To Bring Lines to Life

Sigils are a strange thing to me, something I have had a love/hate relationship with for a very long time. Whenever I see instruction given on how a sigil can be made, it is given as a method of reduction, of boiling something down into a more refined and yet abstract part so as to condense it into a hidden meaning. I understand this premise but it is not something that sits very well with me. Line forms are something that are a living, breathing reality forged across the surface of reality that presents itself to me whether I am looking for it or not. It is distracting, often inconvenient and sometimes just ‘noise’ in how my mind works. That isn’t to say that this is always the case though, sometimes the forms have relevance and meaning that should be noted and not ignored and it has taken me many years to develop my techniques and checks on working out when this is the case.

In my book Arcanum there is a section entitled The Masks of Misrule that is an exploration of the sixteen Witch-Fathers and Witch-Mothers of the Sabbatic tradition as detailed in The Dragon-Book of Essex. Whilst working on the book and the photos in question I decided that I wanted to include symbology relevant to the photos and looked to the Dragon-Book for inspiration. Each of the Mothers and Fathers have an associated sigil but for me a presented line form such as this does not work, this is someone else’s reduction, someone else’s symbol. I can of course work on looking at what forms I would use for myself but I decided that instead I would take the lines and build on them, work on the sigil in reverse to give life to the lines in a new way. This would involve giving them a certain physicality all the while maintaining and somehow displaying their ‘otherness’, their occulted aspect.

Alas my skill with pen and ink is a limited one and whilst I could see the forms I wanted I couldn’t realise them onto the page. I consulted with my dear friend and brother in arte David on how I might tackle the endeavour with my limited skill set and he promptly took my ideas and the art style I was looking for and began to forge a series of sixteen images that brought the lines to life exactly as I wanted them. These images sit alongside each relevant photograph in my book and I am forever grateful to David for bringing his immeasurable talent to the work in hand.