Magical exercises: Making a magical sigil
by Magda Knight
Working magic is about respecting your environment and turning your life into an adventure with limitless possibilities. We give you a step-by-step guide to making a sigil - a form of magic that brings you your heart's desire. All you need is a pencil and paper... so what are you waiting for?
Here at Mookychick we believe that magic (spells, not stage magicians) is an unexplained science. Believe that, and it makes the world a better place. You don't have to belong to any one religion to work magic. Christians and Wiccans and Atheists all believe in science - Christians and Wiccans and Atheists can all work magic.
This week we're going to show you how to make and charge a magical sigil, because the universe is as full of possibilities as you are. How are you going to let that potential out? Work nights in a convenience store and plug away at your garage band / unpublished novel in the hopes you'll get famous one day? Fine. Hard work is where it's at. But why not tap into all the forces of the universe while you're at it? As well as hoiking those promotional band posters all round town, do yourself a favour and secretly draw a charged magical sigil on each one. Let the magic come to you for a change! After all, the worst that could happen is your sigil doesn't bring you quite what you expected. Well, that's the universe for ya...
So what exactly is a sigil? In a nutshell, it's you writing a sentence expressing your deepest desire which you then turn into a symbolic picture, fill with energy then forget about - and wait to see if your deepest wish comes true.
Unlike complicated magical rituals, you will need:
* A pen or pencil.
* A piece of paper.
To make our sigil, we're going to do five things:
(1) Write down our desire as a statement of intent
(2) Turn it into a picture (a sigil)
(3) Simplify that picture and make it look more magical
(4) Charge the picture up with magical energy
(5) Ground ourselves, forget about the sigil and go and do something else - confident that the sigil is now in our unconscious which is going to do all the magical work for us.
So that's what a magical sigil is! Now scroll down the page and we'll tell exactly you how to make one. If you're still not sure what a magical sigil is and why it should work, let's break it down...
What is magic?
Let's start at the beginning! Belief in magic is very basically a belief that the world contains forces we play with and are subject to, but are not fully aware of. And would like to get to know better. Forces that we file under 'superstition' or 'hocus pocus' or 'utter bollocks' because we don't understand them very well. Working magic is an attempt to understand these forces and use them in our lives in order to affect the world we live in.
What is a magical sigil?
If you look in the dictionary, a sigil is a symbol with mystical significance.
In magical terms, a sigil is a tool - it's a shape you design that tricks your mind into magicking a specific effect into your life. Creating sigils to work magic was made popular by the strange and mystical artist Austin Osman Spare. He said:
"Sigils are... a means of symbolising desire and giving it a form that prevents thought on that particular desire... and allows it free passage to the sub-consciousness."
- A.O.Spare, "The Book Of Pleasure"
Cool. So what does that actually mean?
Well, sigils are greatly beloved of a particular kind of magic-worker called a Chaos Magician. Chaos Magicians believe that you create your world, because the world is built up of your perceptions. It's a poor example, but if you believe that cheerleaders are evil and out to get you, you'll probably behave in such a way that they will be.
The biggest problem with creating magic is your conscious mind, dammit! It's your psychic censor and it keeps telling you what you should think, even if you don't agree with it. If you believe there's no way you can magic a laptop into your life, then of course your magic won't work! Remember, your conscious mind is very powerful at telling you there's simply no logical way you can draw a magical picture that will somehow get you a laptop three weeks later. You have to trick it to let it know who's boss
Making a sigil gets you PAST your conscious mind. The good news is that the one thing more powerful than your everyday common-or-garden consciousness is your subconscious. It will ALWAYS be more powerful, because your conscious mind only works when you tell it to, but your subconscious mind works ALL THE TIME. If you can tell your subconscious to do something, it will chug away at the problem without you even 'thinking' about it, 100% of the time, and your magic will be far more likely to work.
The theory goes like this: the conscious mind is not directly capable of performing magic (in fact, it inhibits magic,) so the subconscious mind must have the magical intent implanted in it somehow it so that it can 'unconsciously' manipulate the magic-steeped world around us to bring about the result.
Our subconscious understands images and symbols better than anything else, therefore it is best to send it a symbolic form of our wishes.
I'm genuinely ready. Can we just make the sigil now? Sure. Let's go!
1. Create a statement of intent
First, write down your desire very clearly, like this:
THIS IS MY WISH TO SEE A TALL WOMAN WITH PINK SHOES
Scan the letters and cross out any repeating ones, as follows:
THIS xx MY Wxxx xO xEx A xxLx xxxxN xxxx PxxK xxxxx
Which leaves us with the following letters remaining:
There. Now you've done the first stage - creating your statement of intent, and simplifying it.
Magical notes: What lies behind creating a statement of intent?
What you've just done is taken a conscious desire and broken it down into something your conscious brain doesn't recognise any more: a meaningless string of letters. The more energy you put into turning your sentence into something unrecognisable, the more you leave your annoying conscious mind behind and hammer the message into your powerful subconscious.
The creation of the Statement of Intent is really important. Austin Osman Spare preceeded all of his magical statements with the prefix "THIS MY WISH..." followed by the description of what he desired. Maybe you don't have to, but it does make the exercise feel more formal and special. You could also use THIS MY INTENT, or THIS MY WILL - whatever works for you.
Also, the statement of intent must be expessed only in positive, not negative terms. The subconscious has the annoying habit of perceiving everything positively. For example, if you want to pass an exam, do not express it as "I will not fail my exam" -- the deep mind ignores the "not" and hears this as "I will fail my exam"! Instead, express it as something like "I will pass my exam with flying colours".
