My friend Chester has been on me to write a post about servitors, since they rival sigils in terms of Things Chaos Magic Is Known For. But I’ve been a bit hesitant to explore the topic, mainly because of the time I destroyed a planet.
I should… probably explain that last part.
See, I used to play this game called TerraGenesis, the point of which is to terraform and colonize the planets of our solar system. And I got obsessed with it.
After successfully transforming Mars into Earth 2.0, I moved on to Venus, where I set up a mining operation and a couple of basecamps. Very quickly, I had established a few independent colonies, and I was on my way to lowering the temperature of the atmosphere and converting it to breathable gases.
The problem was, I got a little too ambitious, and I didn’t quite comprehend that the game would continue in realtime when I wasn’t logged in. So I went to bed one night with a bunch of happy little Venusian townships working steadily to improve their circumstances, and I woke up the next morning to discover that my atmospheric machines had accidentally caused a global superstorm, which wiped out all of my colonists.
So that’s what I think about every time Chester asks me to write about servitors, and especially when he encourages me to try making them myself: I am responsible for the well-being of anything I create. What if I make a servitor and forget to feed it? Or I cause another superstorm? What then?!
But what I have to remember is this — Chaos Magic is experimental by nature, and if I want to keep improving my skills, I need to be willing to try my hand at new and different things, even if they make me a little nervous. So today, I thought we’d walk through the process of creating a servitor, which will (hopefully) be interesting and informative and will also take some of the stressiness out of it for me.
What Is a Servitor, Anyway?
A servitor is a semi-independent thought-form constructed to perform a specific task. It’s kind of like a familiar, except a familiar is an independent spirit, whereas a servitor’s existence is dependent upon the magician who created it. It’s like a familiar and a Tamagotchi got drunk and had a baby.
It’s also kind of like a daemon (the operating system kind, not the Greek mythology kind). In a Unix-based system, a daemon is a program that runs in the background, just quietly doing its job without direct user supervision. Similarly, once turned loose, a servitor will go about the mission it’s charged with completing, without the magician having to micromanage it.
It seems pretty cut and dry so far, and we haven’t hit on anything too anxiety-inducing. So let’s push forward and think about why we might want to create a servitor.
And when I ponder that, all I can really think about is the panic attacks I have whenever a cockroach finds its way into my apartment.
Texas cockroaches are huge, y’all. The first time my sister-in-law (she’s from Kansas) saw one flying (they fly), she went, “Oh, look! A bat.” No other bug elicits a lizard-brain fear response from me the way cockroaches do. And yes, they’re ultimately harmless, and they’re sacred messengers from the Goddess or whatever, but also they’re scary and I hate them.
So you know what? I’m going to make a servitor to keep cockroaches away from me, and I’m going to use this Inverted Pyramid-style outline to do it:
If we’re going to build anything, we need something to build it on. I’m thinking about Chaos Magic in terms of the Discordian Elements, and I can safely say that this is going to be straight-up Boom magic: My servitor will protect me from roaches and encourage the local wildlife (opossums, raccoons, toads, etc.) to kill and eat them before they can get me. So this servitor will be rooted in Boom, and Boom associations will be incorporated into its creation. (More on this in a second.)
After careful consideration, I settled on this as the specific purpose of my servitor:
Keep any and all cockroaches from entering my apartment.
I almost went with “keep any and all cockroaches out of my apartment,” but that felt almost too aggressive, and cockroaches have this defense mechanism where they charge at anything that startles them. Yeah. So now you know why they haven’t had to evolve in 600 million years. And since part of this process is working through some of my own anxiety, I want to feel confident that my servitor won’t accidentally send a herd of terrified roaches screaming into my living room.
So now that we know the servitor’s magical foundation and specific purpose, we need to collect some symbols that we can use in the activation process to program it with the job we want it to do.
In this case, I went with Ye Olde Osman Spare method and sigilized the intent, as follows:
I could also bring in numerology, or planetary glyphs (like Mars and Saturn), or anything else that would reinforce the purpose of the servitor. But I’m happy with the sigil as-is, so that’s what we’re going to work with.
The appeal of goat-lion-ferrets aside, for this servitor, I want something simple to visualize. Boom magic covers War and Death, so I’m going to perceive it as a swirling, red-and-black orb, about the size of a volleyball.
If I make more servitors in the future, I will probably get more creative and detailed with their appearances, but this form will suit this particular servitor just fine.
