by Pete Carrol
Most occult traditions have complex and highly ordered otherworld
cosmologies and metaphysical theories. Yet their accompanying
techniques are frequently a shambles. In contradiction to all this,
one of the fundamental insights of Chaos Magic is that if magical
technique is sharply delineated it will work because the universe
itself is more of a shambles than it appears. Or perhaps I should
more respectfully say that it has the magical property of confirming
most of the interpretations placed upon it. Thus a wide variety of
metaphysical paradigms can be made to fit, even if mutually
So when selecting from the Supermarket of Belief, the critical
question for the Chaoist is: how effective are the accompanying
magical techniques? Hence Chaoist magic is characterised by its
cavalier attitude to metaphysics and its puritanical devotion to
For some time Chaoist orthodoxy has had it that cavalier metaphysics
and mythology are incompatible with the formal structure of a
magical teaching order. However, this need not be so if it is only
technique that is being taught and practised. Experience has shown
that people can come together and engage in highly productive
exchanges of practical expertise, and that a formal structure and a
division of labour encourage this.
The Magical Pact of the Illuminates of Thanateros, or the Pact for
short, is an organisational structure for those wishing to perform
Chaos type magic in company with others of like mind. The Pact
exploits the device of a graded hierarchy, with certain checks and
balances, and is delighted to admit candidates with the drive and
initiative to rise rapidly through its structure.
Every occult revival begets a magical child or two and Chaoist Magic
is the major synthesis to emerge from the occult renaissance of the
last twenty years. The Pact is amongst the prime vehicles designed
to develop and carry forward that synthesis well into the next
millenium. It is likely that the Pact will be to the end of this
century and to the beginning of the next, rather more than what the
G.D. was in its time, a century ago.
In practice a number of the formal devices of the Pact are treated
somewhat more lightly than the written conventions might leed one to
suppose, with members styling themselves with such oddities as
Frater Vacuity or Soror Impropriety and so on, in deliberate parody
of tradition. The prime functions of the grade structure are to
provide a mechasnism for the exclusion of certain psychotic
misanthropes and neurotic creeps who are sometimes attracted to such
enterprises and to ensure that that which needs organisation is duly
The Magickal Pact of the Illuminates of Thanateros
Since the inception of the Chaos Magic current some individuals have
elected to work alone whilst others have worked in concert in a
loose configuration of allied groups. The Magical Order of the IOT
has in practise functioned as a highly creative Disorder. This
creative disorder has spawned, among other things, a structure known
as "The Pact". The Pact is, in contradistinction to the usual
implications of such a name, a friendly society for mutual support
and encouragement in the field of magic. The Magical Pact of the IOT
represents another phase of the current of Chaos Magic in which its
practitioners elect to work as an integrated force. The Pact is a
vehicle for the pursuit of the Great Work of magic and the
pleasures and profits attendant upon this quest. The Pact also acts
as a psychohistoric force in the battle for the Aeon.
Historically, all magical and mystical organisations have used the
Hierarchical Gambit to create pressure for excellence on those
working at all levels of the hierarchy. Yet, positions of mastery
within these organisations have often depended more on questionable
claims to authority from concealed sources than from technical
Inevitably, the calling of such bluffs has led to the undoing of
these organisations. However this old mechanism is not without its
merits. The Guru and Chela finally rebels both may gain greatly,
although it can as easily end in disaster.
Now whereas most individuals are relatively sane and competent, most
organisations act as though mad and stupid. This is because most
organisations permit only positive feedback from below. Thus those
at the top are condemned to bask in deceitful reflections of their
own expectations and to issue ever more inappropriate directives.
The structure of the Pact overcomes these traditional problems
whilst retaining the invaluable pressure created by an hierarchical
structure. Within the temples of the Pact all members are encouraged
to volunteer techniques and concepts for experiment and appraisal,
and the grade structure merely recognises technical magical
competence and organisational responsibility.
Those in higher grades must refrain from commenting on the
lifestyle, personal behaviour, tastes and morality of other members.
