GRANT MORRISON POP MAGIC! Lifts the 7 veils and shows you the tits of the Infinite. SIGILS In the Pop Magic! Style, the sigil (sij-ill) is the first and one of the most effective of all the weapons in. Jun 6, 2017 - Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic book writer and artist, best-known for his nonlinear narratives and counter-cultural leanings. This is the entirety of Gra.
- (As an experiment, I designed and 'charged' this sigil to cast a spell upon YOU, the person reading this. No, I'm not going to tell you what it's for.)
One of the most popular (and the easiest) aspects of Chaos magic is sigil magic – designing and drawing magical shapes as a way of 'casting a spell.' Sigils have been around since the earliest days, and Chaos magic simply took the idea of a sigil and simplified it to its basic concept. The popularity of sigil magic stems from its simplicity: it is so basic that anyone can do it. You simply design a sigil to match your desire or intent, activate it, destroy it, and let it happen.
In Chaos magic, a sigil is essentially an aid to focusing. When I meditate, it is convenient for me to focus upon the image of a sigil, as a way to help me shift my consciousness and block out input from my environment. Focusing on a sigil is a way to make it easier to achieve gnosis. A sigil is designed as a way of symbolizing the intent of meditation. After all, there's a reason why we're engaging in meditation in the first place – are we just trying to calm our bodies down, or are we actually looking to achieve a 'magical' effect? It's easier and more precise to focus our minds on a single image – a sigil – than to try to envision a phrase or a sentence such as 'I will score with a chick tonight, huh-huh huh-huh.'
In his Disinfo presentation and his popular essay Pop Magic, Chaos magician and comic book author Grant Morrison describes sigils in this manner:
- 'In the Pop Magic! style, the sigil (sij-ill) is the first and one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of any modern magician.
- 'The sigil technique was reconceptualized and modernized by Austin Osman Spare in the early 20th century and popularized by Chaos Magicians and Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth in the 19 hundred and 80s.
- 'A sigil is a magically charged symbol like this one:
- 'The sigil takes a magical desire or intent – let's say 'IT IS MY DESIRE TO BE A GREAT ACTOR' (you can, of course, put any desire you want in there) and folds it down, creating a highly-charged symbol. The desire is then forgotten. Only the symbol remains and can then be charged to full potency when the magician chooses.
- 'First remove the vowels and the repeating letters to leave a string of consonants – TSMYDRBGC.
- 'Now start squashing the string down, throwing out or combining lines and playing with the letters until only an appropriately witchy-looking glyph is left. When you're satisfied it's done, you may wind up with something like this:
- 'To charge your sigil you must concentrate on its shape, and hold that form in your mind as you evacuate all other thoughts.
- 'Almost impossible, you might say, but the human body has various mechanisms for inducing brief 'no-mind' states. Fasting, spinning, intense exhaustion, fear, sex, the fight-or-flight response; all will do the trick. I have charged sigils while bungee jumping, lying dying in a hospital bed, experiencing a total solar eclipse and dancing to Techno. All of these methods proved to be highly effective but for the eager beginner nothing beats the WANK TECHNIQUE.'
- (For more about the WANK TECHNIQUE, read Morrison's Pop Magic!.) There are many online dissertations on sigil magic, such as these: 
What I do is simply concentrate on the image of the sigil as I meditate, using the steps and tricks described earlier, until I feel I've achieved gnosis. At that point I can then forget the sigil and leave it buried in my subconscious. If you believe in magical 'energy,' this phase of the meditation would then be described as 'charging' the sigil with magical energy and activating it. Chaos magicians often say they are 'activating' a sigil or 'releasing it into the subconscious.' At this particular moment, we focus our belief that the sigil has been activated, and the 'spell' has been cast.
Chaos magicians also frequently destroy the sigil in order to assist with forgetting it, and to impart the sigil into the subconscious.
