Life Hacks: Using Symbols to Improve your Life

I use symbols in my magic to help unlock large amounts of energy instantly. I also use symbols to unleash large amounts of energy over long periods of time. Using symbols in your magic isn’t all that hard but it does take practice. One easy way to practice is to create symbols and use them as life hacks.

Most people generally understand how symbols work and what they mean . But using them effectively is a little more complicated. Before we can start throwing symbols around it is important to understand how they work and why.

An important aspect to symbols is understanding how we relate to them and why they affect us. This process is know as semiology and has been a part of the human knowledge base for several millennium. In fact, we can trace back ideas of semiology to ancient Egyptian writings.

Ancient Egyptian Picture depicting the "Ba"

The ancient Egyptians believed that every person had two souls, the “ba” and the “ka”. The “ba” was considered the self-conscious, analytical intelligent part of our being that possessed free will.   It’s the part of us that also held the spark of life. The “ka”, on the other hand, was considered to work in secret, showing us dreams, holding the records of our life and endowing us with our emotional self-awareness.

Ancient Egyptian Statue depicting the "Ka"

Where the “ba” is analytical the “ka” is subjective. The “ba” is the part of us that understands the literal meaning of language and the “ka” is able to read between the lines . The “ba” can see the trees but the “ka” can see the forest. Most importantly to this discussion, the “ba” can process a picture as a structure of images but the “ka” turns the structure into significance an meaning.

When we correlate the ancient Egyptians’ belief system of the “ba” and “ka” with our modern understanding of our consciousness and unconsciousness the similarities are staggering. Especially when it comes to how we process visual information and how that information impacts our lives.

On average we are bombarded with over 3000 pieces of advertising a day. Most, if not all, of those advertisements contain images and corporate logos. Company’s spend an enormous amount of money creating ads that generate precise emotional responses from anyone seeing the ad and corporate logo. Chances are this is not breaking news to you. The importance of this information lies in understanding the emotional peaks you hit when you view any form of sign or symbol. How does the “ka” interpret the messages received by a symbol and what “secret” information does it pass along to the “ba”?

Advertising isn’t the only media that affects our unconscious mind. Everything that we do, everything that we sense is filtered by both our conscious and unconscious.

Monk on Fire

The symbols and images that we experience on a daily basis impact our thoughts and actions. The symbols can be words, pictures, sounds … even energy. This is an extremely important concept, especially when it comes to understanding how signs and symbols affect you daily and how you use them in your magical practice.

The intensity of a sign can be measured by how many different streams of emotions your unconscious mind processes and passes to your conscious mind. For instance, the picture to the left of a Tibetan Monk on fire might not create a huge emotional shift in many viewers who are 25 years of age or younger, but for older generations the image if fraught with deeper meanings and emotional cues.

This is where the foundation to symbol creation lies when working with life hacks, and in my magical practice. All of the images on this page have significant meaning to everyones’ unconscious mind. Most people ignore the process their mind and body go through when viewing such images. So here is your first exercise. Answer the following questions when viewing all of the images in this article.

  • How do you feel after viewing the image? (Note that you might feel apathetic towards some or all of the images. Generally our unconscious self has an immediate response but our conscious mind creates the apathetic state to deal with unwanted emotions. If you do feel apathetic study every aspect of the image and jot down your thoughts.)
  • What emotions are present? (anger, sadness, joy etc.)
  • What is your inner voice saying when viewing the image?
  • Where do you feel the emotion in your                                                                                       body?
  • What physical responses does your body exhibit when viewing the image? (explain all responses)
  • How do you relate to the image?
  • With as much description as possible write down what you see.
  • Does the image have any social/religious/political significance to you?
  • What message do you think the image conveys?
  • Does the image distract you from your thoughts?
  • What is the first thing you notice in each of the images?
  • If you have more than one emotional response to the image can you separate each emotion and feel that emotion on it’s own? (If you feel both anger and disgust, can you separate each emotion and feel only one emotion at a time?)
  • Can you rationalize why the image produces the emotion(s) you are going through?
  • Are there any past memories that come to mind after viewing the image?
  • Does the image pose an significant meaning to you?
  • Do you feel emotionally charged after viewing the image?
  • Are you attracted or repelled by the image?