Yet the structure of the Pact forces a constant stream of negative
feedback to arise from below by institutionalising rebellion in the
office of Insubordinate. Thus as soon as a fair mastery of technique
and organisation is attained the Magister Templi, Adept or Magus
suddenly becomes subject to intense criticism as a teacher and
individual, and this is counted as a great reward.
The Pact is constituted in four grades; Neophyte, Initiate, Adept
and Magus, numbered respectively 4°, 3°, 2°, 1°. In addition
there are five offices:
The Priest or Priestess of Chaos may be taken as a
side degree of the 3° or 2°.
The Pact is a self-perpetuating oligarchy. Advancement into a grade
occurs at the invitation of those in that grade and in higher
The office of Supreme Magus is held by
the head of the Pact and is designated 0°.
The office of Magister Templi designates the coordinator of the
activities of a particular temple and may be held by any member.
The Archivist is responsible for the records of a temple.
The office of Insubordinate may be held by anyone of the 3°. The
Insubordinate is a personal assistant to another member of the Pact and
acts as a goad, inspector and critic to that member.
The Supreme Magus can only be replaced by unanimous action by all
the membership of the 1°. The basic agreement implicit in membership
of the Pact is that higher grades provide organisation, facilities,
tuition and material, in return for which lower grades provide
whatever mundane, financial or magical services may be reasonably
demanded of them. Ultimate appeal may be made to the 0°.
The Temples of the Pact
A temple of the Pact may only be founded by an Adept or Magus, or by
an Initate sponsored by an Adept or Magus, who will periodically
inspect the work of the temple. A temple consists of an assembly of
its members and may be convened in any enclosed or open space where
privacy can be assured. The Magister Templi will keep a record of
adresses through which members of his temple can be contacted. Such
records must be kept in such a way that they reveal membership
details to outsiders. The Magister Templi of a temple will also
supply his superiors in the Pact with an adress through which his
temple can be contacted and they will keep it in like fashion.
Members may belong to more than one temple. For example an Initiate
in a sponsored temple may need to join the temple of his sponsoring
Adept or Magus to receive specialised teaching and advancement to
the next grade. All temples adopt a characteristic name by which
they are known within the Pact.
It may be that by some accident of geography a group of persons
aspiring to membership of the Pact forms in an area remote from
centres of pact activity. In this case one or more representatives
of the group may, by arrangement, present themselves before an Adept
or Magus of the Pact bearing from each member a handwritten or
signed letter making the Neophyte assertions in full together with
any other evidence that the sponsor may require. Then at the
discretion of the Adept or Magus the representatives may be given
the 4° and the 3° and empowered to open a temple and conduct work in
The Office of Magister Templi
The activities of a temple are coordinated by a Magister Templi,
either appointed by an Adept or Magus sponsoring the temple or
chosen by those of the highest grade present. The Magister Templi
ensures that only members of the appropriate grade or candidates for
that grade are admitted to the temple`s rituals. Visiting members of
other temples must give the appropriate signs and words to the
Magister Templi in private. The Magister Templi may delegate one or
more assistant Magister Templi.
The Office of Archivist
The Archivist keeps a record of the activities of a temple. The
records use only the formal magical names or numbers of those
present. The records detail the time and place of temple activities,
together with a brief description of whatever work was done, and
what results were achieved. If it is not possible to avoid recording
confidential information such information may be encoded but not
enciphered by some means approved by the Magiste Templi. The
Archivist is personally responisble for the security of the records
and will ensure that they will be rather destroyed than lost or
stolen. The records of a temple may be inspected by any Initiate or
higher grade of that temple. The records of a sponsored temple are
open to their sponsor and a Magus may inspect the records of any
The Grades and Grade Rituals
Candidates for the Neophyte grade are accepted on the basis of
interviews and briefings by members of the Pact arising from
personal recommendation or petition to the Pact. No person can be
admitted to any other of the Pact`s rituals and activities without
first having undergone the Neophyte Ritual. The Neophyte Ritual
demands that the candidate exhibit some commitment by providing a
robe and ring to specifications approved by the Pact, and that he
reveal himself to be an open mind free from dogmatic belief. Most of
the Pact`s ordinary business and most of its magical work are
conducted with the temple opened in the grade of Neophyte.
