Sigil for magical partners

One of the recent things in my life is that I’ve been developing a relationship with someone who shares an interest in being magical partners together. One aspect of this came up as a suggestion from my partner that we might have a sigil of some kind to represent the combination of our emergent effort.

I’ve done some work in the past with bind-runes and sigils for imaginal landscapes, among other things; so I started to think about a kind of bind-rune with the initials of our magical names. I was also reminded of the ring my father’s father had made in France during WWII that has the family initials on it.

First, I created a series of images with the initials of our magical names arranged in different relationships with each other, arranging them in a variety of ways that seemed interesting to look at and different than the others.

This was basically just a test file to see what I see in the shapes and their relationships. I think there’s some great possibilities there. I sent this to my partner also so she could gander as well as so we could talk about our Rorschach-like test results for these shapes; immediately I see stars in some, but lots of almost organic shapes, including the last which makes me think of a flower or rose and for which I added some colours to make the glyphs distinct in spite of much overlap. I also see ways that the Mem-Kappa can echo both the M(agdalene) and K(alokagathon) as well as the initials of our civil names K and G. But, from this there’s definitely some interesting shapes here to play with and work on!

But going through the glyph relationships:

1. I see a star in the middle. also the Mem at the bottom is like a partial top of a G glyph. K & G being our civil initials as well as Mem & Kappa being the initials of our magical names, in reverse order of our magical names.

2. I see the hint of a heart in the middle

4. I see a hint of a tree

6. Another heart is hinted to me in the place where the glyphs join

7 & 8 I actually see a shape of a map of the US in these two, which echoes the two coasts. I also see the Mem and the serif of the K in each forming an arabic M which hints at some possible initialisms like in 1

9 I see a stem and flower here, perhaps of a rose

Of course, the sigil needn’t be so literal about these letter shapes, and could go more for a graphical lamen or waxen seal design, with symbolic elements; but this was an initial experiment.

I sent the glyph study to my partner, and she send back what she saw in these relationships.

My Roschach test is below… I’m trying not to look at your answers until I do mine so I’m not influenced!

1. ummm nothing!

2. flower or sea creature shapes

3. old pacman designs

4. swing dancers

5. bullfighter with a swirling cape behind him

6. old rod iron fence outside a garden

7. someone in a hershey kiss costume dancing with someone in a kit kat costume (like hershey park when I was a kid)

8. similar to 7

9. not sure, the color was throwing me off

Oh my… I’m a bit off from what you saw!!! lol. I think its a great start.

So, looking at some of the features we came up with from the glyph arrangements, I did some more work playing with the sigil idea as an inked-in pencil illustration as a draft of one possible sigil, but I think it turned out pretty good.

I know the key and bee are derivative of The Magicians: A Novel, but it was in my mind associated with the two of us because that’s what we selected for our first bookclub selection. The rest of the illustration is of a Greek kappa and an Hebrew mem joined so that they form a five pointed star in the middle. Of course, “every man and every woman is a star” but also in Crowley’s star-sponge vision the relationships we form are also stars in their own right. Thus, I think the star in the middle is a reminder of both our individual sovereignty as well as what we are building together.

For myself I like the idea of the bee actually facing down into the Kappa, like a descending dove, but also because the Kappa could be more of a flower. The Mem could be more keyhole shaped, or even could hint of a beehive. The key is intentionally but only slightly phallic, but I suppose there could be some detail for it to be more serpent like, as in a rising serpent.

The kappa could be wider and less tall, and the star might be smaller. Also, I wonder if there’s a way to bring a square and a hexagram into this also, or if that’s too much.

Another thought is that I’d like the sigil to be something that can be both very detailed and also something that can be quickly drawn, say as if next to initials or in place of initials on a guestbook or epistle.

Further it’d be spiffy if there were an email version, some kind of emoticon. “BK*MF” might be too much of a stretch … maybe just “K*M” … or “M*K” … I kinda prefer the ordering Mem Kappa, but in the illustration the Kappa on top forms the star; of course, there’s no reason why it can’t be written “M*K” whatever the arrangement of the sigil.

Also, I keep wondering what could be on the right side of the star … maybe that’s something for later?

Well, it’s definitely a start, but with tweaks and more thought this could be pretty nice.

One thought we had originally was to create some jewelry with our sigil on it. Certainly necklaces or something, but when I think about how I’ve actually used my grandfather’s ring as a wax seal, though the initials come out mirrored; I think about how having the eventual sigil as a wax seal would be pretty fantastic for using as part of magical operations, as well as the grand nostalgia from using the wax seal of our sigil on letters we might send each other. When this sigil, or another if we replace it, is far enough along; that’ll be a time to start exploring options for getting something custom-made for us using the design.

Parzival poster

A while back in June, after the initial reader’s theatre read-through of the Parzival script, I did what I often do when thinking about something: I went on a search engine safari. In my search, I was struck by a particular image used for the Alexander Reichstein illustrated cover for Marit Laurin’s Parzival [amzn]. The image is so striking and memorable that I kept going back to it to look again and again. It was this image which immediately filled me with the feeling I had to rough out a poster for the, at that time, imaginary show.

My first draft was not all that inspired, and definitely not nearly as cool as the book cover painting. It was comprised of a large background image of a Parzival manuscript over which text and the most common image of Parzival in existence were placed. The performance dates and details on this draft poster are completely made up.

