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Before moving onto a couple of notes on advanced sigil magic, there are a few points worth clearing up.

Some readers, Iíve noticed, convulse with nervous laughter whenever I mention the word Ďmasturbationí. And no wonder, next to wetting the bed or shitting in your own catís box for a laugh, itís the one thing no-one likes to admit to.

Well, Iím afraid there are more embarrassed giggles afoot as we tackle this topic one last time and hopefully reassure some worried correspondents: Masturbation is only ONE of countless methods you can use to bring your mental chatter to a  standstill for the split-second it takes to charge and launch a sigil. I suggest masturbation because Iím kind-hearted, because itís convenient and because itís fun for most of us.

However...one does not change the universe simply by masturbating (tell THAT to the millions of sperm fighting for their life and the future of the species in a balled up Kleenex). If that were true, every vague fantasy we had in our heads at the moment of orgasm would come true within months. Intent is what makes the difference here.

Forget the wanking for just one moment if you can and remember that the sigil is the important part of the magic being performed here. The moment of orgasm will clear your mind, thatís all. There are numerous other ways to clear your mind and you can use any of them. Dancing or spinning to exhaustion is very effective. Meditation is effective but takes years to learn properly. Fear and shock are very good for charging sigils, so you could probably watch a scary movie and launch your sigil at the bit where the heroís head comes bouncing down the aluminium stepladder into his girlfriendís lap. A run around the block clutching a sigil might be enough to charge it.

Children of Christian Fundamentalists or any other youngsters checking out this site in defiance of their parentsí insistence on the literal truth of a series of folk histories composed several thousand years ago in the Middle East, may find it difficult to masturbate in the face of the Bibleís strict rules about spilling seed on stony ground (lucky for you, girls! In spite of His thoughtful addition of a clitoris to Adamís lively rib God apparently overlooked the potential for female masturbation and forgot to prohibit it. Then again, he did add Ďthou shalt not suffer a witch to liveí to cover His ass in any eventuality). Under these circumstances, Iíd suggest a chaste kiss or a ride on the dodgems, either of which should be enough to white out consciousness for as long as you need.

If you donít suffer from the symptoms of religious mania but STILL canít make the one-backed beast with yourself, Iím afraid you may have to use a more involved method. Bungee off a bridge, perhaps, or sit naked in your local graveyard at night. Or dance until you fall over. The important thing is to find your own best method for stopping that inner chat just long enough to launch a fiercely-visualised sigil into the gap. States of exhaustion following ANY intense arousal or deprivation are ideal.

And if you experiment and still have trouble with sigils, try some of the other beginner exercises for a while (see upcoming chapters of POP MAGIC! or get hold of some good spell books from the list over in the second week of the column. Iíve only met a couple of people whoíve told me they canít make sigils work so maybe there are a few of you out there who genuinely have problems in this particular area. Tough luck but it doesnít mean thereís no magic for you to play with. I couldnít wheeze ĎTwinkle twinkle little star...í out of a clarinet but I can play the guitar well enough to have written hundreds of fabulous songs. If Iíd stuck with the clarinet and got nowhere would that mean there is no such thing as music? Or would it indicate simply that I have an aptitude for playing the guitar which I canít seem to replicate using a clarinet? If I want to make music I use the instrument Iím most comfortable and accomplished with. The same is true for magical practise. Donít get uptight about it. This is not about defending a belief system, this is about producing results.


Some people keep their sigils, some dispose of them in an element appropriate to the magicianís intent (I have burned, buried, flushed away and scattered sigils to the winds, depending on how I felt about them. Love-sigils went to water - flushed down the toilet or thrown into rivers or boiled in kettles. War-sigils were burned etc... Some of my sigils are still around because I decided they were slow-burners and worth keeping. Some are even still in print. Do what feels right and produces results.)

Soiled paper and tissues can easily be disposed of in your mumís purse or the pocket of dadís raincoat.

