Sigils

One of the most effective and easiest techniques that I learned from Chaos magic is the use of sigils.

There are techniques in ceremonial magic that produce geometric designs that are sometimes called sigils, but these are not quite the same. It is one thing to trace a pattern from a magic square, and quite another thing to turn a statement of intent into a pretty squiggle that you can draw in the dirt on your car windshield.

I do a lot of sigil work in my magic. I put sigils on (or in) candles. I draw them on paper and burn them. I make tiny copies of them and throw them to the wind. I draw them on balloons and release them (Try this in a mall — it’s more fun and there is less environmental risk). They’re very versatile, can be as complex or simple as you want, and can be done quickly in a public place.

But I’m not going to talk about sigils. Jack Faust is. Because he says a lot more than I really want to, and it’s good stuff.

The ultimate question when making sigils boils down to this: do you want the form to be simple, or do you want it to be complex? How does either presentation affect your feelings about what the sigil represents? How many different variable forms can you imagine given the letters you wish to render into the sigils?

To paraphrase Gordon, there is no such thing as “doing it wrong” as long as you understand the basics of the technique. Any sigil that produces a sense of working for you can be used. All this really requires of you is consistently using it, playing with different means of expressing your desires, or applying the technique where it best fits.

Sigils may be used: to designate specific actions one wishes to have take place while others are watching; simply working on the sigil and then finding a means of empowering it (a fixed gaze for a constant amount of time is often sufficient to mildly empower one) allows you to duck out of intoning “barbarous words” or drawing attention to yourself. Previously constructed sigils representing the spirits one works most closely with can be scratched into the earth if you’re working at the crossroads, particularly around magical circles, and if you don’t wish to use a traditional circle. These can be either used alongside the relevant names, or the names could be omitted altogether. This is particularly useful if one is practicing witchcraft outside the home and suspects that someone may stumble onto what they are doing. In that case, you need only rub out the sigils and circle with your foot, and it is less likely to be noticed in comparison to using chalk or salt.

And a follow up post:

Gordon’s comment on my last post got me thinking… And I decided I’d follow up the last post with another describing other ways I’ve used the technique, and encouraging folks to be more experimental with it. Don’t get me wrong: plenty are. It happens to be precisely the Chaotes that are not that I want to mess with and encourage to try some new shit.
Read them both here and here. Good stuff on sigil techniques and applications.
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3 responses to “Sigils

  1. Good stuff on the modern understanding of sigil magic, but mischaracterizes the traditional way. I explained the confusion in a post : http://freemanpresson.wordpress.com/

    There are many ways to derive a sigil in the traditional sense, not just tracing on a kamea. The traditional equivalent of a modern sigil, though, is a talisman. I am not sure who crossed this up: been too long since I read all the foundational texts of Chaos Magic.

  2. I wasn’t addressing what Jack wrote, and I don’t generally read or comment on Blogger. since for some reason it doesn’t want to let me. I tried to make an exception, but the software totally didn’t cooperate. Plus, Windows ate the backup copy in my cut buffer, so I can’t even repeat the whole thing here. I can only conclude that I wasn’t supposed to answer.

    It was a nice, congenial answer, too. Please imagine one on my behalf.

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