A Sigil is a form of hieroglyphic writing that blends creativity, calligraphy, and ritualistic magic. Some add a dash of runes and some Hermetic magic. Learn how you can use these symbols to enhance your spiritual practice.
What is a Sigil?
Let’s break down Sigil Magick’s terms to make them easier to understand. A Sigil is a graphic design that is used in magical workings. It is a device to direct intent. There isn’t a single unified system for these scripts. However, they can and often use symbols that come from other systems.
You are more familiar with these symbols than you think. Apart from magic, we find these types of characters in the business world as corporate logos. These are a symbol of company values and goals. You’ll never look at the apple logo picture the same way because of its association with the company by the same name. The transition from a corporate logo to a symbol of magic depends on the user.
“The most famous sigil is the Seal of Solomon, also commonly called a Jewish star, which is a hexagram, two interlocking triangles, representing the perfect union of the male and female principles.” ― Judika Illes, Encyclopedia of Spirits
Using a Sigil is a Focal Point
Think of the Sigil as a focal point for directing intention and energy. Using a symbol for producing energy is also a common technique. Take the healing system Reiki, for instance.
Reiki uses a series of unique pictograms to focus energy on healing. These designs are not part of the formal Japanese writing scripts. However, they use the same general form as Japanese Kana.
Japanese calligraphy is an artistic writing form that uses simplified Chinese characters to form a phonetic script. There are six different Chinese characters, known as 六书 (liù shū). There are three major categories of these characters: pictographs, ideographs, and determinative-phonetics. Therefore, it is common for people to use similar pictographs in the design of Sigil.
So, essentially, this means that Reiki is a system of sigil magick. Reiki practitioners are familiar with the symbol below. “Cho Ko Rei” is the first symbol most people learn. It is a symbol used in gathering and directing healing energy. Training in Reiki the healing system includes an initiation ceremony. They believe this ceremony unlocks the power of symbols like this one.
Magik with a K?
Magik with a K comes from the practice we know as Witchcraft. Magik is the standard way to refer to ritualistic or ceremonial magic. Some people call it High Magick. Using archaic symbols or objects to project energy is a typical practice. Many Witches use sigil magick, so it is common to spell it, ending with a K.
“Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will.” ― Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth
The Japanese Tea Ceremony is an example of ritualistic Magick, where choreographed movements and various implements, teacup, teapot, tea, etc. The intention here is to develop “presence.” The ritual implements are ceremonial objects often charged with various types of energy.
Many people are drawn to rituals because we are creatures of habit. Rituals are mysterious, and some have ancient roots. It doesn’t matter to what belief system you ascribe. You can be an Atheist, Theist, Diest and still have an interest in or engage in habits associated with magic. The concept of magic permeates our lives—for instance, a rabbit’s foot on a key chain. If you take the time to study other traditions, you will find several similarities. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a ritual.
“A sigil is a symbol. It is a pattern that can represent to the subconscious mind your desired goal. What is its practical magickal potential? A sigil can release the long-dormant energies contained within the self. Through working with the sigil you can bring to waking manifestation anything contained in the various levels of the subconscious. It can animate any archetypal force lying latent within you.” ― Laurence Galian, Beyond Duality: The Art of Transcendence
Witchcraft’s practice has direct ties to older traditions that pre-date written history. Witches have much in common with the methods of ancient cultures. Witchcraft mirrors many of the techniques from ancient Shamanic cultures. Witches individualize their Craftwork much like the ancient traditions of the Crone.
You can find ritualistic magic in almost every branch of organized religion. The cross is a simple but effective type of sigil magick that Christianity has adopted from earlier Pagan cultures. It conveys several levels of meaning depending upon the user.
“Symbolism in a greater or lesser degree is essential to every kind of external worship, and we need not shrink from the conclusion that in the matter of baptisms and washings, of genuflection’s and other acts of reverence, of lights and sweet-smelling incense, of flowers and white vestitures, of spiritual unction’s and the imposing of hands, of sacrifice and the rite of the Communion banquet, the Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations. In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality.” ― The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907)
It’s also important to realize we cast a spiritual shadow wherever we do and whatever we do. Make sure your life is full of meaningful actions, meaningful rituals. Don’t let your life become habitual patterns without meaning.
This form of ritualistic magic uses symbols to focus energy on magic workings. It is a way to channel intent and personal energy. The power of the written word or symbol (1) is just one element of “ritualistic magick.”
It is common to find combinations of ancient writing systems and graphics with these symbols. These graphic symbols are prominent in ancient and contemporary pagan art, from Celtic designs to Wiccan inscriptions. They are also used by word-of-faith and law of attraction practitioners. Seasoned magical practitioners caution against their use in performing curses because the law of karma will bring back anything evil tenfold.
Ritualistic magic uses processes or formulas to produce outcomes. Using the circle in a seating arrangement is one the transcends many traditions. Sigil can be created while in a circle with other practitioners to magnify the energy of “the working.” Many traditions perform ceremonies to celebrate the seasons, the sun’s cycles and the moon, etc. Examples of paradigms that practice this include Catholicism and Free-Masonry. Whether they admit it, they are practicing ritualistic magic.
Some people believe that sigil magick is part of the lost knowledge of Hermetics. Since this is often believed to be the source of real alchemy and magic, they may have a point. There are connections to the use of esoteric energy here. Perhaps Reiki is one proof of the existence of this sacred knowledge.
Creating A Sigil
Anyone can create a sigil. Many people make symbols when practicing automatic writing techniques. You can follow the process for automatic writing and set your intention to create a symbol that points toward any desired goal.
Some people like to use a sigil when they practice affirmations, and you can create a sigil that reminds you of any affirmation routine. These can help reprogram your self-talk.
Just remember, ritualistic magic is powerful. Make sure your goal is positive and does not cause harm to anyone or anything.
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(1) Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia