i am a big fan of doing things out of order. of embracing the non-linear and the liminal in my life and work. of layering meaning onto snippets of conversation written down years before and evolving them into new things, artistic recycling as it were. following the cycle of life to death to life in a new form.
this post is going to be a little different from the previous ones in that i’m going to concentrate on a single page of my journal that has been evolving for the past 5 or so years.
i first heard of hypersigils in reference to comic books. essentially, they are a group of sigils that add time as an element. a piece of magick created with the intent to constantly build and move thru time. it tells a story and uses emotions and repetition to rewrite things as they are now, into the future that you would like to see.
in the format that i first encountered them, there were characters, a plot, odd and strange happenings and an emotional core that pulled everything together and drew the reader in to engage with the story and the sigil itself.
and this is good! but i do things a little bit differently. as long as i’ve been doing art and magick, i’ve unintentionally used my nonlinear journals as both records and hypersigils in a lot of ways, and a couple years ago i set out to intentionally create a hypersigil art journal.
i love junk journals. i love mood boards. i love collage. i love things that are inspirational and spark ideas and provoke deep emotional memories and thoughts. when i was a kid, i would spend hours cutting out colorful and interesting magazine pages and taping them up on my walls in huge complicated collages that would both tell a story and take me on an emotional color journey when i was laying in my bed. (and also created a huge pain in the butt when i had to take all that tape off the walls. oops. live and learn!)
i also love sigil magick. i love all the different ways to create them and the different tech and purposes and histories of sigils and talismans. sigils work for me and i draw them a lot, which means if i am not destroying them, i need a place to keep the shoeboxes and envelopes of scraps of paper i’ve created and kept for potentiality ephemera over the years.
i use some of them in my dirt jars and other spells, but the pretty ones and the long plan ones needed a journal. specifically, a junk journal where i can collage and alter and change the narrative as i see fit. each page would be a planned sigil to help ease the transition of moving to a new house and settling in after a long illness and bring health to recover from that illness, and so far it’s been doing brilliantly!
junk journals mean that i can take a 50 cent composition book, glue the pages together to create a set number of primed and ready surfaces and then create to my heart’s delight with the bonus that there is no such thing as perfection. the work is ongoing and mistakes are just invitations for future innovation.
when i make a sigil, i don’t spend too much time on the statement of intent, as controversial as that might sound. the words don’t actually mean much, they are more importantly a focal point for your emotions. the emotions that the sigil makes you feel are the important parts to me. my intents are usually pretty straight forward. “calm’ “safety” “my bill is paid” “health and healing” i make sigils for my Gods and Allies and use those in devotions and offerings.
the words are the spark, but the emotions guide my hand. i’ll take the words and spin them into a story, creating a deep connection to the future that i want to see, the knot that needs to be untangled, the the problem that needs to be solved. and i weave those into the wider narrative of the page where i am adding that sigil.
the photos in today’s post are mostly of an unfinished sigil page. a page that has the intention of welcome and hard work and getting things done in the timeframe that i have given them. i’m sharing this page because not only is it unfinished, but i’ve intentionally designed it as a page to be for public display, unlike most of the other pages. i like being able to share my art and works in progress, but some of those spreads are too personal to me to just post them on the internet, lol.
it’s a good page! there are conversations going on there. i’ve slowly been adding and building it up since the middle of 2019, but the paper and sigils so far were created a longer time ago and taken from my ephemera box for a new life, and i’m adding that time into the spell.
unlike a lot of sigil makers, i do keep track of the gist of what each one means and i infrequently completely destroy them. i like knowing that there is a relationship formed with each spell and that i can trace my path to where i began to where i am going and tweak things as i go along. refine the process and boost some areas, finish others and let them go, but respectfully and thanking them for their service.
and just like reading cards or runes for divination, there are conversations that happen when i use sigils in collage. they are alive and real and active not only in conversation with me, but with each other. pasting certain pieces together create stronger bonds and boost older spells that would have been weaker alone. adding new intentions and emotions to old and ongoing sigils adds a new thread that connects it to both it’s beginnings and tweaks it’s destination for my current reality. coloring a black and white drawing gives subtle emotional nuance to the outcome.
there are so many ways to enhance and expand on this concept! i love keri smith’s book, wreck this journal so much i’ve bought it 3 times now and used each one to expand my anti-perfectionistic, nonlinear creativity. it’s such a fun concept and i’ve brought a lot of that into my hypersigil journals.
adding sticks and dirt and coffee and candy wrappers and tearing and folding pages, removing some pages and adding others, burning the edges, writing out elaborate dreams and rewriting my past to incorporate the feelings that i want to embrace in my future is the way my brain works.
this is not a diary or a book of days, this is a well used travel planner and passport that shows it’s wear and tear and soup spills and coffee rings, but also gossamer dreams and energetic motivation to solve life’s problems and create a better life and a healthier mental place to be in.
