People will stare. Make it worth their while → Alexander McQueen | Pre-Fall ‘10-‘11
Set, Osiris and Wadjet
Illustrations by Ekaterina Burmak and Johan Grenier
Penance, Labyrinth, and Array, Graphite & Digital Media, 2012.
Hey, would you look at that! Here are some illustrations on the relation between torture and the old Catholic Church that I possibly completely forgot about.
In some older versions of Persephone’s story, she was a young woman, not a young girl, and instead of accidentally wandering away, she had gone deliberately adventuring, when she fell, or was lured, or was kidnapped into Hell. Here Persephone’s adventurous spirit leads her into difficulty, instead of her being a passive victim of the wickedness of others. Her relationship with her mother gives her the courage to explore her world, and when events take a bad turn, their relationship gives her the strength to survive.
In a still older version, Persephone heard the despairing cries of the dead and chose freely to go into the Underworld to comfort them. Hades does not appear at all, in this version. Here Persephone’s descent to hell illustrates inclusiveness for every being, whether in the Underworld or in our present one, and shows that mercy is integral to her nature.
In the most ancient layer of myth, Persephone’s name means “She Who Destroys The Light.” She was the powerful Goddess of the Underworld long before anyone knew of Hades. Like the Indian Kali, the Irish Morrigan, and the Sumerian Ereshkegal, she was the Goddess of Death.” — (x)
"If you can do that, have you ever tried invoking the spirit?"
-Nancy Downs, “The Craft” 1996
Preface: This is a condensed version of a paper I authored for an assignment in my Introduction to Magickal Practices class at The Grey School of Wizardry.
Sigils can be one of the most flexible forms of Magick – they don’t demand a completely new outlook; they can be added to just about any methods a caster currently employs; just about any caster is able to utilize their form and function to great effect, without having to compromise anything. And, as Gordon humorously puts it, in Sigils Reboot: How To Get Big Magic From Little Squiggles, “They can fit into any magical system. You could teach a nun sigil magic. (Somebody please teach a nun sigil magic.)”
From the material I’ve found, there appears to be a consensus on the majority of what constitutes Sigil Crafting. The general steps are as follows:
1. Design your intent/desire
2. Convert your intent/desire into the sigil
a. Break down the statement into one or more glyphs
b. Combine the individual glyphs into a sigil
c. Rework the sigil until it is feels right for you
3. Empower and Cast/Activate the newly created sigil/p>
Design Your Intent/Desire
In Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success, Frater suggests using ‘wish to be’ statements (for example, “This my wish to be 175 pounds”); these ‘wish’ statements point to a possible future which you are trying to secure.
Gordon and Margerrison, however, cite psychological studies about the subconscious mind’s limited ability to process information in terms of Time, and therefore suggest statements in the present tense – to rewrite the previous example: “I am 175 pounds.” In this case, your intent/desire is not a wish looking forward, but a resolute statement of how you “are” once the spell is effective.
Another warning made by Margerrison, in A Beginner’s Guide to Sigil Craft, is to be as specific as possible. “Think of those old fairy stories where someone makes a wish and there are tragic consequences,” he warns. With this in mind, our intent/desire statement transforms into, “I am a healthy and energetic 175 pounds.” Less our goal end up being fulfilled through a sudden and unexpected bout of food poisoning, or mono.
Convert Your Intent/Desire into the Sigil
The Picture Method
In the Picture Method of sigil crafting, once you have detailed your intent/desire statement, you convert it into an illustrative picture. One example used by Frater to demonstrate this is the crafting of a sigil to help heal a friend.
The first step would be to sketch a human figure, with your friend’s initials. Then stick, what Frater calls, an “astral acupuncture needle” into the affected area, where you wish to concentrate the healing energy. This drawing is then simplified, and converted into a base form (as seen in Figure 1).
While not explicitly explained by Frater, I believe you must start with the full image (rather than just skipping to the stick figure, as most are want to do), because it helps the caster to inject, more specifically, into the sigil a directed target. The pin on the stick figure in Figure 1 could be anywhere in the torso, but when you start with the fuller figure, the intent is more clear, and gets carried over into the rest of the sigil as you progress. Skipping this step, in my opinion, could lead to unpredictable results, much the same way leaving your intent/desire statement too open ended can lead to undesirable results.
The form of the drawing is simplified, dismantled, and reassembled by the caster. This can happen over a number of iterations until the caster is pleased with the result.
The important thing is that the final image should not resemble the original image. If you have gone through the proper steps, your intent/desire has been imbedded into the sigil throughout the process. Once you arrive at the completed form (one such form can be seen in Figure 2), your subconscious recognizes it as the representation of the intent/desire you started with.
The Word Method
In Chapter 1, of Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success, Frater explains the origins of modern sigil crafting as stemming from Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) and his system of Fusion and Stylization of Letters. In this form, Spare insisted there was no absolute right or wrong way to craft sigils; the importance wasn’t on any general standard for iconography, but rather that the sigil be meaningful to the caster who created it. As Frater puts it, “because s/he has constructed it for personal use, the sigil easily becomes a catalyst of his/her magical desire”.
Gordon and Margerrison instruct the would-be sigil crafter to take their intent/desire statement and remove all vowels, and any repeating characters.
