Destroying Your Sigils. A Huge Mistake?

Destroying Your Sigils. A Huge Mistake?

Autumn arrives in London. Hooray!

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.


Add yours
  1. 1

    I’ve found both Spare’s method of repressing the sigil and “gentler” methods of low attention work well, and perhaps for different purposes. How quickly a result is needed or the nature of the result seem to play into it.

    I actually have a set of Crayola Window Writers, which are markers that can write on glass and come off real easily. They’re used just like you suggested, I draw the sigil on my mirror; so everytime I brush my hair, check my appearance, whatever I see the sigil, and even if it is write in the middle of the mirror where my face goes after a few days I don’t notice it anymore.

    Your point about non-sigil imagery is now something I’m going to have to look around and ponder about.
    Kalagni´s last blog post ..Neptune- Deception and Dissolution

  2. 2

    Well if that’s the case, I don’t really need to forget my desire then, at least manifestation still is possible and reliable.

  3. 3

    I really like this. Tho’ I can’t remember to take out the garbage, often forget why I went into a room, I remember almost every bit (down to the 1s and 0s) of “unimportant” information. Cannot forget sigils. Great ideas.

  4. 4

    I suspect this posting is partly a reaction to my story about burning a sigil in my last posting.

    Part of why I mentioned that episode was because I was going with the flow and improvising. Note: I did not charge it through the Ritual Spanking of the Sacred Monkey.

    This time round, I felt alot of the mojo was generated at the time I was making the sigil, because I felt very enthusiastic, was very mentally focussed, and really dug what I made aesthetics-wise.

    It was very spontaneous to associate it with the cookie offering to Ganesh, and when I did it, it really felt right.

    Then I really worked myself up with matra repetitions, and the burning of the sigil was very climactic.

    So, in essence, we agree. The tech has its potential, but it needs adapting to your own magical world.

  5. 5
    Kündröl Namchuk

    I agree Gordon. I think that chaos magic books do it even very wrong by emphasizing the whole forgetting thing. According to my experience, the lust of results is the real problem.

    If you can work your way out of the lust of results by some other means, forgetting is not necessary. And those other means can be even easier. Forgetting has never worked for me, because I have too good memory. Cultivating a correct attitude, on the other hand, has worked immensely.
    Kündröl Namchuk´s last blog post ..Cursed by a Blessing

  6. 7

    I have thought much the same but have been trapped by my insistence on following the “official” way of doing things. I am not particularly adapt at being novel or innovative. Perhaps it is time to shoal for some creativity.

    Feel free to post you sigils on my blog. It seems to be a place of low attention.

  7. 8

    @Scribs No, it was definitely a happy coincidence, I swear.

    Though your post did occur to me as a non-traditional incorporation of sigil magic… Something I’m always a fan of, naturally.

    Actually, you’re on a bit of a streak at the moment. Several super awesome posts in a row.

  8. 9

    @Scribbler — “Spanking the monkey”, hunh? Me, I very reverently “Polish the Bishop”: there’s no ring kissing involved, btw.


  9. 11

    I *love* the idea of writing sigils on mirrors with crayola, we just ordered some.

    Our conversation regarding this post went thusly:

    Jow: We should put together boards.

    Me: Yes.

    Jow: What would go on yours?

    Me: I started thinking about making the board and how I would make it and what I would make it out of and I just sort of . . .stopped there.

    Now I can’t get a link to my blog either for some weird reason.

  10. 13

    Gordon–thank you for this wonderful idea. Sigils were nothing more than mediocre for me before. Now that I’ve tossed the forgetting part into the round file (I actually think about these much less, if that even matters, and when I do it’s a fraction of a second and then it’s gone, all by itself.) I’ve created three in two days with splendid and fast success. Two were of the self-improvement variety, and one was to activate a whole new ability. Subtle difference but the second kind is a bigger deal altogether. Efficacy has been astonishing. Wouldn’t have tried it without your making it so intelligible. Thanks especially for pointing out how dead and buried the whole “psychic censor and repression yadda yadda” model of consciousness is.


  11. 14
    Mr grim


    i happened on your post and i thought id leave this thought
    i have been read Spare’s work for a while now and i have tried to come to grasp what he meant about the alphabet of desire and i think is about crating a personal symbol system based on aspects of your emotions and desires then these are used some how in your daily life till the basically become organic, now also taking the ideas of thought forms u could see how these “letters come alive” and u could get your self own personal goetiac demons
    Mr grim´s last blog post ..LIBERATION

  12. 19
    Garden Of Chaos

    Sigils have much more potential than people give them credit for. You just have to be creative.

    LOL Ritual of Spanking The Monkey. I’ve always felt a little left out from the “spanking the monkey” talk, being a woman. It’s a bit different for us, so what I’ve personally used is menstrual blood. Very potent!

  13. 20

    Speaking of pragmatism:

    I recently started shoaling my sigils as well, usually drawing together a cluster of them into an abstract pattern on a page of my sketchbook. After finishing, I take a photo of it with my phone and use it as a background image. Every time I check the time, make a call, text a message etc, the sigils are there. Works like a charm (heh). And the phone does have a certain kind of mysterious quality I find useful for magic. A little talking box that can send your words to the other side of the planet? Magical.

  14. 21

    I paste mine into a little notebook hoping a grimoire will build up and they will interact by proximity and not cancel each other out. If anyone is willing to share pictures of their own signals I would be very interested in seeing them. After voudon I have found this to be the most effective of solo magick. Great site BTW, only just found it.

  15. 22

    I’m pretty new at this so please bare with me…
    So I’m not entirely sure about the masturbation aspect to do with charging a sigil. Is this entirely necessary or are there equal or more effective means of doing it?


  16. 23

    The point you make about the TV ad doesn’t really add up. Quite often a TV ad is only seen once, yet you say that it has a continuous unconscious effect. So how is that any different to charging up a sigil and destroying it?

    Continuously seeing the sigil can have the effect that you are continuously reminded of the operation and that could very easily lead to an contradictory will being born for instance due to the fear of failure.

    I think that it depends on how much effort you want to put into ‘wanking’ as you put it. If you did a huge ritual lasting hours to burn the sigil into the ether with extreme skill then you could destroy the paper. If on the other hand you don’t want to do that then observing it in the background could achieve the same result.

    I’m interested to know how effective showing other people the sigil is.
    will´s last blog post ..Monster Pictures Father’d Day banned in Australia. Good.

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