How To Enchant By A Thousand Paper Cuts

How To Enchant By A Thousand Paper Cuts

Check out Kekremsi on Flickr for more brilliant origami

It looks like a few of my sigils may be coming down off the mirror soon as the -possibly semi self-inflicted- star storm abates and gives me my first clear view of what this new adventure could look like.

What. A. Ride.

These last two months are what we can call the Proof of Concept for shoaling.

Sure, we have been playing with the concept for the better part of a year but this has been the first real campaign in which it has been deployed.

And like all well-managed (ha!) campaigns, this one winds up with some learnings that can be shared and replicated.

Consider them shared. In list form. Because that’s how my brain works.

The universe knows better than you

So leave it some wriggle room.

This has always fascinated me about magic. Not just that it works but that it delivers results that seem so obvious in retrospect but weren’t at all what you were anticipating. It’s a crazy Black Swan world that we live in.

In this particular case, initial divination -and personal inclination- had me thinking I’d be moving out of London to Bristol. (Sidebar: Be extra careful when they coincide because you’re probably convincing yourself of what you want to happen rather than seeing what will actually likely happen.)

Nope. Turns out I will be sorcerously commuting for a while yet but I did get a call out of the blue from a consultant whom I met while working for the Beeb in Bristol who had just landed an amazing pan-Euro gig and wondered if I wanted in. It’s based in London with a Euro footprint.

The cards said Bristol but instead of enchanting for a “gig in Bristol” I went for “gig through Bristol contacts”. (Media, like all business, works on who you know.) Note the wiggle room?

You won’t get struck by lightning if you aren’t standing out in the rain. Good magic isn’t lightning.

Good magic is standing out in the rain.

Be visible

Whether it’s a sex, money or power enchantment (and there are really only those three), visibility is key.

Magic works better when it works on people. You first, others second. Without going into the crazy brilliant technicalities of how PJC explains proximity impact on magical success (you can read about it here), face time -simply- works.

People are more likely to acquiesce to your desires if they have met you. Sales calls are 65% more likely to be successful if you have met the target face to face. Talk to your love interest, engage with the wider web of your professional community, befriend the head of the PTA. Building a rapport alters your target’s behaviour.

Here’s hard data that socialising gets you what you want.

Don’t set goals, set traps

Goals belong way up the critical path. Once the campaign is in full swing, you need traps, not goals.

If your ultimate aim involves you in some way -and the majority of enchantments fall into this category otherwise mind your own damn business- then understanding how humans respond to incentives and disincentives is critical to successful magic.

We sometimes laugh at the childishness of bargaining with the gods -as if they actually need those little pewter cups of wine or a few hours of our weekend in a soup kitchen.

But it’s not about them getting something, it’s about you losing something. The great oaths of our ancestors turned out to be really effective brain hacks.

Structure your deals so something you or they don’t want to give is at risk. Offerings to a rival spirit (tread careful) or a donation to Sarah Palin oughta do it.

Note: This falls outside regular offering activity -to which Jason has very definitely converted me.

Enchant like Captain Jack

Any theatre of engagement is going to present multiple magical targets of different probabilities. Here’s how Captain Jack Sparrow chooses magical targets.

Or you can take some advice from the accidental father of the Arab Spring. They’re basically saying the same thing except one of them has a cutlass and the inestimable pleasure of threatening Orlando Bloom’s life.

Walk before you run, pick what you can do and always go after what you want rather than what you should want.

Don’t do excuses

If I wasn't so uncoordinated I would TOTALLY origami my sigils into little samurai

It’s all too common to squirm at the notion that you have to meet your magic half way with some real world effort and, to be honest, that’s fine. You’re perfectly within your rights to be Crowley in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid, conjuring little lights for his wife.

But this blog is for people who really do want their results and when they don’t get them they go back over what happened to work out why.

And “why” will always be either “you” or “poor target selection”.

A friend of mine in Australia used to work for an architect who hated when smokers would duck outside for a cigarette during the work day. (He wasn’t a slave driver, he was a health nut.) This architect couldn’t fire the smokers for obvious legal reasons but he hit on a clever solution. If you didn’t smoke, he gave you your birthday off -that made up for all the little five minute breaks the smokers took during the year.

So no excuses. Acknowledge that you obviously want that cigarette or that cake more than your magical goal. When it’s me I own that. It’s all a bit Dr Phil but what’s the payoff?

Unplug the electrics

I never considered ‘clearing’ to be strictly mandatory in every instance but closing everything down at the end of a campaign is definitely advised.

About ten years ago my-mother-the-psychonaut introduced me to an amazing energy healer in Sydney. As she was doing her thing she asked if I ever installed “things” into my energy field because she’s finding “all these stale handwritten glyphs” at the edge of my field. Weirdly, “stale” is probably the best way to describe an expired enchantment.

If you’re shoaling then you’re deploying a lot of sigils. So unplug when you’re done. (I won’t insult your intelligence by providing a basic “clearing” ritual.)


Here is how to enchant by a thousand paper cuts.


Add yours
  1. 1
    Apel Mjausson

    Great to hear that your hard work is coming to fruition! Reading this is good for me too: Makes me realize that starting some sort of campaign is exactly where I’m not. I’m in getting-settled-in&deepening-relationships mode and need to stay the hell away from anything that smacks of my previous, nomadic life. Wish I’d read this back in the oughties when I could have used these techniques. It would have saved me tons of grief, I’m sure.

    BTW, moving to Bristol for a job, is a bit of a risk, so I’m glad you’re not doing that. How many suitable positions _in other companies_ would there be for you when you wanted to move on? I say that, having tried moving to Bristol a couple of years ago. Not that Swindon would have been better. :-)

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