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Author Topic: Sigils on apparel?  (Read 800 times)

MamaThistle

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Sigils on apparel?
« on: September 17, 2017, 03:08:31 pm »
I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this, so sorry if it's not.

Anyways, I saw this post on Facebook yesterday. I girl I know (she isn't pagan nor does she practice magic as far as I know, I guess she is a "hipster" maybe) is designing artwork for a company that puts sigils on t-shirts and stuff. I don't use sigils, but I know some of you do and I thought this was kind of odd.

I thought sigils were supposed to be personal, unique, and contain the will of the practitioner. Which, therefore, printing on t-shirts and sharing with the world would seem to negate the magic. I know people share their sigils on Tumblr and I've seen some warn against it, but printing on t-shirts seems even more bizarre to me. Am I misunderstanding the use of sigils?

I am guessing this is a trend that people have caught onto without knowing what they are doing, but since I don't know that much about sigils I thought I would ask. So, for those that use sigils, what do you think of this? Do you think sharing sigils or printing/selling sigils is a problem or not?
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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 08:52:37 am »
I am guessing this is a trend that people have caught onto without knowing what they are doing, but since I don't know that much about sigils I thought I would ask. So, for those that use sigils, what do you think of this? Do you think sharing sigils or printing/selling sigils is a problem or not?

I think it depends on one's take on the construction of sigils, and one's take on magic, or whether someone is just 'oh, this is a pretty design' about it. (Or even 'this is a pretty design that has some embedded meaning I like' about it, without taking it really seriously as a magical act.)

I'm inclined to view it the way I do people who get tattoos in languages they aren't fairly comfortable reading - there's the risk that the thing that you think you're getting and the thing you're actually getting are different. Or how some people wear jewelry with religious symbols they don't entirely understand (which becomes clear if someone who does understand them asks about them.)

On the other hand, on a piece of clothing, it's easier to stop wearing if you decide it's not a great choice, than a tattoo.

So, mostly, a "That's not a thing I'd do, but I could see wearing one deliberately in some cases, and I'd suggest people reconsider wearing a random shirt - but I'd also suggest reconsidering random jewelry with symbols."
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MamaThistle

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Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 01:23:08 pm »
On the other hand, on a piece of clothing, it's easier to stop wearing if you decide it's not a great choice, than a tattoo.

So, mostly, a "That's not a thing I'd do, but I could see wearing one deliberately in some cases, and I'd suggest people reconsider wearing a random shirt - but I'd also suggest reconsidering random jewelry with symbols."

I hadn't thought of it like a tattoo, but that's a good point. I guess I was thinking along the lines of.. I may share the technical aspects of a spell, but you wouldn't want to share the full intent. You can tell someone how to do a spell in the technical sense, but you can't give them your will or intent. In my understanding, a sigil is the spell and the intent. Is it even possible to share intent? I don't think so.

I hadn't really thought of the negative effects of wearing or using something without knowing the full meaning. There are so many misconceptions about how magic works already. I kind of associate selling sigils on t-shirts with selling snake oil and that makes the community look ridiculous. Then again, I may be overthinking this whole thing..


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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 03:41:16 pm »
Anyways, I saw this post on Facebook yesterday. I girl I know (she isn't pagan nor does she practice magic as far as I know, I guess she is a "hipster" maybe) is designing artwork for a company that puts sigils on t-shirts and stuff. I don't use sigils, but I know some of you do and I thought this was kind of odd.

I thought sigils were supposed to be personal, unique, and contain the will of the practitioner. Which, therefore, printing on t-shirts and sharing with the world would seem to negate the magic. I know people share their sigils on Tumblr and I've seen some warn against it, but printing on t-shirts seems even more bizarre to me. Am I misunderstanding the use of sigils?

I am guessing this is a trend that people have caught onto without knowing what they are doing, but since I don't know that much about sigils I thought I would ask. So, for those that use sigils, what do you think of this? Do you think sharing sigils or printing/selling sigils is a problem or not?

I'm going to assume this isn't about flat-out appropriation and is just general magical sigils constructed by the artist. (There's a generator for that, even.) Or maybe just yanked from some books - "oooh, seal of Saturn, NEAT."

When's not appropriation, I don't have a problem with it. The occult periodically becomes cool and with that means an uptick in random products that look witchy. (I actually did a podcast on this subject recently.) And for certain subcultures, stuff like that is always in style - if you look at clothing brands like Killstar or Blackcraft Cult you're going to find plenty of occult looking gear.

As for the magic side... some sigils are designed to be seen. Like you said, you'll see that on tumblr sometimes, but I remember even back in the dark and distant days of the late 90s and early aughts it was pretty common to put em on stickers and stuff and leave them in public. (Pretty sure I saw a sigil sticker in Portland recently so maybe it's a practice that never went away! Or Portland's just hip.) I'd be very curious to see if the company this artist works for markets the shirts with an intent - like, "this black cotton T is emblazoned with a sigil for prosperity" or if it's just sold as purely decorative. If the latter... hell, if I were the artist I'd probably program something into em and let a bunch of people who don't know any better walk around with them on. Whether or not it would be something generic and helpful to the wearer or something designed to benefit me personally would be up to my mood at the time. (I am... not an ethics teacher, obviously.)


(Last edited by Morag to fix link to sigil generator.)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 11:56:23 pm by Morag »

MamaThistle

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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 06:59:22 pm »
As for the magic side... some sigils are designed to be seen. Like you said, you'll see that on tumblr sometimes, but I remember even back in the dark and distant days of the late 90s and early aughts it was pretty common to put em on stickers and stuff and leave them in public. (Pretty sure I saw a sigil sticker in Portland recently so maybe it's a practice that never went away! Or Portland's just hip.) I'd be very curious to see if the company this artist works for markets the shirts with an intent - like, "this black cotton T is emblazoned with a sigil for prosperity" or if it's just sold as purely decorative. If the latter... hell, if I were the artist I'd probably program something into em and let a bunch of people who don't know any better walk around with them on. Whether or not it would be something generic and helpful to the wearer or something designed to benefit me personally would be up to my mood at the time. (I am... not an ethics teacher, obviously.)

It's definitely marketed with intent, but I suppose they could still do that.

Eh.. ethics is overrated anyways. ;)



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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 03:16:51 pm »
Do you think sharing sigils or printing/selling sigils is a problem or not?

Personally, I don't believe that sharing sigils diminishes their meaning (after all, people have been using the same sigils from medieval grimoires for hundreds of years). If people with no occult knowledge buy a sigil on apparel, with no knowledge of the meaning, I have a feeling such magick probably wouldn't even work for them. That said, I would totally buy a tee shirt with the seal of astaroth on it. That would be hella neat.

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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 09:05:39 pm »

I am guessing this is a trend that people have caught onto without knowing what they are doing, but since I don't know that much about sigils I thought I would ask. So, for those that use sigils, what do you think of this? Do you think sharing sigils or printing/selling sigils is a problem or not?
I don't really use sigils but in a general sense I would assume it's along the lines of "Oh this looks neat lemme put it onto a t-shirt" without any knowledge of what it actually is.  And I don't overtly see an issue with it.  You can sing a song to 500 people and they'll sing it back for 500 different reasons.  And perhaps just the "Oh this is neat lemme use it" is a bit of magic of its own.  It means something to them, or to the people who buy the shirt.  They like it, are drawn to it for some reason. 
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MamaThistle

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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 09:21:29 pm »
Personally, I don't believe that sharing sigils diminishes their meaning (after all, people have been using the same sigils from medieval grimoires for hundreds of years). If people with no occult knowledge buy a sigil on apparel, with no knowledge of the meaning, I have a feeling such magick probably wouldn't even work for them. That said, I would totally buy a tee shirt with the seal of astaroth on it. That would be hella neat.

True! My view on this changed after I educated myself more on sigils. I don’t use them myself. Although, I agree that magic probably would not work without the intent.
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MamaThistle

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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 09:25:30 pm »
I don't really use sigils but in a general sense I would assume it's along the lines of "Oh this looks neat lemme put it onto a t-shirt" without any knowledge of what it actually is.  And I don't overtly see an issue with it.  You can sing a song to 500 people and they'll sing it back for 500 different reasons.  And perhaps just the "Oh this is neat lemme use it" is a bit of magic of its own.  It means something to them, or to the people who buy the shirt.  They like it, are drawn to it for some reason.

Very true, I suppose it’s not much different from a symbol like the trinity knot that can mean several different things depending on the person.


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Re: Sigils on apparel?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 02:41:05 pm »
I'm going to assume this isn't about flat-out appropriation and is just general magical sigils constructed by the artist. (There's a generator for that, even.) Or maybe just yanked from some books - "oooh, seal of Saturn, NEAT."

When's not appropriation, I don't have a problem with it. The occult periodically becomes cool and with that means an uptick in random products that look witchy.

Yep, and there's always someone looking to cash in on a fad.

And there's also the question of whether the totes kewl symbol thingy you want to wear belongs to a certain movement-- magical lodge, initiatory order, or what have you. I'm not a member of the GD, though I am familiar with it and its precepts, but I wouldn't wear a tee with its symbols blazoned all over.
Similarly, there was an apparel company that sold items with stylized Masonic symbols on them. I'm a member, but wouldn't wear the apparel, because the symbols are misused. (No, it won't get you in trouble. At worse, it'll get you funny looks, or get you laughed at; but I do know some brothers who'd take issue with it publicly, including calling the wearer a dumbass to their face.)
No, this isn't appropriation in the way it's usually discussed. But it still concerns the ignorant and irresponsible misuse of symbols with specially assigned meanings.
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