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"Sacred Chao" redirects here. For the German thrash metal band by that name, see Living Death.
Eris, the Greek goddess of discord

Discordianism is a religion and subsequent philosophy based on the veneration or worship of the Eris Discordia, the Goddess of chaos, or archetypes or ideals associated with her. It was founded after the 1963 publication of its holy book, the Principia Discordia,[1] written by Greg Hill with Kerry Wendell Thornley, the two working under the pseudonyms Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst.

The religion has been likened to Zen based on similarities with absurdist interpretations of the Rinzai school, as well as Taoist philosophy. Discordianism is centered on the idea that both order and disorder are illusions imposed on the universe by the human nervous system, and that neither of these illusions of apparent order and disorder is any more accurate or objectively true than the other.

There is some division as to whether it should be regarded as a parody religion, and if so to what degree.[2] It is difficult to estimate the number of Discordians because they are not required to hold Discordianism as their only belief system,[3] and because there is an encouragement to form schisms and cabals.[4][5]


The foundational document of Discordianism is the Principia Discordia, fourth edition, written by Malaclypse the Younger, an alias of Greg Hill. This book contains many references to an earlier source, The Honest Book of Truth (HBT). From the quotations, the HBT seems to be arranged like the Bible, consisting of verses grouped into chapters grouped into books grouped into the HBT itself. The Principia includes a large portion (or possibly all) of a chapter of "The Book of Explanations" which recounts how the HBT was revealed to Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst.[6] The tale of the discovery of the HBT contains many similarities to the tale of the discovery of the Book of Mormon, and Ravenhurst had been a Mormon. It also includes part of the next chapter, telling how the HBT was taken by a garbage collector, who refused to return it.[7]

The Principia Discordia often hints that Discordianism was founded as a dialectic antithesis to more popular religions based on order, although the rhetoric throughout the book describes chaos as a much more underlying impulse of the universe. This may have been done with the intention of merely "balancing out" the creative forces of order and disorder, but the focus is on the more disorderly aspects of the world — at times the forces of order are even vilified. There are other religions that revere the principles of harmony and order in the Universe, but few that show a respect for the disorder which we all face.[8][9]


While Discordianism embraces the idea that “The Discordian Society has no definition”,[10] there is a loose schema present in the Principia Discordia. Discordianism is divided into a number of sects led by “Episkopos” (overseer or bishop in Koine Greek, the same word used in the New Testament for Christian Bishops), who have received a unique (and often contradictory) revelation from Eris via their pineal gland. Discordians who do not form their own sects, whether they belong to someone else's sect or not, make up the Legion of Dynamic Discord, and may be referred to as Legionnaires.[citation needed]

Much of the Principia Discordia is devoted to the Paratheo-Anametamystikhood Of Eris Esoteric (POEE), which is the sect of Discordianism founded by Malaclypse the Younger. There are five degrees in the hierarchy of the POEE. The highest order, Popes consist of every person on Earth. Below the Popes is the High Priest, Malaclypse the Younger, who ordains priests and runs the head temple of the POEE, the Joshua Norton Cabal. Below the High Priest are the priests and chaplins, who administer POEE cabals and appoint legionnaire deacons. Below legionnaire deacons are the legionnaire disciples, who may initiate others as legionnaires.[citation needed]



In typical Discordian fashion, two contradictory creations myths are presented in the Principia Discordia. In one, Primal Chaos is born from an interaction of the Hodge and Podge, and the Force of Discord (said to be a manifestation of the Nonexistent Chao) fathers Eris with the Queen - the whole story paralleling the Five Ages or Five Seasons of Discordianism: Chaos, Discord, Confusion, Bureaucracy and the Aftermath. In the other, Void gives birth to the rival goddesses Eris, who is fertile and creative, and Aneris, who is infertile and destructive. They quarrel due to Aneris' jealousy of her sister, order is created and disorder emerges, and Void births a son, Spirituality. When the quarreling sisters confront Void over Spirituality, he declares that their brother will reside with Aneris, before proceeding to Eris and finally returning to the Void from whence he came. The whole story is an allegory for the journey of the spirit.[citation needed]


The Pentabarf is as follows:[11]

  1. There is no Goddess but Goddess and She is Your Goddess. There is no Erisian Movement but The Erisian Movement and it is The Erisian Movement. And every Golden Apple Corps is the beloved home of a Golden Worm.
  2. A Discordian Shall Always use the Official Discordian Document Numbering System.
  3. A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (No Hot Dog Buns).
  4. A Discordian shall Partake of No Hot Dog Buns, for Such was the Solace of Our Goddess when She was Confronted with The Original Snub.
  5. A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing What he Reads.

