The Circle and the Wheel and the Sundoor


[aras-image:5Da.023,,11,,,Figure 4 Hand of God the Omnipotent.]

Nothing (no-thing) represents the fullness of undifferentiated possibilities as well as emptiness. It is then the uroborus, where the opposites are potential; it is a condition of unconsciousness. An ancient and recurring symbol for this state is the serpent or dragon eating its own tail. In alchemy the uroborus represents the prima materia, the dark earth which is to be transformed into the pure gold by dissolving and heating, cooking and distilling the raw material into its essence. An illustration from Atalanta Fugiens depicts the serpent thrusting its own tail into its mouth, the union of phallic power and the female container. Differentiation is an act of creation for it separates the undefined polarities in the uroboros: male - female; day - night, consciousness - unconsciousness. Thus the circle as uroboros symbolizes the undifferentiated opposites; it is self-contained, and like the serpent, sheds its skin, dies and recreates itself. It has not taken shape, the not-yet-born.

[aras-image:5Fk.100,,10,,,Figure 5 The Eternal City.]

The act of creation is shown in Christian iconography in a twelfth century circular Catalan medallion. It shows The Right Hand of God with His index finger extended, pointing from the center of the circle to the place where creation will take place. The human act of creation is illustrated in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry showing Rome as the eternal city contained within a circular wall. Erich Neumann talks about cities as images of the feminine, the Great Round, the container of creation.2 A circle as a container is defined by its circumference.