i’m not asking to win the lottery, buy a yacht and date a hot person. that’s really not me. when i flip thru my sigil pages, i feel calm and excitement and joy and the fresh smell of turned earth in springtime when the weeds are germinating and i am full of anticipation and plans for the year. it’s exciting and fresh and new and gives me tiny delights to add more and evolve those pages further. take those accidental spills and tears and turn them into fantastic stories for my future self to be inspired by and continue the conversation.
i’m moved! it took me a couple weeks, but i’m finally moved down into the basement and i’m working on setting up my area workspace as well as settling into my new bedroom. i’m really happy with how things have worked out so far!
one of the first things i did once i had my furniture set up and my bed made was set up my journal shelf. my room doesn’t feel like home until i’ve got my journals available. 😅
so in celebration of having my writing and art desk set up again, i’m going to talk about my divination chat journal! since this is my second post this week in order to get back on schedule, it’ll be a bit shorter than usual. here is a technique that i use to communicate with my People.
i started chatting with my spirit Allies and my People thru keeping a divination journal a few years ago. i had tried keeping a tarot diary where i recorded my daily card pulls and various important readings i did for myself off and on for several years but i never really used that information. like, it was good in the moment and for looking back on a few months later when i did follow ups, but i usually just ended up burning those journals at the end of the year (or tearing out the few pages i used before giving up and then starting over)
then one day as i was recording a clarification reading, i decided to do things a little more realtime. instead of asking the cards for advice on a situation and then writing a journal entry about what i thought it meant, i asked a specific question and then pulled a card as the answer like i was chatting with a friend.
it was illuminating and just what i needed at that time. i shuffled the cards once between each question and treated them like a conversation. i wish i had written down that first reading, but it took me a few more months before i started recording these divination chats on scraps of paper and in old notebooks and finally graduated to a big green binder.
i currently only have one journal that i keep divination chats in. i use multiple modalities for various parts of the conversation and i have gotten to know the cards/runes/dice/bones a lot better because of the casual nature of these readings.
how it works is generally like this:
i wash my hands, light a tealight and pour a cup of tea.
then i draw a line down the center of my page and on one side is my part of the conversation and the other side is where i record the answers and the other part of the conversation. i use a question and answer format to get started, but a lot of the time, things will naturally flow into a dialogue.
“hello! how’s it going? is anyone up for a chat today?”
at first when i started writing things down, everything seemed like gibberish and i was super self conscious. it took me a several tries to figure out what worked, what the ritual surrounding the conversation looked like depending on who i was chatting with, how detailed and urgent my questions were, or if it was a casual visit or a formal request for help.
i talk about a lot of things. i ask about ritual tools, about upcoming events in my mundane life, about discernment and tasks and things that are asked of me, things that i’ve been researching and wondering a lot about, things that i am curious about. but i also just… chat. i’m talking with old friends and ancestors and my Gods and Allies who have been with me for most of my life. this is a comfortable and lovely ritual.
sometimes i’ll sit down and read back in my journal and catch things that i had missed at the time of writing and continue that conversation in the spaces i leave around my readings. tying those conversations together thru time gives a lot of nuance that can be missed if i just assume that my first impression was the only interpretation. it’s always amazing to me how much becomes clearer over time and how much can be contained in simple dialogue.
over time, my runes have become the messengers of planning and events and opinions on how things are, tarot is a more colorful dialogue that answers why and how and what and where, and i have yes/no dice to clear up any misunderstandings. and then my rosebones are for talking with my Sisters.
i really love how versatile this system is and how i can create an elaborate ritual around an important topic or simply pour a cup of tea and roll the dice to see if anyone is around to have a conversation.
i think eventually i’ll create separate journals for different Allies i chat with, but for now having tabs in my sketchbook is working ok.
and finally, keeping my divination journals up to date gives me a pattern to use for discernment and helps me to plan my spiritual calendar for the season/year with the help of my Allies and keeps the lines of communication open.
consent is very important to me and i want to know if everything is above board with things that i am planning and tasks that i have been given to do. being transparent and honest with the People who i trust most is my main goal in most endeavors.
and then sometimes, it’s just nice to catch up and chat with someone i love and share a cup of tea.
words are hard this week, which is ironic as i’m going to be talking about journals and journaling in my practice. i’ve been sick this week. unreliable health sucks a whole lot, but it has also made me more flexible in my planning and in my expectations. i was considering skipping this post, but i promised my Sisters that i would write every week this year if i can and i’m going to keep to that promise to the best of my ability. and the best of my ability this time means a longer break and then two posts this week so i can stay on schedule.
so! as i said, this month i’m going to write about journaling the way that i do it. i’m sure the folks who have heard me talk about journaling ad nauseum in my discord places are rolling their eyes right now. lol. but i really feel like it’s an important part of my practice and that the accommodations that i make for how i journal can be useful to other people who also have the limitations that i do.
