Glyphs for the 5 Senses

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My hypothesis for how manifestation of non-physical objects and entities works is as follows:


1. The would-be perceivers are willing


2. The non-physical entities involved are willing


3. The surrounding reality does not object


4. We may perceive non-physical entities or objects as physical. To be clear, these things do not need to be made of matter in the ordinary sense. The effect is no different from a hypnotic state wherein a person is given the suggestion that they will taste chicken, or feel drunk, or see a gigantic cow in the back of the audience.

Based on my observations, new magical things make people nervous and scared. Fear of magical success is highly prevalent, and overcoming it is the main spiritual work of a magician. We all think that we won’t be scared, too, until something happens that shouldn’t be possible according to the laws of physics. The reaction isn’t necessarily a part of your thinking brain. It can be raw and animal. That fear or even panic can taint the working so that success can never be attained through the same means again: your unconscious mind responds to the symbols with high alert, and tries to protect you from “the bad thing.” IE, success.

As a way for gradually working on making the unconscious mind more comfortable with the notion of manifestation, it is best to make the concept something normal, something about as shocking as the fact that you can converse with people all over the planet from a device similar in size to a deck of cards. Amazing? Yes. Delightful? Absolutely. Terrifying? Not to you. Because technology is allowed to do miraculous things. You have become accustomed to that.

I realized that what I needed was a set of glyphs to represent the 5 senses in the same way that we have glyphs for the planets and elements, and every other random thing we might ever want to wield as a magical force.

Hermes “invented like, half the alphabet.” Indeed, Hermes is credited with establishing written language. So, I decided to ask him for advice. Here is what he said:

In the beginning, people actually just drew pictures of what they wanted to reference. A guy who wanted to sell a cow would draw a cow on a wet piece of clay or hide or whatever. Or carve it into a rock. As it turns out, carving an entire recognizable cow into a rock is a bitch. So, the pictures got simpler. Eventually, they got to the point where they didn’t look like anything at all.

So here is what I’d do. Take a piece of paper, and draw objects that remind you of the five senses. Maybe a taco for taste, or a rose for smell. Then, reduce them until you can only *just* recognize them. See if you can keep it to two strokes, certainly no more than four, and a dot, maybe. If you need a dot.

Et voila, you shall have you some quality-type pictograms.

After a lot of kibitzing, and comments like, “What the hell is that, Thenea? That looks like a boat or a tripod or something.” And, “Is that an ass? Because it looks like an ass.” We managed to settle on these five.

Pictogram of an eye, meant to represent the sense of Sight.
Pictogram of an eye, meant to represent the sense of Sight.
Pictogram of an ear, meant to represent the sense of Hearing.
Pictogram of a nose, meant to represent the sense of Smell.
Pictogram of a hand, meant to represent the sense of Touch.
Pictogram of a tongue, meant to represent the sense of Taste.

These, I suspect, will be simple enough to use in the same way as magicians presently use glyphs for the elements and planets. Rituals including them will follow, but in the meantime, it seems as sensible as any other approach to inscribe them into pentagrams for invocation, or to draw them in the air with attendant invocational liturgy.


  1. Those are aesthetically pleasing in their simplicity too- which I’ve always found to be a useful quality for this kind of thing. Nicely done.

    1. In the magical traditions I’ve been trained in, glyphs like these are traced in the air and imagined in various exciting colors.

      In an earlier post, I described a 5 directional setup where the senses were evoked as guardians of the space. (I think it was entitled ‘finding your mythic self’ or some such. Such a thing might be a logical pairing with these glyphs.

  2. Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
    As promised, a deeper analysis:

    I like these very much. I’m going to start working with them in my Five Senses practice and see how that might change things. I’m also going to experiment with a pentagram in a similar method to the Iron Pentacle and see what happens.

    1. I’ve been tempted to say something like, “You’ve crossed the line from dabbler to wizard as soon as you’ve let out your first blood-curdling scream at the results of your own magic.” 😛

      Of course it shouldn’t. Why it does bears exploring.

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