Integral Magick for an Integral World

I came across this article while developing a short essay where in I discuss the meta model of chaos magick and how it can serve as a model of everything. It is interesting that this Ken Wilbur has developed a model of everything and now magickians are using it to fit magick into. Now I am going to have to look into this AQAL to see if I am reinventing the wheel or not. I suspect not. I think that from where I am coming from, the AQAL will fit into the Chaos Magick Meta Model rather that the other way around. I am interested in this AQAL medicine wheel diagram thing though. All these diagrams and charts that I am coming across in this integral approach just seem like more of the personal and group thinking tools that I come across at school, of which I will post soon, linking them all under the meta paradigm of chaos magick.


Written by Alan
Thursday, 26 April 2007


When I first investigated Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, I couldn’t help applying his AQAL model to magical practice.

One of the beauties of Wilber’s model is that the next developmental stage in any area of human activity is the Integral model. If you want to know what comes after Chaos magick (which is Green meme), now you know – Integral magick!

I find Wilber’s model incredibly comprehensive, and especially useful at exposing blind spots in the consideration of any subject, but the very idea of Integral magick is absurd.

AQAL can be applied to anything, and that’s the point. We can apply Integral theory to our magical practice as a tool, just as we can apply it to plumbing, Buddhism and scuba diving.

But do you really believe there’s such a thing as an Integral Plumber?

If Integral is a theory of everything, does that mean we live in Integral World? (If Wilber has his way, who knows…)

Integral Magick

Very low down in Wilber’s developmental model is the ‘Magic’ stage, which is a label he uses to describe a certain naïve and superstitious view of the world.

Magicians have taken offence to this, and have accused Wilber of deliberately ignoring the magical spiritual traditions of the West.

Fenwick Rysen is currently working on his take of Integral Magick. Although prefixed with ‘Integral’, Rysen has abandoned AQAL as unfit for adequately describing magick, and is currently drowning in notebooks as he collates enough information to put together his own model.

Unfortunately, I think this is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, which I believe is a result of not really understanding AQAL (no offence, Fenwick).

The stage called ‘Magic’ in Wilber’s model does not mean magick in the sense that we use it. Not everyone in that stage is a magician. I think the use of the word is unfortunate, and (ironically) the result of a naïve and superstitious view of magick, typical of Western psychology.

But to abandon AQAL for not including magick in its developmental stages is to fail to understand that AQAL is simply a framework of approaches or viewpoints, not of subjects or practices.

Surely Wilber would have included a ‘Buddhist’ stage if AQAL were the later?

Are we really saying here that the AQAL model is useless because Wilber doesn’t recognise Western magick for what it is? Who cares if he does or not?

Integral Theory applied to magick

AQAL can be applied to magick very easily.

We can consider magick in terms of the quadrants, like this:

I It
Identity, attitude, approach (Chaos, Thelema, Wicca, etc)Magical developmental stagesTrance statesVisionsDream workCommunication with non-human intelligence

Mental and emotional manifestation of magical results (including non-human intelligence)




(wands, altar, etc)

Books, blogs, podcasts, etc

Physical manifestation

of results (inc manifestation of non-human intelligence)


We Its
Group workSocial manifestation of results (inc. manifestation of non-human intelligence)Attitudes, approaches, identities, movements (Chaos, Thelema, Wicca, etc) Temple/sacred space/laboratory

Magical Orders/structures

Environmental manifestation of results

(inc. manifestation of non-human intelligence)



Although not comprehensive, and with a great deal of overlap, the above at least gives you a general idea of how the quadrants can be applied to magick.

As for the levels, I’m sure you can work out how certain approaches or attitudes affect those parts of magick ascribed to each quadrant, and which traditions belong to which stage.

It’s worth noting that Wilber has written extensively on spiritual development, and I think it says a lot about a person’s view of magick should they fail to see how his work in this area is relevant.

Integral Cubed

There used to be a big problem with Integral Theory, and I used to love telling everyone about it. Originally, Wilber simply slapped a magical developmental model on top of Spiral Dynamics, with his Integral view conveniently in the middle.

In other words, to get enlightened, you have to get integral first. Obviously, people have been experiencing enlightenment long before Wilber showed up. Oops.

However, in his latest book, Integral Spirituality, Wilber has addressed this problem with the W-C Lattice (which is a table, with Stages vs States). After the Integral stage, we now have ‘Super-Integral’ (grasping at straws anyone?) instead of the various stages of enlightenment. This means we are now free to enjoy the various trance states of ‘spirituality’, no matter what stage we may be at.

Now, I know Ken is going to freak out when he reads this, but the lattice fails to account for the fact that enlightenment, or magical development, occurs in stages, not states. Oops again.

At some point, the lattice is going to have to become a cube, with Spiral Dynamic stages vs Trance states vs Spiritual stages…


7 thoughts on “Integral Magick for an Integral World”

  1. For some reason I thought of Alan Watts and trying to put the flow of a river into a box.

    I really like the blog… a little jealous ;D

  2. I have to agree with the river in a box metaphor, its fun to try though.

    and be not jealous, enjoy the flow, send in suggestions and/or become a contributor.

    As the masons always say, “2 B 1 ask 1.”

  3. I think you yourself are not understanding some key things here. For example, what about chaos magick is (in Spiral Dynamics terms) Green meme rather than Yellow?

    I like that you get that the label of the Magic stage is not meant to apply to all of magic as a whole. To criticize the model based on the use of that label is to confuse the map of the map of the territory with… lol.

    What would be INTERESTING would be to compare and contrast Carroll’s historical/developmental model with Spiral Dynamics.

    And all the while remembering, as you have hinted at, that Spiral Dynamics != Integral Theory. SD is ONE developmental model that we can use in an integral perspective.

    But as another example, Wilber is well aware that spiritual development happens in stages… what you seem to have missed is not only that, but his explanation of the relationship between stages and states.

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