The Sigil

Chaos magick time. Emily wasn’t sure she believed, but considered this a scientific experiment worth trying. She ripped sheets of blank paper from her sketchpad and got her favorite Japanese purple gel pen. Then she turned off her phone, and clicked the lights off in the living room. 

Silence and darkness were necessary for the ritual. The flames of the tapers she had lit swayed, casting thin spiking shadows on the living room walls.

Next — create a circle of focus. Emily placed a bundle of old love letters down on the rug, then some books of love poems — Shakespeare’s sonnets, Rumi, Neruda.  Next to these, a small bottle of rose massage oil and cherry-flavor lubricant. Then she took out her Rider-Waite deck, and laid down The Lovers Card, The Wheel of Fortune, and The Queen of Wands (her card).

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, holding her palms up, then wrote in large swooping letters on a page: “I want unconditional love.”

Now to cross out all the vowels, and extra consonants. Emily rewrote what remained in a circle, then combined the letters’ shapes and loops into an abstract design. It was beautiful, like the flowing letters of ancient Islamic calligraphy. 

The blue ceramic bowl was ready for activation. She took one of the candles, lit the corner of her sigil page and watched it burn until the flame hissed out.

In the next few weeks, she obsessively checked her account, but no one looked like her type. 

Plumes of smoke rising from a chimney and graffiti spray-painted on an alley wall reminded her of her sigil. Emily thought she saw it while scrolling through her cellphone messages. Once she was sure she saw it tattooed on a man’s arm.

Weeks passed. She decided her experiment had failed.

Months later, a terrible rainstorm pounded the sky. The moon was full, scripted over by inky, cursive clouds. Emily heard a scratching at her door and opened it. A small black kitten meowed at her, beseeching and hungry.

She picked it up and it vibrated against her chest, purring. 


[Lorraine Schein is a New York writer. Her work has appeared in VICE Terraform, Strange Horizons, Enchanted Conversation, and Mermaids Monthly, and in the anthology Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana del Rey & Sylvia Plath. The Futurist’s Mistress, her poetry book, is available from Mayapple Press: Her story was inspired by a Chaos Magick study group she used to attend which also studied sigils.]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s