What Is a Transmutation Circle?

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A transmutation circle is believed to help an alchemist focus his energy to change one item into another, such as lead into gold.

1 Transmutation

Transmutation is the changing of an item’s chemical makeup into another form, thereby creating a new item and new chemical makeup.

2 Circle

The circle denotes a space in which a person is thought to be protected from negative energy. The circle also is thought to help hold and maintain alchemistic power that has been infused into it.

3 Alchemy

Alchemy is a form of chemistry combined with speculative philosophy to obtain a desired result. It is more than 2,000 years old. Alchemy achievements are the basis for today’s chemistry even though spirituality was involved in its early years. Modern scientists have removed the metaphysical and focus only on the physical. Although most people agree that alchemy helped develop modern scientific study, the only disagreements are about who began the study and when it started.

4 Transmutation Circle

A transmutation circle is a sigil or sign for a specific magical purpose. The sigil combines a complex combination of symbols and text to reach a goal or purpose as predetermined by an alchemist.

5 How the Circle is Used Today

The transmutation circle owes part of its modern popularity to the manga series “Fullmetal Alchemist,” a Japanese comic (manga is Japanese for comic) that has grown into cult status in the United States. The comic follows the adventures of two brothers who decide to ignore the laws of alchemy to bring back their mother. The brothers are led into a journey that will send them into the darkness and back to learn from their errors. The characters place transmutation circles on articles of clothing, such as gloves. The circle becomes a catalyst for a desired power, allowing the character to change items at will. The transmutation circle has also become a popular design for tattoos, allowing the wearer to keep a personal power close to him or show that he is a fan of the manga series.

Based in Southern California, Della R. Buckland works as a freelance writer for sites such as eHow and Trails by day and as a fantasy writer by night (Sorcerous Signals). She holds an A.S. degree in paralegal studies, but left the field due to multiple sclerosis in 2008.