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More on sigils

“Sigils are monograms of thought, for the government of energy”
~ A. O. Spare, The Book Of Pleasure

The principle of sigil magic is founded on the theory that the conscious mind inhibits the action of magic on the world, and so it must be sidestepped in order to work magic (parallels between this and shamanic trancework). The sigil does not have any inherent power; it is only the energy invested in them by their creator that imbues them with magical potential. This is dissimilar to the use of charms and talismans, in that the latter uses pre-existing symbols with pre-existing associations that are retained after use (Max suggests that the physical representation of the sigil be destroyed after use).

Sigil magic requires no spiritwork or deity requests, as it is entirely based on the theory of subconscious creation – the ability of the subconscious to rearrange reality.

The three main stages of sigil creation are:

  1. Setting intent
  2. Creating the graphical sigil
  3. Implanting the glyph into the subconscious

Setting intent

There are a number of rules to be followed while setting intent:

  • The statement must be in the present tense, otherwise the subconscious mind will continue to manifest it in the future.
  • The statement must be precise and totally unambiguous. Spend some time deliberately trying to misinterpret or subvert the phrase.
  • The phrase must be brief, but this should be balanced against the need for clarity.
  • The statement must be positive. The subconscious mind interprets everything positively and ignores words like ‘not’. ‘I will not..’ becomes ‘I will…’
  • A strong declaration at the beginning makes the whole phrase stronger. Max prefers to use “It is my will…”, but acknowledges that many Chaos magicians skip the initial statement altogether.

In Cutter’s video, the example given is I HAVE LUCID DREAMS WHILE SLEEPING. It is a positive phrase in the present tense, which is both clear and concise.

Creating the graphic

Write the phrase in block capitals, and remove duplicated letters: I HAVE LUCID DREAMS WHILE SLEEPING

Some techniques suggest breaking the phrase down into its elements  – IT IS MY WILL // TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS // WHILE SLEEPING – then remove the duplicate letters from each part – IT IS MY WILL // TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS // WHILE SLEEPING

This method is advisable for longer sentences, so that the sigil doesn’t end up as a mess of letters.

Using the letters, create a graphic design.Letters can be inverted, mirrored, rotated, resized, overlapping and/or connected until the design is satisfyingly impressive.

If the ‘component parts’ method was used, three proto-sigils should be created, which are then merged into the final graphic.

At this point, the paper with the sentence and list of letters written on it should be discarded, and the sigil refined and simplified until it no longer resembles a construct of letters, but a purely graphical device. A balance must be struck between making the sigil graphical and powerful looking, and making the meaning of the sigil obscure enough that the long-term memory cannot recall it. Containing it within a circle can help make it more concise and to retain the energy it is empowered with in the next step.

“A sigil whose meaning is remembered at the point is it charged is a sigil that won’t work”
~Joseph Max, on Spare’s theory

Both Cutter and Max suggests creating four or five sigils at the same time, then putting them out of sight for a week, or until you forget which is which (no peeking!), then charge them once the meaning is forgotten, although Ray Sherwin (Action Sigils) suggests that this fragments the energies used and is undesirable (Chaos magicians seem particularly bad for contradicting each other), preferring to create an Action sigil instead (see bibliography).

Another method of forgetting is to keep the sigil around where you will see it regularly, in such a fashion that it fades into the background and the conscious mind ignores it and forgets its meaning.


Here, Cutter and the Chaos magicians differ; for Cutter, the empowerment stage is the act of filling the glyph with energy and setting the mind to change the world around it. The Chaos magicians set the sigil into the subconscious in order for it act upon the magician. For my part, I’m not sure of the ‘right’ way, if they are both saying the same thing or even if it matters how it works, so long as it does (actually, it matters to me, but I will have to let it slide until I know more about magic and the mind).

The sigil is introduced to the subconscious while in a state of trance (here Max provides a list of techniques for achieving this, including yoga, drumming, chanting, dancing and sex). One of Spare’s suggestions for implanting the sigil  is to paint it on to a mirror, then stare through the mirror into your own eyes without blinking until the sigil disappears from view.

