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Liber Null and Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,321 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Two complete volumes in one. Liber Null contains a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises for committed occultists. Psychonaut is a manual comprising the theory and practice of magic aimed atthose seeking to perform group magic, or who work as shamanic priests to the community.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Weiser Books (first published January 15th 1987)
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Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Chaos Magicians, beginning magicians, occult theorists
Recommended to Michael by: Osiris
I wasn't terribly impressed with this book at the time I read it, although it does contain some interesting material. Essentially it is the compiled handbooks (or "libers") of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT, worked out by Peter Carroll and others during the 1970s and early 1980s. The IOT prides itself on exploring occult traditions while breaking with much of the hierarchy and stick-up-the-ass seriousness of traditional magical study. Chaos Magic, as I used to say, is what happens to you whe ...more
Lizbeth Gabriel
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it
My head hurts. It really hurts. Also, my copy is missing a page of text and half its contents table. Damn to demise all marshmallows in existence and some theoretical ones.

How can someone actively choose to experiment on everything that makes them who they are AND work 9-5? The advice is pretty clear: change your personality, change your sexuality, do all the things that normally you would not do, try a different lifestyle, support a point of view you don't agree with and so on. Keep doing that
Garrett Cook
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
"When we are born, we are soft and supple, in death we are stiff and inflexible. To be inflexible is to be the servant of death"- the Tao Te Ching

Even if chaos magick is not a magical tradition you practice, even if you are not a practicing magician at all, there is much to learn from Liber Null. It is a guide to psychic flexibility, to seeing shades of meaning in your environment and to expressing intent. As such, this is a seminal work not just for the magician, but for the artist as well. Lea
Nick Imrie
This book made me think of Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book. Ingram is famous for popularising the dry and methodical vipasanna style of Buddhist meditation amongst materialist rationalist-types, and then claiming that achieving the higher levels of meditative practice will give magical powers. Completely antithetical to their worldview!

Carroll's book is an introduction to Choas Magic which begins with a few scant pages on the importan
Al Baker
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the Seminal texts on postmodern magick. A true classic which definitely changed my view on magick dramatically, perhaps even my life. A liberating book that inspires creativity, and self-expression. If you're tired of overly-complex rituals based on some medieval mythos that seems like a joke to you, then this is the book for you. I mean, if you don't believe in the supernatural at all, then how could you take things like demons, angels, Gods, and Goddesses seriously? Yet you can still do ...more
Terra Bosart
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was my first introduction to Chaos Magic, and it came across quite well. The writing and descriptions and concepts resonated with me so well that I began magical practice again. This book, along with Liber Kaos, challenged my perspectives and dropped me off where I started. Lovely.
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ah... This book was interesting. Sure it's all in our heads - but how big are our heads? Hah. If your mind is stuck in familiar ruts, this book might be a good place to go "off road". Caveat emptor. ...more
Pieter-Jan Beyul
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-shelf
Despite its notoriety, chaos magic isn't the blackest magic out there, but the postmodern twitch on the oldest of arts. It is only as notorious as the magician wills it. The 'chaotic' aspect of it has nothing to do with full blown anarchic and nihilistic appliance of magic to whatever means. It has to do with the understanding of the nature of reality as being (the son/daughter of) pure Chaos. Then again, this insight isn't the discovery of a single genius or a truth that has been transmitted fr ...more
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magick-and-myth
Very good--if often pompous and opaque--text from Pope Pete. Probably not a good introductory book on Chaos Magick, as the spiralling idea-play sometimes nears the Crowleyesque. Still, it can be an exciting read, even if the concepts aren't as easily appliccable as when outlined by Hine. ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I'm not quite sure how to go about writing a review for it, so I'll start by saying, that many magicians who turn to writing, have a very arrogant manner of introducing the subject matter. They stress secrecy, over complicate things for the reader, and the entire work serves as a way for them to feed their ego. Making it less about actually wanting to introduce the subject to new adepts. This is not the case with Carroll. His writing is straightforward and isn't bogged dow ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: occult-magick
I loved Liber Null, but Psychonaught was beyond me at this point. I will take it up again, but not until I have finished Prometheus Rising and Introduction to Chaos Magick (re-read).
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
The neon bible. It's what every harry potter fan should read upon growing up and being discouraged. ...more
Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I never get tired of reading this.
A diverting miscellany of Pop Occult wank templates beloved to obese, ponytailed goth bros. (Imagine Deepak Chopra weaned on White Wolf and Chaosium tabletop RPGs and early Dead Can Dance records.)

That said, there are some pithy moments:

“Laughter is the only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played on itself…. The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and ghastly events which surround one. It is not for us to question the universe’s apparent lack of taste.” (17)

Dec 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
It is just another mediocre text for conflicted teens. The arguments presented there represent the root of what is wrong with the world.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book is a bundle of two smaller books, The Liber Null and the Psychonaut.
The first one is nothing but a bunch of gibberish. Lots of unfunded affirmations pepper with made up words to make it sound deep and important. It’s no different than any other made up system of tough such as Scientology with is Thetans and its Lord Xenu.

