Sigil Magic: Everything You Need to Know

Magic is the application of beliefs, rituals or actions engaged in the belief that they can manipulate natural or supernatural beings and forces. It is a category into which have been placed various beliefs and practices sometimes considered separate from both religion and science.[1, 2, 3]

Although connotations have varied from positive to negative at times throughout history, magic “continues to have important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today”. [4,5]

Within Western culture, magic has been linked to ideas of the other, foreignness, and primitivism; indicating that it is “a powerful marker of cultural difference” and likewise, a non-modern phenomenon. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Western intellectuals perceived the practice of magic to be a sign of a primitive mentality and also commonly attributed it to marginalized groups of people. [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Magic is “a technique for bringing about change in the physical world through the force of one’s will”. This definition was popularized by Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), an influential British occultist, and since that time other religions and magical systems have adopted it. Figure.1 [11]

Sigil Magic: Everything You Need to Know 13

                                                              Fig. 1. Magic

What is Sigil?


Fig. 2. Sigil magic

A sigil is a symbol you create with the intention of changing your reality in accordance with your will. All sigils are encoded with a specific purpose, for example, to attract a romantic partner, to set strong boundaries, to be more financially prosperous, to heal your inner child the possibilities are limitless.

While sigils were used in the past to symbolize and conjure up spirits, these days, sigils are used in a personal way to symbolically represent and manifest our own desires.

What is Sigil Magic?

Sigil magic is the formal practice of creating sigils (or intention-charged symbols) to change your reality. Those who practice sigil magic incorporate self-reflection, creativity, willpower, and ritual to manifest their desires. Sigil magic is based on the philosophy that we are co-creators of our reality. As such, we are empowered to make the changes we desire so long as they align with our ultimate destiny and the will of Life. Figure.3


                                             Fig. 3. Creating Sigil magic

Benefits of Creating Sigil Magic

  • You feel empowered
  • You feel more responsible for your life, choices, and actions
  • You become more aware of the interconnected nature of reality
  • You get to express your creative side
  • You become more decisive and intentional
  • You feel more motivated
  • You learn the difference between lust and desire
  • You recognize yourself as a conscious co-creator of your life
  • You feel connected with Life/Divine more deeply
  • You develop more hope knowing that most situations can change if you will them to
  • And of course, your life can change dramatically and drastically in accordance with your intent

How do Sigils work?

Sigils are essentially like little seeds that are planted within the unconscious mind.

Many things enter the depths of our minds, but not all of them are placed there intentionally or take root. What gives sigils their power is the energy and intention behind them – and that is what helps them to sprout and blossom into manifestation. The symbolic nature of the sigil also helps bypass the rational (skeptical) mind and enter the unconscious where possibilities are endless.

As the language of the deep mind is symbolic, sigils basically ‘speak’ to your unconscious. How cool is that?

The dark side of Sigil creation

One of the biggest issues with sigils is that it goes against the well-known spiritual philosophy of, “desire equals suffering.”

Sigil magic is actually based on the process of creation and release. In other words, creating a sigil encourages surrender as much as it encourages desire. Sigil magic involves releasing and intentionally forgetting about one’s initial desire. This process of letting go has two benefits.

  • The first benefit is that it allows our desire to burrow more deeply into the unconscious without the ego’s (aka. the inner Critic’s) interference.
  • The second benefit of releasing as a part of sigil magic is that it acknowledges and honors the wisdom of Life; that whatever will be will be. We can put our intentions/sigils out there, but ultimately, it’s up to the divine intelligence of Life to fulfill. Figure.4

Fig. 4. Magic Triangle

Difference between Lust and Desire

Furthermore, there’s a big difference between desire and lust. Desire is what we feel when we want something. Lust, on the other hand, is what we feel when we take what we desire, and cling to/obsess over it. It’s very important to make this distinction.

