Q&A: What is the “sigil element” in the reading?

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Q: I like that you put extras like crystals, aromatherapy, and an affirmation in your handwritten Tarot readings, but what is the “sigil element”? What is that for and what does it do? 

A: I’m sorry I didn’t explain that part more clearly.

When I do in-person readings, I always write notes for the client to have. That lets me draw or doodle any abstract shapes or images that intuition may give during the reading. Most images in a reading are common and easy to describe like ‘rain’ or ‘a tree’ or ‘a teapot’ or what have you. Sometimes I get abstract shapes that hint at a concept and look like schematics or hieroglyphs.  For example, I might get a stair step image to show progress that starts and stops, or a “Y” shape that hints at a fork in the road kind of decision. The sigil element above is an example. It came to mind when I first began developing the “InkMagick” readings a few years ago. It represents a quill pen and paper, while the lines and dots symbolize it being digitized and sent by email. Thanks to new tech that converts my handwriting and doodles right into a .pdf file, now I can share those intuitive shapes in a distance reading the same as in an in-person session or a pen and paper reading.

Around the same time, I discovered sigils and began working with them for my own use. Because I am so new to the art, I don’t claim to be able to create fully formed sigils for clients. I really think sigils are most powerful when you create them for yourself, anyway.

I share the intuitive shapes, psych-a-doodles, sigil elements…whatever you want to call them… for two reasons. First and foremost to better show you what intuition is showing me. Second, I hope the image will inspire the visual, creative side of you.

Which still begs the basic question: What the heck is a sigil anyway?

Sigils are essentially drawn designs that are thought to have some sort of esoteric power or energy, and can act as a talisman or amulet. In other words, it is a shape or symbol that you design in order to attract something into your life or to influence your life experience in some way. The confusing part is the word sigil itself. It can mean old (medieval or earlier) symbols traditionally believed to name and summon demons in ritual magick. The more modern sense of the word still means power symbols, but instead of summoning demons in complicated occult rituals, these contemporary sigils can be used to focus your energy on a particular outcome. It all has to do with your intentions. So like anything intention and energy driven, set your intent clearly in your mind from the very beginning, and stay focused on being a source of light and love throughout the process. Do that, and it is pretty unlikely anything shaggy and goat-headed will show up at your doorstep.

Intention is everything. Intend the loving highest and best. It’s that simple.

That is the theory of it. Now for the nuts and bolts of it.

First decide what you want the sigil to do. Draw it. Activate it. Let it go. It is like a metaphysical Ron Popiel gadget…set it and forget it.

It is up to you how simple or fancy you want to be. You can use a calligraphy brush on fine rice paper, or a ballpoint on a napkin.

You can use some sort of method for creating the sigil, like drawing lines on a grid that corresponds to letters of a key word. You can just draw a collection of smaller meaningful symbols (lines, spirils, crescents, circles and so on) or you can combine letters and shapes.

After you create and draw your sigil, some action is taken to “activate it.” The activation process usually ends with the sigil drifting into your subconscious mind. Tradition holds that it is the subconscious intention that connects with the universe to manifest your intended outcome.

Activation takes all sorts of forms. Some will simply fold up the paper and carry it. The simple act of possessing the symbol in its written form gives it the activation energy. Sometimes sigils are printed on a commonly used object like a shirt or a mug so that when the object is used, the sigil’s intention is energized as well. Some will burn the paper to release the sigil’s energy to the universe to be manifested.

There are many ways of creating and activating sigils. The details are outside the scope of one blog post, so I would suggest reading the experts below for more details if you are interested in sigil making.

In my experience, the real value of a sigil is going through the process of designing it in the first place, however you ultimately use or activate it. It is a creative, expressive process. It converts your desires from verbal to non-verbal form and lets you engage with those desires in an emotional, visceral way that words alone can’t quite capture.

I call the doodles “sigil elements” for lack of a better name. I also hope that they hold more energy for you than simple illustrations. I hope you can use the sigil element to create your own power symbol, or at least think about spirit’s guidance in a way beyond words alone.

Sources:

 

You Choose Tarot (4 Dec 19)

Left: The Chariot. Pay attention to this moment, here, now. Like a heroic gladiator, that little bit of mindfulness can swoop in and rescue you from worry about the future or regrets about the past.

