September 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
The Circle, or Disk, has come to stand for perfection and unity; oneness. It is also a symbol for infinity/eternity or heaven and the celestial. And because of its likeness to the sun and the moon, also representative of these celestial bodies.
The Circle is of course also connected to the circumference and circumferential movement. The cyclic movement can be represented by the Wheel. Both the Disk and the Wheel are circular; however, the disk is immobile while the wheel rotates (although within the structure of the wheel there is a duality, since the center is still and the perimeter moving). The circumference suggests a limit, an enclosing, a border, but at the same time the circular movement is a representation of time, an eternal cyclic movement. Time, and the continuity of life, can be symbolized by the Ouroboros, the serpent/snake/dragon who is biting its own tail, forming an “O” with its body. (See also: Snakes, Serpents)
The Wheel is a symbolic synthesis of the activity of cosmic forces and the passage of time, which is rooted in solar or zodiacal symbolism. The rim of the Wheel are often divided into sectors illustrating phases in the passing of time. However, to move instead in the direction from the outside of the wheel towards the central point (instead of moving circumferential) is to travel towards the mystic “Centre“, which is non-spatial and timeless. It could also mean going through a transmutation, an ascending metamorphosis.
September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
The intention of symbols representing the “mystic Centre”, is to reveal the meaning of the of the primordial state; to make it possible for man to identify with the supreme rule of the universe. In many religions God resides in the Centre, and in diagrams of the cosmos the center spot is reserved for the Creator, sometimes surrounded by concentric circles spreading outwards. This formation, concentric circles spreading outwards, is in some cultures also a symbol of infinity.
Many rituals acts are partaken in with the intent of finding the spiritual Centre of a location. The purpose of many pilgrimages is to reach the Centre, to reach the paradisal state. As has been mentioned before, the symbolism of finding the center of a maze or labyrinth is connected to the idea of the Centre, where the answer, or origin can be found in the center.
In a cross, the Centre is located at the intersection and conjunction of crossing lines. In this position it expressess the infinite depth of space. Moving towards the Centre, could also symbolize transformational process.
November 21, 2010 § 3 Comments
Labyrinths and mazes are often connected to quests, and the idea of the search for the Centre. Finding out the Answer is analogous to finding the Centre; getting to the ‘core’ or the ‘heart’ of something that might be complex, enigmatic, mystical, difficult… Compare this also to the symbolism connected to the knot.
According to some, labyrinths can be read as diagrams of Heaven; where a terrestrial maze may reproduce the celestial. On the other hand, labyrinths can also represent the inability to escape: Sometimes they are used as traps, to lure devils into it, so that they might be locked inside never to be released.
Other keywords: emblems, whirlpools, cosmic labyrinths, pilgrimage, the Underworld, infinity, traps
February 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
I recently read Bachelard’s chapter on the Forest in The Poetics of Space.
This is how Bachelard explains “intimate immensity” as experienced in the Forest:
We do not have to be long in the woods to experience the always rather anxious impression of “going deeper and deeper” into a limitless world. Soon, if we do not know where we are going, we no longer know where we are. It would be easy to furnish literary documents that would be so many variations on the theme of this limitless world, which is a primary attribute of the forest. […] “Forests, especially, with the mystery of their space prolonged indefinitely beyond the veil of tree trunks and leaves, space that is veiled for our eyes, but transparent to action, are veritable psychological transcendents.”