The following can be applied equally to the word and the pictorial method. Within limits, the various techniques are pertinent to the mantrical spell method as well, but this mode shall be explained separately in more detail in a later chapter.
.Recommendation for a lightning-charging
(for people who are always in a hurry)
Having finished the sigil with much effort, go to bed with it. Masturbate and, during sexual climax, concentrate on the graphic sigil. If you have a well-trained imagination, you might as well visualize the sigil, but beginners are advised to stare at the glyph with widely opened eyes. It is crucial that you place the sigil in front of your eyes during orgasm.
DO NOT THINK OF YOUR SENTENCE OF DESIRE OR THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SIGIL AT THIS MOMENT!
Ideally, you should have forgotten the original purpose for which the sigil was created. (To achieve this, you can put the sigil aside for a couple of days or weeks after construction and then take it out in a quiet minute to activate it. But this, of course, could hardly be termed a "lightning ritual.")
Afterwards, you will have to banish the sigil. The best method of banishing is roaring laughter. It does not matter if this may seem a bit artificial; if you can think of a good joke now, even better. Immediately after banishing by laughter, think of something completely different. The easiest way of achieving this is by switching on the TV, dialing the talking clock, listening to the latest lottery results, jumping up and down on one leg for half an hour, etc.
One may argue endlessly about sexual ethics and/or sexual fears, but it is an undeniable fact that sigils are best internalized in the easiest, speediest and least problematical way during sexual climax. We will get to know various other methods, too, but experience has shown that orgasm provides the most effective of magical trances. Debauchees with glittering eyes may, however, be warned that this branch of sexual magic has little or nothing to do with sexual "fun." In the past, when it was still trendy to work with "sacrifices" of all sorts, it was common to speak of "sacrificing the orgasmic lust on the altar of Transcendence," etc. Obviously, this has a lot to do with Tan-tric and Taoist ideas, which state that the male should at all costs avoid the explosive orgasm (i.e., ejaculation) during sacred sexual intercourse because, ac cording to these doctrines, loss of semen means loss of power (and, by extrapolation, longevity). This approach, which has for various reasons never become particularly popular in the West, led even one of the major masters of sexual magic, Aleister Crowley, to concentrate on drinking his sperm after sexual intercourse (in heterosexual intercourse, the mixed male and female secretions—Crowley's infamous "elixir"). This digression aside, we may note that lecherous sex maniacs won't have too much pleasure when dealing with this branch of sexual magic, as these operations can be rather strenuous and not too pleasurable.
In the first chapter it was mentioned that sigils should be internalized spasmodically. This can be done in several ways. Our goal is always the same: to form an altered state of consciousness in which the censor has become "soft" and in which s/he will no longer or cannot prevent direct communication between the conscious and the unconscious. Like the magical or gnostic trance in general, consciousness is not entirely switched off, which means that you aren't aiming for a hypnotic full trance. Such "threshold states"2 may be achieved either by withholding sleep, by overexertion, by exhaustion, or by activating intense emotions like anger, fear, pleasure, ecstasy, etc.3 Here again we can see why the sex-magical charging of a sigil (which, of course, can also be performed during intercourse with a partner) is so much easier than all other methods. First, most people are quite familiar with willed orgasms, which can hardly be said, for example, of willed, controlled trances of exhaustion or horror. Second, the effort to achieve a sexual climax is so much less than to achieve a trance through fasting, for another example, which would take several days of starving oneself, or a fear trance, for which you might have to hang half of your body out of the window on the seventeenth floor of a building. (Of course, a high ride on a roller coaster might do the trick as well, but can you really control your acrophobia enough to charge a sigil?) Nevertheless, you should get to know as many different circumstances for sigil charging as possible to widen your scope of magical techniques considerably.
