Posts in Sigils & Symbols
Charms for Claytopia

A sigil is a symbol used in magick. The term comes from the Latin word ‘to sign’ and has historically referred to a type of pictorial seal to invoke an angel, demon (commonly understood as an elemental or psychological force) or other supernatural entity in western occultism. Sigils were made popular in the ‘80s and ‘90’s within the context of Chaos Magick and refer to a symbolic representation of the magician's desired outcome. I like to expand this definition to include many other instances where magical intentions have been embedded in different facets of folk culture. Examples can include designs that have been woven into textiles or built into homes for protection, charms forged into tools for potency, movement in dance and in many other places, some now forgotten and some well preserved.

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Symbols Tell Stories

This is the beginning of a participatory art project, using community-sourced symbols to create a visual language that tells of our relationship to local ecology. Folk art is derivative of direct experience with the landscape. Specific adaptations to local environments give rise to unique forms of creative expression, born out of necessity. The oldest known form of magic, pictographs were used to appeal to nature in an effort to obtain some form of control. In the current era, however, it is nature that requires our healing and protection through re-enchanting our relationship with her.

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Ovo: Limitless Potential

Every year Leprechauns, denizens of the fairy realm, magically appear mid-March on every conceivable printed surface. These symbols are used in commercial applications, to be sure, but I would posit that they are also the remnants of very old, earth-based wheel-of-the-year celebrations. The shamrock and cauldron representative of medicinal food plants, and gold at the end of the rainbow referencing the abundance of life returning to the Earth. After the rains and greenery return, so too do frisky bunnies and the product of their energies, the fertilized ovum.

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Seeing Signs

Initiated by my Daughter’s severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech, a large part of the journey this work has taken me on has been about communication. Through the use of symbols and sign language, we have learned to understand each other better, but there are still large gaps to be filled in, particularly around more subtle or complex desires and ideas that she has no way of expressing. This has been a huge challenge for her self-advocacy efforts, and often ends in tears and stomping fits that I find myself ill-equipped to diffuse. But the experience has helped me come to appreciate how much the able-bodied world takes for granted, and how little we appreciate the uphill battle that is experienced by the disabled. Every. Single. Day.

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