Think of it like birds flocking but with a few key differences.
Firstly, the aerodynamic (in this case hydrodynamic) advantages aren’t as great.
That’s because fish ‘shoal’ when they aren’t heading somewhere, and ‘school’ when they are. Schooling gives a hydrodynamic advantage.
You guys all know I used to work for Discovery Channel, right?
This post will make a whole lot more sense if you know that. I’m not a fish nerd… I was paid to be a fish nerd. Big difference. (Also I am a bit of a fish nerd.)
Anyway, fish ‘shoal’ for some obvious reasons:
- To protect against predation.
- To indicate where there is food.
- To raise young.
But there are other advantages that clearly haven’t been worked through yet. It’s social in some way, for one. And maybe they just like it?
Regardless, shoaling seems to me quite a good metaphor for multi-sigil experiments because you have the whole ocean/unconscious, ‘firing it off into the depths’ thing… But you also have predation in the form of your conscious intellect. Presumably you want your sigils to cluster somewhere that allows them to take root and possibly feed.
Beyond that, the metaphor starts to get a bit stretched but it’s a fun, mostly helpful name.
One final warning: There’s a bit of a rant at the end.
So here is how you shoal!
Select your target
Remember my bee post? Seriously, how could you not? I link to it all the time.
Well, it’s going to come in handy because shoaling is where you really get to rock your targeting.
The first thing you need to do is assess your critical path. There is more about this at the bottom of each post if you subscribe and then check the bottom of one of my posts in your reader.
Be vague with the critical path.
It looks to my eyes that Black Swan Dynamics offer the most effective way to map magical outcomes. The implications of this are that if you think you know precisely how something is supposed to happen and you enchant for it… You may have just blocked the enormous opportunity that would have landed if you didn’t go and mess every damn thing up.
You should aim instead to make your target outcome ‘Black Swan friendly’. Kinda like putting up a chaotic bird feeder in your head.
The next trick is to identify ‘weak points’ that are possible sources of Black Swans.
Prior to reading the book, I used to refer to this as “increasing the chaos” because you want to widen the potential outcomes you expose yourself to: be that in wealth, love, health, career… And so on. The example below will help.
Scattergun your target
So, rather than sigilising for “money”, try instead
- Some big new clients
- Well timed phone calls or meetings with senior people
- Budget reallocation for your deparment
- A payrise for a spouse
You see how if even just one of these sigils converts into a desired outcome, you start to “shift” the probability of the total outcome more and more in your favour? This makes it more likely that some form of cumulative advantage will come into play. Hence why I call it “increasing the chaos”.
You want sharp, precise surgical strikes, my handsome ninja babies.
Shoal your sigils
Got your scattershot ready?
Now add things that are ‘nice to haves’ but are unrelated to your broad objective. Things like lucky shopping finds, clear skin, the development of an AIDS vaccine and so on.
Then launch in groups of four or more:
- I go for inhibitory gnosis (in chaos terms) but that’s because sitting alone in your room, wishing for money and masturbating… Well… I’m just gonna say it. It’s beneath me. No judgement or anything.
- Other than that, all you really need is a paper and pen. (But maybe nice paper and a paint pen.)
- Then get yourself into a light trance state and focus the sigils. I know when to stop like I know when to stop shuffling cards.
- I burn the sigils when I’m done. But that’s optional. It’s all optional. This isn’t a Turkish prison.
Record your results if you want
(This is that rant I warned you about.)
But then I haven’t kept a ‘proper’ magical diary for years. Part of it is because it’s simply not how I am wired to record useful information.
The other part of it is I passionately reject the idea that writing in a little secret book is some kind of universal magical requirement. What if you’re blind? Or dyslexic? Or what if you’re illiterate? (As 99.9999999999% of all sorcerers have been since magic first appeared in the archaeological record a few hundred thousand years ago.)
Half of my objection to magical diaries appear to be political. But they are also practical. Comme ça:
Mandatory use of a magical diary relies on way too many unprovable assumptions.
- That writing words down in English is a valid enough recording of your experience. (Why not a flip camera?)
- That your powers of observation and memories of the events in question are accurate. (Which they aren’t.)
- That the practice of magic is like going to the gym and you are improving along some slow and steady, mapped-out path and a record of what weight you could previously bench will be of use to you in the future.
- That there is any possible way to prove causality in human behaviour is anything other than an error of inductive logic. (Which there isn’t.)
- That it is anything other than yet another Victorian Middle Class inheritance.
More on the last one: In Victorian times, every good gentleman kept extensive leather-bound journals which you would write in for hours and display in your London townhouse. This is before you would even make a start on the pile of inane letters you had to write to gentlemen in similar situations.
Quite what these fuckers had to write about when they spent their whole day doing this is beyond me. But anyway, the amount of time you could devote to your diary was a class indicator because it revealed how much free time you actually had.
You see, the English had this funny way of being “behaviourally prejudiced”. Whilst they wouldn’t officially turn down a coal miner for entry into a club/lodge/temple, they would make it a rule that -for example- you have to spend so many hours a day writing in a diary… Which is a requirement a coal miner or a mother or a baker could not satisfy. (Golf clubs do the same thing.)
Yes, there were magic books before Victorian England but -at least as far as I have found- they weren’t pissing competitions between rich white men.
Besides: I will know when I have achieved my magical outcomes because I will be living in Montenegro surrounded by an army of scantily-clad, bronzed servants whom I will shout encouragement at from a leopard-skin throne as they wash my helicopter.
Don’t need no diary for that.
A final observation on shoaling
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sigils you shoal together seem to have interrelated outcomes. My client one is intimately -and bizarrely- tied to a health one I cast at the same time which is also tied to one I cast for my partner. An unusual number of shoaled sigil manifestations interlock.
This isn’t a warning.
If anything, it’s a strong endorsement to mix them up. Shoaling improves the chances that you’ll wake up in Black Swan country.
Let me know how you get on.