(Yes, Rose and Jez, I know you've read it before. I'm lazy and pretending to be totally cranking out new pieces.)
The Digital Fetish: Information, Structure, and Encoding.
By Jack Faust, written for the adherents of the Black Sun.
Over a year and a half ago the person I describe as my mentor invited me over to his house to partake in a fetish-making ritual of western European origin. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what the ritual was for; I just knew I was invited and since he was quite better than I with some things, agreed to go along.
I arrived; the other “outsider” to his circle arrived, and we went out to dinner while waiting for the (high) Priestess to finish preparing various items. As it turned out, they were about to show the two of us how to make poppets. The term “poppet” itself is an older European term for puppet, and the construction and release of the poppet relies on the same sympathetic magick techniques that one sees in the construction of so-called “voodoo dolls”.
At least one source of such instruments exist on records, with James the First of England writing:
“To some others at these times he (the devil) teacheth how to make pictures of wax or clay. That by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the name of, may be continually melted or die away by continually sickness.”
(From Wikipedia. Since I’m lazy and this is a short essay.)
The basic structure is as follows:
The doll, or sometimes wax, fetish represents the person. It is then linked with the traditional sympathetic link. Upon this construction being performed and ‘energized’, the poppet must be treated as the person at all times until it comes time for disposal. Once this was performed one could follow the standard steps: binding, cursing, or simply keeping an eye on. (In at least a few cases the poppet was also used for love spells, the representation of the person being kept close to sympathetically bring them “closer” to the witch or magician.)
Of course, there are even rumors that the wax figures and dolls were used to return magick to a witch that was cursing one… This being a ‘sympathetic return’ policy. Likewise, there are stories of witches keeping a poppet of themselves to ‘throw off’ their psychic trail and make a diversion for those who wished to harm them for whatever reasons.
Insofar as we’re concerned, this is simply sympathetic magick: the doll is fed energy or consciousness by the magician/witch/sorcerer (or whatever label one wishes to apply), and treated as a likeness of the person until such a time as it comes to use them. (Note: the Wikipedia article includes commentary on ‘maiden’ and ‘goddess figures’ being poppets. This would simply make them idols, and even the Jews had myths about those… Specifically, blood of sacrifice was not to be shred in the presence of statues because it would imbue them magically with life. A fascinating concept and one we might make use of later…)
I was taught to simply bind the poppet:
Red string tied around the hands, mouth, feet, and ears: to not lift a hand towards one, to not speak ill of one’s person, to not hear of one, to not move toward one.
In effect: to shut them out of your life and send them to fuck off. Implied in this is that only harmful actions count; you could still interact with someone that’s been bound, since with their ears “shut” they’d never know the actions taken against them.
Common folklore often describes that if the poppet was discovered then the magick itself would be undone; for this reason the doll was buried or dropped into the nearest deep body of water. (More on this later.)
We no longer live in an age when the doll in and of itself is even necessary. Information via the internet being the ‘common trade’ of magicians, is subject to those particular flows. In many ways we could describe the Internet as a ‘concrete manifestation of the astral plane’ – a space without space, where all information gathers and takes on it’s own likeness.
In such, the avenues of performing sympathetic magick yield themselves in interesting ways. The obvious question initially to me (which almost immediately resolved itself) was how this was to be done.
The material link in and of itself both proves a problem and yet doesn’t:
The ‘psychic trace’ used to manipulate the poppet is found in the information encoded in their aura or traces of themselves. Some might suggest that the material link is most potent when physical but I think that ignores the obvious ‘astral’ elements that go into it. But we still need an ‘astral signature’ to bind our poppet to, regardless of whatever else.
Herein we find one of the more useful methods of the Internet:
Almost everyone has a Myspace page or a blog these days. And almost everyone (including the author) has pictures of themselves or pieces of poetry, or at least an ‘introductory’ bio of themselves in these places. This is what is most useful to us.