Desire is not an issue as long as it doesn’t become lust. Without desire, we would be incapacitated. We wouldn’t be able to have preferences, make decisions, or listen to the voice of our heart and soul. Not only that, but without desire, we would feel no attraction towards our partners, no motivation to fulfill our potential on this earth, and no incentive to keep living life. Desire is necessary. It is an integral part of existence. Desire is our life force, our sexual energy, our kundalini.

Lust, on the other hand, is desire turned sour. Lust is the dark side of desire, and we need to be careful of it. Lust results in addiction, jealousy, crimes of passion, hatred, and all kinds of suffering.

The dark side of sigil magic is falling into the pit of lust. So, beware. Check your motives. Remember the importance of letting go and releasing your sigil to be fulfilled (or not) by the divine will of Life.

The other major dark side of sigil magic is that it can be used to try and control, coerce, or otherwise interfere with the lives of others. Whatever manipulative intentions you have will bite you in the ass many times over.Even if your intentions are seemingly benign (e.g., creating a sigil to make another fall in love with you), the Universe will see that justice is served for attempting to interfere with another’s free will.

How to make Sigil (For Beginners)

Now that you understand the importance of focusing on your own needs and desires, let’s learn how to make a sigil.

What you will need:

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Check your Motivations

In other words, do you really need to create a sigil? Be careful of going sigil-crazy and forming elaborate symbols to attract a new computer (when you can just get it repaired) or better friendships Sigils are not a replacement for action. Yes, sigils can help you manifest just about anything, but you also have to put in the work. Sigils will create inner changes, but you need to be responsible for making outer changes first.

If you need a more objective way to assess your motivations, Tarot and oracle cards are wonderful tools to help you self-reflect and look at different angles. Figure.5

                                                          Fig. 5. Tarot cards


Write down your Intentions

Avoid being too vague or too complex. Be specific. A good example of a clear and specific intention is, “More confidence around my boss.”

Poor examples of this same intention might include, “More confidence” and “More confidence around my boss next week at the business meeting at 2 pm.” One of these intentions is too vague (sigils work best when you are specific), and the other is too complex.

You can phrase your intention in any way that speaks to you. Examples might include:

  • I am …
  • I need …
  • I want …
  • I wish …
  • I desire …
  • More …

Or simply write the qualities you desire, such as “self-protection and maturity around my parents”. Try to simplify your intention as much as possible.

Also, ensure that you create one sigil for every intention. Don’t cram numerous desires into one sigil. For example, don’t create a sigil for the statement, “I desire to have a big family full of seven kids in a mansion by the ocean.” Create one sigil for each of those intentions.

You’ll also need to be realistic and use your common sense. Don’t create a sigil for becoming a millionaire if you have no intention of working hard or putting in the effort in physical reality. Don’t create a sigil for becoming the CEO if you are nowhere near qualified. Similarly, don’t bother creating a sigil for that which is most likely going to happen. Pick something that has a 50/50 chance of happening.

Finally, keep your intention phrased positively as that is much easier for the unconscious mind to understand. For example, instead of writing, “I will not feel scared and anxious around others,” phrase your intention positively such as, “I feel calm and empowered around others.”

Cross out Letters

Once you have a sentence that captures your intention, it’s time to cross out all vowels and repeating letters.

For example, if your statement of intent was, “I am safe and secure in my own skin,” you would then go and cross out all of the vowels.


Fig. 6. Cross out letters

Picture17 1

Fig. 7. Cross out letters

Then go and cross out any repeating letters – you will then have the remaining letters msfndcrywk: Figure.8


Fig. 8. Cross repeating letters

3. Create a symbol

After simplifying your sentence, you will then take the remaining letters and create a symbol: Figure.9

Fig. 9. Create a symbol

Don’t worry if you can’t create an elegant looking symbol at first. Keep playing around until you find something you like. You don’t need to be an artist and your symbol doesn’t even need to look like a sigil – just create something that speaks to you. If you like it, you’ve done your job.

