Chaos Magick. What is it? A quick introduction to chaos magick.
Chaos magick is a contemporary style of occult magick developed in the 1970s by Peter J. Carroll and Ray Sherwin. Among other things it often emphasizes results, belief as a tool, creativity, paradigm shifting, gnosis, and sigils. Practitioners of chaos magick are sometimes called "chaotes" or "chaos magicians", and magic is often spelled "magick" to indicate that it refers to the occult rather than pulling rabbits out of hats.
Chaos magick is results-based. Keeping a magickal diary is encouraged to track your successes, failures, and the details around each. In this way the chaote can discard practices that do not personally work for her/him, and further explore the practices that do work for her/him.
Belief as a tool
Rather than having rigid unchanging beliefs, chaos magick emphasizes using belief as a tool which you can change at will, as needed, to achieve your goals. This gets easier with practice.
Chaos magick encourages its practitioners to develop personalized practices that are best suited to the individual rather than strictly following instructions for performing magick like a recipe. For this reason there is a wide variety of different styles in chaos magick, and no two chaotes are necessarily doing the same thing.
Shifting your magickal paradigm is fairly unique to the practice and goes hand in hand with belief as a tool. Basically the chaote is able to change their world-view of how magick works on the fly, which allows them to use a wide array of different techniques from other systems, while still believing in each one completely for the duration of the work. This ability to turn it on and off gets easier with practice. Paradigms can be anything from spirits, angels, energy, to pure psychology (believing that it works but it's all in our head) and elements of quantum physics.
Gnosis is a meditative state of single pointed concentration on a single thought or goal. This state is vital to performing magick as it taps directly into the subconscious, bypassing the psychic censor. It can be achieved in several different ways which usually fall into the two broad categories of Inhibitory (extreme meditation) or Excitatory (extreme stimulation of the senses).
Sigils, often (but not always) in the form of a 2d drawing, are a symbolic representation of a desire or intent. By creating a sigil, forgetting the intent, and focusing on it during gnosis, the subconscious mind can be tasked with bringing about the desired results, bypassing the psychic censor.
The symbol of chaos magick is the chaos star, or chaos sphere, often times highly stylized.