Sigil Magick: Expectation vs. Reality

sigil magick expectation versus reality printable witchcraft

Sigil magick is extremely potent when understood for what it is. Just like other forms of the craft, there are a few misconceptions regarding this system of spellwork. Here I hope to lift the veil and clear the fog a bit.


Simply put, a sigil is a symbol. This magickal symbol represents the intent of the practitioner. It is charged with energy through various methods and then aids in materializing said intention.


Sigil magick dates back roughly 1500 years. It was originally used in the Middle Ages for summoning demons, angels, or deities. Since then, sigils have evolved from a way to fetch spirits to a tool to aid in manifestation.


The modernization of sigil magick is all thanks to a man called Austin Osman Spare. In the 1900s, this Londoner developed theories based on the correlation between the conscious and unconscious ego. These theories led to the initiation of techniques like automatic writing and drawing, tying into the usage of sigils as they’re known today

From Spare’s eastablished work, a modern occultist named Peter J. Carroll popularized this form of magick. He’s touted to be an early leading figure of chaos magick, of which sigils play a prominent role.


  1. Expectation: Sigil magick can only be used for summoning spirits, demons, angels, or deities
    Reality: Sigil magick is extremely versatile.

A few ways to apply sigil magick:

-Attraction Work        
-Restriction Work

Thanks to the efforts of Spare and Carroll (among other leaders) the potentiality of sigil magick was brought to light. I find the beauty of this type of work to lie in this phrase:

If you can dream it, you can do it.

  1. Expectation: Sigil magick is only for chaos witches or magicians
    Reality: Anyone from any path can use sigils

Sure, it’s easy to see why people would believe this to be true. Hearing that it has its roots in chaos magick can easily deter practitioners who are walking different paths. However, let’s take a closer look at what chaos magick is exactly.

Chaos magick is a contemporary branch of magick that is sometimes known as ‘results-based magick’ or ‘success magick’. Instead of following the traditional theological, ritualist, symbolic, or ornamental ways of other esoteric paths, chaos magick doesn’t. There aren’t a lot of rules and essentially it’s void of structure altogether.

Suitably named “Chaotes”, followers of Chaos magick utilize a myriad of modern methods. In fact, belief itself is used as a tool. Experimentation is highly encouraged to yield their own personal way of casting.

Having said that, Chaos magick is simply the branch from which sigil work comes from. So if you walk a different path or you don’t even know what kind of witch you are, do not be deterred from using this fabulous type of magick.

3: Expectation: I have to buy sigils or else they won’t work
Reality: You can make your own and they may work even better if you do

While there are witches and mystics out there who claim this (mainly because they wish to sell you one or 10) alas, you do not have to buy sigils. I am not saying that all practitioners who sell sigils are out there swindling clients. This statement is mainly pointing out that there are people who say things like, “Only sigils made by a real witch will work,” insinuating that they MUST be bought in order to be legitimate.

It is with this statement that I disagree.

One of the things about magick is its inherent DIY nature. This lies in the tenet that YOU are the magick. Your essence, your being, your spirit – that’s what makes it work. YOU make it work.

A symbol made by the person who is planning to use it will have more attachment to them. So you sit down, you design your sigil, you charge it, and you activate it. Not only is this sigil working towards your intention for you, but it’s covered in your auric footprint.

At the end of the day, while you may wish to buy sigils made by other practitioners, you’re not required to. By all means, if you are drawn to one made by someone else, feel free to use it (with their permission, of course). All I’m saying is if you’re told you aren’t capable of making your own, just know that you absolutely are.

  1. Expectation: Once the sigil is made, I’m stuck with it
    Reality: You’re not obligated to use a sigil, especially if it’s not working

In the early days of your work with sigils (and other magick too) there will be times when you feel like you’re not good enough or like you just aren’t vibing with it. That’s totally fine. In fact, it’s to be expected.

So you go through the process, you come up with your symbol, do all of the steps, only to find…it’s all wrong. Don’t worry. It happens to everyone.

You’re allowed to say, “This just isn’t working.” This is why we have different methods of doing, well, everything really. Experimentation is key. If the sigil doesn’t suit your needs or you feel like it’s “off”, make another one.

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  1. Expectation: I have to burn a sigil in order to activate it
    Reality: Burning is only one of many ways you can activate a sigil

When I wrote Candle Magick: Expectation vs. Reality, I discussed how using the element of fire makes people think results will be instantaneous. I can see how this belief ties into thinking that the only way to activate a sigil is to set it on fire. This couldn’t be futher from the truth.

In fact, there are not only a ton of different ways you can activate a sigil, but those methods are further divided. There is active activation and passive activation. Active activation describes methods that release the sigil’s energy all at once. On the other hand, passive activation usually releases energy over time via much more calm avenues.

Here is a brief list of ways you can activate a sigil:

-Drawing it on a rock and toss into a body of water
-Write it on a piece of paper and burn it
-Go to the beach, draw it in the sand, and allow the water wash it away
-Use flour, cornstarch, or a magickal herbal powder to draw your sigil and then blow it away
-Draw it on your food using a condiment, your eating utensil, or even your mind and eat it
-Write your sigil on your body using your finger and then wash it away 
-Write it down on paper and then rip it up
-Take a picture of your sigil and immediately delete it

Again, this list is very brief but also a very good place to start.

In Conclusion…

I can only hope this post has cleared up some common misconceptions surrounding sigil magick. It really is a fantastic tool to have in your magickal arsenal. Beyond that, it’s fun to do. Tap into your creativity and start making sigil magick today!

***Please take care when burning things. Use heatproof vessels. Do not leave a burning fire unattended. It is not Printable Witchcraft’s responsibility for any loss or damages. We are not responsible for how the information presented here on the website is put to use. Use best safety practices.***

Published by Pie

Pie Ankiewicz is the Resident Witch of Printable Witchcraft and sister-site Candle Cross Coven. She is a seasoned Eclectic Witch whose practice spans over three decades. Residing in Massachusetts, Pie designs printable Book of Shadows and grimoire pages, blogs about the Craft, and teaches others how to pursue being a practitioner.

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