by Ray Sherwin
(from a TOPY-issued newsletter)
One of the problems, perhaps the only problem, with the process of sigilisation as it has been developed over the last seventy years or so is the disassociation of the intention and the operation. The pioneers of sigils have always maintained that it was essential, once the sigil had been designed and reified (using whatever method), that the operator should at least forget having done the working for this purpose and, if at all possible, forget the sigil itself after it had been destroyed or consigned to the realms of magical (unaware) consciousness. For this reason some sigilisors have adopted the scheme of making sigils and storing them with many other sigils, withdrawing particular ones at random and empowering them in ignorance of their intention. This has the required effect of separating the intended result from the working but also fragments the energies used. It is a useful experiment but little more.
There are two kinds of sigilisors - those who have been doing it for a while and those who are just starting to experiment. The first group tends to experience few difficulties excepting those of personal style and elegance of technique. The second group, largely through unsureness, suffers from more tangible difficulties and it was largely on their behalf that experiments with action sigils were undertaken.
The starting premise for this scheme of sigils is that the intellectual input usually involved in designing the sigil is entirely removed. This requires two magical operations rather than one. These two operations compartmentalize the creation of the sigil into the first ritual and the empowerment of it into the second thereby making it easier to empower the sigil without consciously restimulating memories of its intention and, since this method of creating the sigil produces an abstract rather than a symbol form it becomes far easier to enter the state of positive non-desiring and to work 'without lust of result'.
It should be noted at this point that I have only experimented with this technique on a group basis and that I have done no solo working with it although, in theory at least. It should make little difference except insofar as the note on abandonment of individual identity (see 12, below) is concerned. To keep a short story short I now resort to ritual rubric.
1. The operators carefully define the intention of the sigil.
2. An incense is made and is used for this working only.
3. Music is created and recorded and is to be used for this working only. (see also 10, below).
4. A large blank canvas is attached firmly to the temple wall.
5. Pigments appropriate to the work in hand are chosen and placed in open vessels near the canvas.
6. Special attention should be made to lighting whether that be of the traditional type, in which case many candles or lamps should be used, or whether it be stroboscopes and other mind-bending gadgets of evil empire.
7. Incense, music and lighting should be arranged so that, once lit or turned on, they need no further attention for the remainder of the rite.
8. The opening: A rite within a rite put together by concensus of those concerned. It's functions are:
- To set the mood of the rite.
- To begin the rite.
- To forcefully remind the operators of the intention of the rite.
- To afford an opportunity for a strong sacrament to be shared.
9. A period of silence in which each summons his/her allies, gods, demons or whatever.
10. The music starts. The operator who puts the tape together must bear in mind the kinds of activities that will take place over it (as follows) and must ensure that the tape is at least as long as the rite from this point onwards.
11. In order to bring a gnostic state upon themselves the participants begin to whirl. This is a technique in itself and must be practised several, or even many times before it is used ritually. It is best to start slowly and establish a rhythm, gradually building up speed until the arms rise by the force generated. This speed should be maintained while attention is focused on the object of the rite, eyes open. Experienced exponents might intone a mantra at the same time. The likely duration of this process is subject to four variables:
- The strength of the sacrament
- The effect created by the lighting, incense and music.
- The proclivities of the individual participants.
- Chaos, but less than one hour would be a waste. Whirling is a technique most often used to induce the ability to walk on hot coals. If you feel that you are ready to that you have achieved the desired state. (Prior to using whirling in ritual it is useful to set up a firewalk to demonstrate to oneself the effectiveness of this technique). The gnostic state has been entered when awareness of the body disappears and self is centred in or totally exterior to the body.
12. A difficulty with this kind of rite is in arranging the transition between one activity and another, especially when each individual must achieve the required mindstate in his/her own time. This means that the transition is graded and that for some time two activities are taking place concurrently.
13. "Each in turn as he was taken" stops whirling (not suddenly to avoid dizziness) and maintaining concentration on the object of the rite, approaches the canvass, smears Body with paint and transfers this to the canvass using any and all body parts except the hands and feet which leave too recognisable and symbolic an imprint. As other participants join in this activity all ideas of individualness in terms of Body and Self are surrendered to the notion of one Body, one Self, one organism with intention. There should be no difference in the minds of the participants between my Body and your Body, this Self and that Self. It is all one Body no matter whose the hand that smears or the thigh that receives the paint. This submission, this temporary abandonment of individual identity has four advantages:
- In the absence of the individual Self there is no internal dialogue.
- In the absence of the individual Self attention can be easily concentrated.
- Paradoxically, in the absence of individual Self exteriorisation is facilitated because one has abandoned the notion of Self owning a particular Body to which it must necessarily remain attached. Exterior to Body is the ideal condition in which to create magical effects.
- In the absence of individual Self one automatically forgets that one is performing ritual and this leaves one free to operate in present time, no longer concerned about or constrained by the structure of the rite. This is an excellent bonus. It is what every practical ritualist seeks to achieve.
14. This part of the ritual should go on for as long as the participants can hold their concentration and until everyone is satisfied with the operation.
15. An ending, previously designed through consensus, is performed. It's functions are:
- To ensure that all participants are centred in their Bodies.
- To shut down concentration on the object of the rite.
- To bring the rite to an end.
16. The ritualists leave the temple, bathe and relax in one another's company. The first rite is finished, an abstract sigil having been produced, and there should now be an interval of some days, if not a week or two, before the second rite.
17. There are many possible starting points for the ritual of empowerment and these depend mainly on the participants' preferred methods of working. They may prefer, for example, to work with the sigil itself, although its physical size may be somewhat inconvenient in terms of practicality. They might use a large colour photograph or even a colour intensified video image. Whatever, the ritualists now resort to their favourite method of hurling the sigil into Chaos in order to activate it. The only restriction on them is not to give the purpose of the sigil any consideration and the temple should be furnished with this in mind.