Psychogeographic Magic and Ritual: Walking the Line
Magda Knight shares her ritual of walking the line, a practical way to take sigil magic into the world outside for slow growth magic.
I’m endlessly fascinated by sigil magic, that means of connecting with the hidden world through line and shape and symbol. I’ve also spent years taking an active interest in psychogeography, a physical form of loose ritual that helps to explore the untold stories of place and how places connect with the heart and soul. As my magic becomes increasingly physical and related to nature – the solo wild camping, the magical gardening – I’ve been seeking ways to tie the magic that is created with pen and paper to the magic that ties me to everything else – and that, for me, is currently outdoors magic.
I’d love to share with you a form of walking magic that uses sigil work that I call walking the line. I may have made it up, but I’m almost certain there must be a lineage of practitioners who have practised and known this way of walking since forever, and I’m merely not aware of them. When an idea is this simple, and feels so good to do, surely it doesn’t spring up out of nowhere!
Walking Sigil Ritual – Walking the line
Making the sigil
First, I draw a line on a piece of paper. It may be drawn through the process of automatic drawing, or its shape may have innate symbolic meaning. This line will shortly spring from the page. I will be walking this line. Personally, I tend to include an arrow point in the design to indicate direction.
Next, I write my statement of intent upon the line. My preferred method is to write the letters on the line itself in plain English, using pseudorunic calligraphy so that they hang nicely on and off the line and are also a little harder to read, to help the intent seep into the subconscious.
It’s a pleasure to add stylistic bits here and there to add aesthetic or symbolic value to the sigil. In many ways it’s just fluff, not Granny Weatherwax weatherbeaten boots magic, but hey, it’s allowed! It’s your sigil, so do it till it feels right, like a wax seal on a letter of intent to the aether.
Backpack. Water. Boots. Line. Ready!
Walking the line
Ah. And now it’s time to head on out.
The ritual is to walk the shape of the line into the earth. I might walk the line in a field or meadow. I might get on a train and go to a small town and attempt to walk the line through the streets, mapping the line onto roads and alleys and town squares as best I can using personal subjectivity and trying to, well, really look at the world around me. Trying to feel how the shape of the line best matches the shape of where I am.
Finally, when the line has been walked, I may conduct a small closing ritual at its final destination, marvelling at the aptness and mystery of what I have found there (it might be a surprise interaction with a passer by. It might be the leaping joy of a wooden porch gate of a simply built old church, swallows carved into its fascia. It might be the brisk reality of a McDonald’s).
To fully finish the ritual, I dispose of the sigil in the land it’s travelled through as an offering. One could burn it, perhaps, but I prefer to place it under a stone or between the posts of a gate… somewhere where it can mulch down over time, rained on and nibbled or worn away by ants. I love the length of time it will take to decompose and become one with its surroundings. I love that the weather will smudge the line and its message into blurry oblivion. I love the time and effort that is involved with this ritual, which is why I tend to use it for slow ‘progress over a period of time’ magic, rather than ‘I want the thing by next Tuesday’ results magic.
I hope I’ve expressed to you that, oh yes, I do love this ritual. To walk the line is to tread your intent into the earth, beat it in with your boots, sending a message to the heart of the world you live in and the bones of you.
If you too walk the line, say hello to me on Twitter at @MagdaKnight. I’d absolutely love to hear from you!