Sigil Magic like Zatanna!? (introducing Servitors)
Zatanna, DC comics cheesecake magician temptress super-heroine, the above image from a recent comic featuring the character. I’ve not read Grant Morrison’s run on her comic (as writer), tho I understand it’s very good, and Mr. Morrison is an excellent Chaos magician in is own right.
Zatanna is riding a wave of popularity at this moment thanks to her introduction to the televised “Smallville” Superman franchise.
The point of writing about the character in this blog, other than capitalizing on the wave of popularity, is to talk briefly about magic, the occult and how the reality is divorced from the fantasy… or is it?
Zatanna has been around for a while, and as an occult superhero her technique was as simple as speaking her will phonetically as is written backwards in her dialogue baloons. Although a simple idea, especially for children that could have the fun of interpreting the backwards writing – I imagine Grant Morrison jumped onto the similarities to sigil magic (wherein the letters of a statement of intent are mixed into a visual symbol or rearranged into nonsense vocabulary for chanting) and went wild. I’ll have to look into buying the comics now.
A lot of people looking into magic have been inspired by stories of magicians, I personally count Dr. Strange as much an influence as Aleister Crowley. But, also, many people so inspired can lose interest quickly upon learning that techniques of flying, turning invisible or shooting fireballs aren’t readily available from magic, and really, may be more available from mechanics.
Looking to magic from preconceptions of fiction is to start with many misconceptions. Magic as I practice it covers any expression of will. If I desire to shoot fire from my hands, a flame-thrower is the path of least resistance for the fulfilment of said desire. I know that’s a let-down for someone hoping for magical access to supernatural fire-starting abilities. I’m not saying such powers aren’t real or available – I don’t know that. I just know that the flame-thrower is the easier way to go about it if what’s important is the result.
But here are some ideas approaching magic as we know it from fiction:
How to develope fire starting ability:
I have once found instruction on developing a fire starting supernatural ability. You would be recommended to work with candles. Begin with lit candles and try to snuff the candle out without blowing, fanning or pinching the fire out – use your ‘ki’ or personal energy. Once you are competent at so snuffing fire – the next step is to use your ‘ki’ or personal energy to re-light a freshly snuffed candle, you are permitted the benefit the smoke and heat of the freshly extinguished candle. Should you get good at this, next step is lighting a fresh unlit candle. After getting good at that, perhaps you’ll never need matches again!
Just so you know, I read those instructions and now do not have the ability for lack of even trying. I just don’t get the benefit for the cost of so much effort (I promise you it’s gonna take a lot of effort), and I know no one that’s able to provide an example of being able to do this, so I can’t promise you the effort isn’t a waste. You are welcome to try, and if you get good at it – please let me know about it – and James Randi may cut a check for you!
I’ve already explained the power if simple intent. Of course getting it to work is a subtle art requiring a developed self awareness. A simple intent concentrated on without attachment to the result, without anything else in the mind getting in the way of the concentration – will produce positive results dependably. If you’re being angry or upset, this technique is worthless.
Servitors – or casting spontaneous ‘spells’
This is the first explanation of servitors on this blog. A servitor is a ‘thought form’, given power by you, that serves you. The idea comes from Tibetan Buddhist magic, and originally is known as a ‘Tupla’. Writers of fiction that experience characters becoming so real they can ‘write their own dialogue’ – have successfully manifested such a thought form.
When creating a servitor, because I’m a writer, I recommend creating it as you create a fictional character. Write out a statement of intent for the thought form, detailing it’s responsibilities, motivation and how it can be rewarded. A servitor can be created with a motivation to help you and to be motivated by the reward you’ll give upon helping you.
It’s important to reward the servitor as it reinforces the sense of reality the servitor has for you, empowering it. I recommend friendly servitors motivated to help you and happy to accept your sacrifice of a destructive behaviour. For example, if a servitor helps you find your keys, you could reward the servitor with a day of no smoking, no drinking, not biting your finger nails – whatever habit you would like to be without, you can define your servitor as desiring you to be without it as well.
That said, your servitor should be a real character to you, know what it looks like, know its personality, motivation and so forth. It’s motivation should be to prove its worth, or something else that makes it a natural ally. Include the instruction for how the servitor is to be summoned. A servitor can be named and summoned by name, also attached to a figurine, clay model, gem or jewellery.
Include in the servitor definition, a simple formula to destroy the servitor and return its energies to you. Sometimes servitors grow so powerful as to be less helpful, or is too rarely used, and including a destroy and reincorporate instruction in its creation definition is helpful should this occur.
Of this statement of intent/creation, create a sigil as you would for any other sort of sigil magic. It is recommended to use sexual orgasm to launch the sigil, the relation of sex orgasm to giving birth gives a dimension of sympathetic magic to the process.
In practical terms, a servitor can be unleashed with a ‘magic word’, a movement of the hand in the air (in the shape of its sigil, use a simple sigil) – or any other technique you imagine.
Of course to model the spells of Dr. Strange, such servitors would constitute abstracted powers – and you CAN make servitors of abstracted powers. Using a character, making a person of the servitor – is something I feel works very well for easy success – it models the common successful servitor creation process of any fiction author.
The advantage of a servitor is that the thought form contains ready magical energy, it’s like a battery waiting to be used.
Real magic is not the same stuff as in comics or tv shows. The main misunderstanding is that magic offers power that others do not have. The reality is that everyone practices magic if they know it or not (prayer,tarot, astrology, any form of luck or visualization) and what distinguishes a magician, is the will to practice magic well.
I presented two techniques for using magic ‘casually’, as the magical superheroes might. But there are no special effects unless you chose to imagine them. Realize though, that at least some writers are describing what the magician is imagining in the comic book – to an onlooker, they are just standing there mumbling and waving their hands in the air crazy like.