The Circle and the Wheel and the Sundoor

From Amplification of Symbols by Harry Prochaska

The Circle

Images are dynamic. They appear and disappear at a given moment in dreams, active imagination or meditation; they change and evolve. Sometimes it is important to fix a numinous moment by painting or writing, to give it form in a concrete expression. But it is important, at the same time, to allow and encourage the dynamic process. Indeed, the "unconscious" often does this for us when an image becomes recurrent in a series of dreams as its evolution grows out of an internal reorganization of personal material. In this elaboration of detail, we can find those multiplicities of meanings at work and those interactive associations which make a symbol more than a "sign." They become a vital part of one's inner life as their development tells us more and more about ourselves and about the world we live in. The circle is one of those symbols which dates back to the pre-history of human culture. As a geometric form it occurs in the earliest paintings on cave walls.

[aras-image:3Kc.012,,10,,,Figure 1 Theater at Epidaurus.]

The center of the circle is the point from which all that it contains radiate outward, or it is the centrifugal center towards which all of its contents are drawn. Symbolically these carry different meanings. The circumference defines the outer extremities of the circle. It delimits its outward radiating movement and establishes any given circle as a container. It is empty; it is undifferentiated, it is no-thing. (It is important to hyphenate the word). It is a symbol of wholeness because the unmanifested possibilities make it at once an image of fullness, and, at the same time, it is empty of specific "things."