Latööcarfian Explorer (Scratch ed.)

I have made a Scratch project that generates Latööcarfian images from chaotic attractors as described in Clifford A. Pickover’s Chaos in Wonderland: Visual Adventures in a Fractal World (St. Martin’s, 1994). It is based on the BASIC listing on page 268 of the book. Link to project page where you can view the complete instructions.


These are the same kinds of images I wrote about here. I have used them as the magical names of entities I have evoked.

“We’re All Coders Now”

The good news is that — much as the “maker” set is learning how to build stuff — a grassroots movement is creating tools that let even liberal arts majors hack together a program.

This month’s issue of Wired includes an article (pdf) by Clive Thompson, about the need to teach young people (and adults!) computer programming skills, and the emergence of accessible programming languages such as Processing and Scratch, with which to do that. The article mentions Douglas Rushkoff‘s new book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. Doug has been teaching an online course based on his book, at Maybe Logic Academy, which I would have taken if not for teaching my own online course at the same time.

Beginning Interactive Multimedia Ritual Design

Related articles: Interactive Multimedia Ritual Design

November 8 – December 20, 2010

Begin working on tomorrow’s magic, today, with digital media. This six-week, online course introduces you to the theory and demonstrates a variety of multimedia interactions for ritual magic, including mechanisms for meditation/concentration, divination, enchantment, evocation, and invocation. No prior multimedia authoring or computer programming experience is required. To enroll, please visit

The course is offered to all students of Arcanorium College, at no additional cost. Arcanorium’s dues are UK£60 for one year or UK£20 for three months, which includes access to all online classes (2 or 3 per semester, 6 or 7 semesters per year), and a discussion forum where you can interact with instructors and other students. Students from anywhere in the world are welcome. Instructors include Lola Babalon, Peter Carroll, Ramsey Dukes, Jaq Hawkins, Dave Lee, Julian Vayne, Andrieh Vitimus, and more.

Beginning Interactive Multimedia for Ritual Magic

Conductive Sigils

The next method for impregnation is the so-called charge with magic volts, using, for this purpose, the electromagnetic fluid. The volt is charged, after its creation, with an electromagnetic fluid. The qualities of the intelligence in question are concentrated into the centre of the volt by help of imagination, imperturbable confidence and sure power, and are so condensed by repeated action that the metal of the talisman absorbs the volt. When the process of charging by volts is repeated, the magician has to concentrate on the wish that the intelligence in question is connected to that particular volt and that it will bring about by it the desired causes in the Akasha-world, and with them the desired effects. // Franz Bardon, The Practice of Magical Evocation

Conductive sigils — i.e. sigils that pass an electric current — offer many possible uses in multimedia rituals, both mechanically as switches etc., and sympathetically to add or combine some magical quality to/with an electrical action. E.g., we could use a conductive rune as a switch to turn on an engine (like the Rune Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus). Sigils can be drawn with conductive inks on just about any surface including skin. 3D sigils may be sculpted from wire or other conductive materials. Sigils of varying resistances could initiate various actions depending on which sigil is selected.

Here is an example of a conductive sigil, which I made using the same tech for making printed circuit boards:

Conductive Sigil

Conductive Sigil 2  Conductive Sigil 3  Conductive Sigil Wired

I first drew the sigil using Inkscape and GIMP, then laser-printed it (600dpi) to a transparency that I used to transfer the image to a photosensitive circuit board, which I then developed and etched (the circuit board, developer, and etch solution are available as a kit from Jameco). You can also just draw a sigil on a blank board, using a black Sharpie, and then etch that. The process may be as elaborate (consecrate the materials, employ them during appropriate hours, chant while etching, etc.) or simple as you care for.

Conductive Sigil Design

To “charge” the sigil (no pun intended), I used Processing to play an appropriate song, and Arduino to send a voltage through the sigil, proportional to the varying amplitude of the song. Here are code examples for each application:

 * Charge Sigil (Processing)
 * Joshua Madara
 * Parts of this code were taken from
 * Joshua Noble, _Programming Interactivity_, p.203

import ddf.minim.*;
import processing.serial.*;

AudioPlayer mySong;
Minim minim;
Serial myPort;
int message = 0; // Holds the voltage value we'll send to Arduino

void setup(){
  size(600, 400);
  minim = new Minim(this);
  myPort = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[0], 9600);
  mySong = minim.loadFile("song_title.mp3");

void draw() {
  fill(0x000000, 30);
  rect(0, 0, width, height);
  // Load buffer for mySong into array mix
  float[] mix = mySong.mix.toArray();
  // Draw waveform across screen
  for(int i = 0; i < mySong.bufferSize() - 1; i++) {
    ellipse(i * 4, 200 + mix[i]*100, 5, 5);
  // Play mySong;
  // Map first value of array mix to
  // (rounded, integer) value between 0 and 255
  // that corresponds to 0 to 5 volts in Arduino
  // and set message to it
  message = int(round(map(mix[1], -1, 1, 0, 255)));
  // Send message to Arduino
  // println(message); // Uncomment to monitor message in Processing

// Stop and close minim
void stop() {

 * Charge Sigil (Arduino)
 * Joshua Madara

// Define variables for incoming message and output pin
int message = 0;
int outPin = 10;

void setup() {
  // Initiate serial connection

void loop() {
  if(Serial.available() > 0) {
    // Read message (0 to 255) from Processing, then...
    message =;
    // ...set pin 10 to corresponding voltage (0 to 5 volts)
    analogWrite(outPin, message);

To “evoke the spirit” of the sigil, I connect it in series with whatever ritual artifact(s) I am working with. E.g., a Scratch project might include the following script (assuming that the appropriate two wire pads on the sigil are connected to the Resistance-A input of the PicoBoard):

PCB Sigil Scratch Script

The “conditional stuff” could be any number of program blocks that manipulate graphics, play sounds, message other sprites to act, etc.

Here is a great video showing you how to etch using the same products as I did:

Update 2010.02.21

The EPOC and Scratch demos @ Jigsaw Renaissance went pretty well. We may be hosting some Scratch classes in the future, and I am still working on tutorials for Scratch as an introduction to multimedia ritual design. In response to members’ interests, we will be hosting a regular EPOC meetup at Jigsaw. I have been having some problems with my EPOC, including broken electrodes and my wireless connection frequently drops. Hoping to get through to Emotiv‘s support soon. Also still unable to get Neurovault working.

Boe-Bot (more images) I won a Boe-Bot with Gazbot accessory from Parallax, two weeks ago (contest details). A few days later, Michael Parks gave a Propeller demo @ Jigsaw, and we talked about him giving some Propeller classes there. He turned me onto 12Blocks, which is like Scratch for Propeller. All of these experiences are converging on me learning the Propeller platform in the near future. The more I consider it, the more I dig its multi-cog architecture, and the more excited I become for possibilities of creating robots having multiple personalities sharing and competing for the same resources, as wells as multiprocessor robots for rituals.

Omen Antiquitatum (more images) I recently acquired some Elder Sign (Omen Antiquitatum) props from HPLHS, and the old Scary Laboratory set from the LEGO Studios collection, for a common ritual I expect to disclose more about in days to come. An unexpected score from the LEGO set was the Studio effects software which includes a cool interface for manipulating audio, and a bank of horror movie sound effects — will post pics of that, later.

Coming soon: using scents in multimedia rituals.

Question: How would you begin to design an artificial intelligence that could alter a REG‘s output with the “power” of intention?