The Circle Within

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“They will return again.

All over the Earth,

They are returning again.

Ancient Teachings of the Earth,

Ancient songs of the Earth.

They are returning again.

My friend, they are returning.

I give them to you,

And through them

You will understand,

You will see.

They are returning again Upon the Earth.”

Crazy Horse Oglala Sioux (1842-77)

I’ve have recently found a new (but old focus) into the ‘spirit of all things ‘Native American, Celtic and Pagan. I have attended several drum circles (with more to come) and it has given me a glimpse once again of the powerful need for unity, ‘people coming together’ to celebrate the ‘power of the circle’. I think that people at this time are being urged to understand more fully the need for unity and ‘coming together’. Whether a devastating hurricane, like the ones we have witnessed in the Caribbean islands, or a major refugee crisis (manufactured or other otherwise), people will naturally gravitate to unification, to help each other and to heal. The circle is what reminds us of our fragility and power as human beings.

The circle is what gives us the power to ‘empower’ each other. It gives us the energy to be a tribe and more importantly, the connection to our sacred centre – or our spiritual heart. No matter how we see the circle, we are working with an ancient symbol that has the ability to connect us with our ‘spirit self’. The circle is autonomous with developing the imagination and our visionary powers of seeing. More so, I believe this process cannot happen without a connection to the Earth through art forms and creative expressions of every kind. We often lack the sight to look at our ‘finer bodies’ that as a whole make up what I termed, many years ago – the ‘Circle Within’.

The Gnostic Circle Within

The Gnostics imagery below saw this as the nature of the Divine and the Divine spark within humanity. The 16 Gnostic figures encircling the central fire become the Circle Within. The Gnostic approach to the circle sees what they called God as an androgynous, both male and female force, and “all-containing” or sometimes “the uncontained.” It was also referred to as the Monad, or the first Aeon – depicted as a circle.

Gnistic circle

The Gnostic use of sixteen figures (numbers) to create a Divine Spark is obvious mathematically as it also relates to the ‘four times four’ markers on the Circle or Wheel of life, which is something I will come to shortly. Two figure of 8’s (16) also gives the double infinity symbol, which gives us the idea of limitless possibilities, a beautiful and empowering reminder of eternal measure. Double Infinity Symbolises the idea of combining two everlasting infinities, to create equal ‘unlimited possibilities’.

Interestingly the 16th card of the Tarot, the Tower, asks us to ‘reflect’ on what happens when we hide from the truth (our truth) and refuse to confront the façade we often call daily life. Just as we become increasingly aware of how much we are betraying our true selves, symbolically we start to welcome the ‘bolt of lightning’ on the tarot card, which destroys the façade. The ‘calling of the circle’, or use of a circle in a ceremonial sense, can break down personal illusions for those that participate in its power.

medicine wheel
The Wheels or Circles vary depending on belief based on location on the Earth.

The Four Zoas

These circle can be divided into four aspects, or what many visionaries have called the four ‘eternal senses’ of humanity. When we consider ancient symbols and knowledge like the circle, they tend to have a common theme across many cultures. The number four constitutes the basic cardinal points and power of a circle and this relates to the four seasons, directions, elements, and ages of the zodiac and primary races here on Earth. The power of the circle and the ancient knowledge contained within it, charts four bodies that make up an individual cyclical system. This inner system sets out to explain how the soul puts on a garment (a physical body) in order to experience the physical world. According to our position on the circle (or wheel of life), we connect with the Earth’s natural (organic) cycles, which offer experiences for spiritual development.

The four different bodies (that constitute who we are) have been described by many visionaries, as the following:

The spiritual body/creative world concerned with imagination and intuition.

The astral body/archetypal world concerned with emotions and feelings.

The physical body/formative world concerned with structure and sensation

The mental body/material world concerned with thoughts and reason.

The Four Zoas
The visionary artist William Blake understood this knowledge through his own perceptions of the ‘four bodies’ that constitute the, divine form, in his work the Four Zoas above.

 

Observation of our life cycles also gives us a wider view of how we create patterns, both disorder and harmony, within our own lives. The Circle Within allows us to raise our vibrations and give ourselves permission to become the Oneness defined by the Circle.

