|[aras-image:2Ak.108,,12,,,Figure 30 Khnum with potter's wheel.]|
The potter's wheel is a particularly numinous example for the turning of the wheel takes place at the circumference while the center of the wheel itself remains still. T.S. Eliot has encapsulated in his image of the perfect stillness of the Chinese jar the unmoving center of the wheel as the point of creation.14 A relief from Luxor shows Khnum, the creator god, with a potter's wheel creating Amenhotep III and his ka, his ankh sign of life in her hand, crowned by the sun disk between the horns of a heifer and the uraeus, the emblem of the sun, on her forehead. Creation itself takes place on the potter's wheel with Hathor as the Mother Goddess giving life.
We are so accustomed to the wheel as a technological device that we assume this to be its origin when it appears in our imaginal life. However archaeological evidence suggests that the image of the wheel occurs in the human psyche even in those cultures which never developed a functional wheel. Sun wheels appear in African paleolithic caves. Some European cave paintings are composed of dots with circles of dots around them but without the radiating spokes of a wheel. Such data suggests that the inner image may always come first. Before its physical manifestation in the external world as a functional form, the possibility must first be conceived.