Because I consider such situations as walking serenely and cooking as meditation, I've concentrated on sigils while performing these acts. I've even burned sigils in my cast iron pans, because I like the dramatic effect and the irony (pun intended) of such a theatrical and flashy act.
Because the sigil only has meaning for you, then it will work best if you design in it a manner only you can understand. Above all, do not tell anyone else the exact meaning of your sigil until you are positive that the effect has worked…and maybe not even then. Some Chaos practitioners believe all sigils should be kept a secret until after they have been effected, but I personally feel that you can design a sigil with the intent of making it public, such as the one placed at the top of this page. Even then, though, the sigil should remain mysterious in order to maintain its power. Remember, one of the most powerful aspects of Chaos magic is the power of belief. If a person believes the sigil has an effect, then it is much more likely that it will – whether that includes you, or the subject or target of your 'spell.' Even in the 21st century, 'witchcraft' still causes hysteria and panic in much of Africa – not because it is effective, but because large numbers of people believe it is effective. (See also: Witch Hunters.) Until the vast majority of Africa no longer believes in witchcraft, incantations such as sigil magic will continue to have an effect…as it will on anyone who believes that it will be effective. That includes you, and me: if I believe this sigil will be effective, then I will look for proof (even subconsciously) that it was effective until I discover it. (Note the similarity between this and many ludicrous conspiracy theories, Creationism, and other areas that rely largely on faith and belief.)
Does it work? That's the mystery of magic: if the sigil has any effect at all, there's no way to actually point to a piece of evidence and say, 'THAT is the result of the sigil.' As with other forms of magical reading, you can only wait for the event to occur, and suddenly experience a moment of hindsight when you realize that, yes, this sequence of events coincides with what you had designed into your sigil.
As I've stated, I am not a believer in magical 'energies' or outside forces. I consider the sigil to be an aid in meditation, one that I can focus on in order to better attain the state of gnosis and achieve the magical effect I am aiming to place upon myself. Even Peter J. Carroll has written and stated that 'magic,' as practiced by Chaos magicians, is a subtle affecting of probability and possibility in order to turn the tables more in the magician's favor. The primary aspect of the sigil is to place the intent of the spell into one's subconscious – and as such, it may possibly have the placebo effect of causing the spell caster to work that much harder towards achieving the goal (or the intent) of the cast spell…and thus provide the tipping of balance with the result of actually achieving said goal or intent. And then…well, what do you know? The spell worked!
A mantric sigil can also be created as a corollary to a drawn sigil. This is essentially a word or words (mantra), formed by arranging the letters used in the creation of the sigil. This is typically a nonsense word with no actual meaning or language behind it, other than the intent of the sigil itself. As with a drawn sigil, this magical phrase only has meaning for you, so it does not have to be spoken in an actual language. But as with the creation of a magical alphabet, some truly ambitious Chaos magicians may take the effort of creating their own artificial magical language especially for spell casting. (Shades of Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea.) The phrase Mod Externa, as seen on the front page of this very Web site, Cast Iron Chaos, is a sigil I developed myself. As I was designing a sigil behind a certain meaning related especially to myself, I suddenly discovered that the letters in my intent could be condensed into those two words, 'mod externa' – and immediately upon forming these words, I had a sensation that this was right. It was correct. It was a moment of magic! I felt that this phrase, 'mod externa' (which is not Latin, despite the resemblance to Latin), was there for me, and so I took it and used it as the motto of my Web site. The meaning of this phrase applies to me alone; it was a spell I had cast especially for my own benefit.
This application of mantric sigils can also be applied to Fotamecus, the time elemental created by Chaos magicians and then released onto the Internet for others to invoke. I've invoked him myself, especially when taking part in long drives in my car.
