Sigil generator apps catch a lot of flack. Since I made a sigil generator, and get tired of people constantly telling me it’s not valid magick, I’d like to respond to some of that here. I’m a chaos magician and write from that perspective but no matter what your magical path is, if it isn’t too dogmatic and traditional, hopefully you can take away something from this article about progress.
What we consider “old” or “traditional” magick was the latest tech of the day. Most accounts of magick history corroborate this as having it go from cave paintings to herbs to cauldrons to alchemy to mass production, printing presses and assembly lines (printed books, cards, ouija, etc). Always changing, but always period appropriate. Sometimes it’s even ahead of its time, as in the case of some niche natural medicines vs doctors who bled and leeched their patients.
Why would magick be able to work with current tech until a certain date? Why would the universe decide that the latest tech was perfectly fine, but only up until a certain point in history and then stop? More importantly why would this arbitrary date plucked at random from literally infinity just so happen to be the age right before our own age that we still tell stories about?
The answer is that humans have a tendency to romanticize the past, and we are notoriously bad at deconditioning and self awareness. Of course a bygone era seems more magical now, but progress and change and chaos make sense and have many great examples in nature. Stagnation not so much (adapt or die is generally the observable natural law).
An old wizard reading a giant handwritten tome by candlelight SEEMS more magical. It’s what Hollywood TELLS us is more magical (decondition more pls). But in the time period that’s from, there was absolutely nothing out of place about handwritten books and candlelight. It was the latest tech. Same goes for any of the time periods or cultures we pull inspiration from.
We would do ourselves an injustice to stagnate rather than also use the latest tech and move forward, and one of the main points of chaos magick is to demystify and pragmatize magick. Just because it seems old now doesn’t mean it wasn’t cutting edge at the time. Catch up to the present.
The first book on Chaos Magick was published in 1978 (and suggested you try a variety of sigil methods). For reference that’s 3 years AFTER the DeLorean Motor Company was founded. If magick has to be ancient what are we doing exactly?!
Now I’m not saying to to ignore the past either. By all means, please use anything from the past that works for you. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Take what those before you did and build on it to ENHANCE your practice, not to LIMIT it. If you don’t like modern tech in your magick, don’t use it! But please don’t tell other people they can’t use the tools they like as if it’s some kind of universal truth you know rather than just your personal preference.
Here are some answers to the most common ones:
Magick and technology don’t mix!
Where’s that written? Please keep your dogma on a leash. Magick and technology ALWAYS mixed. You’re not thinking of the actual definition of “technology” and just romanticizing the past vs the present. The invention of the wheel was technology.
Some of William S Burroughs best magical work was done with cameras, tape recorders, a record player and an electric lightbulb. Why are you even arguing with me on the internet instead of in a secret clearing in the woods around a ceremonial fire? I bet you have electricity and don’t make your own clothes you poser. Reply to me only by carrier pigeon.
I get that definitions evolve and especially with a thing like chaos magick they are fluid by nature, but it’s pretty telling that “innovation” and “technology” are front and center in many accepted definitions of chaos magick.
The creativity is an important part of the process! This defeats the entire point of a sigil!
Creativity CAN be an important part of the process. Or it can not be that. Please keep your dogma on a leash. Besides the fact that several “traditional” methods offer VERY LITTLE creativity (see: kameas/magic squares) most modern texts (which you are probably going by if you are a chaos magician, even if you were too lazy to read and just heard it through the grapevine) don’t really say this at all.
They say creating a unique glyph (using various methods) that has no meaning to your subconscious other than your intent is an important part of the process.
They say a good statement of intent, gnosis, and forgetting it afterwards are important parts of the process.
Needing to be a special creative artist isn’t really ever stated as a requirement and would exclude a lot of people. We’re not all artists, some of us are engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists.
Sure Austin Spare wrote about art a lot, he was an artist. Carroll wrote about math a lot, he was a nerd.
Well, it’s just a gut feeling I have (or something that boils down to this).
Gut feelings are wrong all the time. We used to be cool with child labor. Fuck your gut feeling.
Follow your gut for YOUR OWN practice, not for dictating cosmic truth to others.
But you’re letting the sigil generator do it for you!
Am I? Are you “letting the pencil do it for you”? An app is a tool you can use to make an image. So is a pencil, paintbrush, or Photoshop. An app is just one of many tools YOU can use to create YOUR image. Where is it written that one is better than the other? Please keep your dogma on a leash.
How is me doing the EXACT SAME STEPS of a programmatic method like kameas but doing it slower and with a pencil somehow better exactly? Are pencils magical?
I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work!
If it doesn’t work for you don’t do it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for anyone else. For some people Golden Dawn doesn’t work, for others Hoodoo doesn’t work, that’s on you. Please keep your dogma on a leash when you state your personal truth as capital “T” truth.
How could it POSSIBLY matter to any of the forces involved (the universe, a spirit, a deity, your subconscious, etc.) if you look at a sigil on paper or a sigil on a screen? …if you write with a quill or a mechanical pencil or a stylus? Is knowledge on paper more knowledgier than the same knowledge in a pdf?
You really think the universe is some petty hall-monitor?
If you can’t even make your own sigils, do you really understand them?
Umm, if you think the part where you get to play with crayons is the important part, do you really understand them?
Don’t get me wrong! I appreciate the artistry that goes into some of the amazing sigils I’ve seen, and I understand that for someone who makes art a big part of their life and practice this might have a higher priority. But in general I’d say crafting the intent, creating an original glyph that means nothing but your intent, achieving the correct mindset, charging it effectively, and banishing it from your conscious thoughts are FAR more important than the design method you choose that happens to get you that unique glyph.
Also this is a fallacious argument right on the face of it. Using a sigil generator doesn’t mean that you don’t understand how to make a sigil any more than using a car means you don’t understand how to walk from place to place. You just prefer to drive instead of walk sometimes because it’s convenient and fast, that’s what technology does!
Convenience: You don’t always have art tools but you usually have your phone.
Speed: Arguably the least important part can be expedited using a sigil generator.
If someone ever really didn’t understand how to make a sigil, playing with a sigil generator would be a good way to learn. You can see the methods demonstrated in real time based on different scenarios you create and a lot of people learn better that way than from a static text.
Also in case you didn’t know, some apps do a lot more than generate sigils.