“I AM A HEALTHLY AND ENERGETIC 175 POUNDS”
“M H L T N D R G C 1 7 5 P N S”
Frater, on the other hand, makes no mention of removing all vowels. His instructions are simply to remove repeating characters.
“I AM A HEALTHLY AND ENERGETIC 175 POUNDS”
“I A M H E L T Y N D R G C 1 7 5 P O U N S”
For smaller statements, I feel using Frater’s method would be fine. Longer statements, however, might be more manageable when using the previous method, so I think it would be wise to keep both in your back-pocket to use as you feel is necessary in the moment.
Your shorter, newly de-lettered, statement is stylized and fused into one or more glyphs. This part is tricky, in terms of instruction; because the whole point of the system is to be deeply meaningful to, and impactful for, the caster, you just have to kind of tinker around with the letters until you get something that feels right for you.
As an example, Figure 3 shows a talisman I created. It has my first three sigil attempts on it. The large, center, sigil is the stylized and fused representation of the incantation, “Fortuna Restituitur” – (good) Fortune Restored. The smaller sigils on the left and right are the representations of “So is my will” and “So shall it be” respectively.
Some notes on construction – because you’re fusing the letters, overlap is not only okay, it’s expected. You can see in Figure 3 how lines are used by more than one letter. In some cases, the same “squiggle” stands for multiple letters by itself: the M and W, for example, in “So is my will” are both represented by the same lines. The important thing is that the sigil has meaning for you, and your subconscious is already intimately aware of it, because of the crafting process you go through to get your end result.
Empower and Cast/Activate the Newly Created Sigil
Frater and Margerrison suggest sigils need to be forced past the conscious mind and implanted into the subconscious as quickly as possible. “Pain, meditation, orgasm, psychedelic-transcendental drugs or all of the above combined are popular methods.” (Margerrison, 2012). Frater even goes so far as to detail two different “Death Postures” to aid in heightening anxiety and fear in order to quickly push the sigil into the subconscious. For both of these authors, once you have gone through this activation, the sigils are to be destroyed as quickly as possible. According to Frater, “The faster you forget the sigil, the more effective the operation.” The idea being, now that you have successfully pushed the coded message into your subconscious, thinking about it consciously subverts your subconscious activities in bringing it to a reality.
Gordon, on the other hand, prefers a more ritualized activation. His activation methods are more open to various magical traditions. In this form of activation, you are not trying to push the sigil deeper into your subconscious, so much as you’re attempting to add more energy into the sigil itself, and thus, increasing its importance to your subconscious by default (win-win, in my opinion). Gordon, as opposed to Frater and Margerrison, wants us to hold onto the sigils. “Don’t destroy you sigils,” he instructs, in his article Sigils Reboot: How To Get Big Magic From Little Squiggles, Put them somewhere that you will see them every day but not notice them.” He calls this Low Attention Processing. This is still a form of subconscious implantation, but one that capitalizes on the mystical and magickal feel sigils have in the first place.
There is no doubt I prefer Gordon’s method of sigil crafting, in general. His methods also lend themselves well to the creation of sigils for other people. As I did with the talisman in Figure 3, his methods allow the caster to create a sigil of power, imbue it with magickal energies, and allow the barer of it to benefit from its power.
Sigils are a very versatile tool, and being so tradition-independent, there is really no reason every caster out there shouldn’t be using them to great effect; I know I will!
Frater, U. (2012). Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications.
Gordon. (2010, June). Shoaling: Making Sigil Magic More Awesome Since 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from Rune Soup: http://runesoup.com/2010/06/shoaling-making-sigil-magic-more-awesome-since-2010/
Gordon. (2012, Marc h). Sigils Reboot: How To Get Big Magic From Little Squiggles. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from Rune Soup: http://runesoup.com/2012/03/ultimate-sigil-magic-guide/
Margerrison, N. (2012, December 4). A Beginner’s Guide to Sigil Craft. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from Disinformation: http://disinfo.com/2012/12/a-beginners-guide-to-sigil-craft/
shot this for a while ago!!
Polyester 2014, shoot by Arvida Byström.
Amsterdam-based artist Cedric Laquieze (previously featured here) recently completed a fascinating new series of his exquisite taxidermy Fairies. These delicate sculptures are primarily composed of parts from many different insect species, but if you look closely you’ll notice bones, seeds and even a few scorpion parts as well.
Visit Cedric Laquieze’s blog for many additional images and to check out some of his other enchanting creations.
[via Cedric Laquieze]
Oh. my. god.
New Abercrombie & Fitch ad by Bruce Weber
Sculptural Fashion Designs by Nikoline Liv Andersen
Working on the intersection between fashion design and visual art, Danish fashion designer Nikoline Liv Andersen creates elaborate garments that are not meant to be worn. Instead, they are almost a stage for experimentation and for telling stories about human nature and our way of life. A graduate of The Danish Design School (2006), Liv Andersen who worked at the studio of John Galliano and Christian Dior in the context of a student internship, creates singular and meticulously crafted pieces of clothing that are also intricate sculptural works of art. The interplay between what is natural and what is artificial is a big part of her work, since she loves experimenting with materials and fabrics, always searching for new ways to transform artificial materials such as straws and nails into something that looks organic.