Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tying the Gordian Knot on Brands and Sigils

If a question is unanswerable then the question needs to be changed. If a deadend occurs in progress then steps need to be taken backwards to remove certain givens to allow temporary freedom under new rules.

A sigil is not a brand, a brand is not a sigil, but I would like them to be the same. How then might I make the connection? Let’s look at the basic laws of sigils:

1. Sigils are disposable.
2. Sigils are non-linguistic.

And that’s really it. Can any changes be made in these two major sigil laws?

Is it necessary for a sigil to be disposable? Actually, yeah, it kind of is. The power of a sigil isn’t strictly in its form but rather in its creation and its charging. Once a sigil has been created and launched, it is like a battery subject to the laws of entropy. It loses power: if you had to eat hot dogs every day for a month, you’d get sick of the hot dogs. The psychic stimulation of the sigil disappears.

But batteries can be recharged. If you limit your craving for hot dogs you can still keep your taste for them.

Can a sigil be recharged? Possibly through de-association and re-association with it. For example, I hadn’t seen this guy in like a year. When I contacted him through e-mail, he was all horny for me but after a bit that excitement wore off. When we met in person by accident a short while later, that bond between us was recharged again. It may be possible to put a sigil aside for a long period and then re-discover it, like being reacquainted with an old friend or lover. Of course, the psychic charge will drain away again but that is beside the point.

A sigil can also be designed so as to improve its shelf life. Normally sigils are bizarre Asian looking figures but a sigil can also be a work of art. Art is almost a perpetual motion machine whereby a good work of art stimulates the viewer; an artistically designed sigil could stimulate the magician as much as the magician stimulates it.

Extending the sigil into hypersigil, then, is a necessity to extend the effect of the sigil.

Can sigils be linguistic? No, they have to be non-linguistic, but it is common for a brand to have both logotype and ideogram, linguistic and pictorial. A sigil can be developed into a binary creation, part ideogram (the sigil) and part logotype, creating possibly a bridge between the subconscious ideogram and the conscious logotype. For example,

Yeah, it's a crappy design and the Q looks like a G but I'm doing it as an example rather than a personal sigil.

How then might the laws of branding be applied to sigiling?

Okay, then, here are my 12 Laws of Sigils

1. The Bi-Laws of Expansion and Contraction: A sigil or series of sigils should be applied to a specific area of focus, for example, self-improvement, meeting new people, money magic. If you are sigiling for everything then you will eventually lose focus and start ignoring the RAP requirements. Build a particular association to your sigils and limit your experiments or practice to this one particular brand at first.

2. The Law of Publicity: A sigil must be made public, that is, exposed to the public so that people are aware of it. No more secret society private MySpace diaries. If you can’t announce yourself to the world, how then can you announce yourself to the universe? As part of this sigil launching party, you must find a way to reveal yourself as a magician without people thinking you are a freak; you also want people to invest in your sigil. Give someone a love sigil. Wear it on a shirt and give out business cards with the sigil (and your website) if people ask. Even though I worked in the hated real estate business where I'm supposed to aggressively sell houses, I believe sigils should be sold through interest, not aggression. No one had to sell me the idea. I wanted to explore them myself. Likewise, neither would I approach people saying, here's my sigil.

3. The Law of Advertising: Sigils must be maintained and recharged. How do you extend the mortality rate of a sigil? Change something minor like printing it on environmentally safe recyclable paper or transform the same sigil into a different medium. Relaunch the sigil through a different type of exposure or publicity.

4. The Law of Association: Build into your sigils some type of recognition factor so that they are more easily identifiable. Maybe you print them on flash paper or have a particular medium. You sigil is unique compared to others and conveys a particular association (wacky, artistic, friendly, fluffy, whatever).

5. The Law of Quality: Hype up your sigils. Pretend that they always work. Or kill people they don't work for so they don't tell anyone.

6. The Law of Category: Create a new type of sigil that is different. Grant Morrison created hypersigil so create yourself a sub-sigil or bi-sigil or quantum sigil or eco-sigil or contra-sigil. Don't you just love the creative absurdity of Greco-Roman prefixies?

7. The Law of Creator: Stop referring to your sigils as sigils and name them after yourself. I can call my sigils “quits” if I want.

8. The Law of Siblings: Since obviously you will want to use your sigils for more than one purpose, create sigils in families, that is one particular brand, for example, health sigils all on recyclable paper while creativity sigils on red construction paper.

9. The Law of Shape: Horizontal sigils, nuff said.

10. The Law of Color: Yeah, I know, I’ll get to color magic someday.

11. The Law of Consistency: Don’t go crazy with experimentation. Develop a stable sigil form first instead of a million wacky innovations.

12. The Law of Mortality: Know when to move on.

What is the necessary next steps for sigils is to focus on their use and to begin developing them into hypersigil form. In the next couple blogs, I will discuss the important sigil rituals and hopefully work into hypersigilia.

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