Project: SurroundSigil

What It Does

SurroundSigil extends the basic interaction of SigilChant to a slightly more elaborate interaction by manifesting the five symbols of the Gnostic Centering Ritual1 one at a time and then sending them all to orbit around a sigil. Such could be adapted to a variety of magical operations including protection, confinement, and healing—anything where ensorcelling involves encircling.

To manifest the five symbols, intone each of the five vowel sounds listed below until you see the corresponding symbol fully manifested. For each intonation, inhale completely and then sustain the sound until you are out of breath. The pitch of each intonation should decrease as you proceed down the list.

  1. A high-pitch “IIIII” sound while concentrating on your brow/third-eye area, which manifests the Chaos Star (Octaris)
  2. A slightly lower-pitch “EEEEE” while concentrating on your throat, which manifests the Tellus
  3. A mid-range “AAAAA” while concentrating on you chest/heart area, which manifests the Pentagram
  4. A lower “OOOOO” while concentrating on your solar plexus or abdomen, which manifests the Inverted Pentagram
  5. A deep “UUUUU” while concentrating on the peritoneal-genital area, which manifests the Geosphere

When you pause to inhale at the end of each intonation, the newly manifested symbol will automatically move into position to form a pentagram. When all five symbols are in position, the sigil will appear and the symbols will automatically begin orbiting around it.

If your mic is working fine but you are still having trouble getting the symbols to manifest, open the Scratch editor and try:

  • Editing the argument of the if (loudness > (15)) then block. A lesser number will make Scratch more responsive to the sound detected by your mic; a greater number will make it less responsive.
  • Editing the argument of the change (ghostVal) by (−1) block. Changing that to −5, e.g., will make the symbol manifest more quickly.

How It Works

SurroundSigil is more complex than SigilChant but is based on the same modality and mechanism of interaction. The project has two sprites and makes use of the stage, which SigilChant does not do.

Instead of creating a sprite for each of the five GCR symbols, I made one Symbols sprite that uses Scratch’s cloning functionality to make five clones of itself, all with similar behavior but different costumes to display the five symbols, and each going to a different screen position after being made manifest. The cloneNum variable is local to the Symbols sprite, so each clone has its own cloneNum (set to 1–5) which determines that clone’s costume and position.

The positions and orbits are calculated with a little trigonometry. The below figure shows each symbol’s initial position.

SurroundSigil Angle

The angle between one symbol and the next is 144°, so we can calculate each symbol’s initial position by multiples of 144, then use Scratch’s sin (sine) and cos (cosine) blocks to determine the starting x and y positions for each clone.

SurroundSigil Trig 1

That 150 is the distance (in pixels) of the symbol’s position from the center of the project. For more about how those functions work in this context, see this section of the trig lesson on the Scratch wiki. Instead of using the trig calculations, you could find the x and y positions manually and store them in lists and then do something such as this:

SurroundSigil Lists

However, we need the trig functions to make the symbols orbit, so we may as well use them to determine the initial positions.

After the fifth clone/symbol is manifested, the orbit message is broadcast, which starts the script that makes the symbols circumambulate the sigil and also tells the Sigil sprite to start the script that shows itself.

Technically, the symbols do not orbit around the sigil but around the center of the project (position 0,0). If you want the symbols to truly orbit the sigil you would need to do something like this. Here is how that might look using the objects and data in the SurroundSigil project:

SurroundSigil Around Sigil

The advantage of this is that if the sigil moves, the orbit moves with it.

Make It Better

As mentioned earlier, this project could be adapted to a variety of magical operations. You can make the symbols travel widdershins (counterclockwise) instead of deosil (clockwise) by changing a by -1 in the script beginning with the when I receive (orbit) block.

When decreasing a symbol’s size to 20% in order to fit all five symbols on the screen for orbiting, the weight of the symbol’s lines is also decreased to 20%, making them quite thin compared to how they look at full size. You could draw two costumes for each symbol, giving the second, smaller costume a greater weight so it appears bolder. Then, instead of employing the set size to () block, you could use the switch costume to () block, and switch to the smaller costume.

  1. The Gnostic Centering Ritual is a later incarnation of the Gnostic Pentagram Ritual. For a complete description of the GCR, see Peter J. Carroll, The Octavo: A Sorcerer-Scientist’s Grimoire (Mandrake, 2010) 34–50.