The Neophyte grade provides a period of assessment during which the
Pact and the Neophyte test their commitment to each other. The
Neophyte is at liberty to resign at any time and may be dismissed at
any time. The Initiate Ritual marks the full acceptance of a
candidate into the Pact. The Pact is not bound to accept the
resignation of an Initiate. The confidential business and magical
activities of a temple are conducted with the temple opened in the
grade of Initiate. The Initiate seeks proficiency in all forms of
magic and begins work on Liber KKK, and if desired, work leading to
the side degree of Priest or Priestess of Chaos.
The Adept Ritual marks the candidate`s proficiency in magic and his
acceptance of the obligations to teach, to defend the Pact, and to
administer its structure and traditions. It is not normally
necessary to open a temple in this grade.
No ritual for the recognition of a Magus is presented here. This
grade is conferred on those exhibiting outstanding magical ability
and potential for leadership within the Pact.
The Insignia of the Pact
The minimum furnishing of a temple wheter convened in an open or
closed space is the eight rayed star of Chaos prominently displayed.
This may be presented in the form of a banner or altarcloth, a
chaossphere, or by the star mounted on a staff. All grades wear a
plain full robe with sleeves and hood. The robe is most commonly
black but individual temples may elect to array their members in
robes of some other hue. The ring of the order is silver and bears
an eight rayed star of Chaos. It may be worn freely at any time but
is not in itself proof of membership or grade. Members of the Pact
choose a single word name and a number of three or four digits by
which they shall be formally known in the Pact and by which their
deeds and comments are recorded in the temple archives. Female
members are denoted Sor. (Soror or Sister), males as Fra. (Frater or
Brother). Thus a full formal title might be Fra. Aleph 252, 3° IOT.
The Symbolism of the Grade Rituals
The rituals presented here constitute the minimum requirements for
opening and closing the temple and for recognising candidates in the
grades of Neophyte, Initate and Adept. Temples may elect to add
additional material to the rituals.
The Neophyte Ritual is a marriage to the Pact, although, as in
modern tradition, divorce is permitted at any time. The candidate is
asked to assert the four qualities of the so-called Witches Pyramid:
To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent. The candidate is
welcomed with raucous cheering and applause as befits such a bold
and romantic gesture.
The Initiate Ritual marks a total commitment to the Pact and the
candidate offers to the Pact what powers he has in the four magical
virtues of Will, Perception, Imagination and Concentration. The
seriousness of the undertaking is marked by some moments of utter
silence which conclude the ritual.
The Adept Ritual marks the candidate`s acceptance of executive
powers and responsibilities within the Pact. The ritual resumes the
symbolism of the four elemental weapons of Pentacle, Cup, Sword and
Wand. The new Adept is welcomed with laughter to lighten the burdens
The Signs and Words of the Grades
The signs and words of the grades protect the Pact against
infiltration and imposture. They consists of words and gestures
sufficiently discreet to be exchanged in casual social intercourse
without their being revealed as marks of recognition to outsiders.
The signs and words are periodically changed by the 1°.
Notes on the Rituals of the Pact
Although the rituals are presented as being led by the Magister
Templi they may be led by any deputy of appropriciate grade that the
Magister Templi appoints. It is customary for the Magister Templi to
frequently delegate in this way to provide other members of the
temple with practice in ritual leadership. (Usually the following
rituals have an additional suprising element incorporated.)
The Opening Ritual and the Closing Ritual
The Magister Templi calls the temple to order. The M.T. then leads
the temple in the Gnostic Banishing Ritual (GBR).
The M.T. then proclaims:
I open/close this temple in the grade of Neophyte/Initiate/Adept.
The M.T. then gives the appropriciate signs and words and further
proclaims: For the pursuit of the Great Work of Magic.
The Neophyte Ritual
The M.T. calls the temple to order and asks: Does any person here
object to this candidate? If there are no objections the M.T. leads
the GBR. The M.T. then adresses the candidate:
Candidate, I call upon you to make the assertions of a Neophyte.
Candidate, do you Know that there may be no ultimate truths ?
C: I do.
Candidate, do you Dare to practice the philosophy and techniques of
C: I do.
