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The Octavo: A Sorcerer-Scientist's Grimoire [Large Print] [Paperback]

Peter J. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2010
A sorceror-scientist's grimoire (Roundworld edition) Every universe potentially has its own Supreme Grimoire containing the spells which define its reality and the magic which you can perform within that reality. In this Octavo we have assembled scattered secrets for a Supreme Grimoire forRoundworld, the universe in which you're standing. To this end we have taken some inspiration from Pratchett's Discworld, and a lot from Theoretical Physics and Practical Chaos Magic. "The most original, and probably the most important, writer on Magick since Aleister Crowley." -Robert Anton Wilson, author of the Cosmic Trigger trilogy. Peter J. Carroll is one of the founders of the Magical Pact of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT) which he led for a decade. He has spent thirty-seven years in research and experiment and is the author of three other books Liber Null & Psychonaut, Liber Kaos: the Psychonomicon, and Psybermagic, and The Apophenion.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Mandrake; Roundworld ed edition (25 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906958173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906958176
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 21.3 x 13.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Octavo, by Peter Carroll 28 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback
This is the second book Pete Carroll has brought out in the last two years, after a number of years' silence. In 2008, there was 'The Apophenion', which was something of a departure towards an overall philosophical position, which we might call chaoism, as distinct from chaos magic. Now he presents us with a new synthesis that aims at a much closer marriage of scientific theory and magic than he, or, to my knowledge, anyone else, has attempted.

The first thing you'll notice about this book (other than the excellent illustrations) is the subtitle. The reference will be lost on non-Pratchett experts like me; I've enjoyed a few of Pratchett's books and found others a bit twee for my taste. (I have to admit, though, that he shows superb understanding of the thermodynamics of godhood in 'Small Gods', and a brilliant vision of the Other in 'Lords and Ladies.') Apparently, there's an Octavo of Discworld spells, and it seems this volume is using the conceit that it's the Roundworld equivalent in order to show how physics and magic can be combined in two very different universes.

The second thing you'll notice is the physics. Publishers say that every equation in a book halves the readership, and there are a lot of them in The Octavo*. More, in fact, than in Liber Kaos, but they - at least the ones in the first few chapters - are of a very different kind.

The 'Equations of Magic' in Liber Kaos have always been problematic: they dealt in quantities which are not measurable, and probably never will be, like 'degree of gnosis' and 'magical link'. So, they are not really equations, but things that look like equations; what they amount to, at best, is a mental checklist, a summary of what we know about magic so far.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Octavo 25 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
A chaos magick theory of everything. Improbable? And therefore possible! Having followed Frater Stokastikos' journey to perceive the shape of the universe, I've found the developments fascinating, and also impatiently wondered how these new discoveries apply to magick exactly. Well, now I know. In The Octavo Peter J. Carroll expounds a new map of the universe providing no less than a map of magick and therefore reality itself.

Abandon your current perceptions, suspend your disbelief, and rejoice in a viable replacement for that absurd big bang theory: does an exploding singularity make a sound if no-one can hear it? I think not. If your present map of the universe does not get turned completely inside out, it will at least get redefined. But don't panic, because the very first magickal equation, the Spell of the Binding, reassuringly stops our worlds from literally falling apart. And neither will we imminently implode; cue the Spells of the Spinning which account for our ongoing dynamism.

But of course, if the shape of the universe seems so obvious after the first two chapters, why have we spent all this time getting it so wrong? The Spells of Illusion explain our civilisation's folly regarding our misperceptions to date. Then we find out that magick works in this universe because chaos exists. And the Spells of Subtle Magic explain why our whims don't materialize instantaneously.

The next two spells have the most familiarity to me as the core of Stokastikos' earlier published equation of magick: link * probability. Finally we have a practical magickal application for wave functions in the Spells of the Linking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Octavo! 7 July 2011
Format:Paperback
The Octavo comes hot on the heels of The Apophenion and represents another salvo in Pete Carroll's assault on the unenchanted reality of modern physics. The Octavo is a new map for the new aeon (or Pandaemonium as Carroll terms it). The logic runs that in the old days magicians built maps of reality based on simple cosmological architecture; you had your 9 worlds of the Germanic sorcerers, your 10 worlds of the Qabalist, your 12 signs of the astrologers and so forth. In The Octavo the author seeks to create a full blown model of reality that both describes and supports the practise of magick. Enter some fairly simple, though at first daunting, equations and some humorous parallels that are drawn between the way reality appears to be in Terry Practett's Discworld and our universe (aka 'Roundworld' - hence the subtitle) .The cartography of the magickal map in the modern age requires us to understand and describe the basic forces (rather than plotting territories or regions) that hold reality together. Carroll does an excellent job of this in ways that may even be amenable to scientific testing. More importantly for me (as an occultist) he shows what this map could mean for the use of practical magick.