Rearrange the letters in any conventional or unconventional way you like. For example, you can choose to turn some letters upside down, enlarge other letters, minimize the rest, or merge two letters together. Have fun and enjoy the process!

Once you are done, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You have now created your first sigil.

How to activate a Sigil

Activating a sigil involves infusing it with energy and propelling it into your unconscious mind. There are many ways to complete this final stage of sigil magic.

Some people prefer to enter an altered state of consciousness through dancing, chanting, meditation, sex, sensory deprivation/overwhelm visualization, etc.

Other people like physically and symbolically destroying their sigils – such as through burning, burying, tearing, or dropping them into water.

For a truly dynamic way of activating your sigil, try combining both methods.

Here is a simple method that anyone can use:

What you’ll need:

  • Fire-proof pot, bowl, or cauldron
  • Matches/lighter
  • Your sigil

Step 1: Find a quiet place

Ensure you’re undisturbed as you’ll need to focus. You don’t need a fancy setup if you don’t have one. Otherwise, try sitting in your sacred space/altar (if you have one in your home).

Step 2: Close your eyes

Ground yourself by focusing on your breath. Practice a bit of mindful meditation by observing your breath going in and out. When you are ready …

Step 3: Pick up your Sigil

Stare at your sigil for a few minutes. You may like to hold the sigil close to your face or put it far away. Either way, gaze at your sigil until your vision gains a dreamlike quality. (If not, just gaze at it for a couple of minutes and reflect on its significance.)

Step 4: Burn your Sigil and visualize

Sigil Magic: Everything You Need to Know 15

Fig. 10. Burn the sigil

When you’re reading, bring out your matches/lighter, hold your sigil paper over your fire-proof dish, and light it on fire. When the paper catches fire, wait for a few seconds, and then drop it into the dish. Alternatively, scrunch up your sigil into a ball, place it in your fire-proof container, and then light it (this is a safer option as you’re less likely to get burned). Figure.10

As you watch your sigil burn, imagine that the flames are burning inside of your mind as well and creating an opening to your unconscious mind. Allow your mind to become completely empty as you become consumed in watching your sigil burn.

Once your sigil has turned to ash, imagine the opening within your mind closing and returning back to normal.

Step 5: Forget and Release

Now the bulk of the work has been done. What happens next is out of your hands. But the core thing to remember is to forget and release. Don’t dwell on your sigil. Don’t obsess over it. Don’t attach to it. Let the Universal Will take over and do its thing. The more you think about it, the more you’re involving your conscious mind. This is the equivalent of burying a seed in the ground but then digging it up every day to make sure it’s growing. Leave it alone!

And that’s it.

Close your ritual space and carry on with your other daily business. [12, 13]

Use of Sigil Magic in Meditation

Sigil magic eliminate the source of worry and panic

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based psychological practice, which can be used to identify and shift paradigms of thought. In CBT, the source of worry and panic is considered the result of unrealistic beliefs and distorted feelings about reality. In order to counter these skewed perceptions, assessment of one’s consciousness was essential to the growth and acceptance of the self.

Sigil magic acts as anti-anxiety

Magical ideas much like the magical alchemy of occult history, psychotherapy rides the line between the scientific and the emotional realms. In fact, the intangible humanism of psychology is what makes it inherently magical. In no other “scientific” field is the presence of the illogical soul so profound and unquantifiable. One of the main contemporary cognitive anti-anxiety skills is the identification and modification of self-defeating belief structures. This process includes the cost-benefit analysis of one’s reality, and challenges them to make an active change in it. [14]

Helps to Maintain Balance between Body and Mind

This same type of malleable belief system is the core idea behind a type of magical practice most commonly known as Chaos Magic. The Chaos Paradigm proposes that the aspiring magician must first “thoroughly recondition himself from the mesh of beliefs, attitudes, and fictions about self, society, and the world”. This reconditioning of bad beliefs allows one to open up their consensual reality and disconnect from “ego-fictions”. Chaos magic aims to use practical exploration to alter perception and widen possibilities for change. In reality, becoming a magician is a relatively simple concept that is difficult to implement.

