Public Sigils

Chaos Magic works very heavily with sigils. And one fun technique involves viral sigils: sigils copied and placed in public locations so that random people will activate them (without realizing it). The idea here is that you get a scattershot approach, and instead of one result from your spell you get numerous. This works well in healing and money magic (as well as if you’re trying to get laid).

Somewhat related to this is the notion of trading sigils with other magicians who can help charge them. The idea here is that other magicians lack the lust of results and conscious awareness that can lessen the effectiveness of the sigil launch.

But there are some concerns with this approach, which Satyr Magos has pondered in a recent blog post:

I’ve been hanging out on tumblr a lot, lately, and the chaos magick tag is occasionally overwhelmed by people posting sigils to be empowered by those who view them.

On the one hand, that’s brilliant.  Taken cumulatively, with as many people would see such a thing, even their mere passing notice would raise more energy than most of us can do on our own…

On the other hand, however, it poses an ethical concern.  How do I know that I can stand behind every objective that someone else might throw out there?  I don’t know who you’re cursing. I don’t know what politician you’re backing.  Witches and magicians, contrary to our own protests, are, as a group, no better than anyone else: we have our retrofuck misogynists and racists and homophobes,  we have our predators and rapists and murderers and demagogues.  And, love you though I do, my dear readers, I also know (as you do, being exceptionally clever as well as badasses) that we don’t actually agree on everything.  So how can I ask you to, never knowing the statement of intent, back everything I might choose to post.

I’m cautious about spending my magical energy toward someone else’s goal, especially if I don’t know what it is. What if they desire something I am opposed to? What if their spell and one I have done actually counteract? This is a reason I tend to shy away from group magical work unless its very general. This is also why if someone wants me to help with a spell, I want to sit down and actually consult with them on building it, instead of being given plug-and-play software.

But I suppose that’s hypocritical of me. I’ve used the sigil scatter technique myself, and in that situation those people didn’t even know they were helping. We do what magic we can to get the results we desire, I suppose. but I still have the right to chose what objectives to assist in. So if you want me to help with a spell, I’m going to ask you about it, in detail, first.

There’s also an unspoken concern here: What responsibility do you bear for the results of that spell if you helped it along?

And, from another angle entirely, what are the risks?  Douchebags and trolls abound.  How bad could your shit get fucked if someone decided they didn’t like the look of your sigil and decided to deep-six it?  Or follow the power back and put the hurt on you?

This is also a reasonable concern, but probably very less likely. If a sigil is posted publicly and 20 people help activated it, but one person decides to be an asshole and spike it, then that person is working against the 19 others who helped. Doesn’t seem worth the worry. And someone tracing things back will have the problem of tracing 20 people back — or more likely having an impossible time finding anything solid to trace back because they’re getting 20 signals confused together.

I’d be more concerned about bringing about a result you were morally opposed to, or bearing the responsibility for damage caused. Know the person you are working with, and know what you are working for.

Thoughts on publicly left sigils

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2 responses to “Public Sigils

  1. Pingback: Public Sigils | Practical Pagans

  2. An interesting topic, I’ve pondered some of these issues myself as I’ve posted sigils on sigil gardens or roulettes, on my blog a few times, and left some in public.

    I suppose every day we are subjected to imagery we don’t necessarily bank on seeing, and some of it is with consent, and some of it not. I figure the amount of energy someone is lending to a sigil simply by looking at it or scrolling past it contributes to the activation, regardless of their intent and how it might interfere with the work. Safeguards could always be built into the sigils themselves, and one’s own grounding or shielding could perhaps safeguard themselves from any concerns they have about encountering and accidentally helping to condone magic they come across, online or otherwise.

    Thanks for provoking the thoughts 🙂

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