Updated: Jul 18
I feel extremely honoured to write this text about the system that won my admiration, and that has also been admired by so many people, over such a short time. I was able to experience the Specular System directly throughout my initiation process. Far from being an obligation, the system was presented to me as a very pleasant and useful invitation to neophytes still groping in Chaos Magic.
Specula presents a system directly inspired by the fundamental notions that have already been systematized about Chaos Magic. What's the difference? There would be a long way to go to clarify differences about what is Chaos Magic, what is a metasystem, and what is Specula. At the same time, it is also worth considering a gigantic space of creation, where to signify something as magickal is not just saying "something about something", as in a traditional relation of logical predication, but also as an act of creation.
Chaos Magic creates by signifying that which at first has no form. All practitioners, whether consciously or not (I am assuming that practicing magic is natural, and everyone does. Even when, unconsciously, they harm themselves), imitate the original Chaos, whose dysmorphia gave rise to what has form. The Chaos magician shapes that which has no form, or even that which does not hold it until guided by a centralizing Will, whose act of re-signifying is also to bring to life what was just inert matter.
I consider this to be one of the fundamental premises that fuel the Chaos Magic metasystem. I also believe that this is responsible for a certain resignification, in general, of the position of magick in the world. In this case, it means that the role of magick can be reallocated as something extremely more integrated into the scope of everyday life. In general terms, a magician would need a wide range of material elements to have access to a knowledge of the occult, which would reveal to them a "new world", of angelic, infernal, psychic creatures, etc. In this horizon, the magician would be a negotiator, who works with forces superior to them in power, given the nature of the cosmologies in which the beings with whom they relate are inserted. In this sense, the fundamental change that I indicate here seems to be linked to the way the magician positions themselves in front of their systems, either as a passive receiver of the activity of forces that are superior to them; or even as an active creative force, which uses the system as an extension of its power, using it only as a way of manifesting a power that is exclusively its own, but only when well developed.
The second option seems to me to be what Chaos Magic means, that the centre of magick is not the magickal system, but only the magician can be that centre.
Understanding this reduction in formulas also indicates the key to the fundamental interaction between magic - universe - magician, formulating what we can call structural constants, or even, using the name that Peter Carroll uses in his Liber Kaos, that it is an "engineering magic". It seems that this might bring us closer to the only things that would be constants in any practice related to Chaos Magic, or could it be said that magical practice could also disregard these constants?
"Teaching" Chaos Magic, as Phil Hine puts it, would only indicate that there is a door that can be opened, and everything after that is the practitioner's own obligation and responsibility. The price of freedom is always responsibility.
This is the fundamental point from which we can say that Specula is not a religion. It is a tool, or even, as the ancients would say in relation to a certain perception of logic, that it would be an "Organon", an instrument, or even a mechanism through which its practitioner would be able to reach the principles related to the practice of a specific science. In this case, the principles to be sought remain the same as in any magickal system. However, it is only possible to define Specula as such when considering the understanding of its role, which is aligned with the definitions that are tied to the conception of Chaos Magic as a fundamental element of all magic, as what can only be seen when the veils of duality are passed. Understanding this is the key to understanding what is contained in the notion of instrument that is being applied here. For what is at stake in Specula is also the overcoming of the idea of a magickal system tied to crystallized, immutable, paralysed rules that work like a toolbox.
Specula is alive. If Chaos Magic can be considered something revolutionary, this is, largely, because the work systematized by the practitioner revolves around a power that is naturally guaranteed to them, like the air they breathe. Most magical systems have their common premises anchored in their goals. Whether achieving the manifestation of your true Will, or achieving a deeper perception of the inner "self", or even the simple search to get rid of uncomfortable everyday situations.
Specula does not ignore this, and is configured as a magickal system whose characteristics make use of elements from different magical traditions, which are approximated from the chaoist premise of "Nothing is true, everything is permitted". Chaos Magic advances. You may now want to ask the following question, how is it possible to mobilize a magical system that is not fixed based on a crystallized rule in an era, or on unavoidable and extremely rigid postulates? Simple, bring it to life. I repeat, Specula is alive. Everything that is alive seeks, in some way, to expand, improve, evolve.
The book Via, in its new edition, is a complete proof that the Specular system, in constant evolution, is also deeply aligned with the determinations contained in Chaos Magic, whose fundamental law, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted" , can also be considered, paradoxically, as a postulate that can order everything, and also can mean the eternal motion of all things.