You might have heard the term Megapolisomancy. What the heck is it? Simple! Megapolisomancy is big (mega) city (polis) divination (omancy) - a fictional magical practice originating from the 1978 horror fantasy novel “Our Lady of Darkness,” AND a black magical practice currently being developed.
What is so appealing about the concept of Megapolisomancy is that the magician uses the City as their tool - they don’t work around it or in spite of it. They acknowledge all elements of the City (good and bad) and maximize or transmute those elements to their advantage. They must create their own magical system through experiment and ingenuity – since they are dealing with aspects of the world that have never been known before. They are creating a new magic, for new times.
The novel’s antinomian and black magical ideas include:
Taking back control of aspects of our lives that we’ve lost to the City
Exerting influence and control over the City and its denizens
Creating and utilizing new magical technologies that are able to come into being because of the existence of the City, which we ourselves have built
Using those magical technologies to gain masterful insight into future happenings in the World
In the past few centuries the world has rapidly urbanized, meaning that over just a few generations, a significant portion of the populace has had to adapt to city life. Some dislike the social evolution toward urban life, some fear it, some downright fight against it. When it comes to projecting what the future might become and seeding humanity with ideas of how things *could* unfold, it’s our fantasy writers who step up to the plate and give us ideas. So while the book mentions Megapolisomancy and its rites in vague terms, the idea is certainly attractive especially for magicians of the Left Hand Path. To introduce some of these ideas more widely into the Temple of Set, here is a bit of background on the ideas and where we are taking them.
First, a bit about the novel. The creator of Megapolisomancy is of course the villain: Thibaut de Castries – the Black Pythagoras. He arrived in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th Century, when all sorts of new and strange discoveries and experiments were emerging: electricity, skyscrapers, radio, radioactivity, Egyptian relics, psychologies of Freud and Jung, and occult theosophies and Orders. De Castries gathered various acolytes to himself and founded the Hermetic Order of the Onyx Dusk, whose mission at first was violent revolution against the scourge of super cities. These super cities, de Castries felt, had grown out of control and caused ‘paramental’ entities to come into being – entities borne of the sludge of our cities mixed with our collective, maddened city-psyche. Their one instinctual drive was to drain and harm us: their clueless creators. De Castries goals included driving all human presence from such cities, and creating Megapolisomantic operations to bring our large buildings down to rubble. However, once de Castries decided cities could not be destroyed, since the City would simply fill the void he’d create, he sought to utilize Megapolisomancy to control and protect from the paramentals. Eventually, he brought them under his direct control, and along with his other forays into Megapolisomancy, was able to extend his magical reach beyond his City.
The paramentals are a very interesting concept. These are post-conscious beings, made up of the waste products of the City: oil, smoke, paper, plastics and sewage. The entities gestate in the womb of our necropolis, compressed by the weight of the buildings, and sparked to life by the madness emitting from the conscious beings who have effectively created their own prison. Today, the reams of paper, coal, electrical wiring & smog have been mitigated demonstrably as our communication networks have become wireless and environmental actions put in place. Steel and concrete structures have multiplied, and the electric, gas, and oil lines that fuel our cities have been knit under the earth, out of sight. Present-day paramentals might rather be memetic forces that suck our attention, health, and perhaps life-force out of us: the ever-present opinionated media, the attention-demanding devices and social media which spike our fear, worry, jealously, anger, and helplessness. A new kind of self-created and maddening prison, for new times.
One of the key fears that Our Lady of Darkness taps into is the fear of the control that the World has over us: specifically, the fear of our own Creations: the City and & its paramentals - that they have come to some kind of life of their own, with intentions, that they will harm us, and that they will take us over until it is US that are feeding THEM as they grow in power and influence.
We certainly face similar fears of our present-day creations overtaking us. The fear of artificial intelligence, of course: what if, just like paramentals, our robots come to life. What will they want? What will think of their creators? Will they exterminate us? Certainly, some of our creations already seem to be controlling us in ways that unsettle us. The smart phones we all willingly carry with us have effects that we don’t fully understand, or believe we have not authorized. What about genetic modifications of humans and animals? Perhaps those creations will end up killing us all.
We may fear what we don’t understand, and we may fear our creations – but there is something below that. The underlying fear that Our Lady of Darkness touches on is the fear of our Unnaturalness – our ability to conceive and create things with such power that they may overtake us - and the fear that we don’t know enough to do the things we are doing.
These fears are not unfounded. They are important to consider. Yet, those who let this fear overtake them, are those who let this World control them. Those who understand and accept the Unnaturalness of Being, and wield the Power of Creation, can break that control.
We have observed a ‘command to look’ in nature, stemming from our evolutionary wisdom deeply encoded in our physical bodies and minds, but we need to learn an ‘unnatural command to look’ to stoke the Black Flame of isolate consciousness and evolution of Self. By doing so we can promote critical thinking in ourselves and others, and make our surroundings and our network useful forces rather than debilitating ones. Control your environment and input, lest it control you.
In our work building a Megapolisomantic practice, our goals are to overcome fear of our large-scale creations, gain control over them; and learn to use them as assets in our World creation.
Since working with these ideas, we’ve experimented with various Workings to establish a connection with our cities, and begun using them as a tool and a communication interface that runs both ways: we can glean information about the World that remains hidden or unwitnessed by most, and we can utilize the City as an interface to cast our Will into the World. Included is a first Megapolisomantic rite: The Priming.