Middle: The Lovers. If you aren’t getting what you want, are you wanting the right thing?

Right: Knight of Wands. Something magic this way comes. Action with genuine feeling and compassion behind it is a powerful thing.

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You Choose on YouTube

Tarot reading for today

Left: Eight of Pentacles – Almost there. Energies are right to see things through. Don’t sabotage yourself by giving up too soon.

Middle: Ten of Swords – Not everything is a big spiritual experience. Sometimes reality pins you down. Stare the dirt in the face and see reality as it is. THEN get up and make the most of the lemons life hands you.

Right: Eight of swords – Your creativity can save you. Close your eyes, be very quiet and physically still. Listen to the wind and hear the truth within.


Order a reading unique for you on the home page

Zombie Cat yes or no readings are still half price

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Bookshelf: Magick of Reiki

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I love a good book and a cup of coffee (or Red Zinger tea as it was when I took the picture)

This past weekend I finished Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, and Spiritual Development by Christopher Penczak. It is a absolute must-read for Reiki practitioners in America, possibly everywhere else, too.

I originally picked up the book to learn more about the magick piece of it. Full disclosure, I began to study Reiki back in the late 1990s, and was attuned as a Master-practitioner in the Usui style in 2000. Reiki was the topic my Ph.D. thesis in 2011. Reiki is my jam, I use it all the time for myself and my family. For various reasons, it hasn’t been until lately that I’ve started to connect the dots between the Asian culture influences (Taoism, Zen, Meditation, Reiki) and the European cultural influences (Tarot, Magick, aromatherapy, crystals) within my overall energy work.

To put it in a food analogy, I was expecting to try a new dish, but instead got a big old bowl of really delicious and familiar comfort food.

My expectations were backwards. Rather than being a book about a Magickal practice that incorporates Reiki, this is a book about Reiki by a Reiki teacher that points out the ways that Reiki is similar to magick. Instead of a book nudging the limits of my magickal knowledge, I found a book that was, after all, right in my wheelhouse. Delightfully so.

Mr. Penczak’s description of Reiki is right on the mark in my experience. I respect the he way he approaches all the varied schools in Reiki. He deals insightfully and compassionately with some fairly hot button issues between them.

His attitudes toward a wide variety of topics within Reiki very much resonate with my own. His thoughts on extended symbols, individually given symbols, publishing symbols, Reiki guides, the use of intuition within Reiki practice and most of all the giant bugaboos about money and charging for lessons and treatments are all kind, wise and just exactly what the American Reiki landscape needs. For magick topics and learning, I plan to read his other books. Magick of Reiki may not be the best choice for beginner magick reading, but it is perfect for next-step Reiki reading.

This is a book for people who have had a taste of Reiki and are looking for a fuller, more empowered approach to their practice. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who has had any sort of Reiki attunement or training. This is next step elevation of existing Reiki practice through review of the basics and an overview of important advanced concepts.

It seems to me that the best non-fiction writing gives some nugget, some bit of wisdom that transcends its literal topic. The same is true here. Whenever similar ideas come from sources separated in place, time or specialty, it gives that idea a real gravitas. One might shy away from calling anything ultimate ‘truth’ but similar ideas from dissimilar sources makes any notion important to my mind.

Mr. Penczak emphasizes following one’s own intuition and feeling in incorporating different Reiki practices into our own, both generally and session by session as needed. Joanna DeVoe describes herself as a “spiritual magpie” following the same self-direction for her spiritual practices writ large, magick or otherwise. Benebell Wen, in Holistic Tarot, connects the universal life energy (the ‘ki’ in Reiki, the “chi” in Tai Chi) to the ability to do Tarot readings at a distance. Scott Cunningham, in Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, reminds us that “the feeling is the power.” Adam Savage, writing in Every Tool’s a Hammer hints at the same autonomy and independence of thought within the realm of creativity and making. Mr. Savage captures the core of it when he quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men – that is genius.”

Genius, as every superhero movies teaches us, can, however, go wrong. To believe your inner heart is genius. To to have an inkling that it can be useful to everyone is generous. To believe that the totality of your path is the one singular right way for everyone is arrogance.