The viral sigil also known as the BRAND or LOGO is not of recent development (see Ďthe Nazisí 20c. 20s-40s) but has become an inescapable global phenomenon in recent years. The Nazis were the last thinkers of the Imperial Age; they still thought world domination meant tramping over the 'enemy' and taking his real estate. If only theyíd had the foresight to see that global domination is only possible using corporate stealth-violence methods and combined that with their undoubted design senses; the rejected artists who engineered the Third Reich might have created the worldís first global superbrand. The McDonaldís Golden Arches, the Nike swish and the Virgin autograph are all corporate viral sigils.

Corporate sigils are super-breeders. They attack unbranded imaginative space. They invade Red Square, they infest the cranky streets of Tibet, they etch themselves into hairstyles. They breed across clothing, turning people into advertising hoardings. They are a very powerful development in the history of sigil magic, which dates back to the first bison drawn on the first cave wall.

The logo or brand, like any sigil, is a condensation, a compressed symbolic summing up of the world of desire the corporation intends to represent. The logo is the only visible sign of the corporate intelligence seething behind it. Walt Disney died long ago but his sigil, his cartoonish signature persists, carrying its own vast weight of meanings, associations, nostalgia and significance. People are born and grow up to become Disney executives, mouthing the jargon and the credo of a living corporate entity. Walt Disney the man is long-dead and frozen (or so folk myth would have it) but Disney, the immense, invisible corporate egregore persists.

Corporate entities are worth studying. They and other ghosts like them rule our world. So...figure out why the Coca-Cola spirit is stronger than the Doctor Pepper spirit (what great complex of ideas, longings and deficiencies has the Coke logo succeeded in condensing into two words, two colours, taking Orwellís 1984 concept of Newspeak to its logical conclusion?) Watch their habits, track their movements over time, monitor their repeated behaviours and watch how they react to change and novelty. Learn how to imitate them, steal their successful strategies and use them as your own. Create your own brand, your own logo and see how quickly you can make it spread.

Build your own god and set it loose.

Is about making things happen and performing experiments. In these endeavours we do not need to know HOW magic works only that it does. We prove this by doing the work, recording the results and sharing our information with other magicians. Theoretical magic is all the mad ideas you come up with to explain whatís happening to you. Applied magic is what makes them happen.

Always keep a journal of your experiments. Itís easy to forget things youíve done or to miss interesting little connections and correspondences. Make a note of everything, from the intent to the fulfilment. Make a note of dates, times, moods, successes and failures.

Study YOURSELF the way a hunter studies prey. Exploit your own weaknesses to create desired changes within yourself.

Banishing is a way of preparing a space for ritual use. There are many elaborate banishing rituals available, ranging across the full spectrum of pomposity. Think of banishing as installing virus protection software. The banishing is a kind of vaccination against infection from Beyond.

Most banishings are intended to surround the magician with an impenetrable shield of will. This usually takes the form of an acknowledgment of the elemental powers at the four cardinal points of the compass. Some like to visualise themselves surrounded and protected by columns of light or by four angels. Any protective image will do - spaceships, superheroes, warrior-monks, whatever. I donít bother with any of that and usually visualise a bubble radiating outwards from my body into space all around above and below me as far as I think Iíll need it.

Why the need for protection?
Remember that you may be opening some part of yourself to an influx of information from Ďnon-ordinaryí, apparently ĎOtherí sources. If you practise ceremonial magic and attempt to summon godforms or spirits (see next month) things will undoubtedly happen. Your foundations will be tested. There is always the danger of obsession and madness. As magical work progresses, you will be forced into confrontation with your deepest darkest fears and desires. Itís easy to become scared, paranoid and stupid. Stay fluid, cling to no one self-image and maintain your sense of humour at all times.

Banishing reminds you that no matter how many gods you talk to, you still have to take a shite and be able to cook dinner and talk to people without scaring them.

When you complete any magical work, ground yourself with a good laugh, a good meal, a good shag, a run or anything else that connects you with the real world. Banishing after your ritual is over works as a decompression back into normal world of bills and bus stops and job satisfaction. The magicianís job is not to get lost in the Otherworld but to bring back its treasures for everyone to play with.

You now have the basic techniques of magical practise at your disposal.
Get out there and cause trouble.

Next in POP MAGIC! weíll move forward into some of the more exciting and bizarre areas of magical work including :-






See you there. Bring your own wand.






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