The Octavo: A Sorcerer-Scientist's Grimoire by Peter J. Carroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ever world has a secret grimoire that contains the magical secrets of the world. For the Disc world, Terry Pratchett’s creation, that Grimoire is called the Octavo. Thus far Earth’s or should I say roundworld’s grimoire is yet to be be discovered. In Discworld it is buried and guarded. Roundworld’s Grimoire has only been revealed in fractured or fragmented form.
Roundworld is much different from Discworld in many ways. To name but a few, Discworld rests on the back of a turtle and is supported by 4 elephants. The Roundworld is of course a round sphere but more on that later. In Discworld the speed of light is slower and there is less causality. That makes magic more effective and more relied upon. What follows is a definite scientific grimoire that is loaded with mathematical and scientific equations along with rituals of Chaos magic.
Chaos magic is hard to define. You have to read up on it. Every Chaos magian will have a different definition of what Chaos magic is. Peter J. Carrol is a foremost Chaos magician.
His view of the universe and the gods is clear concise and understandable. The physics and science part went way over my head. I think on a deeper level the two are interconnected. I tend to think that most magicians are not too mathematically minded.
I managed to jot down a few notes, perhaps several. The first chapter dealt with the developement of magic and the mental mapping of the world. The first map was the Shamanistic and it was no more than the sky above perhaps no deeper than the first few feet of Earth. Their vision went perhaps to the next valley over. Their magic which affected the crops was simple yet effective.
The Greco Pagans had better maps ones that we would call psychology. It was a map of the inner realms or the mind. They had their mystery schools and developed and grew along with the agricultural stuff. But too many schools of thought were hard to manage so in the age of empires came about monotheism. This allowed the physical map to expand at the expense of the psychological map. Everything was monochrome good and evil. The fourth era was atheism.. This gave us a map of an awesome universe. Believing in Gods or a God became more and more difficult. The fifth era a burgeoning of magical thought divorced from religion.
Our universe is made up of three level. The first level is the microcosm which is obvious. The next is the Midocosm which is our level of things and lastly the macrocosm which is the heavens above. Our previous maps of the universe and its creation were wholly inaccurate. It is neither, flat, round or ever expanding. Rather it is in the shape of a hyper sphere. The entire universe is made up of hyperspheres that are spinning. Some in the same direction and some in the opposite. The ones that spin in the opposite direction manage to cling together. The book contains eight spells.
The author includes Chaos versions of banishing rituals and it’s view of the Gods. by the way it may be of interest to note that the author poses forward that the Gods are all imaginary but are effective tools for magic. The universe contains certain amount of randomness that can be alter and manipulated. Don’t expect miracles magic takes time on round world. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the appendix which tells how to invoke different imaginary deities in the enochian and other languages. Enjoy the Chaos it is liberating.
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