Zos Kia


The magick of Austin Osman Spare

"I believe in what I want, and I want what I believe in"

The magick of the Zos Kia cult is based on a deep understanding of human nature but has little to do with the in most western systems used Quabballah. There are no rites nor dogmatic working procedures in this system. Spare himself learned the basics of magick from a witch, Mrs. Paterson, who allegedly followed an ancient voodoo tradition. She also taught Spare the most important formulas of the witches Sabbath, that was latter frequently mentioned as means to gain Kia or the self.

Spare himself thought it most important to access certain parts of the unconsciousness, especially those that are buried deep down in the so called "collective unconsciousness" (C.G. Jung). Basically that means that since all life on Earth can be retraced to a common cell humans carry all the possibilities and forms of nature. Even sabretooth tigers could be reawakened as atavisms. The awakened power is then used for magickal purposes. Spare merged in his system, the Zos Kia cult, the merging with atavisms with the traditions of the dragon cult from ancient Egypt and voodoo techniques. To summon those forces he used sigils, usually build in picturesque form, but also as mantras. Those sigils displayed the atavisms of the unconsciousness. 

To this he added his personal alphabet of desire, which letters symbolized various aspects of sexual consciousness. From this letters he formed his sigils which were then activated by what he called the death posture. This posture is best described as emptying the mind, or as a time between times. The psychic censor is a guard that parts unconsciousness from consciousness, and just this guard must be overcome for successful magick. In this state of emptiness sigils take root and have then to be forgotten, which means they can sink into unconsciousness and there start to work. Spare himself suggested that the sigil should be destroyed after the working.

Spares' sorcery contains five elements:

  • Will, desire, belief (seen as a unit)
  • Nostalgia, atavistic homesickness
  • Possessiveness and ecstasy
  • Death posture
  • New sexuality

Those five parts have to be brought into a harmonic interaction. This interaction then results in a psychic state that Spare called "being inbetween". Most people know this state, eg when one isn't busy with anything, thinks of nothing but is totally empty. In such moments you loose all feelings for space and time, it feels like being in a state between waking and sleeping.

The first part, the unity of will, desire and believe could be considered as the metaphysical basis of Spares system. The main symbol can be found on many of Spares stele and drawings - the eye and the hand.

The eye - Zos - symbolizes the imagination of the female perception in abstract sense. It's the origin of all forms and of visions. This can also be seen in Crowleys Liber al vel Legis, where the female principle is the form and the male is the energy or power to form.
The hand symbolizes the creative will and combined they form the will merged with the ability to create. When will and desire are merged the third part comes forth: belief.  Hand and eye coordinated result in a successful magickal operation which is represented in the vision or belief of the mage: "Only when will, desire and belief are in harmony one receives the great art."

But one has to keep in mind that belief must be restricted as to have depth and meaning, for every fulfilled belief isn't as sleeping desire in the unconsciousness anymore but a part of the past and with that a part of the expressed self. The essence of this system is found in the permanent change of reviving and leaving the desire. The vital part which is necessary to realize the desire has to be received by unconscious control. With that it becomes clear that a controlled invocation is useless since a vital desire has to be unconscious. By sigilising a desire and charging it, the mage accesses the energies that are hidden in the deepest areas of the unconsciousness.

In the final part, the role of elementals, is important. Those elementals are incarnated by the sigilisation of the desire. The sigil controls the elemental and realizes the desire in the unconsciousness. 

Another important aspect of the Zos Kia system is the inbetweeness concept. In this state one merges with the atmospheric self, the Kia. Kia could best be described as a level of enlightening, which could be compared to gaining access of the holy guarding angel in Crowleys system.

The Meaning of Spares basic sigils

The Yoni
It symbolizes all otherness, beyond the borders of time and space.
The Phallus
Stands for the active, male principle
The various forms of union
 This sigil displays the coitus, union or realisation in general and orgasm in special. 
Dualistic Principle
The dualistic principle
 ego, existence
Dissolution of Polarities
The dissolution of all polarities
The counterpart of the above. This sigil symbolizes the death posture and the dissolution of duality
The sigil of double negation
Abstract Unity
Abstract Unity
The possibility of realisation
Pure Ego
Pure Ego
The function of truth
Principle of change
Eternity, continuity
The controlled "ID". The god we evoke and creat. The word "he"
I desire
I desire
The unconsciousness





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