That isn’t to say all singular traditions are arrogant or wrong. The wrongness comes in assuming that one specific tradition is the one true way for everyone be it within Reiki or Magick or making stuff. If there is a particular tradition or path that is right in its totality for you, by all means follow it. You must fo what you know to be right for you be that stick with a particular school or be that follow your inner heart.

There is common ground between the group and the individual.

Tradition is tradition. Method is method. Making your own way is a tradition and a method of its own. Magick of Reiki hints that using the best of what we know gleaned from all the varied schools of Reiki IS the tradition of Reiki just like Cunningham hints that the feeling of power IS the power within magickal practice. This notion seems at diametric odds to adherence to prescribed old ways. Think about trust. Trust runs deeply through both approaches. Trust is the tradition.

In order to follow one particular school of thought within Reiki (or anything else) it require trust of that tradition. It requires trust in the originators and the transmitters of the tradition. If you are on a more inner (read solitary) path, it requires a great deal of trust too….trust in your perceptions and in your ability to adapt as better information comes along. In practice, it is a yin-yang dynamic combination of both. If you follow a tradition, you have to trust your inner knowing to choose the right tradition out of the many that exist. It requires extroidinary trust in your inner heart to change traditions and personal practices if needs be. If you are solitary, you have to trust the outer sources of information that you in turn adopt and adapt.

Usui, Tibetan, Johrei, Karuna, Shamballa; whether you follow one tradition or draw from them all and more, trust is the tradition behind it all.

Other Bookshelf posts:

Sigil Witchery

It’s all magick now

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It’s been half a year since TaoCraft Tarot’s official launch on Halloween, 2018. Today is half-o-ween (halfway to Halloween) or, if you want to be traditional about it, Beltane. This is the first spring that I have been open with all of you about my Taoist / witchy tendencies. If TaoCraft can launch on Halloween, it is only fitting to do something for Beltane.

It’s all magick now.

In honor of days of light and summer fire, I’ve made all the readings InkMagick Sigil Tarot. All of the readings now feature a sigil element and reading-based affirmation. Lucky for you, these won’t be handwritten unless you specifically order a pen and ink snail mail paper version from the Shop. The photo of your layout and the typed explanation part will stay the same. So will Zombie Cat with all of his snark and sly advice in the form of yes/no readings and the new Ask Zombie Cat page

I’ve thought of making layout changes, but it doesn’t feel right. The layout and position meanings are going to stay the same, in the old, reliable, trusty “Modern Oracle” layout that works so well. If it ain’t broke, far be it from me to fix it.

If you would like a reading in the new “InkMagick Sigil Tarot” format, you can order on the HOME page. If you want the handwritten version using my increasing beloved and magic wand like ink dip pen, those can be ordered from the TaoCraftTarotShop on Etsy, along with all the e-books, mala and jewelry (pssst….check out the necklaces. Mother’s Day is coming soon).

To those who celebrate, Merry May and Blessed Beltane, and to everyone else, Happy Tuesday! It’s all good. It’s all magick now.

Today’s Tarot 22 April 2019

InkMagick Sigil Tarot (both email and paper versions) are still at a special price until the end of April. Each one card meditation style reading includes a sigil element given by intuition that you may use to inspire your own sigil crafting plus a positive affirmation based on your reading.

Please visit the home page to order

customized artistic service, for entertainment and personal enrichment only

The Power Grows

The more digital becomes the norm, the more power handwriting gains as it slips into the realm of the quaint, the old-fashioned, the arcane.

I’ve seen it called both a day and a month of commemoration, but April has been dubbed “National Letter Writing Month” here in the US. It isn’t about pretty callegraphy, it is about heart to heart communication in written form.

In honor of the month, my favorite format (writing) and my Tarot specialty (distance, e-mail, mail) “InkMagick Sigil Tarot Readings” are $1 off the regular price until April 30, 2019. Order yours on the home page.

Each reading, both paper and digital, gives a sigil element, a symbol or doodle given by intuition. You are welcome to use it in your own sigil crafting. In the me pictured above, the pinaform (feather) shape symbolizes a pen or writing. the line paper, plus our connection, the circles hint at electrons, distance communication.

If you are interested in sigils, writing, and magick (yes, I use the k, it just looks cooler and I’m no Penn and Teller, you know?) I suggest reading Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff and Write Your Own Magic by Richard Webster.


