sigil magic 101

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This post has been improved upon and expanded as an article – it’s available here

Sigil magic as used in Chaos magic is a technique created by the great Austin Osman Spare.

A Young Austin Spare in a chaostar by Michael R. Cooke

A Young Austin Spare in a 'chaostar' by Michael R. Cooke

Austin Spare examined magic and occult as practised and from a pragmatic point of view- what works to manifest results, and what doesn’t. Very simply put, will or clear desire, plus faith, plus ‘gnosis’ is the winning combination.

The third thing, ‘gnosis’, may seem mysterious – it’s a magical state of consciousness wherein the mind isn’t thinking – it can constitute a singular state of meditative consciousness, a moment of sexual orgasm, a mind entranced with ‘magical’ ceremony or a simple everyday moment of absent-mindedness.

‘Faith’ comes easier to some than to others. The good news is that your most conscious mind is the least important magically. If you have imagination enough to lose yourself in the fantasy of a movie or a book, to ‘feel’ something in response to ceremony (Catholic mass counts) – you’re capable of having sufficient faith for magical purposes.

Will or desire can seem deceptively simple. What are you using magic for? If you’re on this site, the answer could be – wealth! But you may want wealth to become the envy of others,  to sate the expectation of a spouse, or to have freedom to help the needy – it’s a means to an end that is what you REALLY want. People that are wealthy are people that are free of want materially, and the irony is that those people are rarely rich and more commonly free of attachment in a Buddhist sense. If you pay attention to rich people – they are most often more consumed with need for more money than those poorer than themselves!

If you want to become rich ANYWAY – direct your will to a goal specific and financial.

But why sigil magic? Why not Hoodoo, Law of Attraction, or classic techniques from the Golden Dawn or Aleister Crowley?

Because the conscious mind is untrustworthy. Here’s why:

The ‘Duality of desire’ – your will is always divided against itself. No matter how badly you want change, part of you has adjusted to what is and fears change. The increase of wealth and prestige accompanying a job promotion is countered with the possible loss of camaraderie of co-workers who would become subordinates, the loss of being right right about the unfairness of the promotion process, and the loss of future compassionate and loving sympathy from co-workers assuring you you deserved the promotion.

The ‘is it here yet’ problem, formally labelled the ‘lust for result’. Also known as ‘the watched pot never boils’, this phenomena will very often prevent a result from manifesting as long as you are consciously anticipating it.

The ‘New Thought’ LOA techniques, those of NLP and ‘positive thinking’ have become backbones to sales and marketing. What they all have in common is the need to control thought.  The nature of thought is to be chaotic, it’s not a simple thing to control (and really, if you want to play that game, the Zen Buddhists perfected the approach). But magic doesn’t require thought, and sigil magic takes thought out of the equation.

So that’s how sigil magic is different, taking the conscious mind out of the equation. It does this by disguising the nature of the will, so the conscious mind is out of the loop when it comes to empowering it, the subconscious handles everything.

The process is very simple. Concisely state your will in a single sentence. Distinguish the unique letters (sometimes just the unique consonants). Create an image from/with the letter shapes of the unique letters. Elaborate or simply the image to finish your sigil.

Ideally you create several sigils, some for things you want very much, others for much lighter purposes, such as ” I will enjoy a nice slice of apple pie”. Then save the sigils together, without the statement of intent. and wait a week.

Now when you ‘launch’ a sigil, you are likely to have forgotten exactly which intent corresponds to which sigil. It’s okay, don’t try to remember, your subconscious remembers perfectly. And this way there’s no duality of desire, no lust for result – the conscious mind is less likely to interfere.

‘Launching’ the sigil involves looking at the sigil while experiencing gnosis, commonly masturbation is used as the moment of orgasm constitutes gnosis. Exhaustion from dancing, katas, holding an uncomfortable position… is also used.

If you take the unique letters from your statement, and rearrange them into phonetic nonsense words – you may launch the sigil meditatively by chanting these words as you would a mantra.

sigil creation

sigil creation

Be very careful creating your statement of intent. Your result will be exactly what your statement asks for. Just like almost all wishing folklore, how you state your wish is critically important.

If you are an artist, you can put a great deal of energy into the elaboration of your sigil as artwork. In this fashion the process of creating the sigil and ‘launching’ it can become one, as the creative process can, when intense enough, constitute ‘gnosis’ in its own right. I say this with the limited authority of my own experience.

Some Examples of sigils by Mike Cooke:

this sigil relates to websites

this sigil relates to websites

this sigil relates to personal finances

this sigil relates to personal finances

another sigil relating to personal finances

another sigil relating to personal finances

This last sigil, you may notice the inclusion of Norse runes. It’s totally okay to accent the sigil derived from your statement of intent with symbols from other traditions. If you are Christian, for example, the inclusion of a crucifix may reinforce your submission to the will of God and transform the work into a form of prayer. If you work with other traditions those symbols may be effective for you too. I chose Norse runes as I’m part European and no doubt such symbols are relevant to some fraction of my ancestors (sigil magic always works, but how is a mystery – a hypothetical collective unconscious may have something to do with it, which would make the beliefs of ancestors relevant).

I have a lot more to say about sigils, but this is good for now. Please share your comments and results if you try this out.


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One Response to sigil magic 101

  1. Rianahata says:

    I’m all for sigils. I’m all for anything that the individual feels called to, in fact, and I believe strongly in the personal liberty to do what we feel is right for ourselves. I just wanted to make a comment about the difference between sigil magic (bypassing the conscious mind) and LOA techniques which include exercises like digging deep into the subconscious and consciously trying to work through limiting beliefs and discrepancies between what we think we want and what we actually want deep down inside. I think that both paths can be fruitful, and I’m not even saying that one route is better than the other. But I do feel there’s something to be said for the personal development work and specific exercises that is vital to the LOA approach: I do think it’s a good thing. I use sigils and I believe that they “work”. However, this article has left me wondering if in the long run we might be rushing results with sigils. writing cheques our asses can’t cash, so to speak. I think that alongside techniques into gnosis and other magical techniques we mustn’t forget to look deep, on the conscious level, into the ways our insecurities and selfish or immature beliefs are actually what’s holding us back. It almost makes you wonder if sigil magic isn’t almost a cheat. And what the consequences might be down the road.

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