I think that the value of art as a form of magic, and as a way of performing magic, is often underestimated if not outright overlooked. The creative, free-form sigils posited by chaos magicians such as Peter Carol (Psychonaut, pp.20-22) – and so many others that I could not begin to name them here – are a step in the right direction, but they still rely on an assumed distinction between the process of designing the sigil and the process of charging and firing the sigil. This distinction, I think, cuts off the final product from a huge amount of energy and intention that the witch or magician is already putting into the project as a whole.
Part of this is a matter of intention: if one formulates the design of a sigil as a separate process from the charging of that sigil, the energy flow is truncated. The energy of intention that goes into the formulation is simply discarded: the sacrificed time and creative energy of the formulation of the most perfect phrase, the energy that went into distilling that phrase into a set of characters, the various drafts and permutations – be it by means of planetary squares or Chaotist symbol-making – that lead to the final product. If one simply views the process as a whole, however, one can transfer all of that energy to the final sigil, and have the Work half done before the circle is even cast.
I wonder if I’m making myself clear. I’m not trying to piss in anyone’s cereal. Let’s make this more specific. Let’s leave this theoretical bullshit behind and talk about what I’ve actually done.
Now, dear readers, you may recall that I’m in the process of setting up a new temple. On the first full moon, I laid the foundation and scaffolding. At the following dark moon, I built the frame and put up the walls. This week, at the Dark of the Moon, I installed the insulation, the first pieces of “furnature”, and – let’s not forget – some turrets.
I began by designing six sigils in the traditional manner: writing a statement, reducing it to its barest components, and – in all but one case – converting it to numbers and mapping it onto a planetary square. In this fashion, I produced two Martian, two Venusian, and one Jupiterian sigil.
…. and you get the idea. You can see the other three sigils below, but as they’re bound to my Name, they will be of little use to anyone else. (Although, if you really want to help bless me and my guests with harmony and companionship by putting them on your altar, you are a special kind of awesome.)
Having done this, I drew a picture first of my existing ward structure – remember the Pentagram Ward? – and added these sigils to it. Note that the Venusian sigils (green) and the Jupiterian (purple), are all anchored inside the wards, while the Martian are anchored outside. This is for two reasons: I don’t want either set confused about who they’re supposed to be working on, and to provide a certain degree of balance. The balance issue is also why I chose to make an equal number of Maritan and Venusian sigils: I don’t want a house where people get lost or into fights on the way over, or one where every party turns into an orgy.
The sixth sigil – the funny space-dude-looking-one – was made using Chaos Magic methodology, transforming the letters into a shape. This one helps keep my wards from draining me and my guests for power by syphoning off a small portion of the energy from every rite I perform here, in order to sustain the matrix. The elemental glyphs, and the sun, moon, mars, and venus symbols are also there as power sources.
The image you see above was drawn and colored in-Circle, after I spent the day designing the sigils themselves. The image as a whole was then further charged with the help of another witch during the Dark Moon Esbat, essentially by pouring energy into it. I will continue to charge this ward-matrix directly over the course of the waxing moon – performing rites to specifically establish each of the sigils in turn at the correct astrological time. In the meantime, my daily pratice will also fuel them, as will all my rites over the course of my time here.
Also note that there’s a lot of blank space around the edges. Blank space where I can add more sigils, more “lines of code” to the house wards as things become relevant.
This is the sort of the things I’m talking about when I talk about the “art” of magic.