Symbol Magic
Tablet used to translate runes.
Symbol Magic
Magic Type Adept
Power Use of symbols
Notable User(s) China Sorrows
China's students

Symbol Magic is most likely a branch of Adept magic, known to be used by China Sorrows and her students.

Symbols can be placed either on the body as a tattoo, or drawn on to other objects as well as dirt, as seen in China's Library. The signs can be activated by a series of taps on them, through a sorcerer coming into contact with them, magic being used in their presence etc. The symbols can be used for many different purposes, they can be used as offensive energy attacks, defensive walls, escape methods, and a host of other things, such as making tea. Ghastly Bespoke and Skulduggery Pleasant have façade symbols tattooed onto their collarbones that will hide Ghastly's scars and Skulduggery's skull. In Ghastly's case he is given his own face, scar-free, every time. Skulduggery, however; opted for a different face with every use. Skulduggery's face is very realistic, but the skin is slightly waxy. Both were made by China. Nye also put symbols onto Valkyrie's heart to seal her True Name. When Valkyrie was attacked by Crux in her bedroom, she asked China to put symbols around Haggard to stop any sorcerers from coming through apart from herself. In the Sanctuary the Administrator put symbols as a trap for Mr. Bliss. The Administrator died in the trap after the Cleavers saw her and Bliss.

It is unknown whether Reflections are a product of Symbol Magic, as Elementals are able to use them.Also, while symbols may be considered to be adept magic, they can be used by anyone. For example, Cleric Craven used symbol magic to loop Melancholia's surge in Death Bringer. Craven himself is a necromancer yet is able to use the symbols proficiently. 

Known users


China Sorrows, a user of Symbol Magic.

Known applications of Symbol Magic

  • Making a façade tattoo
  • Energy attacks
  • Defensive walls
  • Escape methods
  • Sealing someone's True Name
  • Healing a wound, although this takes a lot of magic as shown by China when she healed a bullet wound.
  • Detection magic.
  • Opening portals to other realities (usually requires a Teleporter).
  • Enhancing physical capabilities.
  • Barriers.
  • Providing heat (i.e. for boiling a kettle)
  • Moving objects.
  • Activating magical or mortal objects from a distance.
  • Tricking echo stones into believing that someone is in the room.
  • Looping the Surge around until a sorcerer becomes a self-recharging battery of magic.
  • Make solid matter translucent.
  • Creating 'reflections' when carved onto a mirror or any reflective surface.
  • Forcing a remnant out of a person (unless 4 days have already passed since possession).
  • Countering other symbols.
  • Creating an Arietti Sigil.
  • Creating a secure perimeter.
  • Creating traps.
  • Creating Hologram like images.
  • Making a horse have wings.
  • Creating a Meryyn Sigil.