It's a strange question. Do I believe in magic? My honest answer to that is: No. No, I don't really believe in magic.
But you are a chaos mage, right?
Yes, that is correct. If you ask me if I believe in magic, my answer will still be a bold and vibrating "No."
Let me explain.
I believe in results. And I believe in shaping ourselves into the creators of those results. I believe that we are indeed designing our own lives - our very own universe.
I do believe in the result that comes from practicing what could only be called "magic." The rituals, the ceremonies, the prayers, the invocations, the meditation… The results I've gained through my adventures into the occult cannot be denied. Whether they are a result of actual magic or not can of course not be proven - and correlation does not equal causation. However, I did get the results I set out to achieve - and that is in the end all that matters. Whether "magic" is real or not is not important. It doesn't even matter.
It's a moot point.
From an existential, spiritual, and philosophical point of view (and possibly even a scientifically one somewhere down the line…) it would be significant, sure. But from a pragmatic and result-oriented perspective? No, not so much. The way I see it - it doesn't matter at all. In fact trying to "prove" whether magic is actually real or not will only distract you from working towards your goals, and you will actually enhance your lust for results since you are putting so much on the line to "prove it," and that desire to prove it (or to prove yourself) will only work to undermine your effort.
To me, magic is a means to an end, and the end is what really matters.
The result itself is what we want, of course, but part of that "end" is also the person you have to become to actually get there, so I'm not trying to blow past that. In the "end" you will be more accepting, enlightened, studious, dedicated, disciplined, focused, more mature, less narcissistic… more self-loving. I can keep on going.
What matters then?
What matters is that you do it. Get your skin in the game. 20 minutes of practice every day (of your own preference) will give you more results than 2 hours of straight work on a Sunday. It's when you interweave the practice into your daily life that the "real magic" happens. There, somewhere between the weird and your daily routine, something strange will happen. You will begin to change, and that is the real magic.
We all struggle to change ourselves, yet we know that we somehow have to. We are aware of the detrimental habits and thought patterns we keep - like not exercising or our bad diets. Yet change is hard work. It's uncomfortable, and requires not only mental effort, but emotional, intellectual, and physical effort. What's more our minds and bodies are evolved to find the path of least resistance (because we want to conserve energy), so we even have our own biology against us.
And as if that wasn't bad enough. Our environments are also many times against us, and continually reinforce negative and detrimental behaviors and thoughts. Have you ever considered to change things in your environment (home, work, partners, friends, social media, etc...) that drains you, and replace them with things that makes you a better, more conscious person? It could be that that your problems are (at least in part) external. It's worth to consider.
We've tried, many times to the best of our ability, to change those undesirable habits, but we probably didn't get so far as we had wished, and then life happens, and the change we want to make takes a backseat, and life is the same as ever.
Also, realizing that without the change we wanted to happen our lives will not be better, and that discourages us from making further efforts. So we distract ourselves with various (and endless!) ways of entertainment. It's much easier (and less costly energy-wise) to be perpetually entertained than to do actual change.
I don't believe in magic. But I do believe in results. And whatever will bring you those results should be considered. Yes, even the occult (if anything - it will broaden your mind like nothing else, for sure). I have no idea why this stuff works, but I do know that it does. Doing the motions, the invocations and so on… something happens. I cannot say whether it is something fantastical and divine that intervenes on your behalf, or if it really is your own mind that moves you there… I have no proof of either.
In any case, doing these things will ultimately help you get there.
So what does chaos magic has to do with it?
The way I see it, chaos magic is all about change.
That's why I think it's such a great paradigm to keep, because it is pragmatic, re-inventing, and result-oriented. You don't stagnate, because you always want to reach further and further. You want to improve yourself, your practice. You want to learn more, know more, be more. You never settle, and so you keep on changing. Or at least, you make a focus effort to. Chaos magic isn't really magic as such. It's more of a perspective. A way to see yourself, and a way to see the world around you.
Chaos magic is way to assume responsibility for truly wanting what you want and go for it, and to shoulder the mantle of leadership in your own life. It really is as good as it sounds. Chaos magic is, in part, in believing that magic is real (i.e. that it works and indeed will get you the results you want). It is choosing to believe that magic is real and do the motions, for the amount of time you need to achieve your desired results (which could end up being for the rest of your life, if you're crazy enough).
Being able to change yourself into the person you want to be, and working towards your goals and desires and having them come true is the real magic. The things we do then is just a way to get there.
My personal perspective on magic
I don't believe in magic. Not the magic as it's shown on TV or in the games and fantasy novels. Not magic as most people think of it.
I believe in the divinity of all life, and all matter. I believe that in existing and being parts of the whole, we could only be called "God-fragments." We are divine in our own right, and I believe that we are all far more powerful than we can ever imagine. I believe there are things that we do not understand, yet we can still somehow make it work. I believe in what could only be called a panpshycistic universe. As part of conscious creation, are we not also part in creating it?
I think that "magic" is more of a mechanic of how the universe works and is connected, than some supernatural "stuff to alter things" (which is, ironically, what we are doing anyway). At least, it's a part of an explanation. I believe that we all affect each other just as we affect ourselves and our environments, and that our minds are more inter-connected than we can measure with today's scientific equipment. I do however believe that one day we will be able to measure it. In short, I believe that magic is no less than scientific principles of the universe, and that we have simply yet to measure and "officially" discover it.
I believe it's simply how the universe works - which is science by definition. It's just science that we do not yet understand, and the orthodoxy of our scientific communities are resistant to everything that doesn't fit the establishment. Given time, maybe they will become converts too...
What do you think? Do you believe in magic? Let me know.
Yours truly - as always.
(by the way, I still wish that I could throw lightning and firebolts though...)