Also, sigil magic is simple and powerful. A good way to begin is to choose some simple, unimportant result -- one to which you aren't personally attached, so your conscious mind doesn't care what the results are. Like:
IT IS MY WILL TO SEE A TALL WOMAN WITH PINK SHOES
Such a wish is entirely unimportant, but not something that one runs into every day, so it's a good test. See how long it takes for the wish to manifest. The practical side of such exercises is that success increases one's confidence that MAGIC WORKS, which in turn makes success more likely for more important objectives.
There is no way to prove if sigil magic works (or not) except by trying it yourself. Never believe the hype. Create your own. Moving on...
2. Turn your Statement of Intent into a Magical Sigil
So far, you've got your simplified Statement of Intent: THISMYWOEALNPK
You're now ready to go on to the next stage and turn this string of letters into a picture - your magical sigil.
You can go to www.sigilgarden.com to see some examples of sigils.
On your piece of paper, make a basic, rough sketch linking the various letter shapes together, combining some of them as you go along (for example, an "M" is a "W" upside down, "I" is contained in "T", "F" is part of "E", "P" sits snugly in "B", etc.):
Next the image is simplified and refined.
Most homemade sigils look a little spooky or alien - like UFO writing or witchy wall-scratchings. There are no rules as to how your sigil should look as long as it works for you.
Magical notes: What lies behind turning a statement of intent into a graphical sigil?
Your goal is to make a shape that your mind can easily visualize. You also want it to look artistically impressive and somehow special - like a magical logo. Again, this is for ease of visualisation later. However, what you're aiming for is a design that can be easily recalled by short term-memory, but not by long-term memory - you'll want to forget about the sigil. So too much simplicity is not a good thing. Easy enough to visualise in the ritual, easy enough to forget later on - that's the key to a good sigil.
3. Charging the sigil
Charging the sigil means infusing it with your energy. You have to get yourself to a point where you are full of energy but not really thinking anything, and then pour this energy into your sigil. There are several good ways to charge your sigil:
The simplest form of meditation is to hold the image of the sigil in front of your eyes and stare intently at it at the peak of gnosis and, to use Spare's description, 'drink it into the mind'. Try to get into a state of "not-thinking" but at the same time obsessively concentrating on the image of the sigil to the exclusion of everything else. Not the meaning of the sigil, but simply the graphic image itself as pure abstract, unconnected to any meaning - a picture and nothing more.
We're not joking. Masturbate while visualising the sigil in your mind's eye. With the masturbation method you're guaranteed to get yourself to a point when you're full of energy and no thought, ie. orgasm. Hurrah! At the point of orgasm, visualise the sigil becoming big and bright and then exploding/disintegrating into nothingness. That's it! Sigil charged!
c) Wild dancing
If you don't like masturbating but do like dancing, pour yourself into wild wanton dancing - leap everywhere, be crazy, spin round and round, get out of breath - it doesn't even have to be to music. You just have to get to a point where you feel full of adrenalin and power and tingly and aren't really thinking anything. Then visualise the sigil in your mind's, eye, see it becoming big and bright and then let it explode/disintegrate into nothingness. And stop dancing.
4. Ground yourself
Destroy the sigil (ie burn the bit of paper that it's on). Now do something completely different. Do the washing up. Go for a bike ride. Do something completely grounded in reality. The sigil is over, done with. You don't care any more. Your subconscious might care (the bit that's still doing the magic) but you and your conscious mind are now totally uninterested.
5. Forget about it
Finally, it's important to separate yourself from the magical ritual you've just done. Don't do any meditation, other magical operations, or talk about the working with anyone. At least, not the first time you do a sigil - you need to find out what works for you. The idea is to shut the doors to the subconscious. It also keeps it from easily floating back into the conscious mind until the short term memory dumps it, which according to psychologists takes about three hours.
So just sit back, get on with life, and in a few days or weeks, you'll probably pass your exam, or see a tall woman with pink shoes.
Congratulations! You just made a sigil!
Further magical notes on sigils
One way of deliberately forgetting is to create a few sigils for different purposes, keep them out of sight for a couple weeks or so until you can't remember which one is which, then charge them either all at once or one after the other.
There is also the "under-the-nose" method: If you prefer, instead of destroying the sigil you can put the sigil where you can see it all the time it will just fade into the background and you won't really 'see' it, but your subconscious will.
So wash the dishes, go for a bike ride, read a book that's NOT about magic, watch Mean Girls.
Examples of sigil use:
Paint the sigil somewhere visible on your body with water-soluble paint, then take a bath and let it slowly dissolve away while watching it. This is especially useful for magical work such as healing the body.
Draw the sigil on paper or cloth with dissappearing ink and stare at it as it slowly evaporates.
Magical Sigil links
www.boudicca.de/max9-e.htm (Like the article above but more hardcore. Read it!)
www.grant-morrison.com/pop_magic_part_one.htm (Welcome to Pop Magic. Grant Morrison, author of famous countercultural comic The Invisibles, absolutely knows what he is talking about.)
www.sigilgarden.com (See what other people's sigils look like at the sigil garden!)
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@MagdaKnight is the Co-Founding Editor of Mookychick. Her YA fiction and other writings have been published in anthologies and in 2000AD. She likes you already, so Email her and say hi, or visit her blog. She is on Google+.