Undoubtedly one of the most important symbols in all esoteric thought is the “circle”. So important to Freemasonry, the circle, we borrowed the compass of the architect as our symbolic representation of it.
The “circle” as a symbol is a beautiful paradox, because the circle we are talking about esoterically is boundless, extending infinitely in all directions, just by drawing the circle with our compass we are in fact creating a symbol that has a boundary, although the true circle we are talking about has no boundary. See the paradox?
Esoteric symbolists found a way around this paradox, which we will approach in due time, but for now we should consider what this boundless infinite circle symbolizes.
Many are fortunate if at least once in their lifetime they get the chance to stand atop a high mountain, or a flat desert, and look towards the starlit heavens unencumbered by the ambient light of civilization, spread out as far as the eye can see, the whiteness of stars, the blackness of space, what we call the heavens.
If you’re fortunate enough to not have your view blocked in any direction you could spin 360 degrees and see a circle of the heavens in all its majestic order and beauty, but only as far as your eyes allow you to perceive.
With the aid of the telescope we have been able to expand our perception of the circle, and with the aids of satellites and Voyager we have expanded our view even more.
No matter our advancement of perception of the circle of the realities of the heavens spread faster. We are but a speck in a white star black space mosaic circle of light and dark, similar to the Lodge Room floor of the Masonic Temple.
Without an understanding of the boundless circle I fear much of the western esoteric traditions will fall flat compared to the eastern who studied and embraced the void, the nothing, the Ain Soph, the Parabrahman, something I believe our ancient and accepted brothers realized when they choose the compass as a symbolic representation of this infinite circle, also the snake eating its own tail, Ouroboros.
￼To the left is a wonderful representation of how out of the absolute un-manifested, the zero, the creation begins, symbolized by the Monad, the “point within the circle”, to the relative reality of dualism, and then harmony returning to infinity. Without attempting to confuse the reader, one could say the circle is nothing, but then the circle is everything.
As one who is well tried in the western esoteric tradition of Freemasonry I would like to address my brothers at this time. As you see it is very hard to create a symbol of the infinite, no matter how you try your creating a boundary, your trying to lock something in that can't be. Although you may look around the Masonic Temple and see squares the circles are there, sometimes you have to listen with an attentive ear, watch the way you walk in ritual, and imagine you are the “point within a circle” of heaven above.
Is the boundless infinite circle God?