Sol Lewitt and Servitor Creation

I mentioned Sol Lewitt a few days ago, and that’s had me thinking. I’ve been thinking about the sort of programming that books like Creating Magickal Entities suggest are to be used in the creation and animation of magical servitors (though I prefer this much more concise .pdf, personally). And I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to find a way to link Lewitt’s famous wall drawings with sigil/servitor creation.

Let me show you what I’m getting at.

Lewitt (who died in 2007) was one of the leaders of the Minimalist art movement that cropped up in the Sixties. Minimalism was (and is) concerned with reducing artistic expression to as few parts as possible; Donald Judd, another great minimalist sculpter, referred to his works as “specific objects,” if that gives you any idea of what I’m talking about here. No parts, One.

Lewitt is most famous for his “wall drawings”, in which he would provide a work team with instructions (sometimes simple, sometimes complex) for drawing–literally on a wall. These instructions might be something like,

Wall Drawing #65. Lines not short, not straight, crossing and touching, drawn at random using four colors, uniformly dispersed with mazimum density, covering the entire surface of the wall.

although some sets of instructions included quite complicated diagrams and charts. You can look at a variety of wall drawings (along with a few instructional diagrams) here.


In his book I alluded to above, Cunningham gives this definition of a servitor:

A vital principle held to give life to an immaterial essence, which has been created to have a self-contained and distinct existence with a conceptual reality, by the deliberate effort of personifying segregated thoughts and emotions.

Now, look at what this little change does!

Entity #87. Hold a vital principle, give life to an immaterial essence. Create it to have a self-contained and distinct existence with a conceptual reality, by the deliberate effort of personifying segregated thoughts and emotions.

Do you see? Servitors can be wall drawings! Or maybe wall drawings can be made into servitors (or their sigils)? I’m curious as to the possibilities. If we look at Phil Hine’s SPLIFF technique (which I crib from the PDF above, by Michael J Dangler), we have another very basic set of instructions which could perhaps be used as inspiration for a wall drawing:

Rituals [for servitor animation] can be done in a number of ways, but Phil Hine’s SPLIFF option is probably the best:

*S – Statement of intent ; *P – Pathways available? ; *L – Link intent to symbolic carrier ; *I – Intense Gnosis/Indifferent Vacuity ; *F – Fire ; *F – Forget

Imagine what sort of drawing could emerge from such a thing. That is, think of the possibilities if we were to take the above statements and apply them to some sort of geometric (and almost randomly generated?) figure. Or, think about sending a servitor to a friend (enemy?) as a set of instructions. I have a friend who was literally “sent” a demon (its sigil) via postcard. Think of what would happen if construction of some entity required intent (reading) and firing (drawing) of its sigil from the target.

…Or something. Thoughts?


About John Harness
John Harness is an artist and educator in Chicago. He is a member of Socialist Alternative and the Klingon Language Institute. He writes about political activism and roleplaying games.

One Response to Sol Lewitt and Servitor Creation

  1. Glad you enjoyed the .pdf for the entities. Big fan of SPLIFF, myself.

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