The Magick Behind Sigils and How To Create Them
First, a sigil is simply a symbol for the desired goal.
It has an advantage over writing because crafting a sigil requires more focused attention than just writing it, and because use of a symbolic goal reduces the grasp of the analytical mind. In addition, after the sigil is created, the magician traditionally “charges” and then “releases” it.
The charging is meant to forcefully concentrate emotion, intention, and belief on the goal; the releasing is intended to push the goal from the conscious mind into the unconscious. There’s another reason a sigil is useful as a magical tool. Consider the word spell. As a verb, spell means an action where symbols are combined to form larger symbols, which in turn refer to objects, actions, or concepts. That is, letters words, sentences.
The magical meaning of the noun spell is similar to the meaning of the verb, except it assumes a worldview where everything is interconnected beyond space-time; this is the meaning of the magical Law of Correspondences.
Now consider the word draw. One meaning of the verb draw is to devise a picture or a symbol; the other is to pull together. From a magical perspective, a symbol is more than something that points to a relationship. It’s also an integral part of the structure of reality itself.
By drawing a symbol, you pull the meaning of that symbol into existence.
If the word-symbol Fido corresponds to a real dog named Fido, then operations on the symbol will also influence the actual Fido. This is the concept underlying homeopathy, the wearing of good-luck charms, and voodoo. Comb the hair of a doll made in the likeness of your distant friend, and your friend may thank you later about the wonderful new hairdo that she spontaneously decided to adopt.
(Note: This example is on the razor’s edge of black magic, so don’t try this at home.)
The idea that signs and symbols reflect, or literally are, the relational structure that holds the universe together was famously explored in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. The main character in that story, Valentine Michael Smith, was raised on Mars.
In learning the Martian language, Smith gained powers that looked like magic. He taught others Martian words, and they too were able to gain these exceptional powers.
A similar idea, of an alien language evoking special powers, was the leitmotif of the 2016 science fiction movie Arrival.
In that story, the scientist who figures out how to interpret an alien language based on circular time begins to literally experience time differently.
Perhaps the most famous of those interpretations was proposed by Princeton University physicist John Wheeler. He described it as the physics of “it from bit,” which means that an object in the physical world (an “it”) is derived from pure information (a “bit,” a digital representation of information). As Wheeler put it:
Every it—every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself—derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly —from the…answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits.
MIT physicist Max Tegmark generalized Wheeler’s “it from bit” by proposing that physical reality literally is a mathematical structure, an abstract set of relationships. From that viewpoint, if one manipulates those abstract relationships, then one manipulates the physical world.9 That’s the idea of a sigil (and of force-of-will magic in general).
Making and Using a Sigil
1. Write your desire. Example: “I find a ten-dollar bill.”
2. List the first letters of words in the sentence, ignoring words that begin with a vowel. You’ll end up with FTDB.
3. Fit the letters together into an abstract symbol, as in Figure 1.
4. Focus on the symbol, projecting either intense calm or intense emotion through the symbol to “charge” it and amplify your desire. Magicians provoke this charge within the state of gnosis through deep meditation, by firing up a fierce concentration, by engaging in strong physical activity, by evoking anger, or by using the moment of sexual orgasm to provide an explosive point of focus.
5. After the sigil is charged, release your attention by putting the sigil away. Some magicians will go as far as to burn it; others will momentarily glance at the sigil every so often or place the symbol in a location where they’ll see it now and then. The idea is to deflect the intention of the sigil from the conscious mind to the deep unconscious, where it will simmer and draw the desired outcome into being.
6. As with writing magic, maintaining strong belief is an important factor, as is secrecy. So keep the meaning of the sigil private, and heed the age-old wisdom about using magic for benign purposes only.