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Alien Alphabet Fantasies - Symbols From Other Worlds

Updated on June 14, 2010

What would the musical notation of an alien civilization look like? How about the writing systems, charts, tattoos or even high art forms of other worlds – what would these look like?

"Alien Symphony" - original multimedia work on paper by Robert Kernodle
"Alien Symphony" - original multimedia work on paper by Robert Kernodle

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Molecules that constitue my perpetually recycling body have drifted forever through vast expanses of an endless universe. These molecules (remnants of all my former selves) have participated in living, thinking life forms far different from my present form on my present planet. Perhaps in distant times, in distant places, I have spoken in other tongues born of other galaxies.

Ancient memories call vaguely back to me in the only language that persists through eternity – the language of raw vision that embodies the potential of every formal language and every  possible world.

Carved not in stone but in the gray areas of active imagination, curious markings solidify within a labored progression of accidental insights, cast sequentially in graphite on the once stark ground of empty white paper.

"Astroglyph No. 1" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle
"Astroglyph No. 1" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle

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Have I lived before as an altered physical shape of the same basic stuff, in which an old consciousness now flickers dimly in a new configuration, reminding me of trade routes through the stars, marked by tattooed planets on charts that I once used as an extraterrestrial sailor?

"Astroglyph No. 3" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle
"Astroglyph No. 3" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle

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I can never know the answers. I can know only that I am part of all being that explodes from a common center of possibility, as told by the following cosmic cipher from a secret symbolic system:

"Astroglyph No. 4" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle
"Astroglyph No. 4" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle

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Biochemistry or astrophysics? Am I charting alien DNA or a universal process that makes any living thing NOT that different from any other?

Surely, a higher intelligence is trying to speak through me. Or is higher intelligence an inescapable truth of all reality, freely available to anyone who listens?

"Astroglyph No. 5" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle
"Astroglyph No. 5" - original drawing by Robert Kernodle

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I am one who has listened, and I have heard whispers of other shapes and compositions, but these lay hidden in boxes as incomplete efforts, dusting over with time I no longer have to realize their full development.

Any set of visual revelations, you see, has a window of limited aperture and duration in a person’s life. A gateway opens up for only a few months or years, during which time the full force of a particular creative energy takes hold. The unique energy of this moment possesses that person as a vessel through which new visions come into being. Afterwards, the window closes, and the particular creative energy dissipates, ... either fizzling out or taking new directions.


Creating Fantasy Alphabets

I believe that people who create fantasy alphabets do so while keeping letters of familiar languages in mind. For example, someone might create fictional letters that stand for the letters, “a”, “b”, “c”, making a one-to-one correspondence between old marks of an established language and new marks of the fantasy language. Such fictional alphabets, then, become mere codes for existing languages.

When I first tired my hand at making up fictional alphabets, I used a more primal method. I tried to conceive of letter shapes as they might arise from a more chaotic origin. For example, I based my “Alien Symphony” on human hair formations that I extracted (at different times) from my bathtub.

How, you might ask, do human hair formations correspond (in any way) to writing? My first answer is that they simply do: Squiggly shapes on a smooth white surface look like individual letters, and a collection of these squiggly shapes looks like writing. I do NOT believe that aliens are trying to communicate with me through my bathtub – I simply believe that life and language both come from fluid origins.

My second answer is that the living body consists largely of fluid water, and spoken language consists largely of sounds that ride fluid air from the lungs. Language, thus, exists in a highly fluid environment. Human hair formations are organic strands that move about on a bathtub surface under the influence of flowing water. Nature has a fascinating self-similarity where we see patterns on one level within patterns on a higher or lower level. Hair strands, then, are not that different from written symbols – they erupt from a primitive fluidity that is the underlying dynamic of all reality.

In their raw forms, human hairs on a bathtub never impressed me – they appealed to me as skeletons of letters (or, in this case, musical notation) that I fully realized by thickening certain parts of their curves. I had no idea what sound or musical tone to associate with each symbol. I only went so far as to suggest a symmetry in their compositions, which some living being might be able to communicate or sound out on some fantastical instrument.

Part of the intrigue here is sensing this symmetry, while realizing that its precise expression is a mystery. Human anatomy, in fact, might not possess the ability to express this composition. Maybe the expression requires multiple sets of vocal chords resonating in highly complex ways for which we have no previous conception. Maybe the expression requires four hands or nothing like hands or multiple appendages, or three eyes, or a combination of all these, performing feats of subtle coordination far beyond the two-armed, two-legged, stereophonic realm of homo sapiens.

Maybe there are languages that humans could never speak, and music that humans could never play. Maybe there are languages that go beyond familiar vowels, and music that goes beyond familiar tonal scales. Alien languages and music could be fantastically bizarre.


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    • Robert Kernodle profile image

      Robert Kernodle 6 years ago

      I'm curious -- where specifically do you notice "12-21-2012" ?


    • profile image

      Pollanius 6 years ago

      Beautiful stuff to be sure. I could not help but notice that the date 12-21-2012 was in the one picture though...

    • profile image

      mia 6 years ago

      the new film called pual looks like an alien story showing it's true language appearance you got to wath this space soon.

    • Robert Kernodle profile image

      Robert Kernodle 7 years ago


      I appreciate the compliment.

      I look at these things sometimes, and I wonder, "How in the heck did I come up with all this stuff?"

      We have our rare creative moments that are unpredictable and seemingly impossible, after the fact, when we look back on these moments years later.

      I now have a version of "Alien Sympnony" on a t-shirt that anyone can order at the following web address:

    • profile image

      Janey 7 years ago

      WOW ! Looks like something came through clear as a bell , nice ! You're a wonderful artist :)

    • Robert Kernodle profile image

      Robert Kernodle 7 years ago

      Hi Ancient Astronauts,

      I'm glad you found my hub an interesting read. You seem particularly in tune to the whole idea.


    • profile image

      Ancient Astronauts 7 years ago

      This was a very interesting read with exceptionally spectacular art work. You've also covered a fascinating universal subject, such as language & expression throughout the cosmos...and did such, using the ultimate fluency that flows with the fabric of existence. "Alien Alphabet Fantasies," very nice indeed...


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