For thousands of years, runes, glyphs, and icons have been used in occult rituals and spiritual practices to mess with reality. Today, drawings imbued with the desires of their creators—called sigils—are undergoing a resurgence. Advocates insist they really work, and a new app called the Sigil Engine automates the whole process, aiming to make inventing reality even more accessible.
Users of the Sigil Engine, though, rely on code to do much of the legwork. When visitors land on the URL, they're greeted by a sparkling black background and a prompt to type their "intention." Doing so will set the Engine in motion, drawing the sign in bright red. Co-creator Darragh Mason, who hosts the Spirit Box podcast, describes this flourish as "a prayer or a moment of reverence to the goddess Babalon," found within the Thelemic system first synthesised by British occultist Aleister Crowley. The backdrop alludes to "the great expansive void from which all things spring".
"We wanted to create something that actually felt magical when you used it," Mason told Motherboard. "For a lot of people in their magickal practice, the aesthetic helps give it more potency, so we were very conscious: we wanted to have the process of creating a sigil—removing the vowels, removing repeating letters, creating the actual symbol itself—to be experiential, something that drew you in and [gave] it a sense of wonder."
This is some big Grant Morrison vibes — hell, they're even referenced several times in the article, thanks to their infamous DisinfoCon speech from the early Aughts that turned a ton of people (myself included) on to the sigil powers of chaos magic. Which is to say: this sounds like some fun wacky sci-fi-in-real-life shit, but I'd be lying if I said I'd never successfully invoked sigil magic for myself before. As for whether the Sigil app can actually alter reality in any signifiant way, well, even Morrison themself once said that, "There's no point charging a sigil to win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket" — which is to say, these sigils are more about shaping and directing your own intentions than anything else. Kind of like the promises of Big Data Algorithmic Internet Marketing.
Internet Occultists Are Trying to Change Reality With a Magickal Algorithm [Tamlin Magee / Vice]
Previously: Digital Sigil Generator [David Pescovitz / BoingBoing]
Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons