In my latest novel, Eternal Witch, the main character Zaria is not averse to using sorcery to get what she wants. In this brief extract, she explains to Ethan, her lover, how she prepares for performing a magical operation which involves charging a Sigil:
Ethan frowned : he could tell by her manner that Zaria was holding back on him. He tried to disguise his irritation.
“ You want to be careful,” he said. Abruptly, however, he smiled, and attempted to change the subject, he said : “ So : what is your magnificent plan for today, then ? ”
“ Netflix,” she said.
“ What ? ” he said. He looked round at the room’s flat-screen TV, and briefly wondered whether she meant she wanted him to connect it to a computer. He looked back at her, puzzled.
“ My plan for world domination – or at least to take one step closer to it,” she said. “ I intend to take advantage of the opportunities offered by internet-streamed television. In fact, I’ve already got the sort of business-deal I have in mind. So we’re going to work a sigil which will enable me to close it.”
“ Oh really ? ” Ethan said. “ So how did you come up with this sigil then ? Out of curiosity.”
Zaria stared at him. “ I thought you said you read up on these things ? ”
“ Humour me.”
“ Well,” she began. “ In order to set a spell intention in the first place, you need a Well-Formed Outcome. Anything woolly and the spell won’t work.” She paced about in front of him, as he sat and listened to her. She continued : “ So I realized that I could make sure my outcomes were well-formed, by borrowing a technique from NLP.”
“ What, Natural-Language Processing ? ”
“ No, you idiot ! ‘Neuro-linguistic Programming.’ ”
“ Ha ha, I knew what you meant all along,” Ethan said. “ I was just joshing with you. So what technique is this ? ”
“ Say what ? ”
“ P-O-S-E-R-S. It’s a mnemonic,” she explained. “ ’P’ stands for ‘Positive.’ You should always express your intention as a Positive. Look… say you’ve got a general wish like, ‘I don’t want to be poor.’ The first step is to change that to a Positive – so : ‘I want to be rich.’
“ The ‘O’ stands for ‘Own-part.’ You have to express it in terms of what you do yourself – not rely on others to do for you. So you change ‘I want to be rich’ to ‘I want to make myself rich.’
“ Then, the first ‘S’ stands for ‘Specific’ – you know : who, what, where, when, how and why. So this transforms a generality into an actual plan. This is where it gets complicated, sort of… I had to do a lot of brain-storming with myself, but I eventually came up with the idea – of monetizing one of my songs, by convincing the producer of an upcoming Netflix serial to feature it as the theme-music – by this time tomorrow.”
“ Tomorrow ! ”
“ Sure ! ” she said. “ No time like the present ! ”
Ethan looked dubious. “ Isn’t that rather too soon ? ”
She shook her head. “ One thing I’ve learnt is that magick really does work instantaneously. Trying to give it a long period for it to work – supposedly because that feels realistic ? That’s just allowing unbelief in magick to creep in by the backdoor. Unbelief is fatal to magick. Please don’t tell me you’re frightened of a sign that magick actually works ! ”
“ No, no,” Ethan said. “ This time tomorrow. OK, I’m game… What do the E, R and S stand for ? ”
“ Hmm ? Oh yes. The ‘E’ is the Evidence for success, as in : what kind of sense-based evidence do I experience that tells me I’m successful ? So I imagine my goal in terms of : ‘I see this TV producer with a smile on his face, as I hear him telling me he wants to agree to it. I feel confident and assertive as I visualise myself closing the deal. I feel happy as I hold a large cheque in my hands which I see has got my name written on it.’ ”
“ OK. ‘R ?’ ”
“ ’Resources’ – I make a mental list of whether I’ve got all the resources to actually do this. Got the song ? Check. Got the serial ? Check. Got the contacts necessary to make the introductions ? Check. Got the skills necessary to handle the negotiations ? The determination ? The charm ? ”
“ The massive tits ? ” he said, allowing a stupid grin to cross his face.
She stopped pacing and leaned over towards him. “ Check, check, check ! ” she said, playfully smacking him with each word, for emphasis.
“ Ow ! ” he said. He rubbed his arm where she had hit him. “And the final ‘S ?’ ”
“ ’Scale.’ I make sure whether my plan is the right scale. Am I thinking too big ? In which case, do I need to concentrate on something more basic in order to achieve my goal ? Or am I thinking to small for it to motivate me ? In which case, do I need to step up to something more ambitious ? ”
“ Do you ? ”
She creased her brow in thought, and paused a moment, before saying : “ No. I think I’ve got it just right. It’s achievable, it’s realistic, and when it’s successful, it will lead on to bigger and better things of its own accord.”
“ I don’t know about all this. It sounds as if you’ve got it all worked out – but doesn’t all the fine detail defeat the beauty of the simplicity of it all ? ”
“ How do you mean ? ”
“ Well : say for example you do try to create a sigil – like in Chaos magick. You express your spell intention in a simple sentence. Then you knock out the repeating letters and the vowels, and create a sigil from the remaining letters – and then you’re ready to go. Probably doesn’t take more than five minutes before you actually have a worked-out sigil to use in your charging ceremony. But what you describe… if you tried to write that all down, you couldn’t write it in one sentence, it would take a page or more ! ”
She sighed in mock exasperation. “ Silly boy ! ” she said. “ The knocking-out-the-repeating letters method is only one way of creating a sigil. People think that just because it’s the most popular, or the most well-known, that it’s the only way ! What I do – when I’m going through this mental process of generating a well-formed outcome, I enter an altered state of consciousness – an immersive experience – where I’m totally absorbed by seeing it all go successfully, hearing it, and feeling it as well. And then : whilst I’m in this altered state, I’ve got my hand on a planchette which has a pencil attached – and that makes my sigil for me ! ”
She looked round the room for a moment – and then saw she had dropped her tote bag by the door, where she and Ethan had first tussled. She walked over and brought it back to the centre of the room, taking a pad of paper out it. She plonked the bag down and opened the pad to where she had drawn a strange design, curving and re-curving back on itself in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. She showed it to Ethan.
He stared at it. “Automatic writing, in other words ? ”
“Alright, I admit it, I’m impressed. Just one thing though - ” he said.
Zaria looked at him.
“ You said you felt disturbed earlier, right ? ” he said. “ If that’s the case, might not a better thing to concentrate on at this particular time, would be to deal with whatever was disturbing you ? You know, like Healing ? ”
Zaria did a double-take at him. Memories of what she had said when talking with Sofija briefly arose in her mind – making her feel uneasy. She tried to suppress them.
“ But I’ve had this planned meticulously ! ” she said, letting a note of irritation enter her voice. “ You don’t know how much effort I’ve put into this.”
Ethan shifted uncomfortably. He could tell she meant : “ You don’t know what you’re talking about.” “ Even so… ” he persisted.
“ When we form the Magic Circle, that in itself will banish all disturbing influences,” she said. “ So it’s irrelevant.”
“ OK, OK,” he said. He knew from her tone of voice that she thought the matter settled. He stood up, and looked straight at her. “ So let’s start.”