Hermekate as Sigil – Part III: Semiotics

This post owes a great debt to Toby Chappell’s book Infernal Geometry and the Left-Hand Path: The Magical System of the Nine Angles by broadening the horizons of my relationship with the V-Sigil. The thought had once occurred to me to look into the structure or form of the sigil for clues to its deeper meaning, but I wasn’t sure how exactly to do that or perhaps it is safer to say that I didn’t fully trust in what might result. The above work helped solve that problem from two different angles: Not only did it equip me with a better working understanding of the relationship between symbol systems and occult development and provide ample new metaphors by which to make such associations, but it helped to validate and support the idea that while we might be able to “draw meaning out” from symbols, it is also the case that we project meaning into them–this is a two-way relationship–and that to do so is not only a valid practice, but a rather fruitful one. With that being said, I think the prose of this post will take a freer form than my recent posts, a more playful approach in which I describe some of the things I see when I look into the V-Sigil itself–and how I came to weave many of them into the meaning of Hermekate.

In the previous post in this series, I mentioned the central nature of duality when it comes to the meanings depicted by the sigil and I think that is readily apparent upon viewing it; this can mean any such polar relationship at all, but the primary one that arises again and again, or that is most often applicable, is that of the relationship between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. It’s a bit interesting to me that such a meaning stands out as dominant, considering the very relationship being expressed by the sigil was also the one which gave birth to it. So meta. As I’ve interpreted the sigil over the years and added to its meanings, I have had to ask myself: “Was this meaning contained in the sigil from the very beginning as a message from my unconscious mind, or is my conscious mind adding this meaning to the existing sigil?” Very often, this chicken-or-egg question has been impossible to answer, which is one of the things I find most fascinating about this process. In the end, all I can truly say is that the V-Sigil is a child of the conscious and unconscious minds coming together.

Once upon a time, I thought it was most important, in terms of sharing the Hermekatean Gnosis with others, to capture the specific meanings associated with it, but over time I realized that an equally important reason for sharing this work with others involves those aspects of the work that are not necessarily special or unique–what I’m really doing in many ways is opening up a window into my process so as to affirm to others, “Yes, I believe these are valid approaches,” because I myself have questioned my own approach endlessly.

When I first began my experimental work of developing a devotional relationship with Hermekate, as I mentioned in my previous post, I began using a symbol that basically combined the caduceus of Hermes with the strophalos of Hekate. I could have just as well come up with some image depicting Hermekate in humanoid terms as an amalgam of Hermes and Hekate, say maybe a gender-nonbinary figure with three faces, carrying two torches with caduceus-style shafts, three keys hanging from their belt, wearing winged sandals and a wide-brimmed conical hat, for example; but since I was disinclined to see this entity in those terms, with “Hermekate” taken quite literally in terms of meaning, I felt that it would be best to stick with a physical form that was farther removed from the human realm and more abstract. However, this posed two problems:

  • The caduceus and strophalos still suggested Hermes and Hekate even if the form was not a true humanoid representation.
  • The symbol had been created as a project of my ex’s from back when we were together and I had no input into its design, and given the deeply personal nature of the work, using this relic of a troubled relationship brought too much bitterness and resentment into the work.

The original form of the V-Sigil was simple–what appears as a snake in the images I’ve used on this site was originally a simple s-shaped, curved line. However, its symbolic meaning always had various connections to snakes, so I eventually decided to make it into a snake. Anyhow, replacing the original Hermekate image with the V-Sigil solved both of the above problems, and besides: I think it’s possible the two were always related to begin with. Though some aspects of it felt “revisionistic” to my conscious sensibilities, something in my gut also told me: “This is right.” Thus, the V-Sigil became the sigil for Hermekate (after all, did this not run in parallel with Crowley’s relationship with Aiwass, wherein a certain “reckoning” of selfhood was necessary to comprehend and communicate what was happening?).