In this skill set, belief is a tool that manifests itself. It claims that “Nothing is real, everything is permitted”, allowing for a malleable reality and understanding of one’s place in it. The main tenants of active magical change are discipline, relaxation, attention, and transformation. When these 4 aspects of life are in harmony with one another, success comes naturally. Working actively to balance these areas of the “Body Mind” is a crucial skill that helped me to overcome bad habits and self-defeating ideas. It can be argued that such techniques for bettering the self can be found in almost any field and are universally effective against the negativities of the subconscious. [16]

Higher Consciousness

Intention within the creative process an ancient collection of magical meditations can be channeled in a personal way throughout the many stages of the intaglio process. Physiological Gnosis is a general term for the use of one’s body to achieve harmony with the mind, and in Greek means “Higher Consciousness”. Much like a daydream, the Gnostic mindset falls somewhere between an altered state and passive cognition. It includes the willing of one’s mindset toward a heightened sense of awareness within an alternative state of consciousness. In this mindset, intuition is highly increased, and a creative flow state can be achieved.

Helps in processing emotion

Inhibitory states of Gnostic thought include “physically passive” actions, such as yoga and meditation. The use of a meditative state to process emotions and create active change in one’s consciousness is simply a type of high magic. In fact, the ultimate goal of high magic is for the magician to become healthier in his or her mind. “The magician evolves spiritually as he or she comes to a realization of how his or her thoughts create the world”. [16]

Hermeticists used inhibitory gnosis as a way of channeling Thoth while writing. They felt that the use of words was in it a magical act, and that they came directly through them as a mediary. [21] The inhibitory ability to make decisions without thinking extends too many solitary creative processes, particularly as one develops intuitive mastery over their craft. Keeping the hands busy on meditative tasks opens the consciousness, allowing for the free-flow processing of trauma and emotions.

Helps to go through altered state of consciousness

The other side of magical Gnosis is excitatory trance. This realm of magic includes repetitive physical actions that open one’s mind to the cyclical nature of life. Classic examples of this practice include chanting, dance, and drumming to induce altered states of consciousness. The cycle of printing intaglio can be considered excitatory in that it is a physical, methodical, and droning process. After years of experience, a printmaker can often consider themselves to be on “autopilot” while pulling large editions. This open-minded gnosis that comes with the repetition of a skill over time is truly the growth of individual magical knowledge. [16]

Helps to activate desired belief system

Accessing Gnostic mindset is a crucial part of all magical practice, which is coupled with the integration of ritual, symbolism, and intention in the form of personalized routines. For example, objects considered by the magician to be powerful, and used for a specific purpose, can help activate a desired belief system. Classic categories of ritual objects exist, but most magicians actually use everyday items in place of these symbolic tools. The most well-known and misunderstood magical weapon is the Wand or staff.

The Wand is used as the physical representation of the projection of one’s will and represents the drive to begin a project. This mindset is most connected with the planning stages of ritual practice, or the sketches. Similarly, the Dagger is considered to be the extension of the magician’s hand or finger. This tool can be used to draw magical sigils and symbols in order to activate the will and is often substituted by chalk. The belief structure of treating a tool as a magical object is as much about the respect for craft as it is the projection of its magical power. The belief in its magic is what makes it inherently magical. [16]

Another magical tool is the Chalice, which is used as the “physical receptacle of transmission”. Classically this object may hold wine, which can be “charged” with magical power through ritual. In intaglio practice we can consider the prepared copper plate to act as the Chalice, as it is an empty vessel that is then filled with magical information. Finally, the Pentacle is symbolic of “the process of synthesis and is the object upon whereupon the results of one’s magical work are made manifest and understood.” Each final print is in itself a finished culmination of magical steps, making each its own Pentacle. [16]

In contemporary art, we often talk about the importance of the object. This idea is an ancient one, and it is hard to deny that objects, especially those that are handmade or well-used, have a memory and energy about them. Interestingly, those who are already open to the possibility of the unexplainable often report this “feeling” the most. Other common ways of creating a ritual space are subtle, but key. Lighting candles, burning sage, setting out materials, and even cleaning the space beforehand can make a huge difference in creative energy. Activating all of the senses can be helpful as well, as smell and sound especially can help with recollection and connectivity.