Exercise Two: 

Research has been conducted on both hemisphere’s of the brain and it turns out that our more analytical and logical functions come from the left hemisphere of our brain where as our subjective, visio-spacial and interpretive functions reside in the right hemisphere. This next exercise applies only to right handed individuals. When you right down your thoughts about how the images affect your emotions right with your left hand. Hand control in the brain is controlled by the opposite hemisphere, thus right handed people use the left hemisphere of their brain to right. This exercise is designed to get you to engage more with the right side of your brain and bring your writing and your subjective thoughts together.

Exercise Three:

Optical illusions are also good forms of study. They force our minds to see something that isn’t congruent with reality.

  • With the next set of images see if you can allow your mind to wander in and out of what is real and what is subjective.
  • Notice if your mind fights the process, starts feeling confused or your processing power slows down.
  • Notice how your analytical mind tries to take control of what is real and what isn’t while your subjective mind tries to define everything that the image possibly could be.
  • Do the two sides quarrel with each other to define what the image should be?

7 comments on “Life Hacks: Using Symbols to Improve your Life

  1. Amonjin, I like your approach to magick (on your about page, looking for quantifiable results). So I’m curious: Do you prefer creating your own symbols or using standard ones from established magickal styles? Do you find much difference in the results or the effort required? I have some guesses on this, but I don’t use symbols much myself, so I have little data, and you seem like the kind of guy who would track a thing like that. Thanks! -Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for the compliment. I’m currently writing the follow up post to using/creating symbols for life hacks and magical practices. I personally make my own symbols. They hold more weight than already created symbols. Old ceremonial seals are “cool” to look at but fall short for moving my internal energies or allowing me to control external energies. That isn’t to say that previously created symbols, seals, sigils or signs aren’t powerful in their own right. One really has to study them and incorporate their associated meanings while, to a limited degree, buying into the doctrine/dogma they where created from (in my experience at least).

      The plus side to creating your own symbols is that they are personal yours and are extremely powerful if created properly. Conversely, they take a serious amount of introspection and time to create. A person must understand their psychological processes and how an image activates those psychological processes. Once created though, that symbol will always work for the rest of your life. On the flip side, it’s always easier to study what someone else has done then to create it yourself. But, when studying something like the Key of Solomon, a person has to create the synaptic relays which identify someone else’s meaning for specific symbols with specific outcomes. Either way you cut it, it equates to a lot of work.

      The problem I run into is that I am dreadfully obstinate when it comes to many of the magical “rules” or traditions. I ask to many questions and the answers I receive are usually to vague or broad. Because I like understanding how all the elements work in my magic I have to create it myself. I can’t just assume that a certain sigil is good at controlling demons because it’s old, or someone said so. For myself, that falls under faith rather then magic. Having a healthy understanding of physics, biology, psychology and philosophy are crucial, at least in my practice, for creating affective symbols and magic.

      What I’m even more curious to know now is if genetics are involved in interpreting symbols. For instance, could a symbol I create to push energy from my body affect my daughter in the same manner? Would she feel the sensations of energy explosion from prolonged exposure to the symbol? If so, it could bring more credence to the notion of family lineage within magic or any faith really.

  2. Thanks for the quick, detailed reply! That was actually the opposite of what I expected, so now I’m doubly curious about how you do magick. And I like that you tell people that doing good magick is a lot of work. It’s a shame so many writers shy away from saying that. I’m glad you’re not one of them.

    The genetics question is very cool. It’s something I hadn’t thought of, but now I’m wondering about it. Even if she doesn’t know what your sigils mean immediately, they might be more comfortable for your daughter to learn than for someone that’s unrelated to you. How are you going to test it?

    Also, I have a few more questions for you:
    -How do you tell your mind about the meaning of the sigil? It sounds like you have a procedure worked out. Maybe an upcoming blog post?

    -When I focus on a sigil from a standard style of magick, like Enochian or Thelema, I connect to magickal forces associated with those styles. I call them “Systems.” You can give the system instructions, find the spirits who made them, and some other useful things. Is this ringing any bells, do you have a similar concept in your style?

    -And the big question: What happens between you focusing on your sigil and a change happening in the world? What are all the moving pieces, how does that work? You say that “Because I like understanding how all the elements work in my magic I have to create it myself.” That’s the way I am, too. I’d love to know how you see it.

    Don’t feel like you have to answer them all at once. I know how much harder it is to write answers than questions, particularly for that last one.

    Thanks for explaining!


    • Being proficient at anything takes time and practice. I also hate the idea that magic is easy to do, or that “anyone” can practice magic. It’s just not the case.

      As for the genetic aspect. I have this notion that the tradition of passing magical information down through a family is successful because members of the family can be genetically predisposed to the symbols and systems being used. The only way I can test this hypothesis at this moment is to observe how my daughter might react to exposure to certain magical concepts and symbols. She is still to young to teach and I don’t want to create any form of bias from exposure. If a positive correlation can be found then I would have to find causation. But my sample size is extremely limited. Interesting though non-the-less.

      As for creating a bridge between meaning of a symbol. That is where a majority of the work comes in. The process really involves introspection into what different symbols and signs mean for you both on the conscious and unconscious levels. Advertisers understand this area very well on a broad scale and, which I might add, is great a area to read books to gain a better understanding of how we relate to packets of information. The steps I mentioned in this post are the first processes to understanding how you would relate to an image, sound, tactile sensation, smell, taste or spiritual sensation. The next post will be about the creation of a symbol for life hacking purposes. Then I will write a third on how to create a symbol for magical purposes.

      Since I’ve never studied Enochian or Thelemic (sp?) traditions I can’t speak to them. I’ve read a couple of chapters here and there concerning the traditions but soon found myself disinterested. I can say that I find it extremely hard to incorporate other magical systems that are heavily steeped in dogmatic traditions that seem (to me) irrelevant or misguided. To that end, studying another system is no different, in my opinion, then studying algebra or geometry. One has to convert the symbols used to their associated meaning; the more you use the system the easier it becomes to identify and convert the symbols to its practical purpose.

      For your last question, isn’t that the big mystery? The moving pieces are the creation of a symbol that interacts with all my senses including my spirit, creating the bridge for both my conscious and unconscious to associate the symbol with its giving out come and applying my internal energy and external energy into that bridge so it manifests into the desired outcome. But there are so many variables in between. For instance, what kind of energy is being used in the application (thermal, chemical or nuclear)? But this part of the discussion is definitely for another post and or for the coffee house amongst fellow colleagues.

      I hope that answers your questions! heh

      • Thanks for explaining! Yes, that make a good start, especially since a lot of those questions would take several posts to go into. Would it be accurate to say that your work focuses on establishing a common language between the conscious and unconscious, so you can instruct your unconscious in your goals and intents?

        On creating symbols for magickal purposes: Splendid! Looking forward to those posts.

        And please do write the post on how that bridge works (the bridge between internal energy, external energy, and desired outcome). I find that exploring those pieces — and you’re right, there are a lot of them — does more to move me toward better magick techniques than anything else. It would be great to read a fresh take on how those pieces work.

        OK, now I need to write about family heritability and magick styles.

        Be well,


  3. Hey, I saw this has my name as “magickofthought” instead of Mike Sententia. I changed some preferences with gravatar today, that’s probably what’s going on. Anyway, it’s the same guy. Cheers -Mike

  4. Pingback: Using Symbols to Improver Your Life Part 2: Practical Application « I At The Gates

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