Drawing and inscribing symbols onto substrate is our species first artistic expression and act of magic.
From as far back as humans have been able to hold a charred stick and make marks on walls, we’ve been drawing symbols and creating meaningful scribbles. It’s one of the hallmarks of human development, and we look for it in our children: are we grabbing tools to make marks on paper at developmentally important stages, and are we interested in trying to communicate through our scribbles? Are we progressing along as proper human beings, just like every single one of our ancestors and forebears?
From cave paintings to handprints on walls, to modern artistic expressions, art unites us.
Art speaks to something deeply primal in us, a symbolic language that tells each of us that there is a shared world view, a person behind the eyes of that other being. Art is communication with others and with ourselves. We use art in therapy to heal our psychic wounds, and to express emotions and states of being to one another. So it’s no wonder at all that we also use art to create magic.
Any symbolic language can be used to carry meaning and magic.
As long as you know what your symbols mean, they have meaning. A solitary practitioner may have no need to use a common library of symbols and meanings, because their art and magic is only meaningful and meant to be read and understood by themselves. If you work with others, it’s useful to have a shared language so that greater meaning can be conveyed. A chalice, a knife, a pentacle drawn on the ground, will all have a specific meaning shared among a set of practitioners. Learning hidden symbolic languages can bring deeper understanding of rituals and artworks, literature, architecture, and more: knowing that some symbols tend to repeat and mean roughly the same thing every time they appear can help illuminate meaning to outsiders.
Any language can be used to build symbolic magic.
Math, from basic addition and subtraction all the way up to differential calculus and quantum physics has a language that can be used to communicate all sorts of meaning. Define your variables and write an equation for your magic: if A is yourself, and B is wealth, then A + B = here and now (for certain values of ‘here’ and ‘now’.) Sigils are a way to take the symbolic meaning and condense it down into one single image. A sigil is shorthand for a longer chunk of communicated information.
Anyone can create a sigil.
There are tons upon tons of famous sigils. Sigil of Mars, the Moon, Lead, Gold, alchemical sigils abound. Magic squares and ceremonial magical works, Kabbalah, and more! You can use a sigil created by systems lost in time, dragged out of dusty books or translated from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. You can grab sigils from your fave on Insta or Tumblr, or make your own. A sigil has meaning if you imbue it with meaning. A sigil that is shared, can have meaning and power because many people have imbued that symbol with meaning and power. Hex marks, runes, bindrunes and emblems famous in all sorts of different cultures. There are tons of sigils out there.
For myself, if I’m going to use a sigil created by someone else, I prefer to understand how it was created, and what the elements of the sigil mean. I have used sigils that I didn’t fully understand, trusting in the tradition and accrued energy of the sigil, but I still would rather know, than simply trust. I do tend to have trust issues…
Creating a sigil is fairly easy! One simple method is to take the letters for a word which represents to you the point of the sigil, either run the letters together or on top of one another, perhaps using common shapes or strokes to build the sigil. Simplify until you have something that is pleasing to your eye, but still conveys the meaning you need. Voila, sigil.
You can also create a sigil by thinking of a common image that implies the meaning you’d like. Achievement could be a star, growth a leaf, abundance a flower. Draw out a simple line image, and there you go. Combined with a letter based sigil, or used to enhance the sigil, and you can build a powerful image to use.
How do you use a sigil, once you’ve got it?
It all hinges on your mind and harnessing your subconscious thoughts. Say you have a sigil for abundance. Every time your eyes pass over the sigil, you’ll think on some level about abundance, wealth, and security from want. So you’ll be influenced to act in a way that can draw those things to you. You may feel more emboldened to ask for a raise, apply for a new position, take a risk in hopes of a payoff, or just be primed to look for ways your life is already abundant. Putting your sigil, or copies of your sigil, all around yourself where you will see it often helps enhance the sigil and make it more effective.
Using ritual and the ability of the mind and heart to imbue meaning can charge your sigil. In a quiet space, create your circle and invite divinity or your ancestors, or other spirits to come forth and aid you. Imbue your sigil with the elements, with connections to things that can help with whatever it is your sigil is meant to accomplish. For abundance, try using money, coins, pretty stones that feel lavish, gold and jewels, luxury things that speak to your subconsciousness about abundance and wealth. Salt for earth, incense for air, a lit candle for fire, and a cup of water for, well, water. Ritual is amazing for helping convince all the parts of your mind and heart and soul that what you’re doing is meaningful and important and not silly at all. That’s why we are drawn to ritual…
No matter where you get your sigil, it can be very helpful to you!
Try to pick a sigil that is meaningful to you, through your culture, your own understanding of the symbolism behind it, or by making it yourself. Charge your sigil, then put it where you’ll see it a lot. You can put a sigil into some quick bake clay, and make a talisman to wear, or put in your car, hang on your mirror, place near your workspace… they’re really unlimited! A protection sigil drawn on a stone and put at the borders of your property can help you feel safer, and protect your home.
Try making a sigil for yourself!
If you’d like to ask me to create a sigil for you, I can do that! I also have digital prints, prints, and original art and sigils in my etsy store: DakiniPaint. Drop me a line to ask about creating a sigil for you; I can either just make one, teach you how I made it as I go, or make, charge, and send it to you.