A seal, for those of you who dont know, is basically a magical design that exercises some sort of influence over a sphere of life. Seals incorporate lots of strange arcane sigils and symbols, they may contain astrological information, the names of angels and demons, hebrew or latin inscriptions citing holy texts etc, etc.
Seal designs can be found in many grimoires (magic books) such as le dragon rouge, poule noire, the goetia, the greater key of solomon etc.
Magic seal from La Poule Noire
Though I was never really interested much in seals beyond aesthetics at one time, they where always those things seen in grimoires that seemed to be much more style than substance. It was always the overly complicated instructions that accompanied them that put me off. Grimoires often cite impossibly complex rituals to the uses of seals, they often state things like the seal must be engraved on somekind of metal which could be anything from tin or copper to solid gold or fixed mercury, other texts say they must be embroided on finest silk by a virgin or drawn on velum in ink made from the blood of certain animal sacrifices mixed with exotic resins and oils or some other extravagance.
Complicated rituals to activate the seals are usually prescribed by grimoires also, they can only be created at certain times after lengthy invocations and rituals that are described in nauseating detail including what underwear to wear whilst you are doing said ritual and what coloured candle to insert into your butthole whilst pronouncing the unpronoucable divine names of God as you wave a consecrated sword cast by a one eyed uzbekistani blacksmith when the moon was in the eigth of pisces.....
Ok Im being feceatious, but the rituals are usually complex beyond any practical application the finished seal might have, of course thats not to denigrate any of you hardcore sorcerers and enchantresses out there who do follow the grimoires to the letter (on the contrary, kudos to you! you have much more patience and skill than me!)
Thankfully the seals of grimoires have fell into the realm folk magic, particularly the obeah folk magic popular amongst british jamaicans, which is where I first came across the practical aplication of seals.
My first experience of practical seal use came when I was working in a magic shop as a tarot reader. A rather glamourous middle-class jamaican baptist lady came into the shop wanting something to help her with some practical matter that escapes my memory. She suggested the owner of the shop prescribe a seal of empowerment to bend others to her will, he obliged simply by picking up a piece parchment paper (which is just really fancy high quality regular paper), a purple quill pen (purple for power) and a bottle of dragons blood ink. He then selected an appropriate seal design from the key of solomon grimoir and copied it onto the parchment paper with the pen and ink. When he was done he placed it between the palms of his hands and recited some prayers and handed it to the lady who folded it up and put in her purse. The lady said she would keep it in her purse whenever she was around people who "needed telling" and they would do as she said. I noticed other well-to-do ladies from the same jamaican baptist church across the road come in for similar hand drawn seal charms to accompany the magical baths, oils and candles they purchased whilst in the shop.
This is the way that it is done in folk magic. The seals are employed in anyway the practitioner sees fit in order attract the influences they represent.
Ive come across lots of ways the seals are used, none of which are prescribed in the grimoires they are taken from.
For example: I have a young friend who swears by a seal called the 4th pentacle of Venus as part of a powerful love charm. He simply copies the seals out in doves blood, he then folds it up and slips it into a red mojo bag with a few pinches of certain love drawing herbs, he then goes out for a night out on the town. ive never known this charm to fail him.
Ive seen seals chalked on walls and floors for protection or for people to step on. Ive even photocopied pictures of seals and placed them in my shoes as part of footrack magic, leaving the seal to wear away to nothing but literally making every step I take be a step taken with God and his angels. Seals can be cast onto jewellery, carried in pockets, stuck on the side of novena candles, I even met a chap who had one tattooed on the side of his head(!)
The limit is your imagination I guess.
Heck, Ive even seen a little evidence that might suggest the grimoire seals crossed over from the grimoire tradition into other highly structured religious practices, for example, I cant help but notice the similarity between this seal for the demon Vepar (a merman associated with seafaring) and the ve-ve (ritual signature) of the Vodou oceanic naval spirit Agwe:
Seal of Vepar and Ve-ve of Agwe, coincidence?
Now of course, Im not suggesting the honourable and noble Agwe is anyway associated with the infernal demon Vepar. But since, to my understanding at least, the grimoire tradition was (and still is) popular in the carribean, it doesnt take much of a stretch of the imagination to ponder that if the seal of a demon heavily associated war ships just might have somehow inspired a voodoo devotee at sometime in the past to create a ve-ve design to call upon Agwe, who is often envisioned as being the officer of an armed sea vessel. Who knows? Its just an idea someone suggested to me once, but whatever, true or just a coincidence, my point is this, the simple geometric designs within seals speak to us on a deep and primitive level, so their power is a profound language in its simplicity however we utilise these simple shapes.
Anyway, enough pondering.
I recently aquired a pendant inscribed with a magical seal, now I could just wear this but I decided to consecrate it in a little ritual of my own design, you may wish to do something similar.
The pendant is the 1st pentacle of Mars, reputed to bring victory and success to the wearer in all things. So on the day of Mars during the hour of Mars I took the pendant and lit a red candle (because red is a mars colour and mars is fiery), by the light of the candle I called upon the angels associated with mars and asked them to bless the pendant, I then dressed it with a little dragons blood oil (dragons blood for empowerment and strength). Super simple, but sometimes simple is the best, my mars pendant is now hanging from my neck and making me feel super strong and confident ready for victory and success in all things! :)
Making your own seals can be fun, these homemade seals are often called "sigils", to make a sigil you simply write out your intention, so for example if I want a sigil for uncrossing a curse I simply write out the word "uncrossing".
I then work the letters into an abstract design:
This uncrossing seal can be used in any of the way mentioned above, some people like to "charge" these seals in different ways, I find the best way to use these particular homemade seals is simple as a focus to ritual, for example perhaps painting them on the side of a jar candle.
Anyway, whatever you make your seals for and how you use them is up to you, best of luck and have fun.