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Other Kjos Articles:

Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets

Part 1
Hegelian Alchemy And Mind Changing Games

POPULAR OCCULTISM:

PAGAN FANTASIES JOIN THE DIGITAL EXPLOSION
PART 2of 3

 

 

By Berit Kjos

April 29, 2003

NewsWithViews.com

While "popular occultism" was imbedding its pagan myths and images into our modern culture, the world was rapidly adapting to a computerized media. The two seemed made for each other.

"Magic is the science of the imagination, the art of engineering consciousness and discovering the virtual forces that connect the body-mind with the physical world," wrote Erik Davis in his article, "Technopagans." Showing the impact of pagan thrills on the cold logical world of computer language, he introduced Mark Pesce, a pagan leader in computer innovation:

"Mark Pesce is a technopagan, a participant in a small but vital subculture of digital savants who keep one foot in the emerging technosphere and one foot in the wild and woolly world of Paganism.... an anarchic, earthy, celebratory spiritual movement that attempts to reboot the magic, myths, and gods of Europe's pre-Christian people....

"A startling number of Pagans work and play in technical fields, as sysops, computer programmers, and network engineers. ...

"Over the millennia, alchemists, Kabbalists, and esoteric Christians developed a rich storehouse of mental tools.... It's no accident that these 'hermetic' arts are named for Hermes, the Greek trickster god of messages and information....

"Using a combination of ceremonial performance, ritual objects, and imagination, Pagans carve out these tightly bounded zones in both physical and psychic space. Pagan rituals vary quite a bit, but the stage is often set by invoking the four elements that the ancients believed composed all matter....

"...you find more intimate correspondences between computer culture and Paganism's religion of the imagination. One link is science fiction and fantasy fandom, a world whose role playing, nerd humor, and mythic enthusiasm has bred many a Pagan."[1]

"Both cyberspace and magical space are purely manifest in the imagination," says Pesce. "Both spaces are entirely constructed by your thoughts and beliefs."[1]

The characters birthed by Tolkien's imagination fit right in. That's why the first generation of mythmakers and technopagans would masquerade as wizards, hobbits, dwarves and other Middle Earth characters during the pioneering years of computer conventions. And that's why the emerging world of Dungeons & Dragons adopted Tolkien's orcs, dwarves, trolls and elves. Tolkien's mystical realms set the stage and built the pattern for America's future game-makers.

It makes sense. The makers of D&D were trained in euro magic -- all the elements of the medieval craft, same as Tolkien," says "Peter", a former occultist who rose to the title of "Temple Master" in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (See Part 1 of this series). "As an occult simulation, this system offers a smooth ride into the real world of euro magic."[2]

In fact, the most popular role-playing games blend fact and fantasy, myth and and history together into a virtual reality that stirs the imagination and implants its dark images in the minds of the players. For example, Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play -- like the new Tolkien games -- is "set in a medieval fantasy world" populated with a vast diversity of orcs, ogres, dwarfs, goblins, wizards, gods and sorcerers. It is

"very similar to early renaissance Europe.... There is a magic in this world that makes it special to the fans. This is partly the dark and sinister atmosphere.. and partly the easy and fast game mechanics."

"When role-playing, you have to act out your part and the Game Master (GM) rewards you for good acting, for making the character you play come to life and for your interactions with the world.... There is the ever present danger of corruption by the dark gods, but many mortal men are more than able to corrupt themselves with no extra help."[3]

Though Satan's standard tactics have worked well through the ages, he does introduce new twists to satisfy all who are hungry for unexplored occult adventures. Among the more recent ones is something called chaos magic. An article titled "Out of Scientific Magic Systems" compares this new role-playing magic with the old formula-oriented magic:

"RPG [role playing games] magic systems can roughly be divided up into "fixed spell" and "freeform" mechanics. Fixed spell systems are often highly mechanistic.... Freeform mechanics, on the other hand, call for the GM [Game Master, referee] to judge the difficulty of a spell."[4]

The next excerpts may sound confusing, but it illustrates chaos magic well. Notice how it fits postmodern thinking. Remember, no facts or rules. Just mix and match the religious experience of your own dreams. The author of the article began with this brief dialogue:

"Me: My religion is like a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The first thing you have to do is figure out the rules all by yourself.

"Him: Sounds like Chaos Magick.

"Me: Yeah, kind of.... My religion -- Kemet -- is lumped together with other reality maps. They are called hermetic, neopagan, alchemy, and New Age. None of those words is really accurate. It is more like Sumerian/Canaanite/Hittite...

"The most obvious characteristic of my religion is that it is completely practical. The last thing I ask one of my students to bring is some theory from a book. As in Zen, I am interested in experience, not in the words that describe it, and never the analysis of anything.

"Several rituals do this: LCC's Eucharist is one [twisted views of Christian concepts tend to permeate occult systems] , Kemet's Theurgia is another. What they do can be summed up in the following... As above, so below." [5]

Finally, meet Tyagi: "Like many technopagans, Tyagi ... explored role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.... After reading and deeply researching philosophy, mysticism, and the occult, he began cobbling together his own mythic structures, divination systems, and rituals - an eclectic spirituality well suited to the Net's culture of complex interconnection.

"He also delved heavily into chaos magic, a rather novel development on the occult fringe that's well represented on the Net. Rather than work with traditional occult systems, chaos magicians either construct their own rules or throw them out altogether, spontaneously enacting rituals that break through fixed mental categories and evoke unknown - and often terrifying - entities and experiences.

"'Using popular media is an important aspect of chaos magic,' Tyagi says.... 'Most Pagans would get online and say, Let's get together somewhere and do a ritual.Chaos magicians would say, Let's do the ritual online."[1]

Whether traditional magic or chaos magic -- the results may well look like Christian miracles to a blinded world. The Bible warns us that many will be deceived. But those who love God's Word and refuse to participate in this darkness will be eternally safe in their Lord, Jesus Christ:

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness....

"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught." 2 Thessalonians 2:7-16

Endnotes:

1. Erik Davis, "Technopagans" at www.techgnosis.com/technopagans.html

2. Peter is not his real name. For his safety, we prefer to keep him anonymous. If you have questions for him, you can contact Him at this email address: askpeter_bba@yahoo.com

3. Go to www.warhammer.net , then click on "What is WFRP?"

4 www.darkshire.org/~jhkim/rpg/magic/
antiscience.html

5. www.divanet.com/wynn/writing/chaos.asp The phrase, "As above, so below," is central to all occult philosophical systems. It will be explained in Part 3 of this series.

Next: 
Part 3 of 3 - The global message behind mystical thrills

2003 Berit Kjos - All Rights Reserved

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Berit Kjos is a widely respected researcher, writer and conference speaker. A frequent guest on national radio and television programs, Kjos has been interviewed on Point of View (Marlin Maddoux), The 700 Club, Bible Answer Man, Beverly LaHaye Live, Crosstalk and Family Radio Network. She has also been a guest on "Talk Back Live" (CNN) and other secular radio and TV networks.  Her last two books are A Twist of Faith and Brave New Schools. Kjos Ministries Web Site: http://www.crossroad.to/index.html


 

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"Whether traditional magic or chaos magic -- the results may well look like Christian miracles to a blinded world. The Bible warns us that many will be deceived. But those who love God's Word and refuse to participate in this darkness will be eternally safe in their Lord, Jesus Christ:"