Sigils are associated with magick, and magick is defined as, “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”¹ Because ritual is heavily associated with both movement and psyche, it can be incorporated into butoh.
A sigil is a symbolic representation of an intention or desire. Because sigils are shapes, and shapes can be embodied, then sigils can be taken into the movement world. The symbol will speak directly to the subbody and can sometimes be like an encryption if we happen to forget the original intention.
There are many ways to craft a sigil, but for the purposes of this manual, we are going to with a more free-form of sigil creation. The steps to this sigil creation are as follows.
(Jo) 1. Be in a space that allows for creation, and in this space generate your intention into one or more words or a short phrases, such as “stop judging others.”
(Ha) 2. Write this word, words, or statement on a piece of paper and optional to cross out any repeated letters.
3. The remaining letters will be mixed together in whichever way you feel best (let your creativity run wild). See Figure 12.2.
4. Remix the symbol if you wish to make it an easier shape to embody or dance. See Figure 12.3. See next section for what to do next.
Now that we have created a new symbol, we must do something with it. We must activate it. There are many ways to activate a sigil, but we are going to activate the symbol with movement. Essentially, we are going to resonate with the shape in whichever way we can. You can walk the sigil’s path or draw it with any body part within and outside.
To take the charging to the next level, we work intensity into the sigil. What situation will bring on intensity? Here are some possibilities:
1. Dance the sigil along a scary height or while being incredibly uncomfortable.
2. Utilize breath of fire breathing while moving the shape.
3. Utilize the Stop! Sigil Vaporizing exercise.
4. Loop any movement for a very long time until it loses all meaning (like how a word loses meaning when it is repeated over and over for too long). As soon as the movement is robbed of meaning, switch to the sigil movement.
5. Hold any position for a long time until it gets unbearable or until there is muscular failure. Once you reach it, immediately switch to the sigil movement whether it is in the 3d world or vaporized.
(Kyu/Kyu to New Jo) Whatever you do, take it to a climax. When we are finished with dancing the sigil, we have an option of keeping the sigil or discarding it. Burning the sigil is a popular move.
Important: Once the sigil work has been done, don’t think much of it again. Even try to forget anything even happened so as to avoid the lust of result.