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Significance of symbols/seals as applied to the body


Teknobard357
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General occult curiosity.  Is anyone familiar with the concept or practice of drawing or painting seals on a particular body part or placement on the body for magickal purposes? Not specifically tattooing, I was thinking more temporary markings.  

I'm particularly curious about why one would choose specific places on the body and their symbolism, particularly if the symbolism has a meaning that is not immediately obvious or part of standard logic.

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I have heard of drawing sigils on the body with lotion, you could use a healing sigil or a beauty sigil with your lotion.  The activation of a Sigil is to draw it and then forget it.

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I've had a pentacle tattooed over my heart for many years. It was expanded later, to include a special cat who died too soon. 

It's a gray and white long hair tuxedo girl, coming down a branch. She has white wings and blue eyes. She wears the  pentacle on a chain. The moon peeks over her left shoulder, from behind the clouds.

The tattoo starts midway down my left breast and extends over my left shoulder. 

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On 4/24/2021 at 3:55 PM, Teknobard357 said:

General occult curiosity.  Is anyone familiar with the concept or practice of drawing or painting seals on a particular body part or placement on the body for magickal purposes? Not specifically tattooing, I was thinking more temporary markings.  

I'm particularly curious about why one would choose specific places on the body and their symbolism, particularly if the symbolism has a meaning that is not immediately obvious or part of standard logic.

I've done this. I also have tattoos, some of which I regret for various reasons, but I guess they "had to be there" due to circumstances at the time. Please be careful with what you tattoo on your body... 

as for locations on the body, well, there are lots of reasons, I suppose. Intuition, appearance, symbolism. The parts of the body have metaphysical meanings "in your hands" "cross your heart" "best foot forward" "in your gut" etc. Acupuncture or acupressure points. Planetary or zodiacal correspondences. Left/right side of body. 

When I have done this, it's been either because the body part was readily accessible/easy to draw on though, to be honest, and not for much other reason. 

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Each of my tattoos has been  planned, except one, with what the subject and color mean to me. I didn't consciously decide to have the right be day oriented and the left be night oriented. The rose on my thigh was a dare. A nurse I was working with dared me to get a tattoo on my thigh, and then show it to him. I was 36, so I figured it was my midlife crisis.

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I have been contemplating getting a tattoo for years. I have now settled on a few designs I like, but have yet to do it. As an aside, it took me 3 years to decide on a paint color for my living room. Then another 2 years to actually paint. I put a lot of time into the decision. What that says about me is up for debate. I know that a tattoo is permanent and I want it to reflect my decision. 

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How about a melting Dali style clock, or an Hourglass.  Time seems to be an issue for you.  I'm just like you , Hemlock, Planning is everything!  Action, well, a little different.

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It sounds like you're very detail oriented, Hemlock. That's a good thing when considering tattoos.

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On 4/26/2021 at 1:02 PM, Onyx said:

I have heard of drawing sigils on the body with lotion, you could use a healing sigil or a beauty sigil with your lotion.  The activation of a Sigil is to draw it and then forget it.

I mean, fair, but that's a specific use of sigils and symbols rooted in the Austin Osman Spare method, where letters comprising a statement are abstracted into a symbols representing that statement.  In an altered state the magician gazes upon the sigil in a trance-like state (multiple options for induction, but commonly referenced are chanting, drumming, and sex) implanting it into their subconscious to work, then moving on and forgetting the symbol exists.  It's actually a fundamental method of early chaos magick.  Unfortunately it has become so ubiquitous in witch and occult modern texts that it's hard to find anything else on any other symbol uses.  While I've tried it multiple times over the years and I love the challenge of crafting letters into a transfixing symbol, I'm not very fond of it.  Just not my thing.

I'm kinda dissapointed in the fact that everyone thus far has just referenced Spare's method, common folklore, and tattoos.  There's a lot of experienced practitioners on this forum and it seems like the body of knowledge has just passed certain subjects over completely.  Not downing anyone's responses here, just....meh.

