One of the first books on magic I remember reading when I was a baby practitioner was Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick, and it got more attention from me at the time than a lot of things. It’s primarily a book going into Golden Dawn style magic and adjacent territories. However, the part that stuck with me more than anything else is a not-even-two-page little ritual in the back of the book, in Appendix 1.
This ritual is one of the first examples of retrocausal magic I encountered, and I remembered doing it the first time around and finding it, at least, curiously suggestive. I’ve done it a couple of other times since then, as well, including just this last week, and I find the results interesting and affirming. Simply put, the ritual involves a visionary operation where you see time going backwards to an earlier point in your life, then you see yourself as you were in that time. Once you’re settled in there, you visualize a prepared sigil “representing Magickal Power” and “visualize it going onto the forehead of your imaged younger self. See it virtually ‘tattooed’ on the younger you’s forehead.”
Why retrocausal sigils? For folks who still think “time’s arrow” only goes one direction, they would try to argue for a mere psychological mode of action: you’re convincing yourself that you always had such-and-such so that you will start acting as if that’s the case. I’ve had enough timey wimey happen with stellar magic that I would argue that in cosmologies that perceive time in cyclical and more narrative, non-linear ways, retrocausal magic seeks to project a magical change back in time along one’s timeline/biography so that the changes can unfurl into your present. Kraig’s original ritual points to a minimum time shift of 10 years or half your age. The idea is that, if you can enchant 4-year-old you when you’re 24, then the magic will have 20 years to play out—and can continue playing out as you age.
I’ve always liked this ritual, and I’m going to offer you the version I’ve done. I’ve done it a few times now, but until recently, I hadn’t thrown actual magical timing at it, let alone nakshatras or sidereal lunar mansions, which, I note, have had some wonderfully timey-wimey results for me. So, here’re some notes on an adaptation of this spell that I first found in Kraig.
Obviously, you need to prepare your magical sigil. Now, while Kraig frames it as a sigil “representing Magickal Power,” I would come at it from the perspective of a sigil in the chaos magic sense. Accordingly, I encourage you to consider your statement of intent. You want something specific. “My sigils always manifest.” “Master divination.” And so on. “Power overwhelming” even.
Where Kraig approaches the ritual as a one-off affair, nothing stops you from revisiting it and having more sigils going on younger-you’s head. I know I have. Also, nothing stops you from having other sigils on younger-you’s head. “Excellent fashion sense.” “Master of rhetoric.” “Aesthetically-pleasing bone structure.” “Make friends everywhere I go.” And so on.
I’m tempted to say that you hammer out the intention and create the sigil during the ritual timing, but as you’re effectively launching the sigil onto the body of your earlier self, it’s probably fine if you have the sigil inked and before you as you get underway.
Timing the Ritual
I would also consider timing. I decided to revisit this when the moon next visited my natal nakshatra, in the hour of the Moon (for sigils for magical hijinks). Otherwise, I’m pondering a few other retrocausal sigils, too, on other topics and with corresponding planetary hours during said nakshatra. However, other timings are possible. Hour of Moon on the day of the Moon comes to mind, and even a retrocausal operation on one’s birthday to play on one’s personal chronology, as Paul Weston does.
You might also consider what your birthday or natal chart point to in regards to spirits, gods, archetypal motifs, and other sorts of things. Do you already have a relationship with the saint whose feast day is on your birthday? Do you have some Aionic wyrdness already in your practice? Do you find the image associated with your degree of your rising sign mythically apt for who you are? Does your natal nakshatra’s associated motifs already have archetypal significance for you? If so, then you might look for timings or moments or even just ritual accoutrements that you can lean into for your own timey wimeyness.
