Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is a hypersigil?

Before embarking upon a desperately life-altering and life-consuming project, naturally I should explain what exactly it is I'm doing.

Beats the heck out of me.

That's the problem with magic: everything is so obscured and vague that getting some definitive definition of any magical events is like spitting into the sea.

Here's my attempt to explain what a hypersigil is.

Let's start first with the words of Grant Morrison who coined the term:
The "hypersigil" or "supersigil" develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution. The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent. Results can be remarkable and shocking.
He continues:

After becoming familiar with the traditional sigil method, see if you can create your own hypersigil. The hypersigil can take the form of a poem, a story, a song, a dance or any other extended artistic activity you wish to try. This is a newly developed technology so the parameters remain to be explored. It is important to become utterly absorbed in the hypersigil as it unfolds; this requires a high degree of absorption and concentration (which can lead to obsession but so what? You can always banish at the end) like most works of art. The hypersigil is a dynamic miniature model of the magician's universe, a hologram, microcosm or "voodoo doll" which can manipulated in real time to produce changes in the macrocosmic environment of "real" life.
Let's go over the important parts in greater detail.
The "hypersigil" or "supersigil" develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama and plot.
A sigil is a symbol created for a magical purpose, originally used to bind demons or angels into service. All of those magical symbols that you’ve seen in movies are sigils. More widely known sigils are the runes of Nordic mythology. Nowadays, chaos magicians use sigils as statements of intent, taking a desire like “I am going to write a successful doctoral dissertation” and transforming that wish or desire into visual form. The symbol becomes the focus of the spell.

Obviously, learning about sigils is an important first step.

A hypersigil then takes the symbol and turns it into a story or some type of multi-component work of art. The sigil is one image, the hypersigil not only one image but a complex interaction of vitality. Setting, characterization, and plot add multiple dimensions to the sigil.

As a comic book writer, Morrison works mainly in a visual medium, each panel of a comic book becoming its own sigil. Thus with at least 4-6 panels per page of a 23 page comic book, one comic book could have as many as 140 sigils. A film which has a minimum of 33 frames per second over a two hour period would have over 200,000 sigils!
The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution.
By the fourth dimension, Morrison means that a significant amount of time needs to be invested in the creation of the hypersigil. This isn't a quick, three minute sigil but rather the result of years worth of effort. The theory might be that the investment of time increases the power of the sigil magic. The Invisibles took six years of energy.

In the latter part, Morrison comments that the purpose of the hypersigil is to change the magician's life.
The hypersigil can take the form of a poem, a story, a song, a dance or any other extended artistic activity you wish to try.
As mentioned, the form depends upon the artist. A hypersigil is a work of art so any artistic medium can be used to create it: poetry, stories, music, dance, etc.

Poetry might be a good place to start because it is pure language in raw form. Poetry isn't easy to write but it is shorter -- better for smaller experimentation -- and combines imagery (visual) with words in a different way than comic books.

My main focus would be through story-telling.

I know someone who did work incorporating dance into a writing curriculum. I'll have to get a hold of her dissertation.
This is a newly developed technology so the parameters remain to be explored.
Loosely translated, we don't know shit about how this stuff really works.
It is important to become utterly absorbed in the hypersigil as it unfolds; this requires a high degree of absorption and concentration (which can lead to obsession but so what? You can always banish at the end) like most works of art.
As mentioned before, adding the fourth dimension of time and the obsession to pursue your art project over an extended period is necessary to make the magic work.

Banishing is a magician's ritual of doing something everyday and normal to prevent the magician from becoming lost in the craziness of magical experiments. I had a temporary bought with schizophrenia after experimenting with Salvador Dali's paranoiac mode. It's important to learn how to stay normal.
The hypersigil is a dynamic miniature model of the magician's universe, a hologram, microcosm or "voodoo doll" which can manipulated in real time to produce changes in the macrocosmic environment of "real" life.
A much better if not poetically-complex definition.

When creating a hypersigil, autobiography is important. What you are creating is a multi-dimensional (that is, not flat) representation of your life. It is like a voodoo doll, a replica of yourself in poetry, narrative, dance, that by manipulating the voodoo doll you produce changes in your real life.

I wonder how important voodoo or rather sympathetic magic is to an understanding of the hypersigil mechanisms? Time to break out The Golden Bough for a re-read. I've also heard that scientists have found that atomic particles when split still have a connection with each other. Changing one half results in a change to the other half regardless of distance. Interesting: science proving magic.

A quick definition of hypersigil then would be magical fiction.

In older sources, hypersigilia is referred to as narrative magic.

My brain is frying so I'll update at another time.

2 comments:

William Bourland said...

I want to say thank you for this knowledge.

William Bourland said...

Thank you for this knowledge, i am learning and at the basis of reading, so thank you.