There is a running joke among supposedly serious chaotes about the so-called internet kids, an eclectic and pop culture prone group of younger magickians who have recently become very visible on social media.
Suffering from some form of sour amnesia, these older practitioners seem to forget that a good chunk of their own generation were guilty of the very same excesses and grandstanding when they first realised that reality could be manipulated, albeit with a far smaller audience.
Interestingly, the origins of this recent wave of interest in occultism has its roots in a conjunction of attitude and technology, starting with an all too familiar rebellion that occurred many decades ago.
Unlike other mystical systems chaos magick carries a lot of cultural baggage.
While there are many stories to explain its sudden emergence, the movement is in part thought to be a byproduct of working class unemployment during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
While it embodies the anger and frustration of those UK based pioneers, it was less about mystical anarchy than a kneejerk reaction to a world where common folk lacked the resources to approach the occult in a strict 19th Century sense. Loose cliques and study groups soon emerged, each striving to remove the barriers to this most basic of human needs, but few ever achieved the reach those ideas deserved.
And then the internet happened.
In no time all the secrets of the unseen world were on display for free in one format or another as long as you knew where to look. At first the burgeoning builtin board culture offered enlightenment in dial up doses to anyone with a university library card, and while much of this proved to be little more than direct quotes from existing texts original ideas still seeped in occasionally.
Soon hosting services such as Angelfire and Geocities blinked dully into life, allowing those magickians with an understanding of HTML to share their insights free from the censure of the mass market publishing houses who once ran the show.
By the time MySpace and Vampire Freaks lumbered into view various generations of chaotes were struggling to solidify their hold what counterculture occultism should actually become.
PDF became the file of choice for those taking part in the numerous Digimobs that grew out of the proto-torrent scene, and everyone involved set to work scanning and sharing the contents of their bookshelves.
For a while at least the internet was the new Wild West, a space where copyright was irrelevant and the excesses of acid driven rave consciousness had given way to a more sober view that championed magick as the panacea for a dying zeitgeist.
Of course, this was not the way the story ended.
Anarchic online occultism was eventually ground under the wheels of the Facebook and Reddit revolution. Dedicated corporatization of the internet saw both torrents and file sharing rendered all but illegal, while those who once took part in such activities closed ranks to protect what little knowledge they had amassed in the good old days before service providers decided to self censor.
Companies such as Google then realised just how much money could be made by selling customer attention to the highest bidder, and doubled down on curating the results they presented to further spread their monotone view of reality too.
Ultimately, despite the wide eyed optimism of technopagan prophets such as Eric Davis the revolution faltered. Yet even though the direct assault on mainstream culture which personified late 20th Century occultism never took hold, there was much to be harvested from the ruins of its ponderous war machine.
And here we find the internet kids digging for truth in the ersatz scraps of information left over from the last great blossoming of occult thought in Western society. Masterless, creative and unique, many do not even realise that they are the latest carriers of a Promethean fire that stretches all the way back to antiquity.
It is time for the older generations of chaotes to allow those just approaching magick as a discipline the right to be heard.
Indeed, the sneering derision for the next wave of younger magickians who ply their trade on Facebook and TikTok betrays a deep rooted desire to retain relevance in a counterculture that longer stands apart from the wider society at all.
People openly discuss their once hidden beliefs at coffee shops, within workplaces and even in the street. Television is awash with witches and warlocks, while YouTube groans under the weight of top ten lists which rehash the same old monsters for increasingly younger audiences.
Change is still needed, of course, but these efforts can now be attempted from the inside.
The Millennial chaotes may have lost the meme war but their children did what they could not and made the unreal acceptable. The ideas hashed out in those early study groups, scrawled on bulletin boards and pirated via PDF Digimobs continue to attract people who need to find hope as the shadows close in.
As such, if the internet kids are the new face of this post-millennial mysticism then it would not only fly in the face of the original ethos of chaos magick to sneer as they strive for enlightenment, but also be shameful not to assist them in manning trenches others have long abandoned.