METAMORPHIC RITUAL THEATRE, an extant vehicle of The Order ov ChAos, created in 2002 a major new production called THE CHORONZON MACHINE. On a surface level this is a musickal play, a multi-media multi-cultural and multi-subcultural opera, but it is also an initiatory vehicle for both cast and audience, operating according to the individual levels of comprehension and involvement of those participating; a complex piece of astral and psychic ritual machinery.
What is this strange device, and why are we dealing with it in our art, music and theatre?
Traditionally Choronzon is an arch-demon, the Lord of Hallucination and Dispersion and basically the epitome of 'evil'? Why would a group of conscious and aware musickians, magickians and performers deliberately evoke and invoke such an apparently malignant presence into our work and play?
Well for one, we didn't. He kind of came of his own accord. Or, more to the point, various synchronicities and signs in our lives and magick pointed out his presence and prevalence in our psyches as a force to be reckoned with.
He first made his presence felt for the members of The HarleQuintet, the musicians behind the current production, during a DMT and Syrian Rue session near Alice Springs in the central Australian desert, on the 4th of July, the beginning of the Dog Days, when we opened the gates to the Syrian stars and the Acaciac records with Syrian rue and Acacia bark extract (Australian source of DMT). Due to a technical mishap the DMT (an intense psychedelic) was only a threshold dose, and perhaps this is why we met the 'Dweller on the Threshold' -Choronzon.
It seems that since the beginning of the Dog Days (when the Egyptians celebrated the cycles of Sirius A and B), something has lifted the veils and made us notice that Choronzon is all around us and in us all all the time anyway, and that therefore He needs to be dealt with and apprehended in the most positive ways possible, by creating a magicko-musickal ritual theatre machine which serves as a microcosmic model with which to work out how to deal with His energies in the World at large.
One of the ways of doing this is in changing our perspective of what exactly He is. What force/s does the name Choronzon and his number 333 actually represent, and are they actually all bad? This altered perspective allows us to transmute the energy into something amicable and possibly even useful. (After all, as Peter Carroll says, 'A demon is just a god spited'.)
The other way of transmutating Choronzon is working out how to deal with, and ultimately transcend, those aspects of this energy which we cannot find positive or beneficial angles on.
Choronzon is the dweller on the threshold, the Guardian of the Abyss. Thus he is the ultimate initiator, and so to turn back when he looms unexpectedly in one's life, is to deny oneself possibilities of evolution. For it is not just the Abyss which Choronzon guards, but also the supernal triad beyond it, those ineffable flowers of samadhi which may only be reached by crossing the Abyss. Whether this crossing is a torturous ordeal or a blissful release is basically up to the individual's perspective, to how they deal with the process of initiation.
For Choronzon is not actually such a bad guy after all, once you get to know him. He's just rather mischievious; although if you take His games and jokes too seriously, you can indeed get hurt. The trick is to remember its all play, and see Choronzon for the oversized spoilt but lovable brat that He is.
Most of the impressions we have of this apparent arch-fiend are from the Elizabethan era, that moralistic morass of righteousness dominated by patriarchal fundamental Christianity. John Dee and Edward Kelly who met this 'demon', though dabblers in arcane lore and considerably open-minded for their time, were still largely shaped psychically by this constricted dominant paradigm. Even Aleister Crowley, the next magickian to have major publicized dealings with this entity, was still afflicted somewhat by the last vestiges of the patriarchy which he did so much towards helping to destroy. Although in his revolutionary social upheavals his attitude to Choronzon was to face Him squarely (or at least triangularly), he still perceived him as basically the epitome of evil.
Even more recently, in our current era of multi-cultural multi-aeonic perspectives, Peter Carroll, avatar of Chaos Magick -a vanguard of belief-freeing heresy- still presents Choronzon as a negative being, that force which binds us to self-delusion and illusion, and urges us to 'Banish him whenever he appears'. But if one believes (and Chaos magickians generally seem to ultimately believe in only this) that 'Nothing is True', it's all illusion anyway, the Hindu concept of Maya - Illusion. So by this freedom of belief, we see Choronzon as 'Lord of Hallucination' being basically the lord of manifest reality. He guards the Abyss because this is the gateway to the No-thing from which comes all forms, and He is the weaver of forms, the master of matter and manifestation.
When we look at it like this, we realize that the perspective of Choronzon as an evil fiend is basically a hangover from the spiritualist extremist religions such as fundamental Christianity which believed that, 'Matter is Bad, Spirit is Good'. But matter is merely the house or shell which spirit inhabits, the forms and patterns it flows through which allow it to be perceived -the Tapestry of Maya. So Choronzon is merely a child with a rather elaborate toy-set, a factory of actualizing potentials, the fabric of space-time itself. He loves to divide things, to split things into polarities and then to split them again, fractalizing reality in infinite permutations of possibility. This is why -I believe- His number is 333. For 3 is both a refraction and resolution. 2 is division, duality and thus the seeds of form. A third element created from the union of any two polarities brings further possibility into play by allowing a counterpoint with which to further solve and divide. This is the process of dispersion -a fractalizing fragmentation, a *recurring* of frequencies -33.3 recurring... 333.333333333... ... ... ad infinitum, through the nine-fold (3+3+3) lense of Yesod -the astral plane (as realized by Kestral during his residency in the Throne of Yesod in the Horus-Maat Lodge's 11-Star Working)...