First draft Parzival poster

Since then, the show has become a real thing. I’ve been cast as Parzival, the character I was asked to read for the reader’s theatre read-through. And, we’ve started the rehearsal process, though we’re still trying to work out when the show will be performed. (It’s currently looking like sometime in January, but we’re still cooking the calendar.)

This Saturday, on the way to the lodge for the 2nd rehearsal for Parzival, I was having an idea for another poster come into my mind. I really started with the thought of a beautiful and shapely woman’s leg in Arlecchino diamond patterned tights coming out from behind a thick red velvet curtain, as if at the very initial moment of a burlesque show. You know, maybe even not particularly as a poster for Parzival, but just because it’s a sexy image to think about … I had an idea of who’s leg would be perfect for the image too … (Actually, now that I’m thinking back, I’m remembering that this started out as an idea for a redesign of my own website.)

Then, various details began to coalesce. I began to have form in my mind’s eye a tableau of Parzival and Sophia, essential characters in the script for the show. Now it was the leg of Sophia coming from behind the curtain, and she was using her leg to tease Parzival; her arm was also coming out from behind the curtain holding aloft a golden chalice filled with an elixir of life, in this case perhaps the red blood of the Saints. Parzival, who is kneeling before the curtain dressed as a Templar, clumsily fumbles with the lance he is holding. The moment captured by the tableau is that frozen moment just after things get wild, because Parzival’s lance causes Sophia to lose hold of the chalice, which unbalanced starts to spill; and, Parzival is off balance as he tries to recover, and has a hand extended into the center of the tableau, as if to try to catch the falling chalice; and, Sophia is unbalanced in her position because of all she’s doing complicated by Parzival’s clumsiness.

I really saw this as photographic quality, maybe even actually done as a composite. The gap in the veil, I imagined might be filled with out-of-focus candles on an altar. The dripping elixir should be as vibrant, or more so, than even the velvet curtains. The velvet curtains reminded me of both theatre curtains and the red curtains of the black lodge in Twin Peaks. I don’t know that the original idea of having the feminine leg in jester tights works for this; and, I think there might be no clothing showing, to suggest that Sophia is naked. Parzival might have some indication of Fool’s clothing on along with the Templar tabard and clothing. The various elements of the image should be much tighter, not as spaced out; to suggest intimacy but also to heighten the awkwardness and sense of immediacy of Parzival’s fumble.

Red curtain Parzival poster sketch

I did a really quick pencil sketch trying to capture what this looked like so I wouldn’t forget. I’m usually pretty self-conscious about showing this kind of quick sketch, since it’s rough and ill-proportioned, but I thought I’d try sharing it. The paper got folded up in my pocket on the way home, so it’s also a bit wrinkled …

chief adept wand

This is a draft image of the chief adept wand. It’s essentially pixel art. The head of the wand is still a bit rough. The first image is with a long staff, the second with a shortened staff.


Working on transcribing something from scans of Aleister Crowley’s notes (of correspondence with Allen Bennett circa 1905), I decided to sketch out a possible replacement for a really primitive inline illustration. Here’s my version and a scan of the inline original.

Gnostic Mass at Sekhet-Maat Lodge

Last week I completed some promotional graphics for Sekhet-Maat Lodge to help people spread the word about the weekly celebration of Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass [also] every Sunday at 3pm. I posted the final images to the Lodge’s promotion page.

Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass every Sunday at 3pm at Sekhet-Maat Lodge, O.T.O.

There’s actually three versions on the promotions page, including one for social networks and one for rich-text e-mail signatures. You can check out the various drafts I went through, starting with a pretty lame first draft, over here.

brilliant dark

babalonshapes.pngbringing in the brilliant dark
as you take part in the sacrament
of desire building toward self
and renewal of all or nothing
double down on enlightenment
and place your bets on red
go all in or go home
as the man said
no one here gets out alive
so take your money or
live your life alive
knowing you took a chance
worth taking a life
in exchange for a denarius
and the one they crucify
will be you
nailed to the cross
of five and six
and eleven wins
zero losses the fool crowned
and everything comped
you’ll be dining with Sinatra tonight
and he already knows your name
have you met our hostess

Horus fire lamen 5

Well, so I just gave up using PS and stuck with AI. That means, the lines are way cleaner, and the completely vector version could be re-sized to anything. I may need to adjust the width of the black lines to be more clear in very small sizesHorus fire lamen 5

And, here’s a PDF version, to show off resizing.

Horus fire lamen 4

I tried a couple of things. I pixel bashed a bit. I reduced the size of the head and made the body wider, which actually helps a lot. I went toward more traditionally egyptian colours (a la the SVG at wikipedia)Horus fire lamen 4

There’s definitely a point where it’s hard to know whether it even works at all or not once I spend too much time on a thing.

Horus fire lamen

Starting from this design suggestion from a friend, Beth:

“Horus holding the flames of aspiration/inspiration/initiation.”

Initial scan of my sketchScan

Cleaned up fireFire

Cleaned up HorusHorus

Elements together with a lamen and colourHorus fire lamen with colour

Café Thélème

So, I was just dorking around while thinking about the theme for an informal reception, wondering what to do with it. And, I ended up sketching out an idea for Café Thélème. I don’t know if this is too dorky, or maybe inspires anyone, but … I put my rough graphic idea online, which you can gander at hereCafé Thélème