Sigil Witchery, a review

Jan 17th, 2018 | By | Category: Book Reviews, Books, Books for Pagans, Books for Witches / Wiccans, Rev Kess

It may seem strange to read a review of a book from one publisher on another publisher’s blog. Moon Books is not the only Pagan publisher out there, thus they cannot possibly publish every book worth reading. Llewellyn has been in the biz a lot longer. Even with several years of tripe and not-so-well-edited books in the 1990’s, they are still a name recognized the Pagan and New Age world over.  I’ve recently found that they have reemerged as one of the leaders in Pagan publishing, right along with some of my other favorite publishing houses like Moon Books and Imannion Press/Megalithica Books.

Sigil Witchery: a witch’s guide to crafting magic symbols is Laura Tempest Zakroff’s second book from Llewellyn. I’m happy to say that she has two other projects currently in the works. I’m looking forward to reading those as well.

Sigil Witchery is not your typical book about the craft is sigils. It is not a boring read regurgitating the teachings of Spare or harping on the importance of keeping things to the old tried and true methods of ceremonial magic. Quite the contrary. Though Tempest spends a good deal of time talking about both Spare and the ceremonialists, she spends equal time talking about ancient and modern cultures that have used and are using sigils in their religious, spiritual, and magical practices.

Tempest emphasizes that you do not need to be an artist to draw sigils. All you really need to be able to do is hold a pen, pencil, brush, or even use your finger in the sand. She details many symbols that have appeared throughout the ages, ancient symbols that have come down to us in language and imagination. She shows the reader that they can harness the power of these symbols to make truly magical symbols. Tempest also shows you how to create these symbols and how to create images that are meaningful to you.

Many books on sigil craft focus on the rudiments of image. Sigil Witchery shows you that, but in the book Tempest also shows you that it is your imagination, not your skill with the pen or brush, that empowers these symbols. With intent and purpose you can create an image that is meaningful to you and can be just as powerful as the images created by the ancients or by another modern witch.

Tempest shows the reader that a sigil can be created for an individual or for a group of people. A sigil can be used by anyone who understands the symbolism involved in its creation and intent. She gives the example of her power sigil; an image she created to stir the power within the community and herself to overcome many obstacles that we face. Tempest has used this sigil on tshirts, patches, and stickers for people to be able to carry its power with them wherever they may go. She has also made an image called “We Are Aradia” that has been used by hundreds, if not thousands, world wide to promote the strength of the individual through the essences of the Divine.

Tempest emphasizes that you can create a sigil that is a one time use or a regular use image. You can put it on an object, a flat surface, an article of clothing or jewelry. You can use your sigils for yourself or for others (with consent). You can even, in the case of the power sigil and We Are Aradia, create a sigil that can cause some change in a community or even the world.

I’m not an artist. Far from. At least not in the visual realm. I’m one of those that Tempest refers to that cannot draw a straight line with a ruler. After reading this book I feel that I can sit down with pen and paper and create a powerful sigil for my own use. Oddly enough, when my copy of Sigil Witchery arrived in the mail I also received a box of colored pencils that I had ordered. I think that was a clue as to what I should be doing.

Note of disclosure: Llewellyn Worldwide provided me with a copy of Sigil Witchery. Laura Tempest Zakroff is an acquaintance of mine. I have appeared in her earlier work, The Witches’ Cauldron, also from Llewellyn.)

Shameless self promotion: At 7pm US Central Time on Sunday, January 14, 2018, Laura Tempest Zakroff joined myself and KaliSara on our podcast, Pagan-Musings, to talk about Sigil Witchery and other related topics. You can catch that conversation here.

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