The Pentabarf is a set of five rules, supposedly discovered by the Apostle Zarathud, that bears a resemblance to the 10 Commandments. The first point satirizes the Islamic shahada, the third point mocks dietary restrictions, and the final point mandates skepticism in place of blind faith. The third and fourth laws are designed to contradict each other.[citation needed]

The Sacred Chao[edit]

The Sacred Chao

The Sacred Chao is a variation on the Chinese Taijitu symbol, with a golden apple and pentagon replacing the smaller circles of each half. Rather than symbolizing yin and yang, the Sacred Chao symbolizes the hodge-podge and the eristic and aneristic principles, and has connections to key Discordian doctrines, like the Law of Fives and the story of the Original Snub.[citation needed]

The Hodge-Podge[edit]

Hodge and Podge occur as terms frequently throughout the Principia Discordia. There is little uniting the usages of these terms, but one instance of note is in one of the creation stories, in which the Primal Chaos emerges from the interactions of the Hodge and Podge.[citation needed]

The Eristic and Aneristic Principles[edit]

The golden apple symbolizes the eristic principle (disorder). The apple comes from the Original Snub, which is a Discordian retelling of the Greek myth of the wedding of Peleus and Thetis into which the uninvited Eris throws an Apple of Discord with the words Kallisti ("to the fairest"), and the subsequent Judgment of Paris. The pentagon symbolizes the aneristic principle (order). The pentagon is related to the Law of Fives, which is the Discordian doctrine that all things relate to five in some way (see 23 Enigma and confirmation bias for similar concepts.)[citation needed]

Discordianism attempts to correct two possible errors in thinking: the Eristic and Aneristic Illusions. A distinction is drawn between truth and Truth (similar to the Two Truths doctrine of Buddhism), and these illusions are what happens when one thinks that a particular perspective of order or disorder is a Truth, and not merely a truth.[citation needed]

Curse of Greyface[edit]

According to the Principia, Greyface existed and had followers whom he encouraged to "Look at all the order around you" (Principia Discordia page 00042), and he somehow convinced mankind to agree with his ideas about Serious Order. The Principia notes that it is something of a mystery why Greyface gained so many followers when anyone could have looked at all of the disorder in the world.[citation needed]

Greyface and his followers took the game of playing at life more seriously than they took life itself and were known even to destroy other living beings whose ways of life differed from their own.

— Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00042

In addition to the generic advice of cultivating your natural love of chaos and playing with Her, the Principia Discordia provides "The Turkey Curse Revealed by the Apostle Dr. Van Van Mojo" to counteract The Curse of Greyface.[12] The Turkey Curse is designed to counteract destructive order. It derives its name from the fact that the incantation resembles the sounds of a turkey.[citation needed]

Pineal gland[edit]

"Consult your pineal gland" is a common saying in Discordianism. This might be a reference to the ideas of past philosophers, such as René Descartes, who dedicated much time to the study of the pineal gland, calling it the "principal seat of the soul". He believed it to be the point of connection between the intellect and the body.[citation needed]

The pineal gland is theorized by some, such as Rick Strassman, to produce trace amounts of DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a psychedelic chemical which is believed to play a role in dreaming and other mystical states.[13] Endogenous DMT has been detected throughout the human body and in mammalian pineal glands.[14] [15]

Discordian-inspired works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilson, Robert Anton (1992). Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati. Scottsdale, AZ: New Falcon Publications. p. 65. ISBN 978-1561840038. 
  2. ^ "...It should on no account be taken seriously but is far more serious than most jokes" and "See ... [also] ha ha only serious" The Jargon File v4.4.7 but present at least as far back as v4.0.0, (1996, July 24); The entry for discordianism begins, "Somewhere between parody, social commentary, and religion..." Rabinovitch, Shelly & Lewis, James R. The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism, pp 75–76. Citadel Press. 2002. ISBN 0-8065-2406-5; "These organisations [Discordianism & The Church of the Subgenius] are just two of a whole raft of mock religions..." Phillips, M. (2004, Sept. 14). Wizards of ID cook up divine pile of spaghetti bolognese. The West Australian, p. Metro 18; "The explosion of the American counter-culture and the revival of surrealism met Discordianism (1960's and 70's) and the result was a Neo-Pagan parody religion of mirth and laughter." (p. 3) E. K. Discorida. (2005). The Book of Eris. Synaptyclypse Generator
  3. ^ Rabinovitch, Shelly & Lewis, James. The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism". Pp 75–76. Citadel Press. 2002. ISBN 0-8065-2406-5.
  4. ^ "WitchVox Traditions Discordianism Article". Witchvox.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  5. ^ "Discordian Cabals – S23Wiki". S23.org. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  6. ^ Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00041
  7. ^ Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00030
  8. ^ "World Religions". Worldreligions.psu.edu. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  9. ^ "Design Arguments for the Existence of God [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]". Iep.utm.edu. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  10. ^ Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00032
  11. ^ Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00004
  12. ^ Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 64
  13. ^ Rick Strassman. "Chapter Summaries for DMT: The Spirit Molecule". Archived from the original on 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  14. ^ Kärkkäinen J., Forsström T., Tornaeus J., Wähälä K., Kiuru P., Honkanen A., Stenman U.-H., Turpeinen U., Hesso A. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation 65 (3): 189–199. "Potentially hallucinogenic 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor ligands bufotenine and dimethyltryptamine in blood and tissues". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  15. ^ Barker SA, Borjigin J, Lomnicka I, Strassman R. "Barker SA, Borjigin J, Lomnicka I, Strassman R (Jul 2013). "LC/MS/MS analysis of the endogenous dimethyltryptamine hallucinogens, their precursors, and major metabolites in rat pineal gland microdialysate"". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 

External links[edit]