Candidate, do you agree to Keep Silent about the signs and passwords
of this Pact and its private business and not to reveal the
identities of its members to outsiders without their consent ?
C: I do. (The candidate takes robe and ring.)
Candidate, by what name and number will you be known in this Pact ?
(The candidate gives his chosen name and number.)
Candidate, I recognise you as a Neophyte of this Pact and I open
this temple in the grade of Neophyte with the signs and words of a
The M.T. gives the signs and words and proclaims: For the pusuit of
the Great Work of Magic.
A few moments of raucous cheering and applause follows.
The Initate Ritual
The candidate will have provided himself with some token of Initiate
status previously approved by the Pact. This may for example be a
magical weapon, an amulet or some design to adorn a robe.
The M.T. calls the temple to order and leads the GBR. The M.T. then
adresses the candidate:
Candidate, I call upon you to reaffirm your Neoophyte assertions.
The candidate repeats all four substituting "I" for "Do you" in each
Candidate, I call upon you to make your submission and to take the
oath of an Initiate.
The candidate disrobes and lies flat on the ground. Weapons are held
against vulnerable parts of the candidate`s body. The candidate then
I offer to this Pact such powers of Will, Imagination, Perception
and Concentration as I possess. I bind myself to the service of this
Pact. Should I ever break its trust, may I be stripped of all
The M.T. then adresses the candidate: Candidate, arise and take up
these marks of an Initiate. (The candidate re-robes and takes his
mark.) Candidate, I recognise you as an Initiate of this Pact and I
open this temple in the grade of an Initiate with the signs and
words of an Initiate.
The M.T. gives signs and words and proclaims: For the pursuit of the
Great Work of Magic.
A few moments of utter silence in which all members stand giving the
sign of an Initiate follow.
The Adept Ritual
The candidate will have provided himself with some object to mark
The M.T. calls the temple to order and leads the GBR. The M.T. then
adresses the candidate:
Candidate, I call upon you to reaffirm your Neophyte assertions.
(The candidate reaffirms them in full.)
Candidate, I call upon you to reaffirm your Initate`s oath. (The
candidate reaffirms it in full.)
Candidate, I call upon you to make the obligations of an Adept.
The candidate holds aloft his mark of adepthoood and proclaims:
I offer myself as a shield for the defence of the Pact and its
I offer myself as a vessel through which the Pact may pour the
teachings of magic.
I offer myself as a sword to the Pact, to smite and confound its
I offer myself as a staff which will uphold the Pact.
The M.T. then proclaims: Candidate, I recognise you as an Adept of
the Pact and I open this temple in the grade of Adept with the signs
and words of an Adept.
The M.T. gives signs and words and proclaims: For the pursuit of the
Great Work of Magic.
A few moments of mindless unrestrained laughter follows.
The Office of Insubordinate
Every Magister Templi is attended by a personal Insubordinate chosen
by all members of the temple other than the M.T.. In addition, all
actively teaching Adepts and Magi of the Pact are attended by
personal Insubordinates chosen by their peers. Insubordinates may be
of Initiate grade only, and have five duties as follows:
Holders of the office of Insubordinate are not styled as
"Insubordinates" within the Pact but rather they chose a two word
title to characterise their expression of the role. Such two word
titles may be chosen from any combination of the words Fool, Jester,
Chaplain, Confessor or Inquisitor. Traditionally one word is chosen
to denote the funktion the candidate is most temperamentally
inclined to exercise and one for the funktion least favoured. Thus
the Insubordinate may choose to be styled Inquisitor-Jester or
Chaplain-Fool and so on.
- To ensure that all teachings and instructions are comprehensive and
to criticise or demand clarification of those that are not. This is
the duty of the Fool, to display ignorance or pretend to ignorance
where others pretend to understand.
- To convey criticism with a certain levity. This is the duty of
Jester, to poke fun at that which others find more politic to
- To point out personal failings and blindspots. This is the duty of
the Chaplain, to treat with personal matters impartially.
