Sigils, Magick Squares and Planetary Seals
In these pages are detailed (in an abridged form) an ancient form of magick that has been presented traditionally and updated for modern practitioners. They illustrate the incorporation of magick squares and sigils for greater success in your workings. Magick squares are used to draw in the influences of their corresponding planet. Be mindful that with any work of magick, where you include the universal forces, they must be in harmony with your intent.
A magick square (kamea in Hebrew) is an array of numbers arranged in a square so that the sum of any row is equal to the um of any column. For most magick squares, the sum of either of the diagonal also equals the sum of either a row or column. Magick squares have been esteemed for their magickal and mathematical properties for thousands of years in China, India, and the Middle East.
However, we are only concerned here with the seven kamea, which have been traditionally associated with the seven planets in practical qabalah. Each of these kamea is associated with a planetary Sephirah on the Tree of Life.
The number of divisions in a row or column of the magick square is governed by the number of the appropriate Sephirah (the order of the sphere on the Tree):
Each kamea has a “seal,” which is a geometric diagram designed so as to touch upon all the numbers of the square. The seal is used in talismanic magic to represent the entire pattern square and to act as a witness or governor for them. The seal is the epitome or synthesis of the square.
There are also an “Intelligence” and a “Spirit” connected with each kamea which are derived from the key numbers of the square using techniques of gematria.
The Intelligence of a planet is viewed as an evolutionary, guiding, inspiring, or informing entity. However, the Spirit of a planet is traditionally considered more of a blind or neutral force.
Each Intelligence and Spirit has a sigil, which is considered an analogical glyph of the associated name, number, force, etc. These sigils are obtained by converting the name of the Spirit or Intelligence to a numerical form using the Aiq Bekar, or Qabalah of the Nine Chambers.
If the numerical equivalent of a letter does not exist on a given kamea, the number is “reduced” to the next lowest value in the same division of the Aiq Bekar until it fits onto the kamea. A letter should never be reduced further than necessary.
The resulting numerical sequence is then traces on the appropriate kamea to produce the sigil of that name.
The traditional seals and sigils do not in all cases follow the entire numerical sequence of each name. Some of the longer sigils seem to have been shortened or compressed for easier use. In any case, I am reproducing them in essentially the same forms given by both Wm. Barrett and Israel Regardie, as these are the traditional forms of the sigils.
Each Magick Square represents a matrix of planetary energy. Magick squares are based on the original work done by ancient mathematicians in their description of numbers. Magickal practitioners expanded on this to carry over the correlation between a number and its corresponding planet, therefore representing planetary energy in a mathematical format.
A magick square is made up using three key numbers. The first one is the planetary number. The second is the square of the planetary number (or the planetary number multiplied by itself). The third is the sum of the square (or all the incremental numbers starting at 1 that it takes to fill the boxes in the square added together and then divided by the planetary number).
The best way to understand this is by example so for illustration we'll can the planet Saturn.
When drawing the Magick Square, all numbers should be placed in the square, in sequence beginning with number 1. This is the magick square representing Saturn. Notice that the square is 3 by 3 and that all the rows equal 15.
The important idea is that the seed or essence of a force, concept, or pattern is equally in the sigil and the name (logos). Sigil and name are the two facets of the same thing. They could be said to relate much the same as the Sanskrit terms yantra and mantra do.
There are many applications and forms of sigils besides those of the Planetary Spirits and Intelligences.
Your own name can be converted to numerical form and traced on planetary kamea to provide a sigil of yourself in the aspect of that particular planet. This could be useful for work with talismans, ritual invocation, or direct meditation. There are many other uses and variations.
(The Aurum Solis uses a system involving presigilla associated with the ten Sephiroth, the Zodiac, and the elements. The appropriate presigilla is drawn before the commencement of the sigil proper. This method is found in the Mysteria Magica.)
It can be viewed a symbol of our intent. Sigils incorporated with other influences add direction and focus to spell work. Sigils may be traced in the air, carved on candles, drawn on paper and burned, etc. Sigils may be drawn or formed using the magick squares that are described above.
Saturn rules financial institutions and dealings, such as banks, real estate transactions, investments, educational institutions, etc. Example: If your intent is for successful investing. You would want a sigil to represent yourself at being successful in your investment endeavors. So by choosing the word investor to be your sigil, the visualization is of the self as a smart investor, surrounded by favorable aspects and clear choices to make our money grow.
This is one method using the Western system of numerology. Each letter has a numerical equivalent assigned to it (see chart below).
Take our key word, investor, and map it to the chart shown above.
Starting with your first corresponding number and continuing through each in order, you draw out your sigil.
This gives you the following sigil, representing your intention, as an investor
To use this sigil you might incorporate some of the other correspondences for Saturn. Start by carving the sigil into a black candle anointed with bergamot or cypress. Then surround the candle with onyx and place it on top of the world card from a tarot deck. As you light the candle and focus your objective. Now you have drawn in many aspects of Saturn with crystals, oils and tarot, and personalized your aim with the sigil.
The rosy-cross diagram was created by the members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to provide (among some of the reasons) a simpler and more beautiful method of constructing their sigils.
The rose is frequently used for drawing sigils in the air with a magickal weapon during ritual, but it may be used for the construction of any generalized sigil.
The rose is, in its own right, a wonderful symbol and may be used as a yantra or mandala. The petals are colored according to the color attributions given in the scales of color using the King (Atziluthic) Scale.
Wm. Barrett provides an additional method for the construction of sigils in The Magus. In this system the sections of the Aiq Bekar are used to form the sigil, in a similar fashion as the “tic-tac-toe” cipher used by children:
Is converted to:
Is condensed to :
Finally becoming a sigil as part of this Fire Glyph:
Sigils were a major part of Austin Osman Spare’s highly individualized magickal system called the Zos Kia Cultus.
Spare thought that sigils are “monograms of thought” which can be used to control the energy and kamea which they symbolize.
One method of producing sigils used by Spare consisted of simply combining and condensing the letters of the English alphabet, as in one of Spare’s sigils for “Moon.”
Spare used many different techniques, but he claimed that the reduction of an idea or desire to a single glyph that could be held in the mind and focused to a point was fundamental to all his methods.
Each Magick Square brings in planetary energy and each planet has a sigil or seal that block that planet's energy. Blocking a planet's energy is useful during times of retrograde, or when you intend to block the negative effects of a planet. Example: Mercury. Many people are dramatically affected when Mercury goes retrograde. One of the most often adversely impacted by Mercury retrograde is communication. If there were a meeting that was important to your career during Mercury retrograde, by blocking the Mercury energy, by placing the planetary seal over the magick square of Mercury, you would be eliminating the effects of Mercury retrograde. But always remember that when you block a planet, you are blocking ALL of the effects of a planet. Given this usually a sigil designed to filter the negative effect is a better way to handle the situation.
Other Planetary Correspondences
Demon Sigils and Seals