- Here's an example of one of the best successes I've had so far as a Chaos magician: the night of New Year's Eve, December 31, 2011. After casting a sigil for success that evening, I wrote the following in my blog the next day, New Year's Day: 'New Year's Day, 2012. This year has already kicked ass over 2011. Last night I had the most fun I've had in years on New Year's Eve, and magic was definitely involved: the exact kind of esoteric and impossible-to-pinpoint magic that I've seen since I embraced Chaos. For this weekend's festivities, I engaged in a summoning ritual and I successfully conjured a cybernetic rabbit spirit from the future, who manifested in many strange and unusual ways. The most unusual, and positive, aspect of this came when I designed and cast a sigil with the intent having an effect that very evening, a scant few hours after it was cast. Rather than phrasing it as a desire, I took a chance and made it a declaration: instead of 'My desire is…' I simply stated my intention 'Something Unexpected Will Happen Tonight' and sigilized it. I then burned the sigil in a cast iron pan to project it into the subconscious. I may be an anthropomorphic cat at heart, but last night the rabbit was my spirit guide: I followed the white rabbit, and even managed to engage in Kirlian photography that showed the aura of the rabbit. I followed the rabbit and let the magic happen, and the result was that last night turned out to be the best fucking New Year I've had in many a year. I made several interesting acquaintances and met one person who I do hope will be more than just an acquaintance. The night's magic began with cast iron and ended with cast iron – true cooking magic. This makes me happy. Some people work magic with candles and cauldrons and pentagrams drawn on the floor. Cooking is my magic. My rituals involve cast iron over a blazing hot stove, wielding metal implements of culinary creation. The results of my cooking magic are slowly manifesting, but I am indeed gaining experience and confidence. Not the least of which was the way I cooked wonderful bacon two separate times in the space of five hours. I will be a beginning cook for a long time to come – but I am now an experienced beginning cook. I am achieving gnosis through my cooking.'
YouTube:Simple Chaos Magick
YouTube:Sigil Magick & Brain Entrainment - Create Change Using Symbolic Representations of Intent
- Proceed to Chaos Magic, Part III: Cooking Magic
- Proceed to Chaos Magic, Part IV: Summoning Demons and Other Fun Entities
- Return to Chaos Magic, Part I: A Cynical Look at Practicing Chaos Magic
This is an excerpt from Grant Morrison's 'Pop Magic!' -- a how-to guide for sigils published in DISINFO's 2008 Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult.
POP MAGIC! is Magic! For the People. Pop Magic! is Naked Magic! Pop Magic! lifts the 7 veils and shows you the tits of the Infinite.
Katy Perry, Dark Horse, feat. Juicy J (2014)
THINKING ABOUT IT
All you need to begin the practice of magic is concentration, imagination and the ability to laugh at yourself and learn from mistakes. Some people like to dress up as Egyptians or monks to get themselves in the mood; others wear animal masks or Barbarella costumes. The use of ritual paraphernalia functions as an aid to the imagination only.
Anything you can imagine, anything you can symbolize, can be made to produce magical changes in your environment.
FIRST STEPS ON THE PATH
Magic is easy to do. Dozens of rulebooks and instruction manuals are available in the occult or “mind, body and spirit” sections of most modern bookstores. Many of the older manuals were written during times when a powerful and vindictive Church apparatus was attempting to suppress all roads to the truth but most of them are generally so heavily coded and disguised behind arcane symbol systems that it's hardly worth the bother—except for an idea of how other people used THEIR imaginative powers to interpret non-ordinary contacts and communications.
Master's of Darkness: Aleister Crowley, The Wickedest Man in the World, Directed by Neil Rawles, 2002.
Aleister Crowley—magic's Picasso—wrote this and I can't say it any better than he did:
“In this book it is spoken of the sephiroth and the paths, of spirits and conjurations, of gods, spheres, and planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things, certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them.”
This is the most important rule of all, which is why it's here at the start. As you continue to learn and develop your own psychocosms and styles of magical practice, as you encounter stranger and stranger denizens of the Hellworlds and Hyperworlds, you'll come back to these words of wisdom again and again with a fresh understanding each time.
HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN
Simple. Declare yourself a magician, behave like a magician, practice magic every day.
Be honest about your progress, your successes and failures. Tripping on 500 mushrooms might loosen your astral sphincter a little but it will not generally confer upon you any of the benefits of the magic I'm discussing here. Magic is about what you bring BACK from the Shining Realms of the Uberconscious. The magician dives into the Immense Other in search of tips and hints and treasures s/he can bring home to enrich life in the solid world. And if necessary, Fake it till you make it.
HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN 2
Read lots of books on the subject to get in the mood. Talking about magic with non-magicians is like talking to virgins about shagging. Reading about magic is like reading about sex; it will get you horny for the real thing but it won't give you nearly as much fun.
Reading will give you a feel for what's crap and what can usefully be adapted to your own style. Develop discrimination. Don't buy into cults, aliens, paranoia, or complacency. Learn whom to trust and whom to steer clear of.
HOW TO BE A MAGICIAN 3
Put down the books, stop making excuses and START.
Coil, Windowpane, 1990. Video by Peter Christopherson.
Magical consciousness is a particular way of seeing and interacting with the real world. I experience it as what I can only describe as a 'head-click,' a feeling of absolute certainty accompanying a perceptual shift which gives real world transactions the numinous, uncanny feeling of dreams. Magical consciousness is a way of experiencing and participating with the local environment in a heightened, significant manner, similar to the effects of some drug trips, Salvador Dali's 'Paranoiac/critical' method, near death experiences, etc. Many apparently precognitive and telepathic latencies become more active during periods of magical consciousness. This is the state in which tea leaves are read, curses are cast, goals are scored, poems are written.
Magical Consciousness can be practiced until it merges with and becomes everyday consciousness. Maintained at these levels it could interfere with your lifestyle unless you have one which supports long periods of richly associative thought.
As a first exercise in magical consciousness spend five minutes looking at everything around you as if ALL OF IT was trying to tell you something very important. How did that light bulb come to be here exactly? Why does the murder victim in the newspaper have the same unusual surname as your father-in-law? Why did the phone ring, just at that moment and what were you thinking when it did?
What's that water stain on the wall of the building opposite? How does it make you feel?
Five minutes of focus during which everything is significant, everything is luminous and heavy with meaning, like the objects seen in dreams.
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, 1665. (Later reprinted in Francis Barrett's well-known ceremonial handbook The Magus in 1801.)
In the Pop Magic! style, the sigil (sij-ill) is the first and one of the most effective of all the weapons in the arsenal of any modern magician.
The sigil technique was reconceptualized and modernized by Austin Osman Spare in the early 20th century and popularized by Chaos Magicians and Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth in the 19 hundred and 80s.
A sigil is a magically charged symbol like this one:
The sigil takes a magical desire or intent—let's say “IT IS MY DESIRE TO BE A GREAT ACTOR” (you can, of course, put any desire you want in there) and folds it down, creating a highly-charged symbol. The desire is then forgotten. Only the symbol remains and can then be charged to full potency when the magician chooses.
Forgetting the desire in its verbal form can be difficult if you've started too ambitiously. There's no point charging a sigil to win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. Start with stuff that's not too emotionally involving.
I usually sigilize to meet people I'm interested in, or for particular qualities I'll need in a given situation. I've also used sigils for healing, for locating lost objects and for mass global change. I've been using them for 20 years and they ALWAYS work.
For me, the period between launching the sigil and its manifestation as a real world event is usually 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months depending on the variables involved.
I repeat: sigils ALWAYS work.
So. Begin your desire's transformation into pure throbbing symbol in the following fashion:
First remove the vowels and the repeating letters to leave a string of consonants—TSMYDRBGC.
Now start squashing the string down, throwing out or combining lines and playing with the letters until only an appropriately witchy-looking glyph is left. When you're satisfied it's done, you may wind up with something like this:
Most homemade sigils look a little spooky or alien—like UFO writing or witchy wall-scratchings. There are no rules as to how your sigil should look as long as it WORKS for you. RESULTS ONLY are important at this stage. If something doesn't work, try something else. The point is not to BELIEVE in magic, the point is to DO it and see how it works. This is not religion and blind faith plays no part.
Charging and launching your sigil is the fun part (it's often advisable to make up a bunch of sigils and charge them up later when you've forgotten what they originally represented).
Now, most of us find it difficult at first to maintain the precise Zen-like concentration necessary to work large-scale magic. This concentration can be learned with time and effort but in the meantime, sigils make it easy to sidestep years of training and achieve instant success. To charge your sigil you must concentrate on its shape, and hold that form in your mind as you evacuate all other thoughts.
Almost impossible, you might say, but the human body has various mechanisms for inducing brief 'no-mind' states. Fasting, spinning, intense exhaustion, fear, sex, the fight-or-flight response; all will do the trick. I have charged sigils while bungee jumping, lying dying in a hospital bed, experiencing a total solar eclipse and dancing to Techno. All of these methods proved to be highly effective but for the eager beginner nothing beats the WANK TECHNIQUE.
A message from Thee Temple ov Psychic Youth, 1983
Some non-magicians, I've noticed, convulse with nervous laughter whenever I mention the word 'masturbation' (and no wonder; next to wetting the bed or shitting in your own cat's box for a laugh, it's the one thing no-one likes to admit to).
Be that as it may, magical masturbation is actually more fun and equally, more serious, than the secular hand shandy, and all it requires is this: at the moment of orgasm, you must see the image of your chosen sigil blazing before the eyes in your mind and project it outwards into the ethereal mediaspheres and logoverses where desires swarm and condense into flesh. The sigil can be written on paper, on your hand or your chest, on the forehead of a lover or wherever you think it will be most effective.
At the white-hot instant of orgasm, consciousness blinks. Into this blink, this abyssal crack in perception, a sigil can be launched. [...]
Forget the wanking for just one moment if you can and remember that the sigil is the important part of the magic being performed here. The moment of orgasm will clear your mind, that's all. There are numerous other ways to clear your mind and you can use any of them. Dancing or spinning to exhaustion is very effective. Meditation is effective but takes years to learn properly. Fear and shock are very good for charging sigils, so you could probably watch a scary movie and launch your sigil at the bit where the hero's head comes bouncing down the aluminum stepladder into his girlfriend's lap. A run around the block clutching a sigil might be enough to charge it, so why not experiment? [...]
USE ONLY WHAT WORKS.
Some people keep their sigils, some dispose of them in an element appropriate to the magician's intent (I have burned, buried, flushed away and scattered sigils to the winds, depending on how I felt about them. Love-sigils went to water—flushed down the toilet or thrown into rivers or boiled in kettles. War-sigils were burned etc.... Some of my sigils are still around because I decided they were slow-burners and worth keeping. Some are even still in print. Do what feels right and produces results.)
Soiled paper and tissues can easily be disposed of in your mum's purse or the pocket of dad's raincoat.
The viral sigil also known as the BRAND or LOGO is not of recent development (see “Christianity,” “the Nazis” and any flag of any nation) but has become an inescapable global phenomenon in recent years. It's easy to see the Nazi movement as the last gasp of Imperial Age thinking; these visionary savages still thought world domination meant tramping over the 'enemy' and seizing his real estate. If only they'd had the foresight to see that global domination has nothing to do with turf and everything to do with media they would have anticipated corporate stealth-violence methods and combined them with their undoubted design sense; the rejected artists who engineered the Third Reich might have created the 20th century's first global superbrand and spared the lives of many potential consumers. The McDonald's Golden Arches, the Nike swoosh and the Virgin autograph are all corporate viral sigils.
