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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Using Word Art to Create Sigils

Preliminary: I'd like to preface this entry by stating that the process I will be sharing with you today has its origins in a lesson that was once taught to me by one of my favorite teacher's Mrs. Ferrel. Mrs. Ferrel was both my Elementary AND High-School art teacher and is a great source of inspiration in a lot of my artistic work. In fact, many of you don't know that I attended college in hopes of becoming an art-teacher myself but life had other plans for me. 

It's been 20 + years since I graduated High-School but what reminded me of Mrs. Ferrel's lesson today was a conversation between Kast Excelsior and Cat Yronwode on today's episode of the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Radio Hour.  I'm not going to go into the details of the show but you can click here to listen to the today's episode in the archives. 

What are Sigils? 

Cross Marks have Many Meanings
It has been stated that "magic speaks in the language of symbols" and if that is the case, then sigils are the unlimited alphabet of that language. They represent our ideas, our goals, and---most importantly--- our needs; and they are believed to have the power to manifest our desires. Sigils take many forms from simple designs like an "X" mark or a "five-spot" to the Seals of Solomon and Veve's found in the religion of Vodoun. 

Some sigils have universal meanings such as a simple heart design with an arrow drawn through it which is commonly associated with love and the heart's desire; or the dollar sign ($) which speak of money and wealth. Other sigils are highly personal. For example, it is known that Elvis Presley adopted the symbol of the lightning bolt after his favorite hero Captain Marvel adding the initial's TCB to the lighting bolt, which stands for "Taking Care of Business".

That is not to say that sigils are limited to the practice of magic. Sigils are all around us in our everyday lives.  Corporate logos, street signs, even emoticons are all symbols used to communicate an idea or to influence yo in some way (buy my product, be happy, etc...) 

How are Sigils Used in Hoodoo

Sigils are very similar to written petitions in how they can be used in the Hoodoo Tradition. They can be placed under candles, included in mojo bags, placed in dolls, carried in one's shoe or wallet,  etc... In addition they can be printed out and glued to Vigil Lights or spell bottles, they can be drawn on fixed candles or painted on magic boxes.

Creating Sigils: Two Methods Explained

Square of Saturn
There have been several methods devised to create sigils. One of the most famous methods of creating a sigil developed by Austin Osman Spare (1886 - 1956) consists of writing your goal on a piece of paper as briefly as possible. 

The next step is simply to eliminate any letters that occur more than once in your statement. Finally, you take the letters that remain and using your creativity combine them into a cohesive symbol that is pleasing to the eye. 

Another popular method of creating a sigil makes use of Kameas, or magic squares. There are 7 squares which correspond to the 7 classical planets and their spheres of influence. For example, the Sun for success; Venus for Love; Saturn for Protection, etc...

To create a sigil using the Kameas, write a key word or phrase which best describes your goal. In some cases you can actually use a person's name to influence them. For example if you wanted Billy Jones to love you, you would create a sigil of his name on the Square of Venus. The letters in the words are then replaced by their corresponding numbers. For example, let's look at the word "lover" and draw it on the Kamea of Saturn.

                                                                     L   O   V   E   R 
                                                                     3    6    4   5    9

Finally, you would create your sigil by drawing a line on your sigil in the same order as the numbers as they appear in the word. Therefore the sigil for "lover" on the Square of Saturn would look like this:

Creating Sigils Using Word Art 

A fairly creative method of creating a sigil using word art is as follows. Write down a keyword or short phrase which represents your goal. Let's use "love" as an example.

Next, you would turn the word counter-clockwise so it stands straight up. 

Then you would create its mirror image and place them side by side like so.

If you wish you can then remove portions of the symbol divide it into sections and re-arrange them. For the purpose of this blog, however, I will not be doing that.  When you are done, you can add a bit of color to your design.

Finally, you can then leave the sigil as it is, or add additional symbols that have meaning to you and your purpose. For example, I have added symbols below which speak to a finding love that will lead to a happy marriage.


Carolina Dean


Miss Michaele said...

Such elegant work, Dean!

And how astonishing that your art teacher's name was Mrs. Ferrel; my mother's maiden name was Ferrall. Spooky :)

Carolina Dean said...

My brother's middle name is Ferrell too!

Vickie said...

Thank you, Dean!
That was most enlightening.

Deirdra said...

Thank you for sharing this, these are lovely and powerful!