A sigil (lat. sigillum, diminutive of signum, “sign”) is a symbol designed for a specific magical purpose. They are designed to represent a glyph, composed of a variety of symbols or concepts with the intent and inherent iconic meaning. Essentially, sigils are symbolic icons that are condensed representations of more complex ideas or information.
A sigil may have an abstract, pictorial or semi-abstract form. It may appear in any medium, physical or virtual, or only in the mind. Visual symbols are the most popular form, but the use of audial and tactile symbols in magick is not unknown.
Austin Osman Spare, in his Zos Kia Cultus, refined the use of sigils by themselves, i.e. outside of ritual. His technique, now known as “sigilization”, became a core element of Chaos magick and from there, has developed into a popular element of western magick.
Sigils have many potential uses. Spiritual protection is a common one, especially when used during goetic work. It can also be used to accomplish a desired end, such as writing down a result in symbolic form, and then burning it. A sigil can even be created as a personal glyph for an individual magician.
In a post-modern context, businesses may use logos as their sigils and invest them with a comparable degree of prestige or power. The idea that these symbols are consciously used as magical tools is a popular idea among some occultists.
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