[excerpt from the authors upcoming book Space/Time Magick.]
I developed this technique of sigil work based off of a pre-writing exercise that is used to get students inspired to write. This technique is also based off the concept of mind-mapping, which was developed by Lana Israel to help kids learn better. Lana Israel is not a mage, but her idea as well as the pre-writing technique are well worth using in a magickal way.
First the pre-writing exercise. English teachers will sometimes use pre-writing exercises and one of those exercises is a web. The web allows a student to brainstorm, but do it in a way that doesn't require a lot of writing. The web is set-up much like a spider web would be set up. First you have the central circle. In that circle is the concept you want to write about. Now on other parts of the paper you draw lines and circles in and the circles you write whatever associations come to mind. This helps you organize information. For instance I could write the word sigil in the center and then draw lines to several circles and write symbol in one circle and magick method in another circle. From each of those circles would spawn more lines with more ideas until eventually you have a page full of lines and circles connected to each other. That's the application for writing.
Mind mapping, on the other hand, recognizes that schools teach children in a linear manner, but that the hardware for the brain is non-linear. The technique of mind-mapping is similar to the web I mentioned above. The difference is that Israel's technique incorporates the use of color as a means of retaining memory of a concept one is working with. It also incorporates the use of symbols that represent a concept for the person. The symbols are melded with the colors to create associations within the mind, thus imprinting the mind with information.
At this point you perhaps begin to see how mind mapping could be useful for sigilistic work. It works on a similar principle with the difference in goals being that with sigil work we seek to forget the purpose behind the symbol. What I have done is melded the two concepts of the web and mind mapping together with the principles of sigil work. However my workings with sigil web of magick is a bit unique. With the web I use the sigil work to do workings that are more concerned with linkage than anything else.
First I draw a sigil on the page that represents me. This sigil is my essential being. Next I draw sigils that represent concepts, people, places, objects, and situations within my life. I link these sigils to the primary sigil with lines. I write these sigils down and do the lines in one color, the pen that I'm using. I look these sigils over, meditate on them for a bit, think about what they represent within my life, how important they are etc. Then I decide which sigils I want to strengthen my connection with. I also decide which sigils I want to cut the connection to.
I sometimes end up drawing additional sigils around the sigils I want to keep. The additional sigils can be used to flesh out the sigil (and the influence) I'm keeping, as well as modifying the influence, determining, for instance if there are aspects of the influence that need to be cut, while retaining the overall influence in your life. I draw these additional sigils to the primary influence that they are focused on. I recommend using whatever you need to also strengthen the connections between the tertiary sigils and the primary influence sigil. The idea is that these tertiary sigils will not merely strengthen the influence in your life, but also strengthen the manifestation of the influence into your life, as well as acting as parameters that define the nature of how that influence manifests in your life.
For the sigils I want to keep I get creative. I may draw other symbols and/or use colors to represent the nature of the relationship, it's importance to me and in what ways I seek for the connections to be strengthened between my sigil and the other sigils. I put a lot of effort into this work because I want to accurately represent my needs and desires. I am also putting energy into the sigils by doing this work, so in a real sense I'm charging the sigils by doing the labor of love that I do. After I've cut the sigils out that I don't intend to keep I either use masturbation or some other way of shedding bodily fluid to fire the sigil. Or I simply tack it on the wall and will the sigils to manifest. Whatever way you use to fire your sigils should be effective with this technique.
The other thing I do is look at the sigils I don't want in my life. I think on why I don't want these sigils and what they represent in my life. I make sure my reasoning is very clear and to the point. I take out a pair of scissors and cut the sigils. Then I burn them. The act of cutting is the means by which I charge the sigils up with an energy that takes a person or situation out of my life. The act of burning is the firing mechanism for the sigil, the ashes dissipating away and with them the negative influence that effected me.
