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Sigils, what they are and how to use them

Frater M 1232 20 May 1998
Note: I here discuss sigils as if Austin Osman Spare invented the very idea. Of course he didn't. He merely employed them in an interesting new way. Their use can be traced back through time, possibly preceding the use of writing. Also, we are now in a different century to when I wrote this...

The use of Sigils in Magick was pioneered by Austin Osman Spare earlier this century. Essentially any method of sigilization is a way of transforming your “Statement of intent” into an abstract and otherwise meaningless symbol for the purpose of increasing the chances of success in Magick. This can either be a drawn image or a mantra for singing or chanting. Often in ritual it can be useful to use both. Sigils do not need a ritual in order to work however. All they need is to be fired in a state of gnosis. Gnosis will be discussed later, first you need a good accurate Statement of Intent.

Getting the right statement of intent

Getting the statement of intent correct is the most important part of all magick. Its no good your magick working if what you asked for wasn’t really what you wanted. So how do you write a good statement of intent? First, take a minute or two to think about the situation. Lets use an example.

Fred has just got their mock exam results for their A-Levels. Oh dear. They failed Maths, Physics and Chemistry, but got a “C” in General Studies. Not too good. Fred is a Chaos Magician however and decides to use magick. “I want to pass my A-Levels” was their first attempt, but this was rushed, and to make the magick work they would have to put in a lot of study. Its no good casting a spell and then not doing the ground work. You need to make sure you can set as many factors up in the spells favour in order to ensure success.

On reflection Fred realises that their marks in Maths and Physics were too bad to recover from, being just 15% and 8% respectively. But their mark for Chemistry was 30%, only just a fail. After talking with teachers they realise they never really wanted to do Maths and Physics anyway, they just took them because they ‘went’ with Chemistry! Fred decides to concentrate on getting Chemistry passed this year, and taking up the subjects they really want to learn next year.

Fred thinks about their magickal course of action. “It is my will that I pass A-Level Chemistry” is their new statement of intent. It’s not perfect, but its a lot better than before.  At least Fred has the ability to do the study required to get the Chemistry result, especially now that they’ve dropped Maths and Physics!

Making a Sigil

OK, onto the bit you’ve been waiting for, how to make Sigils. First list all letters in the statement of intent, and then reduce the list so that you have a new list where there is only one of each letter. Two methods are given below.

  1. Delete all repeated letters, so you are left with one of each letter.
  2. Delete pairs of letters, so you are left with one of each letter that appears an odd number of times.

“IT IS MY WILL THAT I PASS A LEVEL CHEMISTRY” reduces to “ITSMYWLHAPEVCR” in the first method and “WHAIPCHE” in the second method.

Next combine all these letters together to form some strange looking symbol. Now this symbol may look a bit of a mess, so spend some time tidying it up. Forget the letters it came from, just play around with it until it forms a pleasingly occult looking sigil. Fig 1 below comes from the first method and Fig 2 comes from the second…



So Fred is at home with their sigil (They only used one of the two methods outlined above, and their sigil looked different to my examples because they designed it, not me). What do they do with it? First they memorise it so that they can visualise it without looking at it. Second they burn the material copy. (Note you don’t have to burn them, you can destroy them anyway you like, including throwing them in the bin or recycling. Burning them just appeals to my theatrical nature).

The only thing left for Fred to do is to fire the Sigil in a state of gnosis. When in a state of gnosis you must then release the sigil. You could for example sit still for an hour holding the image of the sigil your head and blocking out all other thoughts for this period, and then send it shooting into space. Or you could visualise it disappearing into space just as you climax in sex. It could be the trance like state that can be reached by the ecstatic dancing to shamanic drumming or correct kind of dance music. If you used you sigilized letters to form a mantra instead of an image, you could reach gnosis by the repeated chanting of the mantra.

And that is all there is to it! No gods. No spirits. No rituals. Of course, you can if you desire use these things with sigils. In fact using sigils to create spirits is particularly powerful. These spirits are generically termed servitors.



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