Laura Tempest Zakroff is a practicing witch, professional artist, author, dancer, designer, and teacher. Her artwork has received awards and honors worldwide.
Originally Zakroff presented her research into the magickal properties of sigils during a workshop that she held at a Pagan conference. The response that day from attendees encouraged her to write a book on this somewhat unknown aspect to modern occultism.
What is Sigil Magick?
In her book Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols, Zakroff describes a sigil as “a carved, drawn or painted symbol that is believed to have magical properties.”
For those who are new to his branch of magick she explains how, “At the heart of Sigil Magick is the hand-drawn mark; lines, dots, and colors that form a symbol to designate space, conjure events, provide instruments, or invoke spirits of deities.”
The author expands upon this by exploring the form and function behind a number of symbol-systems; including signs, seals, motifs, designs and images—all of which are connected to Sigil Magick in some way.
In tracing the use and application of symbolic representations, the author delves back in time as far as the early cave paintings of Neolithic man, the evolution of Chinese characters, and the later use of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
In order to better understand and appreciate the way symbolic language develops, the author includes a section in which she presents simple symbols at first and then invites her readers to express their own interpretational meanings. She then develops these designs in their complexity—from circles and straight lines through to more complex shapes and patterns. Later the same concept is applied to other symbols such as those of the elements, astrological glyphs, and colors.
From there Zakroff moves on to word-symbol associations, before embracing the central theme of her book which is that of practical magick; which she develops through a process of understanding sigil construction and their subsequent effect upon the mind.
She states, “So in the process of crafting a Sigil you are accessing the higher cognitive thinking centers in the brain. You’re clarifying and editing down information in order to remember the most important parts.You have engaged your brain in such a way that it’s already preparing for and visualizing that magick taking effect.”
In later stages of her book Zakroff drills down into the specific steps required to make your own sigils; including various ways the sigil can be created through art, drawing and craftwork. She then includes a number of practical exercises based on possible scenarios.
Finally, Zakroff concludes her workbook with specific advice. “Remember it is perfectly valid to craft your own system of symbolism imbued with personal meaning. Your sigils don’t’ have to look like my sigils, or anyone else’s, because their yours.”
Sigil Witchery is one of those rather difficult books to review for it really requires many months of practice and application of its content to figure out its efficaciousness, or otherwise.
As a book though, Sigil Witchery is a really well-planned and carefully crafted publication; one that takes the reader through a gradual path of acclimatization towards the power of sigils in practical psychospiritual work. I use this term quite specifically for the book does not directly reference known Witchcraft iconography. Instead it tends to tread a line more akin to one bordered by Jung and mandalas.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this fascinating work to anyone who feels drawn to this strains of magick. In addition to it being a good workbook it also features heavily in the illustrations stakes and even includes some of the author’s own wonderfully evocative creations.
Sigil Witchery is a bold and confident statement regarding a quite specific area of occult work. Exploring it will, I have no doubt, be both fun and educational.