Target Time Zone
You should also consider at what point in your timeline you want to imprint upon. I had a photo of me in my pre-teens when I first did this, using that moment as a point to journey back to, but I think there’s something to recommend for looking for moments in your life where you felt or noticed something weird/wyrd, but had no idea what it was. In a sense, you’re looking for points in time that you can treat as moments where you were touched by future (i.e., now your present) you. Think of it as connecting a circuit across time with yourself, giving past you a boost. I’m thinking of moments now in which I had weird déjà vu, or uncanny experiences of a presence or something similar. Some examples:
- Times when you felt a presence, but had no idea who or what it was
- Bouts of déjà vu
- Waking up from strange dreams that you never figured out what they were about, especially if the sigil is related to the dream motif-wise—if you had a dream about being strong and victorious, use that as a landing time for a sigil for victory or strength/potency
- Moments of strong emotion (use your judgment about whether or not to retrocausally “sacralize” them), like your wedding, your divorce, when you defeated the villain at the school track meet, when you masturbated the first time, etc.
- Times when you were staring into the mirror and zoned out, let alone if you had a strange incident with/through the mirror
- Times when you experience a synchronicity which impressed you but which didn’t make immediate “sense,” especially if the sigil is related motif-wise to the synch
If all else fails, you could just aim for moments from photos you might have, or even just seeing yourself as a kid sleeping and dreaming. For my most recent op, I ventured into my natal, sidereal lunar mansion and found a path leading to younger me. I mean, as I do some quick math, I’ve hit that nakshatra 567 times since I was born.
Again, Kraig suggests a minimum of 10 years or half your lifetime ago, and you’re likely to find a few interesting moments in there if you look.
Once you have the timing, the target time, the sigil, and so forth prepared, you’ll need to launch the ritual and sigil.
Open your space in your usual manner, or in a manner that’s appropriate and which you feel confident in. I would myself open with a Cyprianic success prayer and invocations of directionality and space opening.
As necessary, invoke your timing—planetary hours, spirits of the day, nakshatra, decans, angel of the mansion, etc. Whatever elements you’re bringing to bear.
Call in Any Allies
If you’re doing something that you have allies suitable to petition for help, bring them in. For example, if your birth saint is appropriate, petition them to lend you a hand.
I would also call in your helping spirits or guides to help put you in contact with past you and, well, past-your-guides.
Kraig’s ritual has the magician visualize a calendar flipping backward in time. I would tell you to do whatever visualization works for you to let you travel back. Go into your own TARDIS or hijack one. Open a star gate, the Guardian of Forever, or grab the stars and fling them backwards until they stop in the time you’re aiming for.
Note, for the following sections, you may need to lay back and go into full journeying mode, or you may be fine with a kind of bifurcated awareness of now and then. Trust your instincts, but ask yourself how you should do these visualizations.
See and Target Yourself
Once you’ve landed in the right time zone, visualize yourself from then as vividly as you can, building up the details of that moment—but looking at yourself-from-then. Once past-you is “real,” then project/mark them with your sigil. Make it vivid and clear itself, and let your intuition guide you (does it glow? Is it a deep tattoo? How does it look on past-you?).
At this point, Kraig points to doing the following: “concentrate on the image of the sigil which you created. When it is as strong as it possibly can be, visualize it going onto the forehead of your imaged younger self” (511). However, it’s easy to make this a magical grunt-fest, which, if you want to launch your sigil by wanking over it and your past-self…well, that’s you living your best life, I guess. I would recommend against forcing it. A Power of One intention where you see the sigil on past-you while intending the statement for 10-ish minutes should be sufficient.
Return to the Present and Close
Finish the sigil activation and return to the present. Do whatever closing you usually do.
Kraig’s closing comments are probably good to look at here (keeping in mind his ritual is for a sigil of magical power):
This ritual will have the effect of causing a sudden and notable increase in your magickal abilities. By altering the design of the sigil you may affect exactly how this ritual increases your magickal abilities. Although this ritual will not change your level of magickal knowledge, it will make you more receptive to magickal information. It will increase your ability to memorize and your understanding of that material. (511-2)
What I would counsel is to pay attention to how things go over the next lunar month, if not a little longer. Let me know how it goes in the comments or on Twitter.
Featured Image: Genty | Pixabay
 Donald Michael Kraig, Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, 2nd edition (St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2001), 511. I saw it originally in the first edition, but it’s still there in the second edition.