The Chaos Protocols
Llewellyn Publications,U.S. (1 May 2016)
In internet time, I’m a million years too late with this review. Too bad. Is this a review? I don’t know. I’m not much of a critical reader when I read for my own pleasure and/or edification. I can only tell you what kind of impact a book has had on me.
Before I begin, let me just say that I don’t have any problem with the word chaos, or with chaos magic. I am not entirely fond of the former, but have gleefully used the latter, ever since the great belated days of sparkling Geocities websites and the Chaos-L. I was especially enamoured with the idea of using the world wide web in a magical sense, and ever since have coded spells and charms into my websites, hidden them in emails, and generally launched them throughout this thing we call the internet.
I don’t know what chaos I expected to find in Gordon White’s The Chaos Protocols. I knew it would be an interesting read, and I knew it would be well-written. That much is obvious to anyone who follows the author’s runesoup.com. What I didn’t expect was the impact the book would have on me. I did not expect the hearty belly laughs — proper guffaws — which are probably not the correct response to the apocalypse (or are they?). I did not expect raised eyebrows, sneers, and once or twice a dropped jaw. That godform? Really? Are you mad? In other words, I did not expect to have such an emotional reaction. That alone puts this book in my top ten.
This is not a book for beginners, although it should be. It should be required reading the moment someone says hey, I want to get into magic, although I suppose it depends on the person. If I’d read this book when I was thirteen, for example, I would have been nodding my head in agreement just before I ran to my paintbrushes and began to sigilise my little dreams. I knew the world was fucked, but I didn’t know what to do with that knowledge. The best I could muster was to study and practice witchcraft and generally rebel, as much as I possibly could, against a system that was quite clearly out to crush me.
What I find interesting is that The Chaos Protocols opens with nothing that hasn’t been said before. There have been a number of videos and blogs and vlogs and god knows what else extensively covering the history of money and the impact the elite are having on the economy. There was even a video promising to tell us what we could do about it all, which I watched and got zero out of. Gordon White has somehow managed to squeeze his book between the bars of the Black Iron Prison and tell us how to bend them. For that, I salute him.
I agree with Gordon, and with Jason Miller, who have both expressed bewilderment at the number of occultists, pagans, and sorcerers who shy away from financial matters, as though money and magic do not belong together. If the reader takes anything away from this book, I hope it is the utter fallacy of such a notion. Money IS magic. Someone made that shit up in the same way someone made up the Necronomicon. If you can accept that money has a spirit which can be conjured up, you are halfway to doing the conjuring. And, delivering on his promise to tell us what we can do to improve our financial situation, Gordon has shared with us some of those conjurations.
Conjurations are not the only tools to be found in the book, though some of the others are not as clearly spelled out. If reading The Chaos Protocols has taught me anything, it is to micromanage my magic through the use of spreadsheets. Yes, my primal scream could be heard across West Yorkshire when this notion hit home. Everywhere I turn these days there’s another spreadsheet. Painful as they are, I now realise it is high time I embraced the side of me that worked for Lehman Brothers Bank and liked it.
There is also one other piece of advice Gordon gives that I must admonish myself to follow. Historically debilitatingly shy, analogue networking has never been my strong suit. Then came along the ease at which digital networks could be established, and that put me off even more. Then came along pages 170-172 of The Chaos Protocols, a very short section on networking which stirred those old dreams of tribe working together toward a common goal, perhaps even sharing a dwelling, but at the least sitting down to share a coffee or two. So, with all due respect to those old dusty dreams, I close my review with words to thrive by:
“If you are a wallflower, too bad. Get better at it [networking]. That is what alcohol is for.” —Gordon White