I’m going to be totally honest and say that the idea for this post is entirely based on the awesome title that my lovely Sam came up with when she started building this website for us several months ago. When I took it over, there were a number of “dummy” posts with really awesome titles and cool pictures, with a few paragraphs worth of random text characters (as if the cats had been walking on the keyboard, again…something that happens far too frequently at the Oasis, I must say…). Unfortunately, I was not able to use most of the amazing titles she came up with. This one, though, I’d immediately decided needed to be a thing. So…here we are.
We are magicians, and we both cut our “magical teeth” on the early formations of something known as Chaos Magic. A good many of the folks who’ll end up reading this probably already know what that is, but I’ll explain it briefly for those who don’t: Chaos Magic is a style of magic that emerged in the 70’s and was largely popularized by authors such as Peter J. Carroll, Ray Sherwin and Phil Hine (among many others). It’s primarily results-based magic and is based around a philosophy that suggests that there is no objective truth, that all truth is subjective. Thus, back in the day, Chaos Magicians would regular shift paradigms, jumping from one belief system or “truth” to another, depending on what they wanted to accomplish with which techniques. It used to be fairly common to see rituals that involved invocations to Mr. Spock, or Superman, or Gandalf the Grey. A big part of Chaos Magical practice was sigil magic. Although Chaos Magic looks a little different today than it did in the early 90’s when I stumbled upon it, the one constant has definitely been sigil magic. The reason for this is that it is extremely effective. And it’s effectiveness (and here’s where the title comes in), I believe, is due to it’s sheer simplicity.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of sigil magic in our regular magical practice. If I had to get rid of all of my magical practices and could only save three of them, sigils would be one of those three. The other two would be divination and meditation. There is very little that needs to be done that can’t be done through the use of these three techniques. Meditation to still the mind, divination to figure out what’s going on and whether or not it warrants a shifting of probabilities, and then, ultimately, some “squiggles” to create that shift.
So what of the squiggles. What am sigils, anyway? Where do they come from? How do you make them? More importantly, how do you make them work?? SHEESH. So many questions! Calm down out there, would ya? I’m getting to that…one thing at a time!
Sigils can come in a number of different forms, but since part of the title is “simplicity,” we’ll just…well…keep it simple. For our purposes we’re talking about a very specific type of sigil where…well, here…let me just send you over to Gordon White. Rather than having me plagiarize or try to reinvent the wheel, just head on over to Rune Soup. Gordon has written an amazing guide to sigil magic. His techniques are extremely effective and his is the method that we use, anyway. Be sure to say hi and let him know that Tom sent you…I’ll wait…
OK. Now, wasn’t that informative? This wasn’t supposed to be a “how to”, anyway… I wanted to talk about “simplicity and squiggles” and how these two things come together for me. You see, sigil magic is simplicity in action. A thought forms words, which form a group of seemingly random letters, which forms a seemingly random symbol, which, when activated, shifts probability in my favor. All of this flows together to cause changes that, when executed effectively, generally have a positive effect on my life. Although I can decide to ramp things up by invoking specific helping spirits, or timing it to certain a planetary placements, days of the week, etc., none of that is really necessary. At its root, it’s really just about creating an intention and then breaking that intention down into squiggles on paper, focusing for a few seconds, then forgetting about it all and walking away. The rest manages itself through “random coincidences’…et voila! Magic!
Simplicity, though, is key. Although simplicity can very accurately describe the process of creating and activating sigils, it is also important to embrace simplicity in composing your sigil statements. Too much detail spoils the work. It’s better to fire off multiple very simple intentions, rather than one giant all-encompassing statement. It’s important to break things down to their smallest parts. You may have a larger objective in mind, but as Gordon has often stated, you have to break things down to steps. What are all of the little steps that lead to the pinnacle of your desired outcome? Each of those steps becomes a very simplified statement and a separate sigil. These can then be combined into a “shoal” (see the article linked above) that addresses the larger goal.
I feel like there is a greater life lesson in this whole process. When Sam and I first got together, we had a lot of hurdles to get over. There were so many obstacles in our mutual path toward freedom that we would each often feel overwhelmed and one of us would start feeling as though the whole thing was hopeless. When that would happen, we knew it was because we were looking too much at the big picture. One or the other of us – usually me – would stop and say, “One step at a time.” This would remind us to stop, take a step back and focus on the next little task that we’d need to complete, knowing that each of these little steps brought us just a little closer to our eventual goal. To this day, we still fall back on that phrase to remind us that, when things start to look a little too big and complex, we need to simplify our perspective and just look at accomplishing the next little tasks right in front of us.