One technique which is frequently quoted in literature, but hardly ever explained in detail, is Spare's so-called death posture. Whereas Pete Carroll in Liber Null (p. 31), following on from other writers, basically sees it as a method of "holding one's breath in an uncomfortable position until one nearly dies," Kenneth Grant4 regards it as belonging to sex magic. He sees the death posture (referring to Spare himself) as a technique whereby the conscious mind is switched off (that is to say, "intermediately slain") by sexual activity, which means that all conscious thoughts will cease. Anyway, the crucial point, as with most magical trances, is that you can achieve a state of nonthinking or no-mind this way, whereby the conscious mind collapses for a short span of time (sometimes, as with an orgasm, only for seconds) and leaves free a direct channel to the unconscious. In the following text, two non-sexual variants of the death posture, which have proved themselves well in practice, particularly for people who are new to magic and who have little or no training in magical trances, are described.
DEATH POSTURE (Version 1)
This version may be performed both in a standing or a sitting position. For your first attempts, I recommend sitting before a table on which you have placed the sigil.
After a deep breath, block your eyes, ears, mouth and nose, usingthe fingers of both hands. Concentrate on the internal tension in your body (do not think of the sigil or its aim!), and hold your breath until you cannot bear it any longer. Continue holding your breath until you truly cannot bear it anymore. Then you should still hold your breath until you cannot bear it at all any longer. Then, shortly before reaching the point of fainting, open wide your eyes and stare— while breathing in and out fresh air—at the sigil. If you do this correctly, you will find yourself in a state of almost panic-stricken no-mind—a form of magical trance where your unconscious is more responsive to and more receptive for sigils. Afterwards, as already mentioned, you banish by laughter and by concentrating on something completely different, the more secular the better.
One version of this technique has already been described in chapter 1. It is performed by standing in front of a mirror on which you have drawn your sigil with water-soluble colors. Here again, physical overexertion is employed. Stare into the eyes of your mirror image without fluttering your eyelids, then cross your arms behind your head or your neck, push your arms backwards as far and uncomfortably as you can, and tense all your muscles while holding your breath (you may also stand on tiptoes). Keep this posture until you cannot bear the tension and/or pain anymore. Then release the tension spasmodically while internalizing the sigil. Banish by laughter, think of something else, etc.
A note of caution:
Version 1 of the death posture is NOT suitable for persons who suffer from heart condition, ailments of the lung or high blood pressure. Since you can hardly ask your doctor whether s/he would advise you against this technique or not (unless the doctor is also a magician—you might already have found one by using a sigil!), you should, if in doubt, choose one of the other aforementioned techniques.
DEATH POSTURE (Version 2)
As far as I know, this technique has never before been described in writing. It is "milder" than the first version but easily as effective, although it demands a little bit of training. It is performed in a sitting position.
The sigil lies in front of you on the table. You sit in a chair as straight as you can, your palms resting on the table. You may extend your thumbs and let them touch each other, the sigil now lying in the open square of your hands. Stare at the sigil without blinking your eyelids. It does not matter if your eyes start watering; your attention is concentrated elsewhere. Now try to twitch the muscles of your calves very briefly. It is best to start with one leg, then to change to the other, and finally to twitch the muscles of both calves together. The twitching itself should be tense but at the same time loose. A split second is quite enough as long as it is very intense. This may sound a bit difficult at first, but with a little practice you will know precisely what is right for you.
Now you may continue by twitching the muscles of your upper arms, following with your chest, hands and arms up to your scalp (which may be a purely subjective feeling, but having experienced it once you will know how to do it properly). With a little practice, the whole procedure should not last longer than about half a second. So, your entire body is racked by a short spasm, and at the climax you open your eyes even more widely (while still staring at the sigil), "inhale the sigil" with your eyes, laugh loudly while closing your eyes, and that's it! (Then, once again think of something completely different, etc.)
Don't despair if you should encounter some minor problems in the beginning. Your organism is only as human as you are, but with a little bit of effort you will master this technique in the true meaning of the word: lightning-fast. Also, you will have a method of sigil activation in hand which works even faster than the sex-magical one! I have seen workshop participants who managed to get the effect of the sigil minutes after their first attempt, and this is quite common.
Note: After charging a sigil, you should avoid meditation and all other trance-inducing techniques (e.g., trance dance, drugs, brain machines, etc.) for at least three hours. As you have firmly "shut the lid" of your unconscious by banishing and distraction, it is advisable to let it rest for a while to forgo the possibility of the sigil's floating into your consciousness again.
