When I say the word sigil, what do you think of? Is it little symbols and squiggles dashed out on paper to create quick spells? If it is, then you’re not alone. The vast majority of information available about sigils pertains to symbol and imagery-based sigils. You can easily find half a dozen commonly used methods for turning an intention or a power phrase into a sigil. These little symbols are not the be-all-end-all of sigil magic, though. Today, we’re going to be talking about two of the lesser-known forms of sigil magic: verbal sigils and movement sigils.
Sigils Are More Than Just Squiggles
Yep, you read that right. Sigils can be a verbal form of spell work or a movement-based form of spell work. This can be confusing for some people, after all, how can a sigil be both a type of symbol and something spoken? We can’t speak images! The answer lies in the fact that a sigil is not the name for a type of image or symbol; it is the name of a magical technology.
A sigil is a form of codified magic. In its most base form, a sigil is any power phrase or intention that has been broken down and reassembled into a new form. The process that we use to disassemble and then reassemble our sigil codifies the meaning of that sigil into our subconscious mind. When we invoke or activate the sigil, we are activating magic in the subconscious mind itself, bypassing the limitations of the conscious mind to produce more powerful magical effects.
This is why I often warn witches against using sigils created by other people. Without the codification process to ingrain the meaning of the sigil into your subconscious, there’s no way for your subconscious to know what that sigil means! This means that when you activate it, it’s up to your conscious mind to produce the magic that you expect from that sigil. While your conscious mind is certainly capable of producing magic, it is often nowhere near as effective as the subconscious mind and so, you’re losing the true power and advantages granted by sigil magic. If you want to be using a true sigil in your magical practice, you have to be involved in the codification process!
If a sigil is simply a codified form of spell casting, then that means that any form of codified power phrase or intention can be considered a sigil. This means that any method that you come up with to codify an intention into a spell can be used for sigil magic. If you wanted to, you could translate a magical intention into musical notes that when played on an instrument cast a spell. You could translate a power phrase into a series of colors. You could codify a magical intention into a series of hand movements or even dance movements to cast your spell. ASL sigils? You bet! The only limit on how you can use this codified sigil technology in your magic is your creativity. Let’s take a look at how you can create a few alternative types of sigils for yourself.
Creating Verbal Sigils
Almost every form of sigil crafting begins the same way, with a power phrase or a stated intention. We want this power phrase to be stated in the affirmative or positive, never in the negative. State what you want to have as opposed to what you don’t want to have. So, instead of creating a power phrase like, “I quit smoking” you could say something to the effect of, “I turn to healthy coping mechanisms in times of stress”.
You also want your power phrase to be in the present tense, as though it has already happened, not the future tense. So, instead of saying, “I want a new car” or “I will get a new car” you could say, “I love driving in my new bright red convertible.” The more emotional connection you can create with your power phrase, the better. Your subconscious mind responds incredibly strongly to emotional stimuli, so use descriptive words and emotional words to bring up the sensations that you want to feel once your sigil has successfully created the change you’re looking for in your life. This is how you will start every single sigil method that we use today.
Now, for verbal sigils, we’re going to be creating anagrams of our original power phrase. For this example, our power phrase will be, “New friends come easily to me.”
We can take this phrase and start playing with the letters to create new words. You can keep the same number of words in the phrase if you like, or change the number of words. If your phrase feels too long, you can also begin to remove repeating letters.
So “new friends come easily to me” becomes, “Feome riend wen sil yom sect”.
Or if you wanted to remove letters, “new friends come easily to me” becomes “n e w f r i d s c o m l y t” which then might become the words “Wrend lyscom fit.”
Play around with the letters and keep creating new combinations until you like the sound of the sigil. Don’t forget that the pronunciation of these phrases is up to you. In the above example, I would likely pronounce it “Rend lee-scom feet,“ because I enjoy the sharp e and it just sounds better to my ear.
There are several ways that you can use a verbal sigil. As with symbol-based sigils, they can be written down and activated in any of the usual ways, and they will work exactly like the sigils you’re used to. More commonly, though, these are made to be spoken aloud or in your mind. They make excellent incantations during spells or they can be used as chants while in a meditative state.
My preferred method for activating this form of sigil is to get myself into a light trance state by chanting the phrase over and over. I want to almost lose track of the syllables while I’m speaking. Often while I’m doing this my voice will become almost a whisper as I drop deeper into the trance, don’t worry about volume unless something feels off to you.