Medicine Wheels and Earth Circles

The circle or wheel can be found in so many First People’s attempt to interact with the deeper knowledge imbued by circle symbolism. Communities were built on circular models. The Native American medicine wheel is one example. The Majorville medicine wheel located south of Bassano, Alberta, dated at 3200 BC is good example. Other Circles can be witnessed in megalithic structures all over the world not least places like Stonehenge, Avebury and Tara in the UK. The stone circles are often placed on powerful energetic sites that connect to ‘arteries of light’ (Ley lines) and this is why our ancestors chose the circle, or spiral, as it anchors and harnesses great power. Places like Avebury have been ‘broken’ energetically to a certain extent in terms of the Circle being broken, (courtesy of roads now cutting into the place), but the power is still active and awake in the land.

stone circles

The Medicine Wheel can take many different forms. It can be an artwork such as an artifact or painting, see the Navajo sand paintings or petroglyphs for examples of this. Or it can be a physical construction on the land. Hundreds or even thousands of Medicine Wheels have been built on Native lands in North America over the last several centuries. They all relay the same use of a simple knowledge – We always return to the ‘centre’ the Circle Within.

wheel

Movement around the Medicine Wheel in Native American ceremonies is always circular, unlike the pyramid structures imposed on so-called Western Civilization. The circle was meant to align us with the forces of nature and the cosmos. The Triangular Pyramid structure ‘separates us’ and creates Elite power structures.

The Medicine Wheel is an ancient device, like the zodiac (see Stonehenge), which can provide meanings and symbols for individuals to integrate within their lives. The wheels and circles are often celestial ‘markers’ of transitional time and I am sure they were made primarily to ‘synch the Earth’ (people) with a new energy grid after the demise of Atlantis.

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Calling the Circle

The circle is an important tool for giving a community focus and healing. It is also a vehicle for interaction with the Earth and each other through the circular energy that is empowering for all those that approach the circle with an open heart and mind. If it becomes a group ‘mind set’, or ‘ego’ driven, which I have seen within some ‘circles’ (gatherings), then it can be detrimental to the growth of everyone involved.

The use of the Native American talking stick (above) passed around a circle also creates the connection to all involved empowering the individual. It is my understanding that the First People of the First Ages on Earth employed the circle as a means to honor ‘community’ and to manifest healing for individuals in the community (or tribe). The circle ‘sees’ all as One. The circle offers a ‘listening point’ (hence the talking stick as a tool) for those that partake in its power and it is a platform for building sacred relationships with all who are united in its presence. The ‘circle within’ becomes a ‘sacred hoop’ (same thing) when spirit is allowed to unite with the heart at the centre of the Circle. The circle within is the heart energy that comes through when the circle is sacred and connected to the hearts of all inside its power. Christina Baldwin writes in her book Calling the Circle – The first and Future Culture;

“What we embody is the heart’s desire to be an equal presence in the world. The heart resides within the body, and the body responds when heart energy is released. When the ‘heart’ – not the physical muscle, but the scared muscle, the heart center – is open, the body vibrates with energy. The intellect drops and our thoughts, feelings, decisions, and choices about action are accompanied by physical sensation …”

I’ve been saying for many years that the Earth and Heart are interchangeable; they are one and the same. The circle, as a symbol, connects us all.

calling the circle
Calling the Circle also known as the Sacred Hoop that surrounds the Earth. Image on the right: Alive in a Sacred Circle by Phaedris

On a higher level observing the ‘circle within’ can show us how to read the future, while giving us a grounding of what we need to experience in the present moment. In other words the ‘circle within’ was considered an ancient device for manifesting reality through the four bodies mentioned above. A Native American teacher, Wa’na’nee’che otherwise known as Dennis Renault, who I had the privilege of meeting several times in the 90’s, described the circle within as the Old Way. He said:

“The Spirit of the Thunderbird flies to all four corners of the Earth and brings the people back to the natural way of life, not through religion or a Native American way, but the ‘Old Way’, that once belonged to all humans.”

This Old Way is does not necessarily mean that we go back to living in tents (mind you it’s very tempting lately), it relates to the need of ‘seeing beyond’ the ‘material illusions’ that blight our lives. Harnessing the collective power of the circle can give us the connection when we need it the most. For example, I have seen people arrive at a drum or healing circle looking in need of love and healing, to see them leave elevated and happy at the end. The circle is also employed most powerfully in a crisis, or a dispute and if allowed to function in a sacred manner will quickly offer solutions to problems being faced by any group, tribe or Nation. Ask yourself why none of our parliaments or bodies of governance sit in circle? To do so they would be empowering an ancient symbol that places power around the rim, and not at a peak atop a pyramid structure. The United Nations, for example, is a broken circle, and intentionally so. It was never meant to resolve issues or bring world peace, for it did, we would have it!

broken circles of power
Pyramid (triangular) power and ‘broken circles’ in places of power do not honor the power of the circle.

