William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Follow-up to Our New Satanic Moment: Fashion Edition

Chaos magic clothing, from The Guardian (linked below)

Chaos magic clothing, from The Guardian (linked below)

I don’t mean for this to be complete; these are merely notes in one trend in Satanism in American culture. Satanic and pagan fashion. For more, see Our New Satanic Moment. I’ll also soon have another Stream piece.

Salon, a good source of our culture’s relapse into paganism, ran an article “‘Mysticore’ is the new norm: Inside the trend that’s casting its spell over the culture: Magic, mysticism and the occult are moving into the mainstream. Is it just a fad or a sign of spiritual crisis?” A bit of both, it seems.

Welcome to the season of the witch. Recently, the Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted a Witches Brew film festival, which included the acclaimed new film “The Witch.” Lately it isn’t uncommon to see glossy magazines like Nylon with headlines that start “The Witches’ Guide to…”, while new publications like Sabat, an aesthetically driven magazine that explores contemporary witchcraft, are attracting attention from readers and design snobs alike.

Stores specializing in metaphysical sundries (think ritual candles, blended oils, sacred herbs) like Spellbound Sky and House of Intuition in Los Angeles, while not brand-new, are suddenly crowded. In Brooklyn, Witches of Bushwick has evolved from a venue on the underground party circuit to a social collective that celebrates witchcraft as a feminist art and collaborates with fashion companies like Chromat. Of course, for those who prefer whipping up potions at home, several new witch- and occult-themed subscription boxes deliver the magical arts to the doorstep.

And so on. A point of curiosity is a “hip” New York fashion or “trend-setting” group called “K-Hole“, a firm which busies itself with subjects civilized peoples eschew. K-Hole is also, surely not coincidentally, according to Wikipedia, “a slang term for the subjective state of dissociation from the body commonly experienced after sufficiently high doses of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine.”

K-Hole is known for its coinage “normcore“, which was “a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing. ‘Normcore’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘normal’ and ‘hardcore’.” Attitude instead of substance—or sense. Not unheard of in fashion.

Point is, the group is flogging a new “report”, which is composed (if I can use so generous a word) of dumb and incongruous pictures, and vaporous statements in large print. What interests us is its pushing of “chaos magic”. The “magic” portion of the report (as are all portions, really) is thin and platitudinous, but that’s it’s advocated at all is what startles.

Like branding, Chaos Magic is mostly concerned with inception. But where branding is about implanting ideas in the brains of an audience, Chaos Magic is about implanting ideas into your own. Both practices depend heavily on the creation of sigils + mantras. There is a tight homology here:


What follows immediately upon this is a brief recipe for using sex magic to achieve chaos magic for yourself or your “brand”. (A sigil is, of course, a symbol used in magic.)

However seriously this nonsense was meant is one thing, but it was pushed to the fashion industry, which is not known for its high moral fiber or its intellect. Clearly the K-Holes were hoping their suggestion would be taken up, and then conveyed. It bears watching how influential the group is.

It has some influence. A magazine known for manufacturing trends and celebrity tittle-tattle wrote “Is Fashion Entering a Year of Magical Thinking? A Conversation With Pop Culture’s Favorite Trend Forecasters“, by which they meant K-Hole. They say K-Hole’s “findings aren’t your run-of-the-mill witches-and-warlocks stuff—what they’re talking about is a more spiritual, self-contained magic, something akin to mental manifestations.”

Vogue summarizes chaos magic: “It’s a little bit free will, a little bit The Secret, and a little bit about championing personal choice.”

And then there’s England’s version of Salon, The Guardian: “Will chaos magic reign over your wardrobe?

It’s complicated. It isn’t just that you believe in crystals. It’s more that you choose to believe. Soon, they predict, we will believe in ourselves. We will think positively, but not overthink. We will experience the world on a deeper level. We will say “spirituality” without snickering.