THE FASTER YOU FORGET THE SIGIL, THE MORE EFFECTIVE THE OPERATION.
As with talismans, amulets and magical rituals in general, the intent to forget a desire or magical operation is one of the greatest tasks for a magician if s/he wants to experience success quickly. Experience with meditation and thought control will certainly pay off now. You may have heard the story of the man who came to his guru and asked him what to do to become enlightened. "Nothing," the guru answered. "Just go on living as you did before. Oh, yes, there is one thing, though: avoid thinking of the monkey." Very pleased, the man thanked his guru and returned home. But while on his way home, his thoughts began circling remorselessly: "I must not think of the monkey, I must not think of the monkey____"5
Why forgetting a sigil is of such prime importance in this form of magic will be illustrated later when we take a look at possible explanation models for this magical method. After having activated/internalized a sigil, you should not think of the glyph itself nor of its content. Since most people have a rather bad memory for complicated symbols and glyphs (painters, graphic artists and others who are particularly visually gifted or working in this field excepted), forgetting the sigil itself won't present too much of a problem, unless the glyph's design is too simple. (To forget a square or triangle could prove rather difficult.)
Forget the contents of the sigil and the sentence of desire. If sigils or sentences of desire unexpectedly pop up into consciousness, recharge and banish them again. Most of the time it's enough to simply distract your attention from the "monkey" by laughter, for example (which, as pointed out several times in Liber NuU, is one of the best techniques of exorcism anyway).
You should definitely keep a diary for your sigil work, if only to check on your successes at a later date, but you should also conceal the sigils, sentences of desire and other details (e.g,, by placing a sheet of paper over the relevant sections) so that they won't come back into your memory accidentally when you open your diary or leaf through it. As with the formulation of the sentence of desire, you will have to find a compromise between permanent memory and complete loss of any documentation.
As to awaiting the success of the operation, don't do it! This is also the best way of making sure that you will forget about it. If this is too extreme for you and if you have problems with forgetting, try to counter this with that state of consciousness which Spare termed the "Neither/Neither." Ray Sherwin tags it "Non-attachment/Non-disinterest," or, more precisely, "positive Non-desire."6 This again is more a question of practice and self-discipline than of technique.
There is yet one other technique for forgetting a sigil, namely getting used to it until you no longer perceive it consciously. You may be familiar with this principle from personal experience. You decide to do something special every day and, therefore, you hang a note in a prominent place as a reminder. For a few days this will work all right until you get so accustomed to the note that it does not serve as a reminder, so you finally end up where you began. You just don't see the note and its message anymore. This may even become an unconscious act of sigil magic achieving the desired success. More likely, however, the whole procedure was nothing but well-intentioned amateur work. Now we may use the same technique with sigils by employing this very pattern of behavior or perception. After charging the sigil, you place it in a prominent position until you are no longer consciously aware of it. As mentioned previously, you may also engrave the glyph on the outer side of a ring or into a metal plate as a talisman, etc.
Sigils and Talismans/Amulets
Basically, it is of no importance at all which material you use to draw your final sigil on before it is charged. If you are a traditionalist-purist and want to use virgin parchment, you may do so, of course, but normal paper is quite good enough.7 After activation, sigils are usually burned or otherwise destroyed, but you can also make talismans and amulets out of them. In this case, you will want to use more durable materials.
One way of doing this is by drawing the sigil on a piece of parchment or sturdy paper. If you charge it sex magically, you may put some sexual secretions (or blood or saliva) on it for support after activation. After banishing, you can roll up the paper or parchment and wrap some yarn or silk thread around it. Depending upon which school of "isolation techniques" you belong to, you may either seal this roll with pure beeswax or sew it into a piece of silk, linen or leather, etc. If you want to wear the amulet or talisman, it is advisable to make it into a necklace or tie it to a thong. Having served its purpose, the magical tool bas to be burned, buried or thrown in water. Before doing so, you can discharge it under running water with a suitable suggestion.
