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Sigils for a Waiting World

Part One: The Well

Two circles, one inside the other, but touching the top, leaving a crescent shape at the bottom. As if you're looking into a well.

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sending out sigils to help us navigate these times. These sigils can be used to help us focus and help spur us toward action.

What are sigils? They are symbolic signatures. A maker’s mark is a sigil. So are certain corporate logos. Sigils invoke intention and can also be used to evoke certain qualities in the world.

Magic workers use sigils for many things: to help them study, to manifest justice, to kindle creativity, to help find a better job, to slow down, to speed up, to open to spaciousness, or to buckle down.

This first Sigil for a Waiting World is one from my book Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists, & Other Creatives. It’s called The Well:

Deep below the earth and above the ground, the well is a place where two worlds meet. Wells both literally and figuratively give us the water that we need. Without enough water, our cells dry out. There isn’t enough oxygen to power our brains. Without enough water, eventually we’ll fall asleep. Although dreams are important, in order to create, we need to be awake. When we’ve been too busy, too distracted, working too hard, doing too much for others, or numbing ourselves, it is time to refill the well. We’ve run dry. Invoking the well calls inspiration to ourselves by reminding us that, just as the artist inspires others, the artist needs to be inspired. The well also shows us that is the artist’s job to bring that which rests deep in the soul up toward the light of day.

I’ve used The Well when I need a respite. A break. Or when I need to deepen my vision or my understanding.

These days, The Well reminds me to slow down, breathe, and take some time for contemplation. When the world feels literally on fire, it’s easy for us to feel like we need to catch on fire, too. We race around, waving our hands, trying to do something, because clearly, something must be done.

And yes. Something must be done. But getting frantic with it is not helpful. In a crisis, we must act decisively, not from confusion. And in an ongoing—or what I call “rolling”—crisis? We must pace ourselves for the long haul. The world’s problems are not going away, but we might burn out and need to go away ourselves.

That’s where The Well can help.

Stop reading for a moment and go get a cup or bowl. Fill it with water.

Then settle in. Slow your breathing down.

Gaze into the water. Let your attention drop into your belly. Keep breathing, even more slowly still. Then ask, “What do I need to learn from The Well?”

Sit in quiet contemplation. Let yourself be as quiet inside as you can. Don’t worry about stray thoughts or random sensations or emotions. Allow your attention to deepen, and your body, mind, and emotions to relax.

Just be with the water. Dive into The Well. What insight awaits you?

Stay with this meditation for a few more breaths, or a few more minutes. Then breathe across the surface of the water. Ask for what you want or need.

Drink deeply from the well. You don’t have to finish it all at once. Sometimes, small sips are exactly what you need. You can drink the rest as you go throughout your day, or simply over the next half hour.

Draw an image of The Well on a card or scrap of paper or take a picture of it with your phone. Post it where you can see it or save it into notes so you can find it easily.

And when you are ready to greet the world in all its beautiful, messy, heartbreaking glory? Let the sigil help you. Draw it. Look at it. Inscribe it over a cup of water. Drink it in.

And remember: Whenever you start to feel frantic or overwhelmed, you can return and refresh yourself at The Well.


You can find Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists, & Other Creatives at your favorite bookseller, or request it from the library.

This essay was made possible by the generosity of my Patreon supporters. Deep thanks to you all. Want to join? You'll get advance copies of essays, short fiction, and poetry, plus works in progress and process blogs, and Write With Me Saturdays.

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