When meditating or chanting to induce a trance state, it is possible to create a specific mantra by rearranging the letters used to create the sigil into nonsense words.

Following Cutter’s advice, the act of creation itself is a powerful tool, and one that can be utilised to charge the sigil, although Max recommends destroying the created sigil afterwards. The time and attention spent on creating the sigil-image is a huge investment of energy and intent, and it becomes more important to use borders to contain the energy with the image. Any colours or symbolic elements used must be fully understood and used deliberately and with awareness of their meaning.


After the sigil is created and implanted/charged, it is important to disassociate yourself from the ritual. Max recommends abstaining from meditation, magical or craft work, discussing the ritual with anyone, sexual activity or philosophical thought for about three hours.

Of vital importance is to avoid the stimulus that caused you to create the sigil. A sigil with a long-term outcome (to earn more money, to improve a relationship) is unlikely to work if you constantly fret over having a low-paid job or an uncaring partner. If this is unavoidable, a different magical technique is probably required.

Avoid journalling the working, to encourage forgetfulness. It might be a good idea to record the intent before working, then put the diary away for a few months, or cover up the entry until a later date.

It is not necessary to repeat the procedure. In fact, according to Jan Fries (Visual Magick), repeating the process will negate it’s effects.


Boudicca’s Bard: Sigils is an e-book by Chaos magician Joseph Max.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 – Rob Cutter’s YouTube channel (now defunct)

Sigils, Servitors, and Godforms is part one of three of an essay by Mark Defrates

Action sigils by Ray Sherwin

Further reading:

Spare, Austin Osman;  The Book of Pleasure

Fries, Jan; Visual Magick

Carroll, Peter;  Liber Kaos

Crowley, Aleister;  Magick

Sound sigils by Kevin Max Krebs


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I’ve recently discovered Rob Cutter’s YouTube channel (username: Angeldeluz1970). He’s been inactive for 2 years, with no intention of returning, so I want to jot down some of his advice so I still have it if the videos get deleted for whatever reason.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Candle meditation

Set a piece of paper and a pencil in your meditation space.

Darken the room and light a candle.

Cutter suggests a birthday candle, as he has found that they burn for about ten minutes. As you wish to increase the length of the practice, increase the size of the candle.

Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths.


Watch the centre of the candle’s flame.

Focus on the top of the flame.

As you find your mind wandering, make a mark on the paper and return your attention to the flame.

This is intended to stop the  cycle of ‘Oh no, I just had a thought! Drat! That was a thought, too. And that. And that…’

As you practice, the number of marks you obtain will increase as you become more aware of your thoughts; eventually you will be able to school your mind and the marks will decrease in number.

Do not try to empty the mind – that’s a recipe for failure. As a wise master once said “Do or do not; there is no try”.

Cutter recommends doing this for ten minutes daily, followed by ten minutes of visualisation and ten of energy-raising, which seems reasonable enough.


I have tried this meditation twice now – once in the morning and once at night – and I find it unpleasant. Gazing at a flame for ten minutes leaves my eyes feeling strained and tired, even first thing after I wake, and neither attempt left me feeling as calm and relaxed as my regular breathing meditation

Perhaps calling it a ‘meditation’ is a misnomer. Concentration practice might be more accurate, but I still think that perhaps there is a way to increase my focus without killing my eyes.

EDIT – 13-Aug-2010:

This method is similar to the second stage of a Buddhist practice called ‘Trataka’.

The first stage of Trataka is fixing the gaze on a symbol (e.g.: the Om symbol, or a deity image). “The practice continues until the eyes begin to water, at which point they are closed, and relaxed.” (Wikipedia: Trataka, 13-Aug-2010).

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This post is out-of-date.

I have updated it and expanded it in More on sigils


I’ve recently discovered Rob Cutter’s YouTube channel (username: Angeldeluz1970). He’s been inactive for 2 years, with no intention of returning, so I want to jot down some of his advice so I still have it if the videos get deleted for whatever reason.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Sigils work on the principle of conscious creation – that the subconscious mind is responsible for the creation of the reality we experience on a day-to-day basis. This creation is most effective when it is not interfered with by the conscious mind.

