Review of Chaos Monk by Steve Dee

Steve Dee (2022), Chaos Monk: Bringing Magical Creativity to the New Monastic Path.
Norwich: The Universe Machine.

An exhilarating journey through chaos monasticism, a mystical practice informed by chaos magic. Accessible, clearly written, and witty, yet informed by a deep knowledge of the history of spiritual movements in both East and West, decades of magical practice, psychotherapy and art, this is a book for anyone with mystical leanings who wants to put them into practice.

The first part describes the theoretical basis of chaos monasticism, and the second part shows how to put it into practice. Steve offers genuinely original spiritual exercises to help you develop your practice and introduces an element of play into the inner work. He also taps into the important mystical streams of apophatic theology, the Via Negativa, and the dark night of the soul, and offers an exploration of one of my favourite spiritual practices, lectio divina. Other practices offered here include pilgrimage, psychogeography, and pathworking, all of which are great ways of engaging with sacred space and time.

The third section invites the reader to find their own personal version of neo-monasticism by reflecting on their life’s purpose and how they can express that through their spiritual practice. In seeking to formulate a new magical monasticism, Steve draws upon ideas as diverse as the Slow Movement and minimalism, and praises the trope of the armchair occultist. He then proposes a new version of the monastic rule which works with contemporary sensibilities, and explores the perils of working in magical and spiritual groups.

It is so refreshing to read a book on spiritual practice that is both informed by a deep knowledge of the subject and which presents a genuinely original and inspiring vision, as well as offering practical guidance for putting that vision into practice in a way that feels authentic to the individual following the path. This is a genuinely original and inspiring book which I really enjoyed reading. It’s great to see someone else engaging with two of my favourite spiritual practices (lectio divina and pilgrimage) and exploring some of my favourite theological concepts (apophatic and process) in a magical and occult context.

Find out more

A recent interview with Steve

The Blog of Baphomet (the blog of Steve Dee and Julian Vayne)

Steve Dee is the author of the books A Gnostic’s Progress: Magic and the Path of Awakening and The Heretic’s Journey: Spiritual Freethinking for Difficult Times. He is also the co-author of Chaos Craft with Julian Vayne. His writing has also appeared in Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries edited by Lee Harrington and Tai Fenix Kulystin, and Gods and Monsters edited by Michael Kelly. He is a spiritual freethinker with a deep interest in contemplative practices and is an initiate within the east/west Tantra tradition AMOOKOS.

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