Saturday, April 17, 2021

Real Techno-Magick

This article from Vice is from back in February, but I figure it's still relevant because it includes a link to a fascinating Internet tool for creating unique sigils. The Sigil Engine is designed to automate the process of sigil creation in a manner similar to that used by chaos magicians, but with a couple of pretty cool additional ideas for keeping sigils unique and distinct. This consists of writing out a simple phrase as your magical intent, eliminating the vowels and repeating letters, and then arranging those letters in a way that obscures the meaning of the phrase.

Users of the Sigil Engine, though, rely on code to do much of the legwork. When visitors land on the URL, they're greeted by a sparkling black background and a prompt to type their "intention." Doing so will set the Engine in motion, drawing the sign in bright red. Co-creator Darragh Mason, who hosts the Spirit Box podcast, describes this flourish as "a prayer or a moment of reverence to the goddess Babalon," found within the Thelemic system first synthesised by British occultist Aleister Crowley. The backdrop alludes to "the great expansive void from which all things spring".

"We wanted to create something that actually felt magical when you used it," Mason told Motherboard. "For a lot of people in their magickal practice, the aesthetic helps give it more potency, so we were very conscious: we wanted to have the process of creating a sigil—removing the vowels, removing repeating letters, creating the actual symbol itself—to be experiential, something that drew you in and [gave] it a sense of wonder." To ensure the final sigil is almost guaranteed to be unique, the application logs the speed of typing, the time between keystrokes, and compares these to the entirety of the Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, a Thelemic text that's contained within the code.

The measurements are combined to return a unique value for each of the base characters, says co-creator David Tidman. More number-crunching normalizes a very large figure to between 0.0 and 1.0, which is finally used to position each character on a point around the circle—for example, a character with a value of between 0.51 and 0.54 would be located at the 11th of 21 points in total. At the moment, whatever the user types is stored temporarily and then deleted, but Tidman says in future this information won't be stored at all, and that there are no personal identifiers logged when visitors type their intentions.

I personally have experimented with ways of mapping out sigils based on reduced phrases. One of the methods I like the best is to roughly identify the planet, element, or sign that a particular intent falls into, write out and reduce the intent, and then convert the final phrase to Hebrew. Then you can map it onto the kamea of the planet, the ruling planet (for signs), or the Moon (for elements). Then you can use empower it according to chaos magick methods, ceremonial magick methods, eneryg work methods, or whatever else you do.

As described in the article, though, Sigil Engine also sounds like a reasonable way to automate much of that work and get some of the technical work out of the way. I still recommend inking over your sigil by hand if you print it out on a computer, because that seems to work best. When using the kamea method, I ink it over in a color matching the planet, element, or sign in the planetary hour corresponding to the kamea used to generate it. But if you don't have those things, black ink over a black and white computer printout should be fine. I sometimes do that when I can't find a marker of the right color.

I have a long list of things on my plate at the moment so I don't know if I'll be playing around with Sigil Engine any time soon. Still, if any of you readers would like to check it out I would love to hear back from you how well it worked. You can try it out from the link in the article or just click here. Just go to the page, type in your intent, and the software will get to work.

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