Those who have been following Pete's oeuvre will not be surprised. In the Octavo we see the distillation and indeed computation of many of the ideas sketched out in The Apophenion. Once more we invited to explore the model of a universe that exists as a vorticulating hypersphere and not as the (increasingly unlikely looking) big bang/big crunch conjecture of the Standard Model. Panpsychism, magical links and more are discussed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jargon heavy, but will provide you some interesting perspectives 14 Mar 2011
By Taylor Ellwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading the Octavo is kind of a rehash of some of Peter Carroll's other ideas, but at the same time is a clear extension of where he has developed those ideas to a level of sophistication that mathematically proves his points. The Octavo isn't an easy read, and I recommend doing some research into the technical jargon that Carroll uses, but underneath the jargon the reader will find a concise explanation of specific magical concepts and how those magical concepts fit into our particular universe. It's worth a read, especially for the magician who is focused on practical magical work.
20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of The Octavo 30 Nov 2010
By Star Anise - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A Review of The Octavo

A chaos magick theory of everything. Improbable? And therefore possible! Having followed Frater Stokastikos' journey to perceive the shape of the universe, I've found the developments fascinating, and also impatiently wondered how these new discoveries apply to magick exactly. Well, now I know. In The Octavo Peter J. Carroll expounds a new map of the universe providing no less than a map of magick and therefore reality itself.

Abandon your current perceptions, suspend your disbelief, and rejoice in a viable replacement for that absurd big bang theory: does an exploding singularity make a sound if no-one can hear it? I think not. If your present map of the universe does not get turned completely inside out, it will at least get redefined. But don't panic, because the very first magickal equation, the Spell of the Binding, reassuringly stops our worlds from literally falling apart. And neither will we imminently implode; cue the Spells of the Spinning which account for our ongoing dynamism.

But of course, if the shape of the universe seems so obvious after the first two chapters, why have we spent all this time getting it so wrong? The Spells of Illusion explain our civilisation's folly regarding our misperceptions to date. Then we find out that magick works in this universe because chaos exists. And the Spells of Subtle Magic explain why our whims don't materialize instantaneously.

The next two spells have the most familiarity to me as the core of Stokastikos' earlier published equation of magick: link * probability. Finally we have a practical magickal application for wave functions in the Spells of the Linking. The magickal link has probably suffered the most misunderstandings as one of building blocks in spelling, while the Spells of Impractical Magic show us just how much probability we need (and can do without) for our enchantments. Now that we have most of the theory, we can add the finishing components and put it all together with the Spell of Practical Magic.

The eighth and final spell brings us back to the map where we started. We can navigate any terrain more effectively the better our map. And the same applies to magick. The Spell of the Narration shows us the need to understand the boundaries and somewhat more esoteric equilibrium that ebbs and flows between entropy and negentropy. Only mere decades after Crowley lamented the lack of rigorous investigation into the properties of the aether, Frater Stokastikos articulates a delicious theory of how and why magick works. But this map leaves plenty of uncharted territory (finite but unbounded specifically) for the most adventurous explorers to venture into. Mind the beasties, especially ourselves. With the knowledge of the eighth spell, we can aim for a happy ending - no guarantees of course - but Stokastikos challenges us to ask ourselves what we use our magick for.

After the eight spells, the action doesn't stop. A call to arms no less to avert an apocalypse, or at least choose our preferred flavour. Do you have what it takes to transform into a Knight of Chaos? Add an invocation of Eris for chaotic inspiration, flex your strategic muscles in Sorcerer's Chess and we complete this whirlwind of rebel physics and rebel magick. I can't even begin to explain the maths and physics in the book, and happily I don't need to - Stokastikos does this expertly enough. If you think he has got it wrong, enjoy yourself trying to disprove it.