To create a sigil, form a statement of desire.

In the video, the example given is I HAVE LUCID DREAMS WHILE SLEEPING.

The statement must be in the present tense, otherwise the subconscious mind will continue to manifest it in the future.

Using each letter once (per letter, not per occurrence), create a graphic design.

Letters can be inverted, mirrored, rotated, resized, overlapping and/or connected if desired

The sigil is basically a word puzzle that the subconscious will continue to chew on long after the conscious mind has forgotten it. This is ideal for subconscious creation, where the conscious mind will get in the way.

To facilitate the conscious mind in forgetting the meaning of the sigil, create four or five at the same time, then hide them for a week or until you forget which is which (no peeking!). If they look similar enough that you can’t distinguish between them after a week, they may be even more effective.

Although it may be possible to get effects by just leaving the sigils lying around, a better method is to imbue them with energy via energy-raising or meditation.

A concentration meditation (candle flame meditation, breathing exercises etc) will suffice for this, using deep breathing to raise energy whilst looking at the sigil.

Of more interest to me personally is the practice of raising energy through creative practices.

The time and attention spent on creating the sigil-image is a huge investment of energy and intent

Use borders to contain the energy with the image

Use colours and symbolic or graphic elements purposefully, aware of their deeper meanings

Use glyphs (eg: Ogham or Runes) to imbue characteristics into the image

After imbuing the sigils with energy, regular review will keep them in mind and enhance their effects.

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The first mention of Tapping the Bone I heard was in the Unnamed Path podcast (episode 2), where it was suggested as a meditation method for contacting the Ancestors, using a bone or skull as a medium. Animal bones and skulls are acceptable for use in this ritual, apparently. Hyperion suggests lighting a candle and ‘activating’ the bone to call the Ancestors, then using your heart (love/passion) to reach beyond the veil whilst meditating. By observing your thoughts, it is possible to hear the Ancestors’ voices or to see visions they inspire. This method of spirit contact is not as vivid as a shamanic journey, but is a more conscious event.

A brief bit of further research reveals more information:

Tapping the Bone is about tapping into the Ancestral (racial?) memories which are said to be stored within our bones. The Canny Crafting website alleges that this is because bones and quartz crystal have a similar structure and properties. I would look this up if I wanted to pursue this avenue any further, but I am aware that bones represent the alchemical element of earth in the human body, and that will suffice for now.

The skull is usually placed on top of the Stang with a candle placed between the horns then lit.  Then we call on the Ancestors and breathe Ond (life-force) onto the skull using three breaths, the last breath should be taking in deeply and then forced out with a haahh sound, and feel the Ancestors take possession of the skull, then you can sit in your compass-ring and just let thoughts come to you, any ideas or thoughts that come can be empathic and may well be an Ancestral Guardian guiding you or you can ask the Ancestor for help in your craftings.” [1]

The Craft of the Wise [2] contains a section on Tapping the Bone, referencing the works of Peter Paddon and Robert Artisson and providing a guided mediation (‘Ancestral Meditation’ from the Coven Book of Ways):

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing – in and out, in and out. With every breath in, feel yourself calm and at peace. With every breath out, feel the tension of the day drain away. Your heartbeat becomes slower, your body becomes heavier. Breathe in peace, breathe out tension. All thoughts of the day and other distractions leave your mind as you become completely relaxed and focused. There is no rush. When you feel completely calm and relaxed, you can begin.

See yourself stood upon the crest of a hill, breathing in the cool, refreshing air. You fel revitalised by the breeze and admire the beauty of the rolling fields beneath you. Above you soar birds of prey, calling to one another across the valley.

To the right of you lies a path through the long grass, meandering gently down the slope, towards an ancient yew grove . As you approach, you marvel at the yew trees, whose low, damp branches have entwined into one another over the ages. The canopy of branches seem to be arching now, and invite you to enter the forest.

You step into the forest of yews, safe in the knowledge that you are protected , and nothing can harm you here. You follow the path which leads beneath the shady boughs above ; you touch the gnarled bark of the yews as you start to walk deeper into the forest, feeling the wisdom of this place resonate through your soul.

