Witchcrafting Sigils: Project #1, The Doodle Sigil
Sigil-crafting is a very handy bit of magick for a practitioner to have in their toolbox. It’s deceptively simple but tremendously effective. Any magickal intent imaginable can be programmed into the design. When executed, the image can be carved, drawn, painted, traced with a finger or simply created in the mind’s eye.
A sigil can be a figure composed of a few lined pieced together or it can be a complex and artistic design. One of the most powerful uses of sigils is to connect magickal practitioners over any expanse of space and even through time. With sigils, witches can join forces to work on a common cause or help multiply each others
While perfect curlicues rendered with a calligraphic pen has become popular on Pinterest, artistic talent is not a prerequisite for the execution of a sigil. All that is needed is an intention, a way to write and a method of activation. Glitter is totally optional! There are also numerous methods of designing and programming sigils.
Once you understand the basics, imagination is the true limit. In this lesson, we will explore some history of the magickal art form and discuss a basic method of sigiling called the doodle technique. From there, you can start designing, programming and activating your intention into your own creations.
A Sigil of the Times
The word sigil means ‘seal.’ The use of the word to describe magickal mark making goes back at least to medieval times, as it appears in a variety of grimoires. The sigils depicted in tomes like The Lesser Key of Solomon correspond to angels and demons. These sigils are considered to be magickally equivalent to the true names of the spirits to which they correspond. As thus, they are quite powerful. Naming something is to hold power over it!
The use of sigils continues throughout Western occult magick, their use documented through the writings of Aleister Crowley and groups like the Golden Dawn. It was Austin Spare, a 20th century occultist and artist, who introduced the modern sigil. No longer a method of controlling spirits, this new sigil distills the intent of the practitioner into a magickal mark. This idea was expanded upon by Chaos magicians such as Ray Sherwin and Grant Morrison. These magicians developed theories of sigils that took magickal mark making out of the box in significant ways, exploring how sigiling occurs naturally and intentionally in culture.
These discussions explore just how potent intent-laden symbols are in our information obsessed culture. Morrison talked of the ‘hypersigil’ which transcends the bounds of a simple glyph into a complex work of art that bears the magickal intent of the artist. He also talked of the viral sigils which stem from corporations in the form of logos. I have a pet theory that the Starbucks logo was designed to be intentionally magickal as it incorporates common correspondences for prosperity. The color green, for instance, is ubiquitous in their branding, as is the mermaid, an icon of the oceanic bounty. I have no idea if it’s true, but I amuse myself with it.
The Project: Creating a Doodle Sigil
- Some Paper. Any kind will do. Some people like to use big sheets of brown paper to have plenty of room.
- Writing Implements. Whatever you like to draw with is perfect! I like pencils so that I can edit my drawing as I go.
- Optional: Glitter, paint, collaging materials, crayons, anything that can make a mark.
Formulating the Intention
Using my own intention as an example, I will illustrate (pardon the pun) one of my favorite styles of sigiling: the doodle sigil. Also, my sigil will carry the intention of finding high quality work for a sustainable income. This is just an example. You can use whatever pressing need you are currently facing.
The first and most important step of sigiling is formulating an effective intention. This is best accomplished by writing it into a sentence using the active voice in the present tense. First, identify the area in your life that needs magickal intention. For this first attempt at sigiling, you should keep this intent very straightforward. Aim for as much clarity as possible. Don’t undermine your own magick by confusing your intent or muddying it with too much esoterism. Also, take into consideration steps required to realize your goal. For example, if you need money, you should specify how you are going to attain it. I have found that magick will take the course of least resistance unless I have been really thorough in wording my intent. This can mean getting that money you want by getting hit by a bus. That is definitely not fun!
For my sigil I addressed the need I have to find meaningful work that I can help sustain me. The work needs to be flexible because my Fibromyalgia is unpredictable. My employers must be reliable people who will respect me and pay me well for what I do. Importantly, the work needs to be consistent so that I can rely on my income. I boiled it down to the following:
Intention: I have plenty of meaningful work for reliable people with abundant pay
Creating the Sigil
The second step of sigiling is to obscure the meaning of your intention through performing a function on your sentence. An example of this is removing the vowels leaving only the consonants. It is best to have pared your intention down to the fewest words that still pack the meaning of your intent.
After performing this operation on my intention, it boils down to:
Once you get it to this point, the art commences! You don’t have to make the shape of the sigil meaningful in any way, since the purpose of this is to obscure the meaning which you will later intentionally forget. Get out your drawing supplies and start assembling the letters in a way that is pleasing to you. You can use color or doll this work up with glittery flourishes. It is entirely yours! This style of sigil should appeal to anyone who, like me, filled notebooks with scrawling images instead of notes for class.
This is what mine looks like:
Forgetting the Sigil
Not everybody does this step but it helps to cement the intention in your unconscious mind. When you are finished drawing your sigil, put it away for a couple of days and try not to think about the design of it. Also try to let your intention slip from your mind, if possible. There’s no set time that you need to do this for. Just put it out of your thoughts for a bit, maybe focus on something else.
Activating the Sigil
This is the ritual part of sigiling that transforms your doodle into a magickal entity made to serve your purposes. After you perform this ritual, you can use your sigil in whatever way you want. You may choose to burn it and forget about it or you could bring the design further into your magickal work. I like to give mine names and record them in my Book of Shadows to be used whenever I have the need.
Ritual for Your Doodle Sigil
You will need:
- A space where you will be undisturbed
- Your sigil
- A piece of paper or tracing paper
- Something to draw with
- Your candle (dressed if you’d like)
- A cauldron or a pot with a lid in which you can burn things
- Optional: music, incense, herbs to burnCleanse yourself and your ritual space in the way you are comfortable with. You don’t need to cast a circle but you can do so if you want. I invoke eptithets of Hekate at this point. You can invoke your deities, the elements or make an appeal to the universe. Call in your guides or ancestors or whatever spiritual team you have assembled. Light the candle.Enter your sigil on the record. Start working on building your energy in whatever way you like. I like playing a shamanic drum track and sing my intention while I am drawing. Music definitely helps me to build energy. You could dance around or do yoga poses. The point is to alter your state of consciousness. The most straightforward way to do this, if you have never done it before, is to enter into a meditative state while listening to shamanic drumming. Start the music and relax your mind. Breathe slowly and count your breaths. Visualize the number of breaths in your inner eye. It doesn’t matter if you can’t really see it. Don’t try to force it. Let your mind wander into a state of focused relaxation.Once you feel this start to happen, redraw your sigil on a piece of paper or tracing paper. Envision in as much detail as possible. Speak the following incantation:
“Let this creation of word and line
form intention from my heart so true
Let it ascend into the bluest sky and
Transform my life through and through”
At this point, light the sigil on fire with the candle flame and place it safely in the bowl until it has burned to ash. Make sure you have a way to control the fire. I highly recommend a pot with a lid, in particular a cauldron. If you don’t have a way to safely burn the sigil, there are other ways to release its energy. You can shred it into bits, dissolve it into flowing water or bury it in the earth.
You may add the ash or shredded bits to a flower bed, sprinkle it under a tree or somewhere else outside your house (make sure you are not littering). Your sigil should now be active! You can draw it into your Book of Shadows to document it. I recommend writing a journal entry about the experience without stating the intention of the sigil.
Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols © 2018 by Laura Tem- pest Zakroff.
Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success © 2012 by Frater