Of course, the very name of the book The Octavo comes from that parallel Pratchett universe the Discworld. Just as its namesake contains the eight spells which hold the Discworld together, so too does this Octavo hold us in Roundworld. But it also liberates us. What can one say about a book that redefines our understanding of our existence: original, essential, with far-reaching implications? All of the above and much more. Expect a journey through the aeons as well as around the universe, and a tantalising invitation to create our future. By the end of the book, phrases like "vorticitating hypersphere" and "immanentising the eschaton" will seem like your everyday vocabulary. But mind when and where you use them: don't forget what happened to those who first challenged the flat world theory.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective of Magic 24 Mar 2012
By S. Cranow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ever world has a secret grimoire that contains the magical secrets of the world. For the Disc world, Terry Pratchett's creation, that Grimoire is called the Octavo. Thus far Earth's or should I say roundworld's grimoire is yet to be be discovered. In Discworld it is buried and guarded. Roundworld's Grimoire has only been revealed in fractured or fragmented form.

Roundworld is much different from Discworld in many ways. To name but a few, Discworld rests on the back of a turtle and is supported by 4 elephants. The Roundworld is of course a round sphere but more on that later. In Discworld the speed of light is slower and there is less causality. That makes magic more effective and more relied upon. What follows is a definite scientific grimoire that is loaded with mathematical and scientific equations along with rituals of Chaos magic.

Chaos magic is hard to define. You have to read up on it. Every Chaos magian will have a different definition of what Chaos magic is. Peter J. Carrol is a foremost Chaos magician.
His view of the universe and the gods is clear concise and understandable. The physics and science part went way over my head. I think on a deeper level the two are interconnected. I tend to think that most magicians are not too mathematically minded.

I managed to jot down a few notes, perhaps several. The first chapter dealt with the developement of magic and the mental mapping of the world. The first map was the Shamanistic and it was no more than the sky above perhaps no deeper than the first few feet of Earth. Their vision went perhaps to the next valley over. Their magic which affected the crops was simple yet effective.

The Greco Pagans had better maps ones that we would call psychology. It was a map of the inner realms or the mind. They had their mystery schools and developed and grew along with the agricultural stuff. But too many schools of thought were hard to manage so in the age of empires came about monotheism. This allowed the physical map to expand at the expense of the psychological map. Everything was monochrome good and evil. The fourth era was atheism.. This gave us a map of an awesome universe. Believing in Gods or a God became more and more difficult. The fifth era a burgeoning of magical thought divorced from religion.

Our universe is made up of three level. The first level is the microcosm which is obvious. The next is the Midocosm which is our level of things and lastly the macrocosm which is the heavens above. Our previous maps of the universe and its creation were wholly inaccurate. It is neither, flat, round or ever expanding. Rather it is in the shape of a hyper sphere. The entire universe is made up of hyperspheres that are spinning. Some in the same direction and some in the opposite. The ones that spin in the opposite direction manage to cling together. The book contains eight spells.
The author includes Chaos versions of banishing rituals and it's view of the Gods. by the way it may be of interest to note that the author poses forward that the Gods are all imaginary but are effective tools for magic. The universe contains certain amount of randomness that can be alter and manipulated. Don't expect miracles magic takes time on round world. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the appendix which tells how to invoke different imaginary deities in the enochian and other languages. Enjoy the Chaos it is liberating.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books on the market for any seeker of knowledge and understanding 15 Feb 2014
By Author Musician Jane Joyce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read it from cover to cover in five hours. Pete Carroll writes with definitive erudite, while maintaining a humble, practical, sensible, and reasonable approach to understanding reality. This could be a difficult read for most people but the formulas have far reaching implications upon our potential futures and I would encourage anyone desiring an understanding of truth and reality to take a stab at this book. It is slightly whimsical, fun, while explaining advanced mental concepts that are directly applicable and therefore potentially beneficial for everyday life. Most common persons could find this book to be radically liberating and more mind altering than any drug.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 18 Dec 2012
By george coggins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shipping was fast and accurate and Carroll once again puts together a great book for the aspiring Chaos initiate and also for those already well established in the practice. i Highly recommend first reading Liber Null & psychonaut as well as Liber Kaos before this to make sure you understand and grasp what hes laying out in this latest book. i haven't red the two between Liber Kaos and The Octavo but certainly intend to. Also there is quite alot of Mathematical formulas in this book so just a forewarning regarding that.
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