Verbal sigils can be used repeatedly and activated as many times as you need. They make an excellent form of instant spellcasting if you pre-make spells that you commonly use. Examples would be spells for psychic protection or focus, spells to foster closeness with friends and family, spells to cool tempers, etc. These can be invoked silently, in your mind, in any situation with absolutely no tools as long as you have the invocation phrase memorized.
Creating Movement Sigils
Movement-based sigils begin the same as verbal sigils, with a power phrase or intention phrase. Movement sigils can be created in a variety of ways, from very small micro-movements to a full-blown dance routine. You could create a sigil yoga flow or use American sign language as your starting point for sigil creation. In fact, if you speak ASL, this style of sigil will probably be second nature to you and feel very natural and powerful. To show a bit more of the flexibility of sigil magic, we’re going to condense the process of casting a magical circle down to a short series of hand motions.
When I cast a circle, I work counterclockwise from north to west, then south, and finally east. As I progress to each point I welcome earth, water, fire, then air and ask for their protection and intercession in my work. If I were to condense this whole process down to a power phrase, it would probably be something like:
“Welcome North, earth. Welcome West, water. Welcome South, fire. Welcome East, air. Lend yourselves to my protection as I work my will.”
I want this circle casting to be snappy and take less than a minute to cast, so I’m going to use ASL as my base since the movements are small, standardized, and quick to produce.
I want a standard movement to introduce each direction and element, something with a meaning like “come”, “welcome”, or “arrive”. I’ve settled on the ASL sign for “arrive”.
Next, I want a movement for each direction, I’m not a huge fan of the signs for north, south, east, and west so I’ve decided to use the elements in their place. Here are the signs I’ve chosen for each element.
You’ll notice that the sign for earth actually means “world”. For this exercise, I’m prioritizing the feel of the hand movement over its literal meaning since this is not being used to communicate but simply to cast a spell. World is close enough, and the movement feels more decisive.
Finally, I want a movement to encompass the idea of “lend yourself to my protection”. I’ll use the sign for “protect”.
Now, to put this all together into a full movement sigil, I’ll make each hand movement in this order, “Arrive, earth. Arrive, water. Arrive, fire. Arrive, air. Protect.” For a full circle casting, I would probably focus on visualizing a circle around me and then perform the movement sigil. From start to finish, the entire series of movements takes about 10 seconds to complete. That’s a 10-second circle casting anytime, anywhere, with no tools.
If you’re going to use other forms of movement like dance or yoga, you’ll need to get a bit more creative with how you translate meaning into movement. ASL is great because the movements are already assigned meaning, but with something like yoga or dance, meaning is far more subjective. Let’s try something a little more free-form.
We’re going to create a yoga flow for prosperity with the power phrase, “I create money every day.”
First, let’s find a movement for “I create”. For me, a high Crescent Lunge followed by Goddess pose feels very creative and empowered. The transition feels good, it opens the body up, and invites a lot of big arm movements with the breath.
Next, we need a movement for abundance or prosperity. The concept of money or prosperity makes me feel very safe, stable, and able to handle anything that comes my way. It’s not a guarantee of no problems but it’s a guarantee that whatever comes I have the resources to meet life’s challenges head-on so I want a pose that reflects that sense of strength and determination of will. I like Warrior II for that feeling.
Finally, I want to create a sense of repetition, like this is something that I do every day. Moving from Warrior II into Reverse Warrior and back again a few times creates a nice rhythm and repetition to the movement.
So our final yoga flow would be a high Crescent Lunge, then Goddess pose with a nice amount of natural movement, into Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Warrior II, and ending with Reverse Warrior. You can work this flow into any yoga practice between vinyasas or turn it into a flow practice of its own by repeating the flow with vinyasas a few times in a row.
In case you’re wondering, you can use the sigils we’ve created in this blog post! I’ve walked you through the codification process so all of these sigils are already encoded into your subconscious and ready for you to use.
Now it’s your turn! We’ve gone into two unusual but super-useful ways to create sigils, but there are so many other ways that you could use this technology in your craft. Do you play an instrument? Could you turn your power phrases into musical notes and melodies? What about color? Could you create color combinations that hold your intent? Could you turn a power phrase into a selection of crystal beads that you then turn into jewelry? Into a knitting pattern? A computer program? Use the language of flowers to create a flower arrangement sigil? There are truly no limits on how you can use the theory behind sigils to craft spells. If you can think of a way to translate your intention into a new format, you can create sigils with it. So get creative! Have fun experimenting with new ways of codifying your spells.