To receive personal accounts of some aspects of personal magical
progress, though not necessarily to comment on them. This is the
duty of the Confessor, whose existence is a safeguard against sloth
- To hold the right to veto any instruction and to notify the 0° or
the 1° of its exercise. This is the duty of the Inquisitor, to
cicumvent abuses of position.
Any particular office of Insubordinate lapses whenever a fresh
Insubordinate is appointed in place of an existing one or when an
Initiate holding the office becomes recognised as an Adept. Some
temples prefer to rotate the office of Insubordinate at each meeting
either randomly or by turn. In other situations the post may be
longer term and the parties involved may elect to mark the
assumption of this relationship with the Insubordinate Ritual.
Otherwise the noose which is the mark of office of Insubordinate and
which is displayed when exercising the Insubordinate functions is
simply passed to the new holder of the office.
The Insubordinate will normally conduct his official business with
the Recipient may well choose to brief his Insubordinate beforehand
about any controversial instructions he may intend to give to
prevent the public exercise of a vote.
The Insubordinate Ritual
The temple being already opened in the grade of Initiate or
Neophyte. The candidate hands a previously prepared noose to the
person who will be the Recipient of his insubordination. The
Recipient places the noose about his or her neck, hands the free end
to the candidate and kneeling before the candidate asks:
R: Will you test me as my Fool, so that all may understand?
C: I will.
R: Will you test me as my Jester, if none else will criticise?
C: I will.
R: Will you test me as my Chaplain, that no fault lie unremedied?
C: I will.
R: Will you test me as my Confessor, lest I neglect my own progress?
C: I will.
R: Will you test me as my Inquisitor, if I exceed my authority?
C: I will.
R: Then how will you be known?
C: As your ____ ____ .
R: Then take this noose my ____ ____ to remind us of our duties.
The R. then gives the noose to the C..
The ritual is concluded by a brief barrage of insulting and derisive
noises directed by all at the Recipient.
The activities of a temple will vary according to need and
circumstances and according to the grades and accomplishments of
those present. The following sections give some indication of
frequent temple activities in the sequence in which they are
The Magister Templi will ensure that the privacy of the temple is
assured and that any visitors are on an appropriate grade. The M.T.
will announce any apologies for absence and give any preliminary
The temple is opened either with a Grade Ritual or with the Opening
Training and Practice
Various members of the Pact will, at the discretion of the M.T.,
lead exercises in particular magical disciplines. These may include
mind control exercises, practice with the techniques of gnosis and
practice with magical instruments and techniques. Lectures and
demonstrations may be given and papers read.
At the discretion of the M.T. various spells and rituals of
Evocation, Divination, Enchantment, Invocation and Illumination may
be attempted in support of the needs of the Pact, the temple or
individuals. The Mass of Chaos may be performed as a celebration or
to ordain a Priest of Chaos or for some other purpose.
The M.T. chairs a discussion of various matters of administration,
planning, personal progress and research. Individuals may report on
their work with Liber KKK and other researches. Publications and
communications from other temples of the Pact may be reviewed.
The temple is closed with the Closing Ritual and if necessary opened
in another grade for special purposes with selected participians. It
is customary for the work of a temple to be followed by some
refreshment and socialisation.
Few rituals of the Pact are ever conducted using written cues. Any ritual
that cannot be committed to memory prior to performance must be regarded
as urgently in need of simplification. In general, when a complex training
exercise or ritual is being performed one member fully briefs the
participants beforehand and then leads the main sequence giving
instructions to other participiants to deliver their own contributions at
the appropriate points if necessary. The M.T. must obtain prior approval
from a Magus of the Pact if a temple is to undertake paid magical work on
behalf of outsiders or other institutions. Approval must also be obtained
if a temple is to launch any form of magical attack although this may be
waived in compelling circumstances.
In the event of a Pact member exhibiting intolerable behaviour the
members of a temple may force an excommunication from the Pact by
simply majority, the M.T. having the casting vote. In the event that
the candidate for excommunication is the M.T. then his Insubordinate
has the casting vote. Excommunicants are barred from Pact
activities till further notice and members will not discuss magical
or Pact activities with them. Willful treachery may be rewarded with
Excommunication with Extreme Prejudice, in which case the Pact may
adopt a more active response towards the miscreant.