Ritual in repetition – printing, ceremony, and “firing” of Sigils.

Sigil Magic helps mind to focus more clearly

Moving deeper into intentional magic within my studio practice, Sigil Magic became an interesting and crucial way of expressing information and journaling in my own language. Much like simpler forms of magic, sigils are thought up, created, imbued with power, and “fired” in a linear fashion. (Hine 82) The key to Sigil Magic is to first form a strong intent. The letters, ideas, and feelings of the expressed will are then inked to a “symbolic carrier”, or Sigil. This is a visual representation of the idea, which transforms it from language to image. Because the mind focuses on visual information in a more fluid manner, there is a more seamless connection with the subconscious.

Helps to attain wisdom and personal growth

This is the greatest opportunity for personal growth, and often illuminates unseen aspects of reality. Acceptance of past failures and creation of control over the present empowers the work with understanding. At this point, Gnostic meditation is the greatest tool for access to higher consciousness. Repetitive motions of the hand keep the body busy, while the mind works to reveal one’s perceptions of reality. The process of drawing moves ideas and emotions from the subconscious mind, through the conscious mind, and finally to the tactile. This relaxed yet focused state helps one to maintain objective criticism while assessing reality. Active trance techniques have been utilized to access similar thought patterns for centuries using dance, music, language, and art. After meditating on and finishing a drawing, what is left is the physical manifestation of the time, place, and wisdom attained. It is now ready to be etched.

Cognitive awareness and mental well being

Once a magical Sigil is created, it can be activated or “fired” by many means of ceremony. By physically and chemically changing the copper, it creates a forever altered record of time or a transmutation. This decisive moment brings each meditation to a permanent end, allowing symbolic closure to ideas processed. At this point in the magical process, it is most important to move on from these thoughts and continue to grow in the present. Dwelling on the magic often muddies the past intention. This process is great for cognitive awareness and mental well being, as it encourages the healthy assessment of reality.

After the first etch, the sigil matrix can continue to be altered again with new information before replicating itself permanently through print. According to Hine, “The power of symbols is that they give access to strata of the Deep Mind with an immediacy and intensity that written or spoken language cannot. They bring into awareness vast amounts of information which may be too abstract or complex to process semantically”. [15]

Helps to gain the feeling of vulnerability and power

One consistent theme found in all magical ideologies is the concept of duality, which is often depicted as opposing forces such as good and evil, the feminine and masculine, or sun and moon. This correlation is often represented in my work, particularly when using predator and prey archetypes to identify my emotional state. Feelings of vulnerability and of power coexist, expanding appreciation for each aspect of life. Similarly, the idea of the androgynous figure or hermaphrodite is the combination of these opposing forces. [17]

The moon being a feminine symbol is often seen as mysterious or dark but splitting it in two depicts feelings toward womanhood. Considering the symbolism of the Circle or the Ouroboros, which represents the cyclical nature of reality, the circle is also tied to manmade mantras such as mandalas and city plans in a way that represents ultimate wholeness. [15]

The fluid drawing of circular patterns creates an ideal connection between the macrocosm and microcosm. Another common and powerful symbol is the Axis Mundi, or the tree of life. This cosmic tree symbolizes the ultimate reservoir of life force that continually regenerates the world. It is often said to rest upon the axis of the universe, connecting heaven, earth, and hell. [18]

