Symbol of Chaos

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Symbol of Chaos
The Sigil of Chaos, symbol of chaos magic
Symbol of Chaos

The Symbol of Chaos originates from Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories and its dichotomy of Law and Chaos. In them, the Symbol of Chaos comprises eight arrows in a radial pattern. In contrast, the symbol of Law is a single upright arrow. It is also called the Arms of Chaos, the Arrows of Chaos, the Chaos Star, the Chaos Cross, the Chaosphere (when depicted as a three-dimensional sphere), or the Symbol of Eight.

Alternative symbols of chaos (owing nothing to Moorcock) include the Sacred Chao and the Five Fingered Hand of Eris of Discordianism.

Overview[edit]

Moorcock has stated that he conceived this symbol while writing the first Elric of Melniboné stories in the early 1960s. It was subsequently adopted into the pop-cultural mainstream, turning up in such places as modern occult traditions and role-playing games.

There are a number of traditional symbols that have the same geometrical pattern as Moorcock's symbol of Chaos, such as any of various eight-pointed stars, the Star of Ishtar, the Indian Dharmacakra and the Wheel of the Year, but none of these were symbols of chaos and their limbs are not arrows.

The Eight of Wands in Aleister Crowley's Thoth tarot deck features prominently an eight-pointed star with arrows at the ends. Crowley described the card as representing "energy" scattering at "high velocity" that had managed to create the depicted eight-pointed figure.

Moorcock said about his version,[1]

The origin of the Chaos Symbol was me doodling sitting at the kitchen table and wondering what to tell Jim Cawthorn the arms of Chaos looked like. I drew a straightforward geographical quadrant (which often has arrows, too!) – N, S, E, W – and then added another four directions and that was that – eight arrows representing all possibilities, one arrow representing the single, certain road of Law. I have since been told that it is an "ancient symbol of Chaos" and if it is then it confirms a lot of theories about the race mind. ... As far as I know the symbol, drawn by Jim Cawthorn, first appeared on an Elric cover of Science Fantasy in 1962, then later appeared in his first comic version of Stormbringer done by Savoy ISBN 0-7045-0226-7.

An even-more-chaotic asymmetrical representation was by Walter Simonson in the Michael Moorcock's Multiverse comic (and subsequent graphic novel: ISBN 1-56389-516-1).

Games[edit]

The symbol's first appearance in a commercial role-playing game (RPG) was in TSR's Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Deities & Demigods[2] which included the gods, monsters, and heroes from Moorcock's Elric books as one of 17 mythological and fictional "pantheons". Copyright problems led to its omission from later editions.[citation needed]

It then turned up quite naturally in Chaosium's Stormbringer RPG (one edition of which was published as Elric!). The 1987 edition of Stormbringer was published jointly by Chaosium in the U.S. and Games Workshop (GW) in the UK.

Moorcock's eight-arrow symbol of Chaos was subsequently used by Games Workshop and used as a frequent graphic element in their own Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 games and the related miniature figures, representing the forces of Chaos. The Games Workshop version of the symbol often incorporates a ring into its design, similar to the eight-spoked dharmachakra.

Star of Chaos appears as the penultimate boss of Gradius Gaiden, in the passage between one of the last bosses (Big Ducker) and Final Boss (He shuffles the Final Enemy of the other Gradius)

It has also appeared in Bungie's Xbox 360 game Halo 3: ODST as an emblem for playable multiplayer characters.

It also shows in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, in the home of Aleister Grout, the Malkavian primogen.

It further appears on an item called a "chaos device" in Heretic and HeXen.

In Warcraft II, the Orc side's target mouse cursor has the form of chaos symbol. The symbol also appears in several artworks, which can be seen in game's manual and during mission briefings.[3][4]

The Symbol of Chaos shows up in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth expansion Afterbirth as the item "Chaos".

The Chaosphere is a pick-up in the open source twin-stick-shooter heXon with a variety of effects.

The symbol also appears in the background during a dialogue scene in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone, an expansion to Witcher 3, located in the home of a professor attempting to ward off a malevolent demonic entity that plays a key role in the expansion's plot.

A variant on the symbol is seen on the foreheads of the Silent Monks in 2017's Divinity: Original Sin 2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.multiverse.org/fora/showpost.php?p=104003&postcount=4
  2. ^ "Deities & Demigods". RPG United. 2013. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Warcraft II Battle.net Edition" (PDF). Blizzard Entertainment. RAD Game Tools, Inc. SciTech Software. Metagraphics Software Corporation. p. 96. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Курсоры Орков из WarCraft 2". Ternox.com. Retrieved 4 March 2019.