hit as a coping strategy, sure, but don’t become a habitual user.

And stop giving away your power by trusting to hope when you could be doing.

Experiment: transmuting hope into something useful

An extra hazard for the magically-operant individual, few things that will short-circuit your spells quite as effectively as hoping when you should be intending. This is what makes lust-for-result is such a killer.

Let’s try an experiment that might just help you with situations where hope threatens to screw-up your magic:

  1. Adopt a magical frame of mind – cast a circle, meditate, ground, centre, wank like a gibbon… whatever you normally do to get yourself in the zone.
  2. Focus on a time in your life when you were desperately hoping for something that ultimately didn’t happen. Embrace the longing. Feel the impotent desire as viscerally as possible.
  3. Anchor this feeling to a gesture (I press my left thumb against the tip of my left pinky, but you can use whatever feels most magical to you), while telling yourself that whenever you perform this gesture you will feel this same state of longing.
  4. Let go of the feeling and rest in quiet meditation for a few moments.
  5. Focus on a time in your life when you simply knew that something good would happen, and it did. Feel your absolute certainty in the outcome and the feeling of power that came with it.
  6. Anchor this to a different gesture (I use pressing my left thumb to the middle part of my left pinky), again while affirming that you will feel this feeling whenever you intentionally perform this gesture.
  7. Let go of the feeling and relax for a few moments.
  8. Repeat steps 2-7 at least three times (ideally with different experiences of hope and certainty).
  9. Use your hand gesture to put yourself in a “hope-state” while thinking about nothing in particular, then transition the hand-gesture to the “certainty-state” and tell yourself that whenever you do this while focussing on a magical intention, your intention will inevitably become reality.
  10. Enjoy the feeling of confidence and certainty for a few moments.
  11. Practise steps 9 and 10 several times until you are able to quickly and easily transmute hope into power.

Once you’ve mastered this, try it out a couple of times with things you idly hope will happen, but aren’t too attached to. Does it work? If so look at the spells that have failed due to lust-for result. Pay-rise? Getting laid? Lottery win? Attaining enlightenment? How far can you take it?

Don’t forget to record your results.