Progression Sigils (Part 2)
In the first part of this article (Chaos International No. 24), I explained the basic concept of Progression Sigils and drew several examples of how they might be laid out. What I didn't mention was that the original charging formula, as dramatic as it may sound, is something I've never personally used. The names of Angels, even Dark names as in the Satanic ritual pantheon, simply do not strike a chord with my personal use of symbolism in magic.
As a Chaos Magician, I found it only natural to adapt the original formula from my very first experiments with it to methods which I could find more meaningful. Oddly enough, the one thing I did not adapt is the original pentagram diagramme. It would be a temptation for any Chaos Magician to apply this formula to an eight-pointed star design, and I may well try it some day if a purpose occurs where that much detail seems appropriate, but so far to date I have found that breaking a purpose down into five (a significant Discordian number anyway) stages is just about right for an actual working.
Any number of progressions is, of course, possible. One might use any geometric design one chooses to symbolize the workings of a progression spell, although something as complicated as John Dee's Sigillum Dei AEmeth may be too complicated when it comes to focusing on the order of the progression. A simple pentagram with five sequential sigils placed in the points of the star, following a straight forward progression either deosil or widdershins depending on the intent and the choice of the magician, keeps it basic. The effectiveness of such basic methods is well known among most experienced magicians.
Those who are familiar with the methods of Austin Osman Spare will immediately see the value of using bodily fluids in charging spells for this sort of sigil. I have found this to be a very natural and effective ingredient in whatever spell I have worked with this method. Using either combined male and female sexual fluids or menstrual blood to 'consecrate' the sigil a day before the actual drawing of the individual progression sigils allows the spell to begin the feeling of time continuum, as well as allowing the fluids to dry for practical purposes. Then the actual designs can be added during the chosen ritual itself, and sealed in afterwards with more fluids of a chosen type either at the end of the ritual or at a later time.
Another aspect of this sort of spell which I find appropriate is to concoct a simple daily ritual dedicated to its purpose, and to utilize the finished sigil in its daily performance over a period of time. I have done such chargings over as little as a week, and in one serious case for three months. The results were astounding in both cases, but the longer time period, combined with a period of fasting (in this case fasting from all sugar, not an easy choice for a chocoholic), was enough to turn a major foreign government institution on its head. Performing a daily ritual in pretty much the same sequence every day is an essential aspect in progression rituals. A simple ritual is best. The daily performance becomes boring, but that is exactly the point. Over a long enough period of time, the actions required become ingrained into the consciousness of the magician in the way of any daily habit, and subsequently charge the sigil perhaps even more exhaustively than a sigil which has been charged through the more abrupt forms of charging such as orgasm. Also, the daily habits are such a relief to abandon when the time period is finished that the release of the daily ritual acts as a release for the magic as well.
Progression spells are something which I would not advise using for everyday magical requirements. Like any method, they can become stale with over-use. However, they are probably the most effective method I have encountered for extremely important purposes, especially those with a low probability factor. It is important for each element of the sigil that much thought is put into exactly what is desired. The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for", is multiplied by the number of individual sigils applied in this method. The order of the progression is also worth a clear evaluation before beginning. The possibilities for this method to become unstable and chaotic are far greater than in any single purpose spell, and the magician must be prepared to redirect any aspect of the spell which becomes imbalanced. The daily ritual of charging is the appropriate time and place to assess and gently nudge (in butterfly fashion) the physical progression of the spell, up until the time period for the daily chargings expires. After that, it's too late. Extra thought put into the closing of the final ritual to 'seal' the spell's direction is highly recommended.
Of course, more gentle progression spells can be achieved by using a daily ritual for a specified period of time omitting the sigil completely. This method creates gentle waves of magic over a period of time rather than concentrating the energy into a physical representation to be destroyed at the end, thereby releasing the accumulated force of magic with all the impact of a magical bomb.
The daily charging method can be almost ecclesiastical in its simplicity, performed over a candle or two, in appearances not much different than a basic Wiccan ritual or Catholic prayer. The difference, as in most Chaos Magic operations, is in attitude and approach. The daily ritual is approached with intent rather than reverence or unformed desire. The will is focused on a specific change, a result. The performance of the ritual itself does not come from a meaningless prescribed formula, but is individually chosen by the magician according to the symbols and methods most relevant to the individual.
What connects this ritual method to the progression sigil method laid out in part 1 of this article is the build up of magical power as well as the inclusion of several elements. The ritual may follow a sequence of events as described in fig. 1 of part 1, or several simultaneous changes required as explained in fig. 2. Those who wish to try the original charging formula are welcome to do so, and I would very much like to hear of any results, but take no responsibility for anything which may go wrong. The Satanists themselves believe in self-responsibility, and those who use their spell methods are accountable to themselves.
The most effective magic works on chaotic principles, and a spell method with potentially chaotic possibilities is most often the key to succeeding in low probability cases. The progression sigil is probably the most chaotic method I know, and yet it is also the method wherein correcting imbalances which effect the spell is most possible. My first serious attempt with this method was thrown way out of balance when a divorce was thrown at me in a feeble attempt to pull me out of the magical paradigm for the sake of a sad attention seeker, who was soon after completely eliminated from my life, and rebalancing the ritual in progress required complete focus on the intent to the absolute exclusion of the distraction.
That is the one potential difficulty of this form of ritual, one is never completely out of ritual during the time period of the progressive charging. It becomes necessary to go about your daily activities in an almost zombie fashion, part of the mind continually focused on the ritual in progress. Distractions must be shut out, as every perception or action surrounding the life of the magician during that time carries a risk of effecting the ritual at hand. I advise against reading fiction at all during such times.
This capacity for aberration in the magic is part of what makes it so potent. The necessity of keeping focus throughout the appearance of mundane existence is no easy task even for the most seasoned of magicians. The possibility that a stray thought may send the direction of the spell into an unintentional direction is a constant danger, and yet the excitement of such danger is part of the gnosis which makes the method so powerful. This is truly the art of living on the edge of Chaos.