As I began experimenting with sigils more, in particularly in response to this blog, I started realizing the inadequacy of the traditional sigil methodology to work for me.
Over the past week, I have been experimenting in particularly with dealing with my sulkiness.
Research on sulking behavior and brooding didn’t give me much insight other than to characterize me as an abusive personality.
I finally found some sort of illumination in a literary archetype known as a Byronic hero (or the female version, la belle dame sans merci). The Byronic hero is the typical anti-hero, larger than life, antidisestablishmentarian, rebellious, moody and abusive but also intellectual and poetic. This bad boy (or girl) archetype has been extensively portrayed throughout the works of Lord Byron (after whom the archetype is named), Wuthering Heights, and vampire mythos, as well as the general love triangle of girl-nice guy-bad boy.
Instead of viewing my sulkiness as a dysfunction, it was more important for me to come to terms with my behavior and submit to it to use it better. I didn’t say control it but rather acknowledge it and integrate it into my personality rather than allowing it to dominate me. Cooperate with it.
In constructing my sulky sigil, I realized a limitation in sigil magic: statements of intent cannot be expressed in negative terms. You cannot sigil for something not to happen because the subconscious only works in terms of positives, like distance – distance can never be negative because moving backwards is still movement. Inaction is still action. I could not sigil to not sulk (it is also splitting an infinitive). This problem was pointed out to me also in a re-reading of Philip Cooper’s Basic Sigil Magic.
But the statement of intent became more problematic. If I didn’t want to be sulking or brooding anymore, how would I phrase the statement of intent in a positive manner? What is the conceptual opposite of brooding? There is no simple term or the term escapes me. We are seeing a limitation of the conscious linguistic statement of intent to capture desire.
The statement of intent best functions as a guide to isolating smaller steps of behavior. For example, a weight loss sigil should lead the magician to focus first on sigiling for healthy eating habits before attempting a forward “I want to lose 10 lbs” sigil.
Ultimately, though, statements of intent should be abandoned for more subconscious plotting. There is no way for me to create a linguistic construction of my desire to be un-sulky. Instead I should focus on creating direct subconscious forms.
What then would be the effect of working directly with the subconscious instead of creating a bridge between the conscious and subconscious? I don’t know yet but I don’t anticipate a problem.
Also, creating this new sigil lead me one step closer to creating a hypersigil.
When I did my comparison and contrast between sigils and logos, in a statement I made about sigils representing a statement of intent while logos represented a specific semiotic, I may have been more pedantic than practical.
Stripping away the statement of indent may be an improvement to better tie in associations to the sigil for better realization of the sigil. A sigil for weight loss no longer needs to represent “I desire to eat healthy for one week” but rather can represent a simple “eat healthy” intent.
In creating this sigilogo, I found computer literacy to be handy, as well as knowledge of summoning rituals.
What follows is a possible alternate means of creating sigils:
I am going to use computer metaphors to describe the process. If you don’t have the computer savvy to actually do what I am recommending, then simply use visualization techniques instead (but I would recommend learning computer savvy because a magician should use whatever technology is available and up-to-date).
Imagine creating four new folders on your computer desktop. Each of these folders represents the four basic elements: fire, earth, air, water. What I did was change the icon to these folders to represent their element, which, for example, can be a fire symbol for fire or perhaps a wand. If you don’t know how to make or change icons, try the user friendly RealWorld Icon Editor.
Once these folders were made, I returned to my previous organizational strategy and created sub-folders based upon my sigil desires. For example, within my water folder I created sub-folders labeled sulky, whore, depressed, moody, passive-aggressive, negative, insecure, control freak, fear of success, self-centered, self-absorbed, and non-verbally in-astute. Naturally, as my training continues, I would refine and condense these sigils as necessary. For example, what is the difference between self-centered and self-absorbed – likewise, these are also fire traits and I wouldn’t want to overlap or repeat sigils.
Having organized my desires, the next step would be to begin the sigiling process. I created a sigil for my sulky brooding desire and changed the icon to the sigil.
Next, I began loading my sulky brooding icon with content chosen to best exemplify the nature of the sigil. For example, since a lot of my sulky brooding desires were based upon an image of Byronic heroism, I loaded a Wikipedia shortcut to the Byronic hero entry, a copy of Lord Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” a photograph of Byron, a painting by JMW Turner on "Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage," a copy of the brooding issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (Brief Lives, issue 42), scans from The Crow graphic novel, a clip from Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Angel turns evil, and what I might consider Byronic music, in particularly the Doors, the Cure, Nine Inch Nails, and Nirvana.
(As a side note, the question of androgyny popped up while I was putting together this sigil. What happens when a female magician deals with what may be perceived as masculine archetypes? My responses are: 1) I am using water as my element for this sigil, water being a feminine emotional sign as compared to using fire, a masculine active sign; 2) androgyny is prevalent in the artistic Byronic archetype, for example, Jim Morrison and vampires are androgynous figures; 3) I prefer Byronic masculinity over la belle dame sans merci femme fatale archetype because these images are unappealing – the typical femme fatale is a black widow who uses sex as a weapon through passive aggressive manipulation and that is not what I am looking for; 4) substitute associations may be used to summon a belle dame sans merci archetype.)
The effect of incorporating multi-media is to hyper-charge the sigil. The sigil takes a step closer to hypersigil as these new dimensions are being added. The act of creation is further enhanced as numerous additional steps were involved: creating the sigil, creating the icons (and learning how to do that), researching the Byronic hero, collecting pictures and music, actually making the video clips since youtube sucks, and more.
I will call this type of sigil an ultrasigil, not quite as dynamic as a hypersigil but incorporating the illusion of multi-dimensions.
The creation of this more advanced sigil is similar to Summoning magic.
These ultra-sigils can be repeated for each sub-sigil in each element. The process is exhausting so take your time.
Once you feel you have created a sigil portfolio, the next step is to pocket this portfolio into either a thumb drive to take with you or into a visualization routine. If you’re using a thumb drive, I’d recommend investing in a major gigabyte customized drive.
I do a lot of walking meditation, controlled breathing and body movement when I am out and about, and part of this routine is practicing my visualization. Cooper refers to this routine as the Sun/Moon Cleansing or the Four Gateways to Power. I can’t remember the exact names. I copied the basic ritual into my note book and then lost the Basic Sigil Magic book so I only have my notes to work from. Anywho, I’m actually using a modified version of Cooper’s idea because traditional ritual magic is just too fagly for me.
Begin by imaging a ball of light above your head. Yes, just like in Fight Club. Visualize this light moving down through you and into the ground. I practice this first step on its own, in particularly when I am being tested on my flaws, like waiting in a line at Wal-Mart knowing that I’m gonna flip out on somebody.
Spread your arms. Body movement is important to help focus. Visualize your elemental icons –fire to your left, earth to your right, air in front of you, water behind you.
The flow of the light from crown to ground joined with the four elements creates a sphere. I imagine it more like a hula-hoop: when I desire a certain state of performance, I swing the proper sigil to the front of me. For example, when I need some order in my life to get my work done, I visualize the hoop of elemental icon/sigils and rearrange them so that earth is now in front of me, sweeping my right hand to the left in front of me. Again, body movement is important, at least moving your hands in a martial arts style.
Next week, I will talk about color magic and the organization of sigils into a more ambitious routine (that is, one that the typical n00b magician experiments with magic for). In two weeks, I’ll detail Summoning rituals more.