Some of the Things I See in the Sigil

  • Simplified “Flaming Sword”: As I’ve discussed, the theoretical bases of the self-Initiation ritual connected with the V-Sigil had their roots in the Golden Dawn system, and some of this shows once the s-curve is made into a serpentine form; although I am not incorporating Qabbalah consciously as a foundation for Hermekate, the basic form of the sigil captures in a simplified form what is also expressed in the Golden Dawn’s presentation of Qabbalah conversely as “The Flaming Sword” or “The Path of the Serpent.” It shows the descent of the unmanifest into the manifest.
  • The connection of this symbol to the form of the cross is relevant as well–the shape of the serpent captures both the “vertical” axis of manifestation and occult development, but also the “horizontal” axis. Thus it includes the meanings of the integration of spirit and matter that are also communicated by the standard cross.
  • The emphasis on a circular form of this descent into manifestation suggests how said manifestation unfolds in a cyclic nature, encompassing various reiterative processes both natural and non-natural.
  • The sigil is meant to be dynamic and suggestive of process rather than any given state. For one, the above points all describe a process of manifestation that is always in motion–covering the dynamics of the vertical axis.
  • However, there is also a lot being depicted in the sigil on the horizontal axis, or actual spatial motion that occurs in the physical world; into the overall shape of the sigil one can readily project such systems as an atom with protons and electrons swirling around it, or a solar system, or a spiral galaxy; the black and white orbs are in motion and what’s more, it is relative motion. Thus, the V-Sigil also captures meanings about “whirling motion” or “whirling forces” that are also depicted by the traditional swastika (not to be confused with the Nazi swastika! This visual resemblance has always been a sensitive subject for me). I will be writing more than one post that focuses on ideas and meanings that arise from this “atomic” or “nucleic,” “spinning” or “gyroscopic” motion depicted by the sigil.
  • As I conceive this motion, the light and dark orbs linked together by the serpent remain in the same opposing position relative to one another, but rotate around the center point, almost like a cat chasing its tail; thus, meanings similar to the ouroboros also come into play. However (and I am amazed at how long it took me to realize this), this symbolically depicts a relationship similar to what is going on during eclipses–and Hermekate’s relationship with eclipses is interesting, as we will come to see.
  • Often times, the V-Sigil appears to me as a “targeting reticle” or “gun sight,” and this suggests a plethora of meanings that I will also explore in dedicated posts; some of them are more spiritual, suggesting (to me) something like the arrows fired by deities like Apollo, Artemis, Sekhmet, etc. Other meanings come to be related to earthly warfare and its role in the state of affairs on this great round rock. These same meanings can be rendered more benevolent, into something more akin to the lens of a camera or telescope.
  • The form also strongly suggests a compass, another meaning that will be treated in its own post(s).
  • For the Star Wars fans out there, there are also meanings associated with the Death Star and Luke Skywalker’s destruction of same.

To me, the fact that this sigil is so readily related to all of the above concepts is a powerful indicator of its gnostic origins; it appears to condense, in a fairly simple form, an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom “to those who have eyes to see it” (and by the way, an eye is another image suggested to me by the sigil). These connections to a more universal host of meanings are the main reason I am sharing all of this with the world. More and more, I think that what I’ve done in my practice is to largely reinvent the wheel, but in so doing, I think that my work stands as a good proof for the theoretical suggestions of so many occultists throughout history. In this sense, my reasons for sharing all of this have everything to do with showing other people that this kind of work–while appearing inaccessible and obscure from the outside–is much more intuitive and simple than history’s literary occultists have often suggested: Yes, you can do this work in your own back yard. No, you don’t necessarily need a chartered Initiatory temple of any one kind, and no, you don’t need to dedicate your life to painstakingly studying the particulars of the likes of Aleister Crowley or Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. The V-Sigil shows us that the big wide universe is within us, that the world is our oyster, that opposites can be united, and that we can do it all our own way under the right conditions.

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