I first found out about Eliza Gauger's "Problem Glyphs" project through my partner Nathaniel, and I was instantly fascinated and intrigued. They had been in a band together years previous, and he continued to follow her artistic pursuits after that on tumblr and Patreon.
How it works is that since 2013, people have anonymously submitted to her some sort of problem or issues they have been facing. She in turn creates an image to ward against that problem. In her words, "These symbolic illustrations draw on my background in esoteric occultism, aesthetic symbolism, mythology, psychology, and hedge "magic" to encourage, support, and counsel the people who seek them out."
Nathaniel had anonymously submitted to Eliza his lifelong struggle with a faulty memory and its possible ill effects on his health. (I lovingly call him my goldfish.) He is a diabetic, and had a hard time remembering to take his medication, despite a variety of tactics. Eventually, his turn came and the Glyph was created. He decided to get it tattooed on his right arm, where he can see it every day, and I'm glad to say it's worked beautifully. (It was also his first tattoo, and we're working on his next one...)
The Problem Glyphs have a strong style and imagery all of their own, yet pull from a diverse mythology and encyclopedia of symbols. As an artist, designer, and sigilmaker, I love the amount of symbolism and movement she packs in to a single image, without overdoing it. It's just the right amount of linework, balanced, and clear.
Besides the effective use of line and contrast, it's the process of making them from start to finish that pulls in the magick. The querent expresses their problem, the artist considers it and carefully crafts the glyph, and releases it. The querent is not only rewarded with an image to reflect upon, but it's the core fact that someone else, outside of them, contemplated their plight, and produced a piece of artwork based upon it. Just that exercise in itself goes a long way to helping someone overcome an issue, regardless of the art itself. That someone else took the time to care, to think about THEM, and gave them a physical reminder of that process goes a long way in strengthening the spirit.
In this blog, I've talked about the magick that can be involved when an artist creates something for their own needs and visions, as well as for the Gods. There's another level of fascinating interaction that occurs when the work is created specifically for someone else. And in the case of the Problem Glyphs, we can add on the additional level as us, the bystanding audience, who upon viewing the images and their source issues become involved as well. Suddenly, we too are thinking about the querent, their issues, and our own relation to it. Which I believe adds more energy and power to the image and those who it is made for.
There is a currently a kickstarter for making a book featuring 200 of the Problem Glyphs that Eliza has created so far. Check it out here, it's almost funded with a week left to go.