For the 31 Days of Magic today, I’m supposed to use a sigil (e.g, of Solomon).  For me, this tends to mean the images from, say, the Clavicula Solomonis.  But I also think about it from the perspective of the images of the Decans of the Zodiac, or the Mansions of the Moon, from Picatrix.

Twenty-Fourth mansion of the Moon

after Nigel Jackson and Christopher Warnock’s book

I’d already done some work with the 24th Mansion of the Moon, as you can see.  The 24th Mansion represents a new beginning, as shown by a mother giving milk to her child.  It represents new starts, beginning new work, and represents a kind of balance or energetic equilibrium between Mercury (flitting here and there) and Saturn (establish boundaries).

This one is in a book, so I’m reluctant to mess with bit much; it’s already been ‘activated’, but tonight I made use of it in new ways.

31DoM: sealI also went back to the Clavicula Solomonis.  I don’t want to reveal which of the pentacles I intended to create; I’ll say that my goal was to achieve some greater level of insight into my students and colleagues.  But that isn’t the one I made. At some point, I hit the scroll button, up or down, and the seal changed; or maybe I flipped a page that shouldn’t have been flipped.   I read the wrong instructions, and produced the wrong seal.  So I think it will be interesting to see what results from this.  The seal I actually created is supposedly for helping make spirits visible when they try to be invisible.  And so I wonder what the result will be, especially since it’s in my notebook that serves as my bullet journal, my vademecum or grimoire, and project notebook.

From an artistic point of view, I think about the value of the work of reproducing seals. It’s a chance to think about letters as shapes, certainly; and to think about scaling.  It’s a chance to think about geometry and imagery.  It’s a chance to consider symmetry and beauty and ugliness.  And it’s a chance to think about color and design.

But it’s also a chance to reflect on actual magic.  I mean, from the perspective of the ‘outsider’ it’s hard to see this emblem as anything other than occult.  It’s mysterious (especially since my ability to write or draw in Hebrew is severely challenged, especially when I’m reading not-particularly-well-reproduced drawings by a Victorian occultist reproducing the work of a medieval author who probably didn’t really know Hebrew).  Of all the activities I’m planning to do during these 31 days of magic, this is the image which has the most potential to get me into serious trouble.

But think about that — if we live in a physical, materialist universe, then this is just an act of historical reproduction.  It has no power to affect any thing or any one. There are no spirits that are invisible, which can be conjured to visible sight; and at the same time, there is no conjuration which will actually conjure spirits at all.  The act of reproducing such a seal is a futile action in a physical, materialist universe, except maybe to display a kind of madness.  But if that’s the case, then saying this is an example of historical reconstruction is an utterly harmless if eccentric pastime; and there’s no reason to get in trouble for making it at all.

And if it’s not the case that we live in a physical, purely materialist universe, then I have some interesting times ahead.  New beginnings indeed.