THE BOOK OF RESULTS
AN EXAMPLE RITUAL
THE DRUID\u2019S KNOT
THE CRIME BEFORE TIME
This interesting contribution to the practise and theory of sigils certainly deserves a fourth
publication. In it you will find some ingenious refinements of the practices and principles
developed by the great English Mage Austin Osman Spare. This book is basically a
practical extension kit to the now classic sigil technique which also helpfully resumes the
original in plain language.
With a refreshing severity Sherwin reminds us that demons are very real personal
blindspots which the aspiring magician can and should overcome with a daily regime of
willed magical and material activity. On the non-reductionist side of the coin he shows
how the basic sleight of mind techniques of sigilisation can be expanded into full rituals
complete with banishing techniques, mantras and dervish whirling, to create longer and
more powerful rites.
Sherwin discusses the theory of sigils and presents the basic mechanism, uncovered by
Spare, explaining the entire range of seemingly bizarre analogical procedures of the old
spell books at a stroke. This insight is a landmark in the history of magical thought. One
can always tell the difference between those magicians who have understood it and those
who have not. The Caltrop of Chaos banishing ritual is a useful addition to the chaoist\u2019s
magical repertoire despite its reference to the now contentious big-bang theory. Similarly,
The group ritual for a collective abstract sigil attracts my attention as it seems to
transcend the limitation to a single operator of the classical sigil technique. It will
doubtless form the basis for some challenging experiments amongst groups of many
This is, above all, a book of accessible, practical technique. Buy it, study it, and use it.
The ratio of practising magicians to collectors of magical books is probably 1:100.
Hopefully this book will help to rectify the situation.
Since the Book of Results was first issued in 1978 sigilisation has become a popular, if
somewhat underrated, approach to certain types of sorcery. Within my personal attitude
towards magick sigilisation figures very largely but hardly at all in isolation since its
success relies heavily on other aspects of the art magical. It is perhaps best, at the outset
of this short book, to assume an overview in order to appreciate the relative importance of
sigils (from my point of view) before examining their construction and use in detail.
I have always been suspicious of the guru system and of magical hierarchies. To avoid
entering into a lengthy argumentation on this point suffice it to say that in my experience
magical orders which have a tendency towards this type of heresy, for whatever given
reasons, always militate against the individual in favour of the order, especially when
conflict arises but also, insidiously, as a matter of course. Since magick is an individualist
pursuit the individual must always be of paramount importance and anyone who denies
this is looking for profit or power or does not know any better.
It is always wise to listen to what other people have to say but decisions must be made
and action taken according to comfort, pleasure and effectiveness after individual
experimentation has taken place. Keeping oneself at the centre of one\u2019s magical activity,
rather than following the peculiarities which someone else has found to be useful, also
helps to keep one wary of picking up dogmas accidentally and treating them as personal
This is the only way to realise that beliefs are not permanent concepts but changeable
commodities which can be managed by the magician (and others) and manipulated to his
benefit. When asked \u201cWhat do you believe?\u201d, the magician, speaking from the central
stillness of himself, should be able to reply, in all honesty, \u201cI believe nothing\u201d. With such
a blank slate at his disposal the magician can then adopt and discard beliefs as he sees fit.
I worked many of the techniques useful for attaining this condition into my translation of
The Golden Verses of Pythagoras which was included in The Theatre of Magic. The basis
of the scheme is autopsy or strict and systematic self-enquiry.
There are two basic types of magical technique, one which gets you into your head and
the other which gets you out of it. In some cases, whirling for example, either effect can
be achieved according to the magician\u2019s intention. Drumming, drug-induced trance and
some forms of mantra are gnostic techniques which also come into this category. Those
techniques which inhibit the body, asana, sensory deprivation and so on, are best suited
for looking inwards while those which tend to excite the body are most useful for
projecting dynamically outwards.
The mystic might have a great deal to say about the evident duality of this. I have nothing
further to add except that the individual should experiment with as many techniques as he
can find or invent in order to immediately discard those which are obviously not suitable,
for whatever reason. He can then concentrate his attention on the mastery of the
remaining techniques. Daily excercises in technique need not be performed in magical
mood and there is something to be said for treating such excercises as one might treat
callisthenics or the more practical forms of body yoga. Once a technique has been
mastered it can then be used confidently during ritual magick as such. The magician who
attempts to use unperfected technique during ritual work does so at his peril. At best his
ritual will be ineffective. Less optimistically, he may leave the temple feeling more
foolish than when he entered, a positive regression, in his development best avoided.
I would recommend anyone who is just starting to use methods of this sort to set up a
daily regime, a programme combining strictness and pleasure. A detailed written record
helps to keep perspective and is an invaluable aid in helping to bridge the gap between
performance and capacity, that is, between present ability and personal expectation. In
other disciplines, yoga for example, one practices every day and with each practice the
body responds by becoming more flexible. One\u2019s mind, however, is more subtle than
one\u2019s body. The only reasons for not being able to adopt a yoga posture are inherant
physical inability or the stiffness of joint which can, with practice, be relaxed. But there
are all kinds of reasons for not achieving good results in other areas of one\u2019s life and it is
the conquest of these which is called \u2018Magick\u2019.
There are no new methods in magick, merely rearrangements and refinements of old
ones. The self-integration process of driving out neuroses through meditation and
abreaction is the same method in essence as would be used to drive the self on to greater
things. The word \u2018evolution\u2019 has been \u2018new-aged\u2019 to death in this context but it remains
the best word that we have.
Man is a lazy creature of habit. Laziness may indeed have been one of the major reasons
for his evolution so far, encouraging him, as it must have done, to find easier ways for
survival than the conditions in which he found himself allowed. Habit, even in complex
activities, reduces the amount of concentration required for the execution of a task. The
simple expedient of the grasping thumb would have necessitated a great deal of
concentration at the time when such a facility began to develop, as would the
development of three- dimensional vision and the beginnings of coherent thought and
language. In ancient times it would have been the individuals most capable of using these
new developments who would have been looked upon as magicians - the ones who could
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