The history of sigils date as far back as man using images to infer intention.
Which means that essentially we have been creating sigils or symbols to communicate and to express our wills or desires since mankind likely became capable of walking up right.
The term sigil is another word symbol except it has the added connotation of ‘sealing’ or making something official on the behalf of the creator of the sigil.
The difference between a sigil and just a letter or a picture is that there is intent behind it, magical will or a driving force which makes it so that the creator of the sigil can receive something, or make something change in the Universe, themselves, other people, outside entities.
The concept of sigil magic became famous so to speak in the time during medieval or renaissance periods when mysticism was at it’s height as was the inquisition. Those who did practice the art of magic had to go underground and they had to use secret alphabets to convey messages to others like them. The Lesser Key of Solomon is an example of a grimoire or magical book which depicted the key to the magical sigils which were being used at the time. In the Lesser Key of Solomon there are 72 princes of the hierarchy of hell which were given images, or sigils in order to show the name of these demons.
In theory, one would draw out the sigil which represented the particular demon, and the demon would show up. This would be like calling the demon by its true name, one which is not possible to pronounce in the human tongue. Using sigils to contact spirits or entities from the beyond was the primary reason sigils existed for hundreds of years.
However, the power behind sigils lies in the filtration mechanism, the fact that an image can represent so many different concepts or desires.
In modern times, some magicians and pagans use sigils to manifest their will or desire. This idea was popularized by a Austin Spare who focused on Chaos magic entirely. Sigils in Chaos magic are used to represent the in between world elements which we, in our conscious minds are not really capable of grasping ahold of.
We use sigils to connect our minds to magic, to the endless possibilities inherent in the Universe.
The practice of sigil magic is indeed an art, because one must create something simple out of something complicated, and that takes practice. We can’t solve the world’s problems (or so we think) over night, and so we fine tune and fine tune this plan of making ourselves or the world a better place until it can be distilled into something which can magically be as simple as turning on a light switch. It comes down to practicing intent, practicing uncomplicating our lives and untying the knots of our psyche.