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19 hours ago, Teknobard357 said:

I'm kinda dissapointed in the fact that everyone thus far has just referenced Spare's method, common folklore, and tattoos.  There's a lot of experienced practitioners on this forum and it seems like the body of knowledge has just passed certain subjects over completely.  Not downing anyone's responses here, just....meh.

Sigil: "an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power." So you can use Spare's method to create one, draw a picture of a tree, whatever you think has magical meaning for a specific purpose, then put that on your body, either temporarily or permanently. What, exactly, were you looking for? 

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I knew someone who had Papa Legba's veve tattooed over her whole back. She wasn't a Voodoo practitioner so it raised some eyebrows but I found her reasoning fascinating. She was a game master, so in her own words, someone who opened doors to other worlds - Legba is a liminal deity, a messenger connected to crossroads. The tattoo was a sort of metonymy that turned her into a literal door (like the character of the same name in Neverwhere). It was a lot more "pop" than strictly magical but that doesn't deny its magical potential - however unwise...

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On 7/17/2021 at 9:39 AM, Mountain Witch said:

Sigil: "an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power." So you can use Spare's method to create one, draw a picture of a tree, whatever you think has magical meaning for a specific purpose, then put that on your body, either temporarily or permanently. What, exactly, were you looking for? 

The following is my perspective on matters arcane, not the arcane matters themselves, and I know this is different for everyone.  Just my perspective.

In my studies, I often come across things in books that is presented as a whole practice, but to me feels like a tiny, broken piece of something much larger and more complex.  I see pieces of other practices that feel so innately connected to the incomplete thing I have been presented with.  I tend to go looking (both inside and outside of myself) for the missing paths between them or the practices that fill in the gaps.  I feel this in sigil magick, in the use of scribed magick circles and their symbols (both from the grimoiric traditions and elsewhere), in the use of hand signs and mudras, many folklore based spells, and I could go on for a while listing things like that.

I have in the past done the work to uncover what's in the gaps between what I have found, the strands of practice and method between them, the things that are on the periphery of my senses.  This uncovers something profound and potent nearly every time.  Unfortunately it also takes more trancework and trial-and-error than I care to give to uncover all the things I feel connect all the dots.  I have also found that on the rare occasion I encounter someone who has found a piece I have missed of that same large unseen puzzle that stretches vastly in the gaps between what we know.  When we compare notes, it tends to uncover things in the space of a few conversations that I would have needed weeks to unearth and refine on my own.

To be fair, such a puzzle is likely infinite, and I do not expect or even care about an end-goal in this task.  This is just what I love to do, but if I have to do it the long way on my own, I cannot fathom the number of lifetimes it would take to uncover even a perceptible portion of it.  That is why I ask open-ended questions on forums like this one.

When I ask such broad questions about a practice, that is what I'm looking for.  The pieces I do not know I am missing.  The parts of the puzzle I have not found yet.

To be honest, I think I am going to repost this in its own post because now that I have typed it out and looked it over, this is far more suited to it's own discussion.  I hope I answered your question adequately.

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3 hours ago, Teknobard357 said:

To be fair, such a puzzle is likely infinite, and I do not expect or even care about an end-goal in this task.  This is just what I love to do, but if I have to do it the long way on my own, I cannot fathom the number of lifetimes it would take to uncover even a perceptible portion of it.  That is why I ask open-ended questions on forums like this one.

When I ask such broad questions about a practice, that is what I'm looking for.  The pieces I do not know I am missing.  The parts of the puzzle I have not found yet.

Well that's the point, isn't it? It's perplexing to express disappointment you haven't found something when there's no way you could know what you were looking for. (Especially when the net you cast is so wide and vague. Maybe nudge the discussion more strategically if there's something more specific you're trying to get at.)

I understand the process you're describing, in many ways tha'ts basically all that we do on a forum such as this one. This discussion is really young, people here regularly dig up threads that are several years old. So who knows what may still be in store for your question.

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