The Dark is Rising Wiki

The Circle of Signs is one of the Things of Power. It is the most powerful but the most vulnerable of the Things of Power.

In The Dark is Rising, the Circle is joined at the end of the novel. At the joining, the entire circle of Old Ones are present.

In Silver on the Tree, the Circle is retrieved by Will Stanton from inside the wall of a Roman amphitheater. The location can only be reached through a painting in the Stanton household, and recovered by visiting the excavations in the present day. While in the Lost Land, it is revealed to Will and Bran that four out of the six signs were created in the Lost Lands, namely the signs of iron, bronze, water, and fire. During the final battle, the chain melts away and the signs are used to keep the Dark at bay, protecting Bran in his effort to obtain the mistletoe.

The Signs

The circle is made from the six signs, each of which is a circle quartered (divided evenly in four sections) by a cross. the signs grow cold in the presence of the Dark. The six signs are each made of a different material and represent a different element. They are

  • Wood - Kept by Miss Greythorne in the Manor and renewed every hundred years because it is made out of rowan wood.
  • Bronze - Carried by The Walker for six centuries.
  • Iron - Held by Frank Dawson and given to Will on his eleventh birthday.
  • Fire - Made from the Candle Ring, completed by candles from the Dark, in the Great Hall.
  • Water - Retrieved from the King's hand in the shipwreck in the River Thames.
  • Stone - Retrieved from the church wall in Huntercombe, found by the light it gave off.


The prophetic poem gives a clue to how each sign is found by the Seeker, Will Stanton. There are two possibilities of the meaning of the first verse. The first possibility lists the signs and that three are given by the circle (Iron, Wood, Water), while the other three must be found on a journey. The second possibility is that "three from the circle" could be referencing Merriman Lyon, Will Stanton and Bran Davies; "three from the track" could be referencing the Drew children. "Five will return, and one go alone" could be referencing the end of the series, where all but Merriman forget everything and return to normal lives. Either possibility could be appropriate. The second verse also tells the order of the finding. The third verse tells what the other adventures in the later books are about—namely, The Greenwitch, the Sleepers, and the final triumph of the light.

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back:
Three from the circle, three from the track,
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning, stone out of song;
Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;
Six signs, the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold,
Played to wake the sleepers, oldest of the old;
Power of the the Greenwitch, lost beneath the sea,
All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.

Fate of the Signs

In the final book of the series in the end of the final Rising, the six Signs are said to burn a bright, blinding cold in the six hands that hold them. They flash out of existence as soon as their purpose is complete, and the Dark has been driven away.