Genius Loci

I remember walking into St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City for the first time. It was dimly lit, somber, massive. The power of the place was unmistakable - there was a tangible feeling of gravity. My mind reeling, I slowly walked the perimeter of that gigantic church as it overwhelmed my emotions with its immensity.

Places have power. They provide a set of sensory stimuli that can affect us emotionally. In the case of places that have religious significance, the emotional impact can be especially powerful - awe, fear, wonder, transcendence, peace.

This power of place can be harnessed in our practices. The emotions evoked by a location can be summoned at will - utilized to reinforce our Authority; to enhance the ways we interact with our mind, will, and emotions; and to provide a focus for grounding, mindfulness, and concentration.

Sigil Networks

I often utilize a network paradigm to perceive the world. I think of things in terms of interconnection, information flow, symbolic representation. Visualizing what moves between entities helps me understand the relationship between them, and my relationship to that flow.

One of my magical practices that utilizes a “network paradigm” is what I call a sigil network. A sigil network is a set of places that are meaningful to me. I imagine them as parts of an interconnected magical network. Each place is associated with a particular emotion, quality, or concept, and each place has its own symbolism, meaning, and emotional resonance.

example of a sigil network - a fictional city map with points dropped at various places. Each point has a text box containing a name, a small list of emotions, and a symbol from the Theban alphabet.

Arranging these places in a “network” helps me bring their memory to my mind more effectively during my practice - a sort of large scale method of loci. But it also helps me “combine” their emotional effects in more complicated ways. This post is going to go into some examples and explanations so that folks can create their own sigil networks - how to select places, how to create strengthened associations in your mind and how to utilize the resulting mental construct.


What places elicit a strong emotional reaction in you? Is it the natural beauty of a nearby hiking trail? Or perhaps the energy of a local tourist attraction? Create a list of places that are meaningful or powerful to you. Your home could be a good start, but think about other places where you feel a sense of religious awe, or strength, or curiousity, or other powerful emotions. Write your list down.

The places on my list are ones that make me feel specific things. One of the places in my network, for instance, is a fallen tree on a hiking trail. It reminds me of the passage of time, the wisdom of age, and the end of life. Whenever I visit this massive fallen tree, I am struck by its existence and the circumstances that led to its fall. It makes me feel small and helps me have a wider perspective. Another place in my network is a tiny park hidden away at a dead end. It’s where some of my earliest experiments in ritual practice took place. To me it is a place of power to help me restore my energy and Authority.

Place Name Location
The Fallen Elder Vanderson Park
Circle of Truth My Apartment’s Rooftop Deck
Hekate’s Laboratory University Chemistry Lab
Sacred Fountain On water northwest of pedestrian entrance at Fiasco street
Axis Poli Roundabout, City Center
The Labyrinth Hiking trails in North Cheshire Gardens

This list describes the “nodes” on your sigil network.


If you’ve put a place on your list, it should be because it elicits a response in you.

Now is the time to dive into these feelings. Next to each place in your list, start writing down the types of emotions that it makes you feel. You can start basic: “wonder”, “awe”, “peace” - but you may want to figure out more nuanced descriptions of these emotions, explore details around how you feel, or expand on them with additional symbolism or concepts. Each place is yours, and you should think about it in terms of the ways it is connected to you and your practice.

You can use this list to play around and fine-tune your symbol set. For instance, maybe there is a meadow near you that gives you a sense of peace - and upon reflection, you realize that it is the quiet of nature that is the source of that peace. You could associate the meadow not only with inner peace, but also the beauty of nature, and use a flower or blade of grass or honeybee as its symbol.

Place Name Location Associated Emotions Description
The Fallen Elder Vanderson Park Wisdom, age, inevitability A large tree that has fallen across a walking path
Circle of Truth My Apartment’s Rooftop Deck Trust, honestly, intuition The fire pit on my roof deck
Hekate’s Laboratory University Chemistry Lab Science, magick, psychology My school’s chemistry lab
Sacred Fountain On water northwest of pedestrian entrance at Fiasco street Energy, peace, renewal A natural waterfall in a hidden area by the river path
Axis Poli Roundabout, City Center Humanity, civilization, cooperation City Center - surrounded by skyline, traffic, tourists
The Labyrinth Hiking trails in North Cheshire Gardens Magical perception, synchronicity, patterns recognition Maze-like switchbacks and footpaths that are easy to get “lost” in

Figuring out the way these places are important to you is a vital part of this process. Take your time. Play with your list, and try come up with additional symbolism, emotional depth, and ideas that help you tap into these places of power. The more you flesh them out, the better you will be able to use them in your practice.


After filling out some of the emotional and symbolic dimensions of your places, it is valuable to ritually reinforce these associations. Ritual provides a way to interact with our perceptions and create useful connections between concepts, emotions, and symbols in our worldview.

For each place, I suggest visiting and performing a short, private ritual that focuses on really experiencing the emotion of the place. Let the feeling of the place wash over you. Draw sigils in rainwater, create ritual circles in dirt, meditate. Think about the way the place makes you feel and really try to lean into the sensation and experience. If you’re unable to physically visit the place, you can always do this at home by visualizing the location in your mind.

I find it helpful to create some kind of sigil for each location that serves as a representation of its primary emotion. You can then utilize this sigil later in your practice. The examples above use a font representing the Theban alphabet, but that’s just for the purposes of representation. I highly encourage you to generate a meaningful symbol using systems or sets that you already use. Of course, you can also incorporate other things - astrological signs, tarot cards, etc. The important part is to create associations with the locations that work for you.

Tapping into your sigil network.

After you have done this, I find it helpful to print a map and mark it with each location marked and connected by drawn lines. This forms a visual representation of your network. Next to each location, I list the symbols, emotions, and esoteric name of each location.

Each place can be useful during your practice. Are you feeling stressed and using ritual to help you center yourself? Imagine yourself standing in one of the locations in your network that elicits feelings of peace. Are you drained and want to feel more motivated? Perhaps you can think about a location in your network that energizes you. When I think about one of my places - imagining it in detail, thinking about being there - I can feel its atmosphere and the mental or emotional state it brings out in me. I see this as “tapping into” the place - not because I believe in any supernatural power, but just because it is an additional way of sharpening the emotions or ideas I am trying to summon.

Apart from tapping into these places individually, you can also combine them. I visualize my locations as being connected by invisible “ley lines,” and imagine power flowing between places when I need a more complex emotional boost. For instance, if one place gives you a sense of peace and another a feeling of energy, you can “tap into” both in order to elicit an emotional state of calm focus. To help with this, you can contemplate your map drawing, or draw a combination of the sigil representations for each place, or some other way of combining them symbolically. You can even use sigils taken from the lines connecting the locations.

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Sigil networks are, for me, more than just a way to tap into the power and importance of place - they’re a form of symbolic interface with my city. They provide a way of looking at the world that is magical in nature and practical in effect. Even so, this is just a starting point - these systems are easy to modify, reconfigure, or recontextualize as one sees fit.

So go. Explore your city, find your places of power, and tap into them.