What (or if) you decide to name a servitor is completely up to you. In this case, just because I haven’t tried it before, I scrambled the letters I used to create the servitor’s sigil to see if a name might reveal itself, and I finally came up with Tygpan Chemdifork.
It’s a little goofy, but I do like the way it sounds, so we’re going to roll with it. For whatever reason, Tygpan feels male to me, although you could certainly assign a different gender (or no gender at all) to any servitor you create.
Length of life is definitely something to consider when mapping out a servitor. If it’s only going to have a single, non-repeating job, and you won’t need it anymore after the job is complete, then it really doesn’t need to exist much longer than that. However, this servitor won’t just be smacking away one cockroach — I need him to stick around and patrol nightly for as long as I live in a cockroach-rich environment.
So that tells me how long he should live. As part of the creation process, I’ll know that Tygpan will live as long as I remain in Texas, and if I ever move to another state, he’ll wink out of existence the day after I leave (so that I don’t spend my last night as a Texan fighting off demon insects from hell). I’m also going to work in a kill switch, on the off-chance I need to shut him down on a moment’s notice (like if it turns out that cockroaches are somehow preventing a superstorm from trashing Houston).
Something else to think about is where your servitor will live. If there will be periods of inactivity between the times you call on it, a “home base” is not a bad idea: A statue, or a piece of jewelry, or even a part of your body. Tygpan will be moving around pretty relentlessly — I’m thinking about him in relation to how a shark never stops swimming and is always a little hungry — so a base for him is not really necessary. If I do decide to give him a resting place, though, I can’t think of a better one than the St. Gulik hamsa that hangs next to my front door.
Okay! We know what type of magic we’re going to use to create the servitor: As I mentioned above, we’re Booming this, suggesting that noise and pyrotechnics should be involved (which I will accomplish with a fireplace lighter and a handbell). We’ve got his purpose, his sigil, his appearance, and his identity all set, and we know how long and where he will live. So now it’s time for…
So, first things first: I’m going to clear a ritual space, get comfortable, and start raising energy. Once I’ve got a reservoir built up, I’m going to take a deep breath and blow firmly onto the sigil, then raise more energy and do this two more times — literally breathing life into the servitor.
After this is accomplished, I’ll pull out the servitor template posted by redditor Dangma Dzyu a few years back (which I’ve amended to include Boom magic and Tygpan’s established lifecycle) and recite the following out loud.
Your name is Tygpan Chemdifork, and your essential purpose is to keep cockroaches from entering my apartment. You have the power:
- to detect roaches before they enter my apartment.
- to lead roaches away from my apartment.
- to redirect roaches away from my apartment.
- to seal any possible entry point to my apartment.
- to help nearby predators find and eat roaches.
- to levitate and fly.
- to teleport as needed.
- to change your shape and size as needed.
- to manifest and/or materialize anything which aids you in assisting your goals.
- to learn how to better achieve your goals.
You gain energy, power, strength, determination, and excitement in response to my thoughts about you and my appreciation for the work that you do.
You will never fail to come to me when I call your name (out loud or silently).
You will find sustenance in the attention given to you by me, finding particular power and strength in my feelings of safety from living in a roach-free environment, and in my gratitude for your accomplishments.
Your skills and powers will increase exponentially every time you prevent a cockroach from entering my apartment, and every time a predator kills and eats a roach in the area surrounding my apartment.
You will work ceaselessly and tirelessly, so long as you live.
You will live until the day after I permanently leave Texas, at which time you will harmlessly dissipate.
If I, and only I, pronounce your name backwards, you will dissipate immediately.
You are born on Saturday, August 7, when your sigil is consumed by fire and a bell is rung.
After that, I’ll close down my ritual space, take the now charged sigil outside, set it on fire, and ring the bell, which wil announce to the roaches (and my neighbors) that Tygpan Chemdifork is officially on the clock.
Welcome to the World, Baby Servitor
And now you know how I’ll be spending my Saturday evening. But if anyone else decides to make a servitor along with me, definitely let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear anything you’re willing to share about your own experiences, and I am not above arranging a servitor playdate.
And I do feel a lot calmer about the whole thing, which is good. I mean, if I have to choose between creating a servitor and running around my allegedly safe apartment while trying to squash a giant cockroach and possibly crying a little… yeah, I’ll go with the Chaos Magic any day.