Laura Tempest Zakroff
Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Sigil Witchery is a unique resource for those interested in Sigils and the art of making them. This little book contains a history of magickal mark-making, a new spin on sigil creation, follow-along practices, suggestions for applications of sigils, and a gallery of the author’s work. It’s a lot to pack in at under 200 pages!
Laura spins the reader through history, starting with cave paintings and going all the way through modern use, pointing out some relevant helpful examples along the way. The history/example section is really strong. It is one of the most comprehensive ones out there, and is blessedly not Eurocentric.
The method itself, and this book, would be useful to both those familiar with sigils, and those who are new to them. New sigil witches may need to read a little more carefully, or a few times through to get some of the nuance, but hey, good techniques take practice! Those that are familiar with Spare’s method of sigil creation (writing a statement of intent, striking off letters, forming a glyph, and so on) will find the technique Laura teaches familiar, but from a different, intuitive-based viewpoint. To start, Laura goes through a variety of simple shapes and marks. These marks are the foundations of her sigils. Arrows, hearts, chevrons, dots, and many other simple marks are discussed at length for their possible attributions. Rather than smashing letters together, ala Spare, Laura teaches to thoughtfully mix different smaller symbols to form a larger glyph, resulting in a completed sigil. Some familiarity with Spare’s methods might be helpful, but Laura includes lots of exercises that the newbie can use to follow along and learn with. This includes a “practice” section, where the reader can read a scenario that requires a sigil, see what they come up with, and compare their results to Laura’s. This section is really helpful to drive the technique home, especially for new sigil witches.
Similarly to Laura’s other book The Witch’s Cauldron (which is definitely worth a read!), Laura goes through multiple different ways that Sigils can be used and applied, breaking away from the strict “sigils-must- be-burned” rules that has arisen from the Spare method. Temporary sigils made of salt, tattoo sigils, sigils in motion, hidden sigils logo sigils, and a wealth of other applications are covered.
The main takeaway from Sigil Witchery seems to be that sigils, being intuitive-based magick, should be made and used intuitively. Her perspective is that of someone who is not a Chaos Magician, or a Ceremonial Magician, which provides a different insight than many of the sigil-making resources available now. As a time-tempered Modern Traditional Witch, (among other things, she’s a busy lady!)
Laura has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. A new reader might miss some of the nuances of this book on the first read-through, but its short length makes it easy enough to read again!
Review by Kitty, Magus Minion
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