Sigils, Ciphers and Scripts:
History and Graphic Function of Magick Symbols
by M. B. Jackson
Published by Green Magic, Somerset, 2013
Big thanks to Green Magic for sending me a copy of ‘Sigils, Ciphers and Scripts’ by M. B. Jackson to review. First of all, it’s a really beautiful book. Glossy black, A4, coffee table style; it’s certainly a conversation starter. The subtitle is History and Graphic Function of Magick Symbols, and I think it’s important to bear this in mind when reading the book. This volume is not a comprehensive break down and explanation of every single magical alphabet and symbolic system, as this would require a much thicker, denser volume. What this book does is introduce you to each set of symbols, give you a bit of the history, and provide you with some beautiful graphics.
My favourite aspect of this book is that it is not path specific. Symbolism from many different cultures, studies and religions appears here; Judaism, Paganism and alchemy, to name but a few. Each section is spread over two pages. The first page being a two-column history and description of the symbols; the second page being the symbols themselves. The illustrations are really beautiful and highly detailed where necessary.
Now if you are thinking you can pick this book up and learn the inner secrets of Enochian and how to communicate with angels, I’m really sorry but you’re going to be disappointed. But what you will learn is where Enochian was ‘discovered’, who made it famous, and the symbols themselves. What you do with this information is, I guess, up to you! Further reading is definitely required if you want to go more in depth or fully understand how to use the scripts. But again, this is in the title; this book gives the history and describes the symbols; it isn’t a ‘how to’ guide.
This is one of those volumes I’m likely to keep to hand, for those times when you see a symbol but aren’t sure of its origins, or simply for reference information. I particularly enjoyed learning how the ‘flower of life’ leads into the development of platonic solids, a connection I had not previously considered.
One minor criticism: in the further reading section, the first website listed is Wikipedia. I would never, ever cite Wikipedia as either a source or as recommended further reading on a specialist subject, as it is too easy to edit and place misinformation in there. As a first step towards finding other sources, it’s fine, but it was off-putting to see it listed as recommended reading in such a niche volume.
Other than that, I was truly delighted with this volume. The presentation is outstanding, and it really does give a good outline of each set of symbols or ciphers, giving you a good starting point and a great foundation to work from.
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About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.
She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.
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