Sigils -at least as we have commonly come to understand them in a chaos context- are based on a theories of the brain and mind functions that are now getting on for a hundred years of age.
And a hundred years is a long time.
The basic theory of sigil functioning relies on the idea that your deep or unconscious mind is where “everything works” and you must somehow “trick” or “outfox” your conscious mind to get the right message down to where it can be of use.
Hence turning a string of words into a squiggle so your conscious mind doesn’t recognise it.
Then you need to “do something” (which so many people seem to interpret as wanking) to force feed the squiggle to your unconscious as if you were making some kind of supernatural foie gras.
The theory of mind behind sigil magic is simplistic, clunky and bears zero resemblance to how we conceptualise it today but hey, it works, right?
Thing is… In between The Alphabet of Desire and now, mass media has been and gone, forever changing our understanding of how brains are influenced.
When TV advertising first began, the whole idea was that the message needed to be consciously noticed. As Dr Robert Heath writes in AdMap:
Traditional theories of how advertising works were based on the hypothesis that it must be processed cognitively by consumers to be effective – in other words, it must capture your attention and interest, and make you ‘think’ about and remember the ad and the message within it. Advertising that does not ‘cut through’ in this way is deemed to be largely wasted.
Even now, ad agencies sometimes still use metrics like key message recall to judge the effectiveness of TV campaigns. Following on from this early phase, marketers discovered you could subliminally influence -or brainwash- people into making different purchase decisions.
A few choices pieces of legislation later and we are blissfully free of subliminal influence.
Or are we?
You see, a funny thing happens when you run a TV ad campaign. Your sales increase. Even if no one recalls your advertisement. This is known as low attention processing.
In the largest ever study of TV advertising’s impact, subjects were shown an hour’s worth of drama with commercial breaks. Even those displaying the lowest level of background attention experienced a brand shift toward the products that were advertised. Products they couldn’t consciously remember being advertised. It’s not subliminal, it’s just not consciously noticed.
One single exposure was enough to change their perception of a product. The impact increases with repeated exposure.
This has got me thinking about magic… Particularly sigil magic.
- Why destroy a sigil when you can potentially improve its ‘stickyness’ by having it regularly and loosely recalled? Pin it to your mirror instead.
- Pin it beside images of other magical goals: holidays, wealth, deities, etc. The goal here being to have them somewhere that you can see them without seeing them.
- Let these images fall into the background of your daily life.
‘Forgetting’ appears to be less important than ‘not really noticing’. Plus it’s a much easier way of removing lust of result because it requires less effort.
On a final note; consider the implications of low attention processing if you surround yourself with imagery and colours you don’t like -be they photos of yourself that you can’t stand, images from previous troubled relationships, even medication you no longer need.
Our idiot brains are -somewhat ironically- mindless sponges. Knowing this is the secret to taking advantage of it.