Soon you see that the forest is beginning to thin out to a clearing, revealing a mighty yew in its centre. This yew is the oldest in the woods and is home to the ancient spirits. You marvel at the size of the tree, which dwarfs the others around it. Its roots are strong and reach deep into the earth.

Now you sense someone else is present in this quite forest glade, and watch as a figure begins to step out from behind the mighty yew. This is your ancestor – he or she has been waiting for you.

You approach the tree and greet this person. You sit with your ancestor, as they recall tales of the past and reveal wisdom to you that will aid you on your spiritual path. Listen carefully while your ancestor speaks.

Now he or she offers you a gift, a small stone with a hole running through the centre. It is a Hag Stone, a tool of otherworldly wisdom, which your ancestor places in your palm. Thank them for your gift and, if you have any questions, ask them now.

After a time, your ancestor gestures that it is time for you to leave. He or she walks back behind the ancient yew tree and becomes part of the forest once again.

Now, when you are ready, the image of the trees begins to fade away and you start to feel yourself returning to this world. When you are ready, open your eyes.

The guided meditation is very different to the previous techniques, and I’m not altogether confident about doing them, except as a visualisation exercise. I will give the guided meditation a go, but I always have doubts about whether I am speaking with spirits, or just my imagination. I suppose, if the knowledge of the ancestors is in my bones, I should be able to access it subconsciously and guided meditation is as good a technique as any.


[1] Canny Crafting
[2] Craft of the Wise: A Practical Guide to Paganism and Witchcraft; Bramshaw, Vikki

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I’ve listened to the first two episodes of The Unnamed Path and, despite being outside its target demographic, I’m getting a bit more out of it than I thought I would. Also, each episode is half an hour long, so it’s less of an epic than Why Shamanism Now? or Standing Stone and Garden Gate.

Summary of Episode 1 and Episode 2:

The Unnamed Path is a new spiritual path aimed at Men Who Love Men (MWLM). It comprises four paths:

  • Shamanism
  • Magic/prophecy
  • Energy Healing
  • Deathwalking

As expected, The Unnamed Path defines shamanism as a shifting of consciousness to communicate and create relationships with spirits and the divine and retrieve knowledge from the SSC to use in the OSC. As a non-linear process, it is opposed to Magic and Prophecy/Divination (excluding scrying, which is more shamanic), which are logical, cerebral and linear. They use relationships between the seeker, their spirits and the divine in order to make the seeker’s will manifest.

Deathwalking seems like standard psychopomp work – counselling the dying, assisting the dead with moving on, mediumship and the like.

Energy healing on the Unnamed Path is practised through the use of sigils implanted into the body by the Ancestors of MWLM after an initiation. These are unique to MWLM, and enable the bearer to channel energy from the spirit world to the patient, who intuitively uses it to find balance within themself. Hyperion (the show’s presenter) has found that they will not work for any outside the MWLM tribe, due to the unique fashion that MWLM are able to love.

There is a similarity here between the implantation of the sigils and the Greater Initiation described at the end of Conway’s By Oak Ash and Thorn, but in the latter case, the sigils were replaced by stones.

The seeker will eventually become drawn to one particular path over time, and the Ancestral tribe of MWLM has told Hyperion that the traditional roles of MWLM in ancient times (approx. Stone/Bronze Age) were as healers, counsellors, mediators and sacred sex workers (bringing people closer to the divine through sacred sex). I have heard previously that shamanic practice requires the practitioner to ‘walk between two worlds’, even in the material realm, and homosexuality is certainly an accepted definition of this.

The main spiritual practices of the Unnamed Path are journeywork, inspiration, meditation and spirit communication.

Suggested reading: Two Flutes Playing: Spiritual Journey for Gay Men


The ancestors are defined as anyone who has ever been a human in the past, present or future, and may be considered a vast tome of information on human experience. This definition depends on an understanding that our perception of time is an illusion, founded on our linear perspective of reality. The only thing that can be said to exist is the present, and all other times are actually the same time.

