Saturday, November 8, 2008

Circle of Life

The Greek poet who wrote ITHACA was Constantine Cavafy. This is a story about how he died.

"After first refusing and then allowing himself to be visited by the Patriarch of Alexandria, he died in the Greek Hospital in Alexandria, on April 29, 1933, his seventieth birthday: an elegant closure that is nicely suggested by what is said to have been his last act. For we are told that on one of the pieces of paper that had become his sole mode of communication [he had a tracheotomy] , he drew a circle; and then placed a small dot in the middle of that circle. Whatever he may have meant by that glyph, certain people will recognize in it an apt symbol. It is the conventional notation, used by writers when correcting printer's proofs, for the insertion of a period, a full stop. "

Yes, and it is also a universal symbol of wholeness and the Self, a crude mandala. It would signify that this great poet and spirit had completed what he came here to do.

Learn more ...

The University of Michigan Online Symbol Dictionary gives this meaning:

The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, God ('God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere' (Hermes Trismegistus)). As the sun, it is masculine power; as the soul and as encircling waters, it is the feminine maternal principle. "It implies an idea of movement, and symbolizes the cycle of time, the per petual motion of everything that moves, the planets' journey around the sun (the circle of the zodiac), the great rhythm of the universe. The circle is also zero in our system of numbering, and symbolizes potential, or the embryo. It has a magical value as a protective agent, ... and indicates the end of the process of individuation, of striving towards a psychic wholeness and self-realization" (Julien, 71).

With the number ten, symbolizes heaven and perfection as well as eternity. In Jung, the antithesis of the square (lowest state of man who has not achieved inner perfection), standing for the ultimate state of Oneness, with octagon in between. Circle of Necessity: birth, growth, decline, death. Defense against chaos, formlessness. Related to YIN YANG.


Not coincidentally, Cavafy died the same day he was born, the perfected life, the circle complete. [photo public domain from wikipedia]

No comments: