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The Illuminates of Thanateros[pronunciation?

] is an international magical organization focusing on

practical group work in chaos magic. The idea was first announced in 1978, while the order proper
was formed in 1987. This fraternal magical society has been an important influence on some forms
of modern occultism.

1 Name
2 History
2.1 Early
2.2 The Ice Magick Wars
2.3 Today
3 Structure
4 Relation to the occult subculture
5 References
6 External links=

"Thanateros" is a portmanteau of Thanatos and Eros Greek gods of death and sex (respectively).
The idea is that sex and death represent the positive and negative methods of attaining "magical
consciousness".[2] The word "Illuminates" is used in accordance with the claimed tradition of
calling such societies in which those who have mastered the secrets of magic help bring others to
mastership "the Illuminati".[2]
Its formal name is The Magical Pact of the Illuminates of Thanateros,[3][4]:12 which is usually
shortened to "the Pact".[4]:5

In the late 1970s, Ray Sherwin and Peter Carroll, two young British occultists with a strong interest
in ritual magic, began to publish a magazine called The New Equinox. Both were connected with a
burgeoning occult scene developing around a metaphysical bookstore in London's East End called
The Phoenix. Both men quickly became dissatisfied with the state of the Magical Arts and the
deficiencies they saw in the available occult groups. So in 1978 they published a small
announcement in their magazine proclaiming the creation of a new kind of magical order, one based
on a hierarchy of magical ability rather than invitation, a magical meritocracy. They described it as

a "spiritual heir" to the Zos Kia Cultus and a "fusion of Thelemic Magick, Tantra, The Sorceries of
Zos and Tao".[5]
Carroll and Sherwin began to publish private monographs detailing their system of magical
practice, some of which had been articles in The New Equinox, others intended as instruction to
members of their order. The new style of magic they introduced, focusing on practical skills as
opposed to metaphysical systems, became known as chaos magic. In the 1980s they began to attract
a following in England, Germany, and Austria, including influential occult writers and practitioners.
In 1980, Peter Carroll and Frater Vegtan formed The Church of Chaos in Sydney, Australia. It was,
in style, what the IOT would become. The group was active for six months.[4]:6In 1984 The Circle
of Chaos was formed, but began to fragment after three years.[4]:7 In 1986 Carroll and Ralph
Tegtmeier (Frater U.D.) jointly ran a public seminar, some time after which there was made a
decision to form a new magical order. The formation of The Pact was announced in August 1987.
In late 1980s, Sherwin resigned in protest that the IOT was beginning to resemble the hierarchical
orders that were once anathema to the concept of the group.[6]

The Ice Magick Wars[edit]

In the early 1990s the order experienced a schism as a result of conflicts about the doctrine of 'ice
magick',[7] one of the proponents of which was Ralph Tegtmeier.[8] A German IoT member named
Helmut Barthel created the doctrine of 'ice magick', which is related to the pseudohistory that
Germanic people originated in the icy land of Thule. Ice magick is called 'eismagie' in its original
German form. According to the doctrine of ice magick, only people of Scandinavian and/or
Germanic descent possess the ancient dormant genes that allow a person to use ice magick. Ice
magick is based upon qi gong, psionics, and martial arts, and in fact has little to do with
actual ice other than its alleged origin. The ice magick training regimen that Helmut imposed was
exceptionally difficult.
Ralph Tegtmeier (Frater U.D.) was an enthusiastic supporter of ice magick and Helmut, and the
authoritarian policies that Helmut promoted, and Ralph thus made himself Helmut's top lieutenant.
Helmut and Ralph promoted that doctrine in Germany, and recruited many members who adhered
to it.
Eventually, Peter Carroll learned more about the doctrines that Ralph was teaching, and criticized
him for it. That led to a big conflict between Peter and Ralph, which culminated in Ralph and all of
his followers seceding from the IoT. The vast majority of German and Swiss members left the order,
which constituted about 30% of the order's total membership.[9] Ralph Tegtmeier and a few others
were subsequently excommunicated.[8]
After publishing Liber Kaos Carroll retired from active participation in the order, though remains on
good terms with many of the longstanding members.[10]

The order and several of its temples worldwide remain active as of 2014. The IOT has acquired a
less outspoken leadership, out of a desire to creating the ideal zone of privacy and creativity.

Although most of what has occurred within the IOT is a matter of confidentiality, numerous
changes have been put in place, in an attempt to preclude the mistakes of the past. The order also
replaced the former charter Liber Pactionis with The Book, which gives another version of the path
that some consider more realistic.[4]:9

The order organizes itself along the somewhat "traditional" lines of a fraternal occult order, with
initiations into progressive degrees denoting magickal skill, administrative responsibility and
leadership within the group. It is notable that unlike other occult societies with a degree system, the
order rewards progression in degree with hardly any privileges, but "punishes" it with added duties
and responsibilities.
Degree structure of the IOT[4]:14
No. Title

not considered a member, undergoes novitiate and prepares for initiation
gets to know the group from inside, not given any instructions, may leave or be
4 Neophyte
expelled without explanation
full member, offers magical abilities to the IOT, departure or expulsion requires
3 Initiate
2 Adept
required to actively endeavor for the group, inspire others, organize and lead
1 Magus
required to also coordinate the IOT internationally
There is a "side-degree" called Priest/Priestess of Chaos that involves social and magical service to
others, including outside the IOT. It may be undertaken as an addition to the 3; all holders of the 2
and 1 are expected to be able to fill the role. There are also two special
degrees, 0=5 and Elder for 2 and 1 members who retire from their duties, described as identical
to the 3 and retirement respectively.
There also are several offices which may be taken, most notably including the Insubordinate, a lowranking (4 or 3) member who ideally is to be informed about all work of a high-ranking member
he or she is assigned to, and charged to criticize and ridicule it, channel feedback from others
concerning it, and will veto it if necessary. Every Adept, Magus, and Magister Templi (leader of a
temple) has an Insubordinate.[4]:20
The IOT does not charge membership or initiation fees. This is a difference from many other
international magical orders, and indeed from most fraternal organizations. Unlike such groups as
the OTO or various offshoots of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the IOT is a nonincorporated society, rather than a legal entity or non-profit corporation.
Members are obliged to keep silent on internal affairs and the identities of their fellows. The latter
rule does not seem to apply to deceased persons, as it is not a secret William S. Burroughs,
[11] Timothy Leary,[12] and Robert Anton Wilson[12] have been members.
The order consists mostly of largely autonomous temples[13] arranged into autonomous
geographical 'sections' e.g. Austria, British Isles, USA, Germany, Brazil, Switzerland and 'satrapies'
in Bulgaria, Poland, Spain and Pasifika. The individual temples exchange results and inspirations
through newsletters, magazines, e-mails, inter-temple visits and the annual Pact meeting.[14]

Relation to the occult subculture[edit]

Magic will not free itself from occultism until we have strangled the last astrologer with
the guts of the last spiritual master.
Pete Carroll[15]
Chaos magicians have frequently reacted to more traditional, religious or occult approaches to
magic with scorn or derision. This applies in particular to the IOT, which has been described by Phil
Hine as "the Order for 'serious' Chaos Magicians in the same way that the OTO exists for 'serious'
Thelemites."[16] The judgment that occultism is rife with superstitions and needs to be reformed or
replaced by a bolder and more critical approach to magic has been prominent in programmatic texts
from early on.[17] Still the IOT is commonly understood by outsiders to be an occult[18] or
neoshamanic[19] organization.
The group has a comparatively difficult application procedure and appears to reject a great majority
of applicants.[citation needed] However, chaos magic has long spread beyond the IOT as evidenced
by the large community of practitioners throughout the world. IOT members such as Ramsey
Dukes, Dave Lee, Julian Vayne, and many others continue to produce a large part of the literature
available as regards chaos magic. Other sources of chaos magic literature include Kenneth
Grant and Jaq D. Hawkins.[20]
The presence of hierarchy in the IOT has been the cause of a lot of dispute around it in the chaos
magic scene. Opposers think the concept is un-chaotic and limiting to individual members, while
defenders believe the tradeoff in chaoism allows for much more effective group work, especially on
an international scale.[citation needed]
While little activity of the IOT is visible to the outside public, the order has held annual open
seminars for nearly two decades.[21][not in citation given] Many notable chaos magicianshave been
speakers there.
There are many aspects of chaos history which are merely revisions of fact. As such, the enviable
new history tends to be a magick within itself which has served almost all sides of controversy.

1. Jump up^ IOT World
2. ^ Jump up to:a b Peter J. Carroll (1987). Liber Null & Psychonaut. ISBN 0-87728-639-6.
3. Jump up^ Greer, John Michael (2003). The New Encyclopedia of The Occult. Llewellyn
Worldwide. p. 240. ISBN 1-56718-336-0.
4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h The Book: The Secrets of the Illuminates of Thanateros. 2002.
5. Jump up^ The New Equinox, 1978
6. Jump up^ Hawkins, Jaq D.. "Defining chaos".
7. Jump up^ Chapman, Alan; Barford, Duncan (2009). The Blood of the Saints. Heptarchia Press.
pp. 284285. ISBN 0-9563321-0-2.

8. ^ Jump up to:a b Peter J. Carroll ("Stokastikos"). "The Ice War". Chaos International 23.
9. Jump up^ Mayer, Gerhard (2008). Arkane Welten: Biografien, Erfahrungen und Praktiken
zeitgenssischer Magier. Ergon Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89913-618-0
10.Jump up^ Carroll, Peter J. (Dec 16, 2010). "Message 0".
11.Jump up^ Grant, Douglas. Magick and Photography, Douglas Grant, Ash Journal 2(3 Magick and
Photography in Ash: Journal of Experimental Spirituality, vol. 2, no. 3
12.^ Jump up to:a b Fustchen, Frater. "Fr und wider Magie und Liber MMM" in Shekinah no.
1. ISBN 978-3-939459-11-8.
13.Jump up^ IOT British Isles: Chaos Magic and the IOT
14.Jump up^ IOT North America About
15.Jump up^ Carroll, Peter. Psybermagick, p. 46
16.Jump up^ Hine, Phil. Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic. New Falcon
Publications. ISBN 1-56184-117-X
17.Jump up^ Peter J. Carroll: The Magic of Chaos
18.Jump up^ Greer, John Michael (2003). The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. Llewellyn
Worldwide. ISBN 1-56718-336-0
19.Jump up^ Gallagher, Eugene V, Ashcraft, W Michael (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative
Religions in America. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98712-4
20.Jump up^ Jaq D. Hawkins: Understanding Chaos Magic. Cappall Bann Publishing, 1994. ISBN
1898307 938
21.Jump up^ EKSTASIS!

External links=[edit]
Official UK website
Official US website