Ancestors have a vested interest in our wellbeing, as reincarnation is the journey of all souls, and the humans that exist now comprise their present experience of humanity. TBH, I didn’t really follow this line of thought, but I gather that the Ancestors are concerned about the state of the world they will live in when they are reincarnated. I should probably ask my Ancestors about this issue.

There are the three standard realms:

  • Upper world: Residence of the Shining Ones and spirit guides
  • Middle World: Physical realm
  • Lower World: Place of rest and repose for spirits who are recently deceased.

After prolonged residence in the Lower World, spirits are amalgamated into a great blend of Humanity. On occasion, spirits retain their individuality; these spirits are known as the Mighty Dead, and distinguish themselves as great heroes or leaders, with artistic or spiritual distinction or if they experienced true love in their lifetimes.

The Mighty Dead guide and assist the living on their journey through life via spirit contact and divination. They have a greater perspective of events and can advise without bias. Asking the Ancestors is much like asking a trusted parent or elder for advice; they can answer with the benefit of their own life’s wisdom and at a distance from the issue.

Making alliances on the spirit plane can open doorways to facilitate events on the physical one. The Ancestors are happy to do this, as this elevates them to the realm of Spirit Guides. This contact and alliance is forged through shamanic journeys , divination or scrying and “tapping the bone” – using a bone or skull (animal is acceptable) to reach out to the Ancestors.

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Witchvox – Magick and Science
I like a scientific explanation for things – I cannot get behind things that require me to ‘take someone’s word for it’. If I can’t do it or see it done, or if you can’t at least explain how it’s done, I’m sceptical, to say the least.

“What if the very act of imagining, visualizing, or having an expectation of an outcome, caused an actual change in the matter and energy around you?”
I’m not sure E=mc^2 is the best example of the theory, but the idea behind the essay is a valid one.

When observation of an experiment affects the outcome, is it unreasonable to suggest that the subject must have an awareness of being observed? Even when the subject is a subatomic particle? I don’t think it is.
(Sentience is not implied, but awareness or consciousness is at least plausible.)

I don’t think the particle knows ‘whether to appear as a particle or a wave’, as that implies a degree of intelligence that I’m currently disinclined to attach to a sub-atomic particle, but expectation can certainly influence outcome.

If that’s the case, the mind seems to be able to affect the physical world and, if so, perhaps magic isn’t so implausible.

The Matter Myth – Dramatic discoveries that challenge our understanding of physical reality – Paul Davies and John Gribbin

The Mind of God – Paul Davies

The Cosmic Blueprint – Paul Davies

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkings

*The Eagles Quest – A physicist finds scientific truth at the heart of the shamanic world – Fred Allen Wolf

Parallel Universes – Fred Allen Wolf

*The Spiritual Universe – How Quantum Physics proves the existence of the soul – Fred Allen Wolf

Taking the Quantum Leap – Fred Allen Wolf

The Big Bang Never Happened – Eric J. Lerner

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Now we have the house, I’m looking into cleansing rituals.


Jewellery can be cleansed by soaking the jewellery in water and a little bit of salt. The water and salt is prayed over so the divine blesses the jewellery and cleanses it. It should be placed where the sun and the moon can purify the jewellery with their rays of energy.
Jewellery can be buried so the earth absorbs the negativity that is left in the jewellery. I suggest doing it in a pot so the jewellery can be found easily. Prayer again is used to help the blessed energies of the elements to clear the energies. Occasionally there are objects that cannot seem to be cleansed. If you have an object where the energies will not clear up and it is jewellery never wear it.

Antique vases, bowls, and other objects that have negativity can have salt placed in them where it will not harm them. The salt will absorb the negative energies, as it is sacred earth. Furniture is a little more difficult. I suggest a mixture of water and Chinese Floor Wash. There are many voodoo washes for the floor. They all have different purposes but all of them can be used as a cleansing mixture. Herb teas of protective herbs can also be used for cleansing. A weak solution should be used so it does not stain or discolour the furniture or items to be cleansed.

The cleansing should be done with prayers being said no matter what is used. Prayer energizes and removes negative energies. Spray bottles can be used to spray the objects before they are brought into the house.

