1. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    How do I describe this symbol?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by stormcat, Jul 14, 2015.

    I just found the perfect symbol for use in my Novel! It's an old alchemic symbol meaning "To purify by burning". It's rather rare, and I had to really hunt it down to find a picture of it. How could I convey this shape in writing, without actually drawing it out?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Hmm... how about a circle quartered by 4 crosses?
     
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  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "The Four Point Cross"

    Let the reader imagine it.
     
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  4. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's a pie, with four swords stuck in it.
     
  5. BrianIff

    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    An 'x' with crosses at the ends, its intersection encircled.
     
  6. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    But Where's the circle part?
     
  7. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

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    How you should describe the symbol would depend on how the symbol is being used. If you want it to carry a negative connotation, you might want to use a stronger/harsher word than if you want it to carry a positive connotation. "A circle severed by four crosses" might work for the former, while "a circle divided by four crosses" might work for the latter.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You just need a name, like 'a maltese cross'. If the specific shape comes into play in the story you can describe it more specifically. But readers just need a name for symbols like this.
     
  9. AspiringNovelist

    AspiringNovelist Senior Member

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    Symbols are made of primes. In your symbol the primes are;

    Circle with an X = Alchemical symbol for Verdigris (copper subacetate)
    4 Crosses = Alchemical symbol for Vinegar (crucible, acid, borax, etc.)

    Thus you are purifying some metal with borax for example as they still do with gold today.

    An easy way to describe this is to have your MC have to draw it for later reference. "John drew an x on the paper, drew a circle around the x then extended each arm of the x to support 4 crosses." -- this needs some work, but you get the general idea.

    Using Ginger's suggestion: "The Four Point Cross of Verdigris." Or, "The Four Point Cross of Purification."

    BTW: I used this as a reference: http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U1F700.pdf
     
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  10. Nicoel

    Nicoel Senior Member

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    A circle speared by four crosses. The ends of each sticking out the other sideof a circle to form another cross.

    A pie speared by four crosses works best though!
     
  11. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    I'm gonna go with ginger's suggestion and give it a proper name. "The ______ Cross" any suggestions?
     
  12. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The sworded pie cross.
     
  13. stormcat

    stormcat Active Member

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    I'm not using "Pie". this is supposed to be a feared symbol, not a humorous one!
     
  14. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributor Contributor

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    The crossed wheel of death?
     
  15. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    The Cross of Purification.
     
  16. General Daedalus

    General Daedalus Banned

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    Looks like a mix between the old alchemical symbols for copper and antimony, definitely a rare symbol. The centre on it's own (circle with crosses) means "to burn" so I presume that the added crosses are to symbolise the purification (although they're different form the standard purification logo, weird). Anyway, in terms of writing, just describe it in layman's terms, people will thank you for it. You don't need to be overly sophisticated when explaining something fundamental.
     
  17. Ryan M Pelton

    Ryan M Pelton New Member

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    Its like Denger Sign, But we can called it Don't Cross it , it should be denger ahead

    thank you
     
  18. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributor Contributor

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    Danger?
     
  19. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    A unicorn's hoof-print.
     
  20. darklingwater

    darklingwater New Member

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    If you're using it as a feared symbol, how does it show up? Is it scratched on a wall at a grisly crime scene or something similar? Or does your MC merely stumble across it in an old book?

    I do like @Ben414 suggestion of describing it as "A circle severed by four crosses". Or split, speared, pierced, or even emblazoned. As far as an actual name for the symbol, are you using it along the same lines of the original meaning you listed? If so I'd go with something like "The alchemist's cross" or "Cross of burning". Though if it isn't a huge point in your plot I wouldn't bother giving it an actual name. In my opinion it's bothersome when I'm reading something and the author over names things and merely recycles the name over and over instead of describing in other ways.
     
  21. Stephanie Norman

    Stephanie Norman New Member

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    In my opinion, it should be something like "Four crosses meet in the circle". The description does not have to be an exact as the picture. Let your reader to develop his/her imagine.
     
  22. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

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    Hi,

    First alchemy has no specific symbology. Symbols often vary from work to work, year to year. It's highly individualistic. So your symbol might once have meant something to a particular alchemist but not others.

    For the one you drew and given the meaning of purification you ascribe to it, I'd call it something like the "four swords meeting in the sun" and reference its meaning as describing the tips of swords being heated in fire so that they could cauterise wounds.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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