At least in two different occasion it makes claims that are easily verifiable to be false. For example:

Lévitation (which includes the ability to walk on water and fir
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

When I was thirty, I read these two volumes religiously and dedicated myself to IOT°4. After a decade of practice, I counted myself an adept, and put it all behind me. Twenty-five years later I have re-read these books and humbly offer my opinion on their efficacy.
This volume is split into two parts as the eponymous title indicates. Liber Null is a four volume set describing the theory and philosophy of IOT(Illuminates Of Thanateros). Psychonaut is more concerned with the practice of
Shea Mastison
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" essentially sums up the overall arch of the book. Postulating the subjective existence of each individual's ego, Peter J. Carroll offers up an interesting look at the rituals of the Initiates of Thanateros--a postmodern occult group that traces their lineage back to prehistoric shamans and the Western esoteric tradition as a whole.

This is one of the better primers on chaos magic; and the ways in which one can use it to develop as a person in our societ
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Carroll has some ideas that are definitely worth pinching, but there was more than a few times when the Order dude is describing/creating here sounds like fat camp, if there was a fat camp for becoming a total sociopath instead of losing weight. or whatever. His ability to cut huge mystical concepts down into clean, manageable pieces is sometimes impressive and practical, and sometimes conspicuously void of any of kind of awe or wonder-- which may not be a problem for you, and even if it is, it ...more
Kyle R
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a great book. I read a lot of reviews on here from people who probably know more about this kind of stuff than I do - saying that it's more geared towards beginners and that it doesn't explain certain things in-depth enough. I was absorbed in every page and this entire book seemed to be what I had always been searching for - ideas that I had always been flirting with. It validated a lot of things for me. But this is coming from someone pretty new to occult studies in the first ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was very interesting at first. It quickly devolves into what I can only call conjecture and poorly supported personal theory. The writing often borrows from sources that go unreferenced, and the author does not explain his reasoning for many of his claims. A number of misrepresented physics, astronomical, and mathematical theories are mentioned as supporting points for the core tenets of psychonautical development. They seem more the square peg in the round hole of a person's need to p ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it liked it
It was boring as hell but chock-full of information...

What can I say?
Matt Moran
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty heavy-going, often long-winded & grandiose, and I think occasionally self-contradicting.
Hilda Ellis-Davidson
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I really wanted to like this book more... but I just found the writing style to be too dense.

If Lovecraft wrote a manual on how to hack the universal consciousness, this book would be it.
Jun 09, 2021 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It contains some interesting nuggets of wisdom throughout its two sections, but ultimately seems to fall flat on achieving something thorough and substantial. Many points, an unashamedly large majority of which seem to be regurgitated straight out of Aleister Crowley’s work, are touched on rather briefly with encouragement to explore without much of the important detail and guidance needed for austere and safe occult study and practice.

Much of the book seem
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
i would definitely recommend reading something like Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine first, because this feels like some next-level shit. i cant imagine trying to understand this while having no background knowledge of the subject but i dont think you'd find yourself getting much out of it, especially if you didnt do the exercises and tried to engage with it purely intellectually.

or maybe read this book, bounce around to some other chaos magic authors, and then come back to this one and see what yo
Levanah G.
This book is very near and dear to my heart. It was one of the first books about Occultism that I've read 11+ years ago, and re-reading it again so many years later was just as enjoyable as before.
It's incredibly informative, but none of the information contained is ground-breaking. What makes all the difference is the way Carroll approaches subjects. I don't think that any modern Occultist can be as inspiring as Carroll is, and it's clear that he's not even really trying to do so.
Everything i
Rory Tregaskis
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Full of very interesting ideas. Just as soon as I grasp something I was semi familiar with a new idea beyond my ken comes along. I enjoyed it because regardless of whether you want to follow this as a how to guide to reshape reality, it provides excellent models for understanding thought.

Carroll's writing is very prescient, especially regarding society's move from death of superstition, death of belief, death of ideology, and moving from belief systems from shamanism, to paganism, monotheism, a
Mar 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book is an incoherent piece of trash full of badly elaborated ideas. I can't speak for the practical magical side of things although he doesn't seem to be capable od providing concrete instructions for anything. My interest in this book was more academic than anything else, but if the theoretical foundations are so rotten I can't imagine that it has any practical value for potential believers. The author either intentionally misuses both Western, Hindu and Buddhist references or he doesn't ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Existentialists, Occultists, People who want a kick of liberation
My philosophical journey started a new chapter with this book. After being raised Mormon, leaving at 13, deconditioning myself, and feeling reality's rug pulled out from under me, I was left in a rather aimless existential state. But at 19, this book taught me that existentialism does not have to be aimless. We can harness the power of chaos once we acknowledge that the world's structure was imposed on nature by Man. We have the power to influence the world with our own creative action.
It may
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He maintains a personal website at

and acts as Chancellor to Arcanorium College:-

Peter Carroll began his career in Magic at London University where the Chemistry proved so tedious that he settled on a pass degree in that and an unauthorized first in Magic, with Liber Null & Psychonaut emerging as his postgraduate thesis over the next several years whils

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“It is a mistake to consider any belief more liberated than another. It is the possibility of change which is important. Every new form of liberation is destined to eventually become another form of enslavement for most of its adherents. There is no freedom from duality on this plane of existence, but one may at least aspire to choice of duality.” 41 likes
“Ideas about a person's place in society, his role, lifestyle, and ego qualities will lose their hold as the cohesive forces in society disintegrate. Subculture values will proliferate to such a bewildering extent that a whole new class of professionals will arise to control them. Such a Transmutation Technology will deal in fashions, in ways of being. Lifestyle consultants will become the new priests of our civilizations. They will be the new magicians.” 8 likes
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