Celebrating the Dark and the Light

Many teachings have come out of various versions of the Medicine Wheel however there seems to be some common themes that run through them all. The directions of the wheel can offer an understanding of how we cycle through life, express our emotions, or become more introvert or extrovert. So for example, the directions, North, South, East and West embody the Four Elements which combine to make Air, Water, Fire and Earth, and the Four Human Races of Red, Yellow, Black and White. All these in turn are said to affect the Four Bodies of Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and Physical, within the human being, which are continually expressed through the Four Ages of a Life, Childhood, Youth, Maturity and Old Age. Four is also the number that relates to Saturn, the Moon and our Sun and the affect these celestial forces have on four bodies mentioned earlier.

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According to Native American and Celtic teachings, the North of the Wheel (the circle) is where our mental body resides, the East is our spirit, the South is our astral body and the West is our physical body. All four bodies are said to relate to a particular element, animal totem, plants, mineral and expressions that help formulate that body. So for example, the North is where the mental body resides and this is likened to the element of air, which in turn connects with wind/movement, because the ancients observed that the strongest and coldest winds came from the North. North on the circle was also the place of winter, ‘death and rebirth’, symbolised by the ‘Giamos Cycle’ and depicted through the colours of white or black (see above). At the opposite side of the wheel summer was considered a time of ‘outward expression’ when the Earth expresses herself in full bloom. South on the Wheel is also a time for nourishing and preserving energy, especially sunlight when Samos begins to yield towards Giamos. The colour that symbolises summer, within many traditions, is red and in many native iconographies, as well as religious art, red and white are continuously used on one level to symbolise the opposite forces in nature. In more ‘secretive circles’ (secret societies) red is symbolic of the connection between the stars (especially Saturn and Sirius) and the Earth. Red was also considered a colour of childhood and raw energy and the same emotions can be seen within ourselves, when we become more expressive, go outside and enjoy the fruits of longer summer days. As we move into Autumn and towards Samhain (Halloween) our focus naturally turns to concentrating on ‘gathering resources’ on all levels of our soul. The time from the Autumn Equinox to Sahmain was considered the beginning of our ‘inward reflection’, when the ‘invisible became manifest’ on the physical (surface world) more easily. Hence the festivities that relate to Halloween and the invisible forces typified through ghosts and spirits (see my previous blogs). In many Celtic and Native American traditions this point in the year was the beginning of a brand new cycle, a time when the Earth would turn inwards and we go into our inner worlds for inspiration and spiritual direction. Through archetypes, (gods and goddesses), like Maponos (Mabon) the great son of the great mother, the ancients would seek direction, with one of Earth’s many natural cycles. Eventually many natural sequences (cycles) and the forces that became archetypal figures were personified for religious purposes. However, The Circle Within places the human at its centre surrounded by power (the Earth) and magic (the Stars). As the Lakota Medicine man Black Elk said:

“Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop.”

hoop
Sacred Hoop – Four Directions – Four Migrations – The Celtic Cross are all the same symbol.

One other point to realize here is that much of what we call ‘season worship’, or the cycles of the Pagan Calendar and the ancient festivities that connect to it (like Saturnalia, or worship of Saturn), all relate to an ancient epoch, when one world age ended and a new age started. My feeling is that the gods and goddesses that came and taught the natives new ways of living with the Earth after a global cataclysm, taught the importance of using the circle. The rim of the circle, the points on the calendar are important, but the centre is where the true power lives. I talk about this in my latest graphic novel Aeon Rising – The Battle for Atlantis Earth

Energy Circles & Sacred Fires

The four points on the circle (east, south, west and north) also represent a series of ceremonies (fire festivals) that were more connected to the Moon. These Moon festivals were often practiced across the ancient world as a way of connecting with more feminine energies, while the solstice and equinox celebrations were considered to harness solar energies by many native cultures. Later Babylonian religions did not view time as a cycle of ‘eternal return’ each harboring with it the ‘seeds’ of future events. Instead orthodox male dominated religious orders dictated that time marches ahead, towards the ultimate ‘second coming’, or a onetime event only, when the whole world would be judged (see Holy war too). Christian mystics that embraced Pagan beliefs, like John Eriugena and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), along with he likes of Hildegard von Bingham, viewed the cosmos and universe as an organic, interrelated whole (a circle), an idea that would have found sympathy with scientists and seers today in terms of their understanding of the nature of the Universe.

