I’ve been taking notes on sigils and I have lots of little leftover details that I have been trying to incorporate into some type of blog. This entry is tying up those leftovers into some general commentaries, most particularly focused on variation in sigil media and some practical advice.
The earliest sigils were bags collecting raw natural materials such as horse teeth, weasel bones, lynx claw, serpent spine, bird windpipe, rowan twig, sulphur pebbles, coal, bronze, etc. These hoodoo bags are similar to mandala or ultrasigils.
Sigils, or at least the sigils that I’ve been focusing on, can be divided mainly by the four elementals of fire, earth, air, and water. For any n00bs, they go in the order despite what Avatar: The Last Airbender tells you. A quick summary of the symbolism behind each element can be found here.
Sigils, thus, can be made out of materials appropriate to their element.
Fire: This is the dangerous but pretty stuff. Construct your fire-based sigils out of flammable materials. Suggestions might include charcoal, ash, incense, lighter fluid, gasoline, and chemicals that create different colored flames:
- Red: any Strontium salt like Strontium carbonate, Strontium nitrate, and Strontium sulfate. It's commonly found in road flares so if you have one, gut it.
: calcium chloride. It's in laundry bleach but it's too difficult to separate out from there Orange
- Yellow: Sodium Nitrate
- Green: Barium salts such as Barium nitrate or Barium chlorate. Chlorate works the best by far.
- Turquoise: Copper sulfate. It's found in algaecides for pools and ponds and possibly in a high enough concentration to work.
- Blue: Copper Chloride
- Purple: Potassium permanganate
- White: Magnesium Sulfate. It's found in epsom salts but I haven't gotten it to react very well myself. I've heard plain old magnesium filings works so well, the intensity can damage your eyes so you might want to try that
The sigil would burn itself out but still allow time to meditate on the flame.
Earth: Pretty easy. This is more akin to gardening but materials may include topsoil, fertilized soil (the rich black stuff), wood chips, chalk, flour, grain, mushrooms, grains, berries, roots, sand, mud, flower petals, leaves, etc. The power of the earth sigils is in their slow creation. Trees, for example, have symbolism behind them so sporadically collecting leaves is a metaphysical disaster. The earth sigil needs to be more painstakingly created similar to a mandala.
Air: I honestly haven’t a clue here. I want to say smoke. Scents could be used. Or possible wind mills, fans, wind chimes, curtains or other motion devices that can be decorated with sigils. An audio sigil might be possible creating air sounds like an oscillating fan, a vacuum cleaner, howling wind, etc.
Water: Water can be molded according to its container but I don’t know if contained water is the same as free-flowing. The cups themselves would be part of the sigil. I might also recommend different liquids, whether it be apple juice, cranberry juice, vodka, Mountain Dew, or whatever to create an arrangement. I’ve seen latte art where coffee shops use syrup to create designs in the foam of coffee and similar drinks. The following website has incredible and inspiring water art that makes you say, fuck me, I can’t do that. But looking at the designs, various liquid materials are used to create splashes that are photographed. This is a different type of sigil harnessing the spontaneity of the droplet form as the form of the sigil. Advanced shit. Water sigils then would be quick Orphic rituals of energy.
Experiencing each element is necessary to better understand the element. If you are focusing on water-based sigils, finding a park water fountain or a water fall or river is a necessity.
I’ve mentioned before that sigils can be designed more aesthetically. The shape and color of the paper can be changed. I read of a magician who created sigil cookies. Imagination is the limit.
In contemplating the hypersigil, I’ve had to adapt what I considered to be a sigil. To me, a sigil is some squiggly typographic shaped design but does a sigil need to be visual?
I’m not sure about that answer right now but some quick ideas:
Audio: how about a (hyper)sigil made of sound? Every mixed CD you make has the potential for magical experimentation. Music as an art form has a powerful influence on mood and intellectualization. Think when you compose or mix your next CD how it is choreographed, the association of each song, the effect it has. This goes hand in hand with the use of drums and other percussion in shamanic rituals.
Kinetic: I mentioned this before where I read a Master’s thesis about connecting writing and dance. The thesis mainly focused on movement and use of the body. Gestures were created to represent an individual like signing one’s name. Ideas can be translated into gestures, movement, or dance, similar to stereotypical hand or wand motions in spell-casting. Back to shamanic rituals, Orphic rituals are based upon wild movements.
Olfactory: WTF? Like I said with air sigils, can smells be used for a magical effect as sigils? I don’t know: unexplored territory.
Gustatory: Another WTF? Taste sigils? Well, kind of. There is a yin/yang to cooking where particular foods are associated with certain qualities. Eat fruit for a couple days, just fruit, and you’ll feel the unbalance in your yin/yang. Are chefs doing magic every time they cook.
Eh, a short posting. I'm waiting for my next sigil book to arrive in the mail. I'll probably cover how to put together basic rituals next week.