So Choronzonic energy out of balance is the only real problem, and I think this is perhaps what Carroll was getting at - that He represents that urge to create, to build and develop without much thought or consideration - that severe malady which is so prevalent in our modern western civilization: in the Information Age there is a frantic multiplicity of form and creation, of ever-branching diversity and ever-increasing complexity. For the spiritualist or religious fanatic -who seeks only union with Godhead or the great void- or even just to those who have trouble making decisions or choosing directions, this labyrinth can be a nightmare. But again, this is only a matter of perspective: We can each find our own True Will, our own Way or path within and through this labyrinth of possibilities, and thus learn to enjoy the dance to its utmost, by 'transcending'/accepting it through meditation and focus until we see that there is actually ultimately Unity within and of that very diversity apparent. So this is what the play is about too: How to deal with the Machine, how to recognize our part as cogs in the machine (or for some of us, spanners in the works) yet glimpse the greater design of the whole device. The Machine is a Play because Choronzon is merely an agent of Lila, 'the play of form' and his realm is not quite real, yet reflects and effects what we usually call 'reality'...
Choronzon: 'Lord of Hallucination': I love hallucinations, especially those which are so pertinently vivid that they make one question the nature of reality itself, psychedelic visions so tangibly 'real' yet so simultaneously alien that they make one wonder if this 'material plane' really has any more validity than those realms we glimpse less often. It's all hallucination really, a self-refracted web of matter, myth and ether.
Choronzon: 'Demon of Dispersion': Dispersion is surely not such a bad thing in its proper place. The Universe runs on dispersion, it is the faculty of abundance, the Going of the Gods -to ever move out and on to allow room for more possibilities and permutations to manifest. I have found Choronzon a most divine (a demon acknowledged and integrated successfully becomes a God again) beneficiary for the work of dispersing information and creativity. One must of course keep this force in check and in its proper place (a demon harnessed may lead the Chariot of the soul to new and wondrous realms) and balance, so that one is not too overwhelmed by the world of infinite possibility and unable to manifest to its fullest potential any fruitful facet thereof.
Conversely, Choronzon is also often held responsible for Hubris and egotistical stagnation. He is to blame for that aspect of self which gets too caught up in one's own works and creations, constantly harping on what one has already achieved rather than moving on. This is probably the aspect which most scares Chaos Magickians, as it is an extreme of Order. But again, this seems to only be a problem if out of balance: It is important to build upon what one has already established -those parts of it which remain valid- rather than constantly abolishing one's foundations for the totally new. Nothing is ever totally new anyway, so why not consciously develop and mutate what has gone before rather than try to deny it and re-invent the wheel again from scratch anyway. Obviously, obsession with past accomplishments can be a stagnation, but only if one merely gloats over one's roots to the point of forgetting to water them. All machines need some kind of engine and framework to effectively function.
Through the experiences and opinions of Dee, Crowley, Carrol and others, we have been presented with a number of different functions of Choronzon, some apparently contradicting each other: Lord of dispersion, ie. moving things outwards in a fractalization of diversifying forms, ie. motion and activity; Lord of hubris and stagnation, ie. egotism and non-action; Lord of hallucination, ie. illusions, visions, what we see and therefore usually believe; Guardian of the Abyss -the void or realm of no-thing, where egos disintegrate...
Did I mention Choronzon is also the Master of Paradox and Contradiction?
No? Well He's Not.
He told me He's the Lord of Lies, but I'm not sure whether to believe him...
I think Choronzon is basically whatever one wants Him to be, and is usually associated with those things which one fears or has a problem with, ie. those aspects which need confrontation and work upon. Fear him, and he is fear itself. Play with him, and he is play incarnating. (Either way you're still a part of his machine, *and* helping to run it...)
Choronzon is the great Initiator, the shadow of self which must be accepted and integrated in order to move on.
No-thing is True. There are No Demons, No Gods - JustUs.
'THE CHORONZON MACHINE' Ritual Opera(-tion)
Choronzon's Garden -Psychotropic Nursery of the Lord of Hallucination'
The HarleQuintet -The Magician-Musicians behind the CHORONZON MACHINE Production
The Book ov ChAos Tarot (original edition launched at the opening of the Choronzon Machine Ritual Opera)
MUTATION PARLOUR HOMEPAGE