Peter J. Carroll

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Peter James Carroll (born 8 January 1953) is an English occultist, writer,[1] and physics graduate.[a] He is one of the originators of chaos magic theory and a cofounder of the Illuminates of Thanateros.[1]


In the late 1970s, Peter Carroll and Ray Sherwin, two young British occultists interested in ritual magic, began to publish a magazine called The New Equinox. Both men were connected with a burgeoning occult scene developing around The Phoenix, a metaphysical bookshop in London's East End. Having grown dissatisfied with the state of the magical arts and the deficiencies they saw in the available occult groups, they published a small announcement in a 1978 issue of their magazine, announcing the creation of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT),[2] which has been described as "an unprecedented attempt of institutionalising one of the most individualising currents in the history of 'Western learned magic'".[3]

Carroll first issued Liber Null in 1978 and Psychonaut in 1982. They were published together in the 1987 book Liber Null & Psychonaut, which is considered one of the defining works of the chaos magic movement.[4] He has also written columns for the Chaos International magazine under the names Pete Carroll[5] and Stokastikos.[6]

Carroll elaborated a system heavily influenced by Austin Osman Spare in his early writings, particularly Liber Null (1978).[7] However, somewhat confusingly, Carroll uses the term 'Kia' to refer to the consciousness of the individual: "the elusive 'I' which confers self-awareness".[7] The more general universal force, of which Kia is an aspect, Carroll termed 'Chaos':

The unity which appears to the mind to exert the twin functions of will and perception is called Kia by magicians. Sometimes it is called the spirit, or soul, or life force, instead... Kia is capable of occult power because it is a fragment of the great life force of the universe... The "thing" responsible for the origin and continued action of events is called Chaos by magicians... Chaos... is the force which has caused life to evolve itself out of dust, and is currently most concentratedly manifest in the human life force, or Kia, where it is the source of consciousness... To the extent that the Kia can become one with Chaos it can extend its will and perception into the universe to accomplish magic.[7]

In 1995, Carroll announced his desire to step down from the "roles of magus and pontiff of chaos".[8] This statement was originally delivered at the same IOT international meeting which Carroll discussed in an article titled "The Ice War" in Chaos International.[6]

In 2005, he appeared as a chaos magic instructor at Maybe Logic Academy at the request of Robert Anton Wilson.[9]

Holy Guardian Angel[edit]

Carroll split the concept of the Holy Guardian Angel in two and speaks of two Holy Guardian Angels. According to his work Liber Null and Psychonaut, one is the Augoeides, a projected image of whatever the magician strives for;[10] and the other is quantum uncertainty, which ultimately determines the acts of the magician and is a spark of the only true creative force, the chaos of chaos magic.[10]



  • Carroll, Peter J. (1987). Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic. Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-639-6.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (1992). Liber Kaos. Red Wheel/Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-742-2.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (1996). Psybermagick: Advanced Ideas in Chaos Magick. New Falcon Publications. ISBN 1-56184-092-0.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (2008). The Apophenion: A Chaos Magic Paradigm. Mandrake of Oxford. ISBN 1-869928-65-2.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (2010). The Octavo: A Sorcerer-Scientist's Grimoire. Mandrake of Oxford. ISBN 978-1-906958-17-6.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (2014). Epoch: The Esotericon & Portals of Chaos. Arcanorium College. ISBN 978-0992848828.
  • Carroll, Peter J. (2022). Interview with a Wizard. Interviewed by Ian Blumberg-Enge. Mandrake of Oxford. ISBN 978-1914153143.

Selected articles[edit]

Chaos Magic

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Clarke (2006), p. 105: "Carroll, who is a physicist..."


Works cited[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Drury, Nevill (2011). Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic. Oxford University Press. pp. 251ff. ISBN 978-0-19-975099-3.
  • Duggan, Colin (2014). "Perennialism and Iconoclasm: Chaos Magick and the Legitimacy of Innovation". In Asprem, Egil; Granholm, Kennet (eds.). Contemporary Esotericism. Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Evans, Dave (2007). The History of British Magic After Crowley: Kenneth Grant, Amado Crowley, Chaos Magic, Satanism, Lovecraft, The Left Hand Path, Blasphemy and Magical Morality. Hidden Publishing. ISBN 978-0955523700.
  • Morris, Brian (2006). Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge University Press. pp. 303ff. ISBN 978-0-521-85241-8.
  • Urban, Hugh (2006). Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520932883.
  • Versluis, Arthur (2007). Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esoteric Traditions. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 141ff. ISBN 978-0742558366.

External links[edit]