The next stage is fashioning the doll: we like images. Photoshop or a similar photo-editing tool is useful here. Find a picture of a doll that resonates with your conception of the task at hand or represents the person on an unconscious level.
Save it to your hard disk. Now gather your link: one of their pictures, a piece of prose, or a bio about themselves. In the event that none of these exist I will simply explain what I was taught:
A material link is not necessary. All you need is a name. You then take the doll and ‘baptize’ it in the name of the person and spend an extra amount of time visualizing, talking to, or otherwise representing it as the person to yourself to make the link tangible. (Note: this is obviously harder to do than simply stealing a link, and still requires a tangible doll. I do apologize for this but felt it was worth saying for those who have evil purposes.)
To return to the digital:
We now take our doll picture, and the link. We create an extra ‘layer’ or copy of the image. This creates two layers in Photoshop. Now we edit in the link between them: paste their picture or C&P their prose into the picture. This should notably be done while in trance. We then take layer two, the material link, and ‘bury’ it in the image. We reduce the opacity to ‘zero’. If one wishes to ensure the trace is obvious, then perhaps only to 1%. We place the copied ‘layer’ of the doll picture back over the link. This means that the link is no longer visible.
Now we back it up with something heavy handed: an invocation process, a conjuration string, or something along those lines to which one requests that the ‘digital ephemera’ of the spirits to which we are allied is aware of our desire for the sending. This is step one of bolstering our fetish’s power.
We upload the picture to a place where it can be linked. We make use of blogs here. We want it to be highly visible (though possibly not to the individual) for a short duration. We’re going to take advantage of the framework by which the Internet works here.
Select a number of blog hits that has a resonance with the task. This is where we ‘stop’ the release process. During this time our fetish is the individual. There can be no doubt. It is the person we wish to work our will upon. We place it in blogs. We wait patiently for our hits and smile.
Upon this number being reached, we delete the assorted mess we’ve used. The link picture or prose is deleted. The initial picture is deleted. The fetish itself is removed from webspace.
We consign that fucker to the ‘digital land of the dead’: temporary Internet files. Our seed has been released into those who saw it; it has been encoded for a short time in their own ‘digital Hades’. And now we ourselves forget what the picture looked like and what went into it…
We have dropped it into a ‘digital body of water’ by which it will never be found again. The object is now subject to the rules of digital ephemera while our Will spreads forth from us: we have completed all we needed.
From henceforth we refused to even acknowledge that image ever even appeared in our blogs. “What picture? Oh that. Just something I found.”
We smile and shrug.
All we ever wished was for the seed to be seen; with that done there is no longer a reason for it. Those wishing to know more were never much more involved than they would have been watching a TV show… They mere aided us in locating a digital Hades with which to place our fetish.
Fired and forgotten, we return to our lives and forget that the target ever troubled us at all…
After all, no one will be locating that fetish after they clear their Internet browser’s cache, now will they?
Note: I know of some other magicians that make use of this tactic as well. But they never bother to delete these files. That means they’ve left the fetish up and those targeted can make use of it…
Secondary note: the ‘sending’ can still be captured in astral space. But the binding of eyes/ears should keep the target from noticing they’ve been enchanted at all. However, those around them might well notice. Still; once we’ve forgotten, we’ve forgotten and cut our psychic ties to the object so that results can flourish of their own accord. My personal ‘knowledge’ that the ‘spell’ has gone off is that the ‘weight’ of my irritation and anger vanishes upon the time transmission is achieved. It as though the incidents that led to the working never themselves occurred… I’ve yet to have someone close to the target notice the sending… But then, most are too egomaniacal to notice such things. A secondary point: sympathetic links ignore ‘wardings’ since they’re in turn with the target themselves. Only the object/desire in astral space appears to work against one.
Also, as noted before, a similar fetish of oneself or competition works to ‘reverse’ the bindings. So it’s all up in the air between competent magicians and witches. Still… it doesn’t hurt to know such tactics exist.