Wisdom and human morality

Its inter-dimensional qualities are associated with timelessness and mystery, and the fractal flow of branches carries wisdom much like the blood vessels in our bodies. The meditation of drawing these branching movements helps with grounding the spirit and reminds one of the macrocosmic scales of interconnectedness. Finally, the snake, serpent, or dragon is a highly present and misunderstood symbol of duality. Linked to eternity as both creators and destroyers of the world, they shed their skin and start anew, embodying the cycle of death. Associated with female energies, the organic twisting forms of the serpent have both healing and malicious connotations. The wisdom gained from the snake is seen as a gift in many cultures but has the ability to override human morality. [18]

The trickster snake often represents personal struggles with integrity, knowledge, and perceptions of the self. Using narrative and symbols, along with these types of line-meditations creates hidden meaning within a fantastic landscape. Symbols of growth and positivity are often those of natural wonder, such as saplings, wise old trees, flowers, vines, and the general beauty of flora and fauna that surrounds us. Biomorphic line meditations often fall away from distinct symbolism and become instead a way of learning through hand movement.

Moving past of frustration and resentment

This tactile practice allows for a direct connection between the hand and subconscious, particularly through Gnostic trance. First, small curves represent the organic flow of the hand and help to build up a larger connection to organic shapes of the earth. Scumbling marks, on the other hand, are usually quick, frenzied meditations that help with the realization, release, and moving past of frustration and resentment. Figure.11

Helps to process confusion, indecision, and fear

Interlocking lines, such as those found in wood grain, are a meditation specifically used in anti-anxiety situations. The organic and leggy movement of the hand forces the mind to slow down chaotic thoughts, and is a great way to process confusion, indecision, and fear.

Self awareness, balance between life and work

Time-consuming magical process allows for a fantastical outlet, while encouraging emotional growth instead of escapism. These clunky craft meditations eventually lead to a more advanced flow state of craft as cognitive awareness. This ultra-focused stability allows for a structured and ritualistic work/life balance, which eventually promotes the creation of a self-aware and healthy individual.

Sigil Magic: Everything You Need to Know 16

Fig. 11. Scumbling drawings

FAQs: Demystifying Sigil Magic

What is a sigil?

A sigil is a magical symbol with a specific intention and magical meaning. It’s a visual representation of your desire, crafted to work on a subconscious level.

How does sigil magic work?

The exact mechanisms are debated, but it involves a mix of focus, symbolism, and ritual. By creating a sigil and charging it with your intent, you’re essentially programming your subconscious mind to work towards your goal.

Can I create my own sigils?

Absolutely! Sigil making is a personal process. There are many techniques, from drawing an abstract symbol to using letters from a statement of intent.

Are there different types of sigils?

Yes! Here’s a breakdown:

  • Temporary Sigils: Designed for a short-term goal and then ritually destroyed.
  • Permanent Sigils: Intended for long-lasting influence or change.

How do I make a simple sigil?

  1. Write your desire in the present tense. Example: “I am confident.”
  2. Remove all the vowels and repeating letters. (CMDNFT)
  3. Creatively rearrange the letters into unique appropriate symbols.

What happens to a sigil after it’s activated?

This depends on your approach:

  • Temporary Sigil: Burned, buried, or dissolved to release its energy.
  • Permanent Sigil: Placed in a meaningful location or incorporated into your magical practice.

Where does the term sigil derive from?

The term “sigil” derives from the Latin word “sigillum,” meaning “seal.” Sigils have been used for centuries in various magical traditions.

Are sigils connected to any specific belief system?

Destructible sigil magic itself is adaptable. It can be used alongside various spiritual paths, from traditional witchcraft to modern chaos magic practices.

Can sigils be harmful?

Sigils themselves aren’t harmful, but your intention matters. It’s essential to approach sigil magic with responsibility and a clear understanding of potential consequences.

Is there “right” or “wrong” way to make sigils?

Experimentation is key! Find techniques that resonate with you. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer in sigil magic – it’s about personal expression and connection to your intent.

Brian Rose


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