The Circle and the Wheel and the Sundoor


[aras-image:5Fa.148,a,10,,,Figure 44 The Seven Deadly Sins by Hieronymus Bosch.]

Variants of the circle in the sky appear in many cultures as the all-seeing eye of God. In the Hieronymous Bosch painting of "The Seven Deadly Sins" Christ is in the pupil of the eye. In the iris around the eye, the seven deadly sins as defined by Thomas Acquinas are illustrated: gluttony, sloth, lust in the tent, pride, anger, envy and avarice. The medallions show four conditions of human existence: a man receiving the last rites of the church, a couple embracing, a heavenly scene of Christ in judgment, and a figure praying before Him.
The all-seeing eye of the Buddha is given form on the great stupa of Bodnath outside Kathmandu where it appears on the four sides of the harmika which face in the four directions for Buddha sees in all directions through all time.
In Egyptian mythology the symbolism of the eye of Horus is complex. The left eye was wadjet and the right eye was iret, the sun and the moon. Sometimes they appear together as an image of the total sky, and sometimes one was used separately from the other. The human race springs from the tears of the moon-eye of Horus. In their archetypal battle Set tore the eye of Horus from his head and Thoth recovered all of the parts except for one-sixteenth. He reassembled the eye and returned it to Horus. The mythological theme here states that nothing can return to its original state after it has been violated. What has happened, has happened, and even though amends may be made, the original state is never reached again.
The circular eye as the instrument of vision takes a variant form in Scandinavian mythology. In order to gain wisdom and foresight, Wotan gave one of his eyes to Erda, the Earth Mother. Wotan had only one eye left for sight in this world, but with the eye he lost and which rested at the bottom of the well, he could see the underworld.