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Bookshelf: Sigil Witchery

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I’ve been into Taoist phliosophy since the late 80s, out of the EX-Christian closet since 1992, out of the Tarot closet since the early 2000’s and out of the atheist closet since 2012. I only have one closet left. I don’t rock a goth style in my old-ass middle age but I admit to seeing the world through a witchy lens along with everything else. My “magick” (yeah, I spell it with a K because I think it looks cool and makes an important distinction between philosophy/way of life magick vs stage & entertainment magic.) is a low-key, in the flow, actions-and-words to align my intent with the natural way of things sacred-in-the-mundane variety.

That being said, this worldview is another part of the rebranding from Modern Oracle to TaoCraft. Not all witches are Tarot readers, and not all Tarot readers are witches. The way I see it, to borrow from Bill Maher, if you made a Venn diagram of Tarot, Taoism, Reiki, and my version of witchcraft you’d have damn near a circle. They are different iterations of the same thing. Parallel paths to the same mountain top. Different words to say the same thing. Tarot, Taoism, Reiki and Witchcraft are all just slightly different ways of viewing the world, living in harmony with nature and the natural flow of universal energy.

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Thus the new “Bookshelf” series of posts. On Modern Oracle, I wrote a few posts singing the praises of a few favorite spirituality and Tarot books. I plan to expand that here, fan-girling over favorite books, old and new, about all of those super-overlapping circles; Magick, Tarot, Reiki, Meditation, Spirituality with assorted other bits of inspiration and entertainment.

First up in the new series is my latest read, Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zarkoff. Whether you resonate with any form of magick or not, I consider this an essential read for any Tarot enthusiast. The well researched insight into symbolism at it’s most basic level can easily and effectively be brought to bear reading any Tarot or oracle deck. She enriches the most basic shapes and components of images with primal meaning. Those ancient and primal meanings then add another layer of meaning to the artwork on our decks, enriching our reading of the card. In interpreting a card, we can use the assigned meaning for the card blended with our own intuitive understanding of the card, and season it with the underlying significance of the shapes and symbols contained in the artwork as well.

My interest in sigil craft actually began with some of the most potent power symbols -words. Sallie Christensen told me in a reading one time that thoughts are powerful, spoken words more so, but the written word is the most powerful of all.  Sigils are even more potent and focused. Working with written words has one energy, one magic. Working with sigils is a similar but distinctly different energy wavelength.

Sigils are power symbols created from words. There are different methods of creating them, which Zarkoff relates briefly. Then she goes right on to elevate the  whole thing far above what has been before. As an artist, Ms. Zarkoff understands the emotional and subconscious impact of shapes and overall composition. A sigil constructed from the letters of a reduced phrase, or from the lines traced from letters on a magic square are perfectly fine, but the seem to be dominated by straight lines and spiky shapes. With Sigil Witchery, we are given a method for creating sigils that are pleasing to the eye, heart and mind. Better still, her understanding of how to incorporate sigils beyond setting them on fire and releasing them to the ethers makes sense, and, again, elevates the art and craft of sigil drawing.

For Tarot readers, go, read this now. Use what you learn about symbols and art to better appreciate and interpret your cards. If you are interested in sigil making as well, this is the book for you. Sigil Witchery is pleasant to read and easy to understand. Because Sigil Witchery is such an elevation of the art, and because the classic source of sigil craft is so very hard to read and follow (Austin Osman Spare) I suggest reading a mid-step introduction to sigils as a primer before reading Sigil Witchery. (I read Practical Sigil Magic by U.D. Frater. *See note below.) Having that little extra background only helps a reader to appreciate Laura Zarkoff’s accomplishment even more.

Sigil Witchery is available at major outlets like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on the author’s website at https://www.lauratempestzakroff.com/shop.html

*Frater’s work is rooted in “Chaos Magic” and some portions of the rituals described might offend some. The first half of the book is an excellent distillation and explanation of Spare’s approach to sigils. The second half of the book delves into ritual magick and, to my way of thinking, an undue, pedantic, overwhelming amount of detail about complicated ritual and so on. If you are inclined toward that style of things, this book is for you. To be honest, I bailed. That kind of detailed complicated ritual just isn’t my path. No slight to Frater, his writing, Spare or Chaos Magick. It’s a good, well written book.  The subject matter isn’t for me after the sigil basics were over.