Herbs that are good for cleansing objects are rosemary, marjoram, thyme, dill, basil, and lavender. All of these may be made into a tea. Crystals that clear objects of negative energies are Selenite, Blue Kyanite, Citrine, and Black Tourmaline. All of these crystals absorb energies. Certain Flower essences are good for purifying the energies of objects. The list of things that can be used to cleanse energies can be endless.

All prayers should mention or have the person saying the prayers focused on cleansing and blessing the object and everywhere it is present.


Salt water can cause damage to objects, so I’ve also looked into alternatives:

Suggested Methods for Cleansing Crystals, Gems, Jewellery, and Pendulums:

The Sun and Moon: Place your gems, crystals, pendulums, jewellery, all types of objects, in a place where they will be fully exposed to the energizing rays of the sun and moon. Even if the day is cloudy or you cannot see the moon, their rays will energize the stones as long as they are directly exposed to these elements of nature. They will normally be cleansed within 24 hours of exposure.

However, stones such as black tourmaline which are being used to deflect negative energies or help release negative energies in your physical and energetic bodies, may require up to 48 hours to become fully cleansed and regenerated.

Stones such as aquamarine and amethyst will fade in the sun so you will have to use another method for cleansing and regenerating these gemstones.

The Earth: Place your gems, crystals, jewellery, whatever, in the earth, either directly into the earth or you can place the gems and crystals into a cloth covering, preferably a natural fabric such as cotton or wool or silk. Leave the gem or crystal buried for at least 24 hours to ensure that they become fully re-energized. If possible, find a spot where the soil is not being spread with chemicals through fertilizers or pesticides. This cleanses all negative energies and re-energizes the stones.

Smudging With White Sage: Take some white sage and begin to burn it until a good strong smoke is coming from your sage. Hold the crystal, gem, pendulum, or piece of jewellery in this smoke for at least one minute and preferably three or four minutes. This clears all negative energies that have become attached to this stone but does not energize the gem or crystal. To re-energize the stone, place it in a window so it can be exposed to the rays of the sun and moon. Remember, they re-energize even when it’s cloudy.

White Sage is the only herb that I use to cleanse. Others may recommend other herbs but I find that White Sage guarantees that the cleansing will be deep and complete.

Cleansing By Using Your Intention: For those who are practised in using intent to make energetic changes, place the crystals or gems in front of you, focus your mental energies upon these stones, and ask the powers of the Universe to cleanse them of all negative energies and to re-energize your stones for their maximum potential. This method however requires much concentration and focus and you need to practice for some time to ensure whatever you are trying to clear is actually cleared. And please remember to thank the Universe for doing this beautiful work for you.

Using Another Crystal: You can place the gems, crystals, jewellery, pendulums etc. you would like to cleanse on another crystal, preferably a large, and I mean large, quartz crystal cluster. This will clear negative energies and will re-energize your crystals. However, you must cleanse and re-energize the large quartz crystal cluster regularly to ensure it retains its cleansing and re-energizing powers. Some people believe that negative energies can be cleansed off pieces of jewellery by placing this jewellery on an amethyst stone. I find that this approach has very limited results, depending on the amount of negative energy on the jewellery and the energy of the amethyst.

Running Water: If you live where you have access to good clear well water that is guaranteed to be free of chemicals, or running water from a creek or river that you know is not polluted, place your crystals and gems in a small container, and let the water run over them, preferably for at least two hours. This will cleanse and re-energize your gems and crystals. Please do not use tap water, since it is full of chemicals. Be careful though because certain stones will actually dissolve in water, e.g. Red Selenite.

Salt Water: Some people suggest using salt water but I personally find this method to be a harsh and abrasive method and never would cleanse my gems, crystals, pendulums or jewellery in such a severe solution. Remember that your gems, crystals, metals, and even synthetic materials are alive and have an inherent intelligence. You need to treat them with tender and loving kindness. How would you like to be washed in salt water? Never do to a crystal or gem what you would not like done to yourself.

Source: Witchvox article: Cleansing Second Hand Furniture and Jewelry
M. K. Projects

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