i have been chronically ill for most of my life and because of that, i’ve had to learn to adapt my expectations and my methods to accommodate the times when i am unable to stick to my schedules, be they self imposed or external from myself. and an important part of those accomodations is to give myself the grace to be ill. there is no morality to being sick. it’s a neutral state. it just is. and when i am sick, i take care of myself until i am able to finish the projects i was working on when things fell apart. sometimes that takes years and sometimes it’s a few days or weeks. fortunately, this time i’ll be catching up instead of just skipping ahead and writing off the time lost.
i am not one of those people who have kept copious diaries since childhood. i envy those people with the fortitude to accomplish such a feat! but i am more of a keeper of non-linear conversations thu time. i do occasionally write in a therapy journal to organize my thoughts and see my situation from an outside perspective, but i rarely if ever keep those. usually those pages are torn out and cathartically torn up and either burned or flushed or buried, depending on the paper content. (pro tip. don’t flush more than one piece of very finely shredded paper down the toilet. ask me how i know. -_-; instead, finely shred that therapeutic missive and compost it with the kitchen scraps to be eaten by the bugs and fungi where it belongs.)
now-a-days, i use google docs to gather my thoughts and then add bits of them to my art journals as sigils and prayers and spells and anecdotes with the intent to trigger my future self to remember the emotional journey it took to make that piece of art. or sometimes it’s just a piece to capture a moment in time that will be added to later as my life changes.
to me, journaling is a non-linear conversation i’m having with myself over time. some days when i am very low on energy and focus, i prep pages with interesting papers and backgrounds and squiggles to color in and add to in future years. i’ll add little notes of encouragement to my future self and when i read those years later, i’ll answer back and continue the conversation. i am always my past, my present and my future selves.
i have a lot of journals! i make them for many occasions and themes and rotate them as i feel moved to. i love undated day planners and sketchbooks and your average run of the mill composition book junk journals the best, tho. undated is better, but i also have fun with dated journals where i can anachronistically create collages and memory sketches and tactile reminders of a moment in time that never was. that has the energy of the time that i bought the planner, but is written years later in conversation with a past me viewed thru my present lens.
the facts and statements don’t ever matter. it’s the emotions and the energy of the memories that i want to enrobe in crystal and metaphor. it’s healing my past and giving a nuanced and complex foundation to my future. i’m sure if any of my journals survive my life this time around, historians will hate me, haha. but this is a hypersigil of my life as it needs to be to do the Work that i do in the context that i do it. and it’s fun!
i love bright vibrant colors and gluing things on pages and then coming back next year to update how my life has changed. i love keeping lists of seeds i want to try growing and creating books of sigils to improve my life and tarot spreads and conversations with my Gods and Allies.
all of these journals have no start or end. i occasionally date things, but as each page is constantly being reworked and added and subtracted from, there is an eternal feeling of change to them that is comforting to me. i am never the same person twice. my life and my being is constant change and my journals reflect that.
there was a time a decade ago when i burned out hardcore, that i spent a lot of time in my journals. i wrote and drew all of my pain and confusion and my plans for the future that i could not envision as more than a vague hope. but as i follow the threads of conversation in that book, i can see where i had a turning point and things started getting better. and where i started going back and giving myself little hugs and encouragement and how i had left spaces open in those places for my future self to add in.
it’s very curious to me how even now in my current, present self, i can feel those tendrils of a future me reaching back to encourage me in how i’m living now. i know that things will be rough for a while yet, but i also know that i’ll make it thru and i have confidence that we will be in a much better situation eventually, i just have to trust. and leave spaces in my journal where i can write encouragements and love to myself in the future.
being creative and non judgemental can be a kind of working meditation, too. as i look back thru my art and devotional journals and reach a page that makes me cringe for whatever reason, i know that is a place where i need to sit with those feelings of embarrassment and discomfort and see where that is coming from. to dig deep into those feelings and find compassion for the past me who wrote or drew those things. who was learning and deep in the shit of life that gradually broke down into the compost that grew the better life and skills that i have now.
it’s easy to judge my past self, but i wouldn’t be the me that i am now without the hours of practice and the billions of mistakes that i made and learned from. i’m grateful for those moments of cringe at my old art and i have no qualms about adding to those pieces and freshening them up with alterations. remixing them into something wonderful by adding the skills and experience that i have now to the energy and emotions i had then. creating a conversation over time that my future self will also continue when she’s flipping thru my journals in a few years time.
no art is bad art. and good conversation is a skill. i’ve learned to roll with the ups and downs and recreate myself over and over as i mix the creative compost and hopefully grow some good things out of the process.
this month i’ll be talking about that process as a skill and a tool in my practice and hopefully spark some inspiration and soothe some fears of a blank page. and in the spirit of my journaling process, this post is a starting point for my future self to build from.
hello future me! i hope that you have the best time with what we have planned! <3