In Western magic, sigils are symbols connected to a set of ideas by which spirits or deities may be summoned to awareness and controlled. They are used in divinatory practices. The term is derived from the Latin “sigilum” meaning “seal.” The sigil itself does not call forth the spirit, but serves as a physical focus through which the magician achieves the desired state of mind. Sigils represent the secret names of spirits and deities who manifest themselves differently to each magic practitioner. Once the magician has summoned the spirit or deity he may control it, if necessary, by subjecting its sigil to fire or the use of his magical sword.
Sigils may represent complex concepts. The pentacle is the most powerful sigil used in Neo-pagan witchcraft and by many occultists. Other sigils serve as identifying logos of organizations. Individuals can adopt their personal sigils by selecting a letter from the rune or Theban alphabets. They have personal, secret meaning and are often inscribed on magical tools used in occult practices and ceremonies. Sigils also serve as amulets, talismans, or meditation tools.
Sigils designs are derived from geometric shapes, astrological signs, or symbols used in alchemy. They may be of various signs, such as crosses, associated with different deities. Some of the best sigils are attained through intuition and inspiration. Many come through meditation and the practice of scrying; when a certain pattern seems to appear upon the object which the individual is gazing at.
Others believe symbols are occasionally mystically produced when asked for. The deity or spirit may inscribed the sigil in dew upon shiny objects or objects of silver, brass, gold, or glass. Such sigils are considered to be magically powerful. A.G.H.