As pointed out in the beginning, the advantage of Spare's sigil magic is that it has no need for complicated rituals. Neither do you need to engage in calculating specific astrological constellations, cabbalistic arithmetic or lunar phases, etc. You will be better off, especially when practicing Pragmatic Magic, if you have at hand at least one of these systems that can be performed without such complicated and time-consuming considerations, as useful as they may be at other times. This will keep you on the ball, ready for action and versatile.
You don't really need amulets and talismans in sigil magic either. If the sigil is charged correctly, you already have created an "astral talisman" (or "astral amulet") of sorts, a new circuit in the psycho-computer which will remain effective until it has served its purpose. Such a magical weapon has the advantage of being independent of physical objects (which also means that it can never get into the wrong hands). It is usually those "magicians" with the least practical experience who shout the loudest that a "correctly protected" magical weapon never would get into the wrong hands in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.
Every beginner in ceremonial magic learns that his/her rituals will attract astral entities just as light will attract moths. With magical weapons, talismans, amulets and other appropriate tools, the case is quite similar: some people are fascinated by them beyond sensible control. It is of little use to warn people never to touch the magically charged tools of a sorcerer without his/her permission, for proscriptions will usually make the whole thing seem a lot more attractive. It is of far lesser importance that a magician may have to do without his/her talisman, for example, after having been robbed of it. The whole situation can be compared with the position of an Army Quartermaster: he is responsible for the safekeeping of his arms and ammunition, not so much because any loss of gear would weaken his arsenal (which, of course, is another aspect not to be ignored), but mainly to ensure the safety of others who may not be aware of the danger of such tools—and who might have to pay dearly with their lives or physical or psychic health for their ignorance or innocence. It is no secret either that some magical instruments do tend to develop a definite, independent life of their own, and the history of magic is full of examples to prove the point.
When using non-physical sigils, you don't have to make tiresome last provisions concerning what should be done about them after your death so that they will be properly deactivated or handed over to the proper magical heir, etc. While sigils might show up again in your consciousness sometimes, this is quite harmless. I have never observed sigils developing a totally independent existence, going off on their own, etc., like amulets, magical daggers, and the like are sometimes wont to do.
Now, what about controlling your own success? Basically, the same rules are applicable here as in more conventional magic. Sigil magic is certainly not an infallible technique, but numerous practitioners j^yg confirmed repeatedly that it is by far the most effective of all the Western magical systems. If your sigil working has a time limit (for example, one month, a quarter of a year, etc.), control of success is simple enough. You may make a special note in your diary's agenda and later contemplate the result. Things are a bit more complicated if there are no time limits or the objective is an extremely long-term one. Nevertheless, with some practice you will develop the right feeling for it. Although you will have long forgotten your sigil working, the moment you realize your success, you will remember, which may create quite a weird feeling at times. You might have a similar experience as the Chasidim rabbi when he thanked God for never sending him anything before he needed it! It is a prerogative that we accustom ourselves to a different manner of success assessment.
The time it takes for a sigil to work is somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes success will be instant; sometimes it may take months. We are told that Austin Osman Spare could bring forth a cloudburst within minutes with the aid of sigils. He also succeeded, using this method, in evoking demons at a flinch. Nevertheless, it would be presumptuous to ascribe this to sigil magic and its techniques alone. Certainly, the magician's personal talent, the power of his/her own Magis, the inner consistency of his/her magical universe, the qualities of magical time (which shamans label "moments of power"), and some degree of probability may play an important part in instant magical phenomena, which should not be underestimated.
But this is, as I have pointed out before, not a probl^ of sigil magic alone. As did Dion Fortune, I tend to operate on a time limit of about six to nine months ¡n general. If short-term or medium-term operations have not succeeded within this period, they should be con. sidered as having failed. You will find more tips for the practical use of sigils in chapter 8.
For didactic reasons I chose to start off with the word method of sigilization to escort you to practical work immediately, without initially giving any consideration to other methods of sigil construction. In doing so, we avoided overburdening you with technicalities at too early a stage, parts of which you would only understand through practice anyway, Another reason is that most readers will probably want to start off with the word method because it is the most simple and uncomplicated one. The other methods of sigil construction follow. Points which have already been discussed and which are also applicable for these types of sigils will not be repeated, but, of course, I shall clarify distinctions in procedure.
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