At this point I put the web away in a safe place. I will occasionally charge it with energy if I feel I need to. Occasionally I'll destroy a web and start a new one. Life changes and so my needs change. Using the sigil web is an effective way to do magick. It's easy to do as well material wise. It only requires paper, pen, some crayons, paints, etc, and a pair of scissors. So it's good on your budget. Also provided you have the right kind of concentration and ability to focus energy you should have no problem charging the sigils or cutting them for that matter.
This technique can also be used in a group setting. It can be an effective way of developing group communication and resolution of problems, and also just a fun way of bonding with each member of the group. With the group exercise make sure the magickal group is together. I recommend using a large sheet of paper if possible or if you will multiple sheets of paper. You can do this technique in two ways with a group. The first way is to have everyone construct their own webs as pertaining to the group and then have each person explain the various sigils in the web and how these sigils either help the group or don't help it. Remember this person is presenting his/her personal perspective on the group in doing this exercise this way. For this exercise to be effective you need to be honest with yourself and other members of your magickal group. After each person explains his personal web, the group as a whole needs to agree on the sigils that should be cut from the various webs and burned. If there is disagreement, now is a good time to work out the situation so that the problem is resolved.
The other way to do this exercise is to have a giant piece of paper. The group as a whole decides what each sigil should be as well as what the sigil is about. Again honest communication is essential for making the magick work effectively, so the group unanimously must agree on the sigils to be cut or kept. Naturally the idea of this technique in this case is to sponsor open communication so that the group dynamics are kept effective and the members stay friendly with each other. Once the group as a whole has decided what sigils to keep and what to get rid of, burn the ones you don't need and keep the rest of the sigils in a safe place. I think doing this kind of exercise at least once a year for a group will preserve the harmony of the dynamics of the magickal group. Naturally however your group decides to utilize this technique will also likely need a group decision on how to fire the sigil web. The charging is done by the communication you put to work in making the group more dynamic than it was.
A few words of warning though. This form of magick is extremely effective, especially when you use it to cut something or someone out of your life. When you choose to cut something or someone be absolutely certain you want to do it because once it's done, it's done. That person, situation, or object never comes back into your life. For instance I cut a musician friend of mine out of my life. I did this about five years ago and to this day I have never heard from him and have not a word from people who know him. And the effect of cutting him out of my life was almost instantaneous. I stopped hearing from him very soon after I did the ritual. Also if you're cutting a person out of your life be careful and be sure as to how you want that person out of your life. If you don't specify how you want the person out of your life you could end up killing him or her. So be careful and be specific. As you cut the sigil away from the web you are charging it with your intent.
The other caution is this. It can be hard to cut sigils from the web. A person who experimented with this technique used the technique to get rid of a bad habit. He told me it was very painful and very hard to cut the sigil away and burn it. He did note that all desire to indulge in the habit stopped soon after the sigil had been burned. Just remember that this can be painful and can be hard. This makes sense as you are literally and deliberately cutting a connection to your life.
Despite these warnings try the technique out. It is well worth using and has been highly effective for me and for those few who have experimented with it. It is a clever adaptation of the concepts mentioned above with of course my own twist on it. You can use this form of sigil magick to cut away and strengthen connections at the same time. There are other uses for it as well, such as specifying how something will be strengthened or cut away from your life. Finally it?s a great exercise in non-linear thinking. You get to perceive how you make connections and interact with people, places, things, and situations all at once instead of one at a time.
Works Cited: Israel, Lana (1989). Brain Power for Kids: How to Become and Instant Genius. Miami, FL: Buzan Centres.
Author Bio: Taylor Ellwood is currently pursuing his PH.D in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice at Kent State University. He is the author of 'Pop Culture Magick' (available September 2004) and co-author of Creating Magickal Entities. Taylor is currently writing his third book 'Space/Time Magick' as well as more articles. Check out Taylor's webpage at http://taylorellwood.chaosmagic.com or his livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/teriel. Taylor can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.