Corporate sigils are super-breeders. They attack unbranded imaginative space. They invade Red Square, they infest the cranky streets of Tibet, they etch themselves into hairstyles. They breed across clothing, turning people into advertising hoardings. They are a very powerful development in the history of sigil magic, which dates back to the first bison drawn on the first cave wall.
Grant Morrison Sigil Magic
The logo or brand, like any sigil, is a condensation, a compressed. symbolic summing up of the world of desire which the corporation intends to represent. The logo is the only visible sign of the corporate intelligence seething behind it. Walt Disney died long ago but his sigil, that familiar, cartoonish signature, persists, carrying its own vast weight of meanings, associations, nostalgia and significance. People are born and grow up to become Disney executives, mouthing the jargon and the credo of a living corporate entity. Walt Disney the man is long dead and frozen (or so folk myth would have it) but Disney, the immense, invisible corporate egregore persists.
Corporate entities are worth studying and can teach the observant magician much about what we really mean when we use the word 'magic.' They and other ghosts like them rule our world of the early 21st century.
Think hard about why the Coca-Cola spirit is stronger than the Dr. Pepper spirit (what great complex of ideas, longings and deficiencies has the Coke logo succeeded in condensing into two words, two colors, taking Orwell's 1984 concept of Newspeak to its logical conclusion?). Watch the habits of the world's great corporate predators like FOX, MICROSOFT or AOL TIME WARNER. Track their movements over time. Observe their feeding habits and methods of predation, monitor their repeated behaviors and note how they react to change and novelty. Learn how to imitate them, steal their successful strategies and use them as your own. Form your own limited company or corporation. It's fairly easy to do with some paperwork and a small amount of money. Create your own brand, your own logo and see how quickly you can make it spread and interact with other corporate entities.
Build your own god and set it loose.
The moment of revelation. THEY LIVE, Directed by John Carpenter, 1988.
The “hypersigil” or “supersigil” develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story, which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution. The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent. Results can be remarkable and shocking.
Grant Morrison Magic
After becoming familiar with the traditional sigil method, see if you can create your own hypersigil. The hypersigil can take the form of a poem, a story, a song, a dance or any other extended artistic activity you wish to try. This is a newly developed technology so the parameters remain to be explored. It is important to become utterly absorbed in the hypersigil as it unfolds; this requires a high degree of absorption and concentration (which can lead to obsession but so what? You can always banish at the end) like most works of art. The hypersigil is a dynamic miniature model of the magician's universe, a hologram, microcosm or “voodoo doll” which can be manipulated in real time to produce changes in the macrocosmic environment of “real” life.
Dark Magic Sigils
REVOLT INTO MAGIC!
Becoming a magician is in itself a revolutionary act with far-reaching consequences. Before you set out to destroy “the System,” however, first remember that we made it and in our own interests. We sustain it constantly, either in agreement, with our support, or in opposition with our dissent. The opponents of the System are as much a function of the System as its defenders. The System is a ghost assembled in the minds of human beings operating within 'the System.” It is a virtual parent we made to look after us. We made it very big and difficult to see in its entirety and we serve it and nourish it every day. Are there ever any years when no doctors or policemen are born? Why do artists rarely want to become policemen?
For every McDonald's you blow up, 'they' will build two. Instead of slapping a wad of Semtex between the Happy Meals and the plastic tray, work your way up through the ranks, take over the board of Directors and turn the company into an international laughing stock. You will learn a great deal about magic on the way. Then move on to take out Disney, Nintendo, anyone you fancy. What if 'the System' isn't our enemy after all? What if instead it's our playground? The natural environments into which we pop magicians are born? Our jungle, ocean and ice floe...to bargain with and dance around and transform, as best we can, into poetry?
What if, indeed?
Grant Morrison is a writer and occultist best known for his work in the comic book industry, including All-Star Superman (2005-2008), The Invincibles (1994-2000) and Batman: Arkham Asylum (1989).