Hildegard von Bingham
The Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen knew that the power of creation was contained within the Circle as she depicted in her visions in her works called Scivias.

Spirals and circles are what our Universe consists of and it is the weaving of threads of light into spirals and circles, from our DNA to the Galaxy that connects us all. The DNA serpent energy is apparent in the Ohio Serpent Mound, the largest surviving ancient effigy mound in the world. The same spiraling energy in circular motion can be seen in the labyrinth floor design inside one of the oldest Pagan (sorry Christian) Gothic Cathedrals in France – Chartres.

spiral

The Spiral and Labyrinth represents the sacred centre and the place from where the divine emerges. As one ancient chant says:

“… Spiraling into the centre, the centre of the wheel,

We are the weavers,

We are the dreamers,

We are the dream …”

The fire at the center of the circle represents solar and stellar fire, the life giver for all on Earth. When people gather around a central fire in a scared manner and they step into the spirit of the ancient ways, through drumming and dancing, they can become a vessel for the oneness that gives life to the ‘centre of creation’. The drum can represent the ‘heartbeat’ of the Earth and the heartbeat of humanity unified. It is a tool for allowing unique expression. As I said earlier, we don’t need to be living in tents to ‘feel’ this connection, but we do need to have an open heart and a connection to the Earth – the ‘organic energy’ of our planet (our reality). I spent the last weekend of the summer at the Super Spirit Camp near Gloucestershire, and the vibration at the end of the camp at the ‘closing ceremony’ was wonderful and lifted the vibrations of all involved. It reminded me of the many times I had gathered in a circle since the 90’s to connect with the Earth at sacred points. The power of the circle was especially powerful in the lands of the goddess in Peru at Sillustani in 2012 with David Icke and a gathering of wonderful souls.

Peru 2012
The lands of the sacred goddess in Peru at Sillustani in 2012. I felt a goddess energy there like no other to date.

fire drum

Art, Nature and the Machine Age

The advancement of the machine and the mechanization of time through technology and industrialization repulsed many artists. Van Gogh was one of these artists who felt the mechanization of linear time and the ‘city culture’ spreading through his own era, and like other painters and poets of this period, detested the growing industrial culture. The very nature of Van Gogh’s work shows this to us, through his empathy and close relationship with nature and people. Van Gogh shows us through his paintings that we need to be part of nature if we want to see and feel different dimensions of the soul. He wrote:

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature to which one has to listen.”

Van Gogh was seeing what astronomers saw i the 1850’s. His spirals in oil on canvas were probably the Whirlpool Galaxy recorded in the 1850s.

I believe this connection with nature is at the heart of why every person wishes to create. You only have to look around and if you are more adventurous, immerse yourself in the wilderness, to understand that Mother Nature is the most beautiful artist. She paints her body daily with the vastest array of life forms imaginable. Our inner power, which urges us to be creative, comes from recognizing a life force within us, which moves through all beings, gives us our breath and weaves the intricate webs of life. The machine-like technological age, which is becoming more prevalent by the year, is the opposite of how humanity’s natural creative powers should be used. And my goodness look how far we have moved away from the ‘golden ages’ of the First Nations on Earth? One very well-known Native American chief, Joseph of the Nez Perce, once said:

“The earth and I are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same.”

The Medicine Wheel
Native American Wheel compared the Celtic Wheel – both examples of the Circle Within.

Becoming aware of our personal Circle and the ‘eight points’ on the wheel, along with the real reason for the ancient festivals situated around the circle, can help us to recognize our own feelings and subconscious attitudes towards nature and the cosmos. More importantly, the circle within is our own personal microcosms of the universe and it is our link with creation, especially while we are utilizing our imagination and accessing our visionary powers. At the same time finding a focus for our creative energies helps manifest the ‘fruits’ that will enrich our lives, just like the spider uses all eight legs to create a web and move around it, we too need to know our whole self in relation to the Earth and the subtle connections to the ‘unseen’. Our attunement to the transitions in nature through the Earth’s ‘organic time’ (not the illusionary clock/calendar based time), helps us to observe the people, places and experiences that come into our lives, bringing visions and changes as we travel our ‘circle within’.

Look out for more posts about workshops in the spring of 2018 and Healing Circles I will be involved in.

The One

drum circle