Sunday, 1 December 2019


Your friend Jung, the great psychologist,
says that the most powerful religious symbol is The Circle.
He says,
“The circle is one of the great primordial images of mankind,
that in considering the symbol of the circle,
we are analyzing the self.”
And I find you, in your own work throughout the course of your life,
coming across The Circle,
Whether it’s in the magical designs of the world over,
whether it’s in the architecture both ancient and modern,
whether it’s in the dome-shaped temples of India
or the calendar stones of the Aztecs,
or the ancient Chinese bronze shields,
or the visions of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel,
whom you talk about, the wheel in the sky.
You keep coming across this image.
Yes, it’s an ever-present thing.
It’s the center from which you’ve come, back to which you go.
I remember reading in a book about the American Indians, called The Indian Book, by Natalie Curtis, it was published around 1904, her conversation with a chief.
I think it was a chief of the Pawnee tribe.
And among the things he said was,
“When we pitch camp, we pitch the camp in a circle.
When we looked at the horizon, the horizon was in a circle.
When the eagle builds a nest, the nest is in circle.”
And then you read in Plato somewhere,
The Soul is a Circle.
I suppose the circle represents. totality.
Within the circle is one thing, it is encircled, it’s enframed.
That would be the spatial aspect, but the temporal aspect of The Circle is,
you leave, go somewhere and come back,
The Alpha and Omega.
God is The Alpha and Omega,
The Source and The End.
Somehow the circle suggests immediately a completed totality,
whether in time or in space.
No beginning, no end.
Well, round and round and round.
The year, well, this is November again, you know, and we’re about to have Thanksgiving again.
We’re about to have Christmas again.
And then not only the year,
but the month, the moon cycle, and the day cycle.
And this is we’re reminded of this when we look on our watch and see the cycle of time,
it’s the same hour, the same hour but another day, and all that sort of thing.
Why do you suppose The Circle became so universally symbolic?
Well, because it’s experienced all the time.
You experience it in the day and the year, just as we’ve said, and you experience in leaving home, going on your adventure, hunting or whatever it may be, and coming back to home.
And then there’s a deeper one also, that
Mystery of The Womb and The Tomb.
When people are buried it’s for rebirth,
I mean, that’s the origin of the burial idea,
you’re put back into the womb of Mother Earth for rebirth.
And Jung kept returning to that theme of The Circle as being the sort of universal symbol.
Well, Jung used it as a pedagogical device, actually, what he called the mandala.
This was actually a Hindu term for a sacred circle.
Here is one of the pictures.
That’s a very elaborate mandala.
You have the deity at the center, with the power source, the illumination source, and these are the manifestations or aspects of its radiance.
But in working out a mandala for oneself, what one does is draw a circle and then think of the different impulse systems in your life, the different value systems in your life, and try then to compose them and find what the center is.
It’s kind of discipline for pulling all those scattered aspects of your life together, finding a center and ordering yourself to it.
So you’re trying to coordinate your circle with the Universal Circle.
To be at The Center.
At The Center.
The Navaho have that wonderful image of what they call the pollen path.
And when you realize what pollen is, it’s the life source.
And it’s a single, single path, the center, and then they were saying,
“Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me,
beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me,
beauty above me, beauty below me,
I’m on the pollen path.”

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