The last prediction sounds right. They say “chaos magic will remain just a pleasing little term until we look down and realise: oh, we’re wearing crystal balls on our ankles. It’s already happening.” For example:

Marina Abramovic art-directing Riccardo Tisci’s womenswear show (a woman stood under a stream of running water; a man held tree branches as a symbol of “support and life force”; there was chanting from Tibetan monks). Or the Gentlewoman magazine hosting a magic show during Paris fashion week. Or JW Anderson stitching words like “orbital” and “asteroids” into knits. The mystical does appear to be seeping into the fashion mainstream.

How far this will spread is anybody’s guess. Stay tuned. I’ll have a more detailed article soon at The Stream—in time for Halloween.


  1. These emerging trends feel very similar to the New York art scene of the 1970s, where witchcraft, the Process Church, Wicca, and perhaps more sinister influences became fashionable and trendy. As silly and idiotic as these trends seem, there has always been magic and Satanism lurking just beneath the popular culture (and sometimes snarling above it shamelessly) and not by accident. And why is this? It is because the popular culture has always been shaped and engineered by the “secret societies”, who in the 20th century found a pleasant, familiar home in the government “secret services” and their secretive, graded pyramid system of knowledge and access known to pagan initiates since people began chucking newborns into Baal’s flaming maw. See Temple of Set (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Set), for just one of many, too many examples, or the CIA’s infiltration and control so-called Modern Art (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161004-was-modern-art-a-weapon-of-the-cia). Or the horrific Satanist-and-molester-in-residence at the BBC, the vile Jimmy Savile, or the Dutroux Affair (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Dutroux). The list is unfortunately endless, dark, and devastating. Pro-tip, when you read of some rich old bugger with a penchant for crazy sexual exploits (http://news.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/morning-agenda-new-questions-about-sumner-redstones-competency/?_r=0), you can be reasonably sure there is some Eyes Wide Shut Satanic nonsense behind the stories. *Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream*, by the late David McCowan is a nice intro to the subject. There is also a curious nexus between the paid skeptics / atheists (James Randi) and the Satanists, and always a repugnant whiff of pedophilia accompanying them.

  2. Nate Winchester

    October 14, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I’ve been warning people for awhile that we’re becoming a “feelz b4 realz” culture. Welcome all to stage 2.

  3. It sounds as if there is an opportunity for manufacturers of long spoons.

  4. Oh, you guys are just silly. When I was young a had a good friend who was into the whole neo-Celtic pagan thing (prior to this he went to seminary to be a Presbyterian minister). I never got into anything like that but I do love music, so he used to tow me along for all the pagan ceremonies and gatherings and such, and I would play various string music for them. Some of these festivals were big deals, thousands attending all together from all sorts of various groups – people into Voo Doo and Santaria and all that, people into Wicca and Druidism, you name it. Lot’s of naked people too, and body-painted. Paired with copious quantities of whiskey it made for really fun people-watching!

    Anyways. They were all nice kids. I would say the percentage of the crowd that was “bad news” was probably quite a bit lower than among most other aggregates of young people.

    Ya know, with Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize I got to thinking about the way he sometimes wrote about the rough and seedy underbelly of America, some of the real and dangerous things that really are out there. I can assure you, these kids are not among those things.


  5. I met a man who set up a witchcraft museum in the Isle of Man, since it was illegal to have witchcraft related items in mainland Britain. He was merely a sociologist interested in collecting antique items, he also needed an income so he told everyone he was a wizard and became an academic authority on the witches of Britain. He had a Museum which attracted tourists. Unfortunately he collected enthusiastic followers who have developed foolish witchcraft ideas and now teach them and believe that they are witches. I don’t know where Wiccan came from but I expect it was developed by similar people who were interested and got in too close.
    That’s why I mentioned long spoons which are needed to sup with the Devil in the old saying. Evil gets in even if you think it is just fun. Especially into those who think they are too clever to be taken in.

  6. Jesus used oils. Perhaps those ones are different.

    “The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.”

    “Mark the music”


    That is beautiful because it’s true, she sings from the heart and means what she’s singing about. I heard this first time two days ago and liked it before she reached the chorus. That hardly hever happens.
    I won’t buy the idea that all is lost even though I recognise there is decay which is shown to us by media inexhaustibly.
    All are not lost. To doubt that is to doubt the power of truth.

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