What is a circle that is open but unbroken? It’s a spiral! (Eureka!) Reading Meditations on the Tarot this morning, I connected the dots between the passage below and the practice of closing and opening the circle. I had often wondered about the meaning of ‘the circle is open but unbroken’ and it wasn’t until I read the passages below that the penny dropped.
These excerpts are from the chapter about The Wheel of Fortune. In this chapter, Tomberg develops the creation story for a deeper understanding of the energetic reality behind the fall.
Thus it was that the circle of the movement of the world was not closed, but remained open. And the seventh day was sanctified and blessed as the open part of the circle of movement of the world, in such a way that the beings of the world had access to the Father and the Father had access to them.Meditations on the Tarot, p. 239
According to Tomberg, it was the serpent who tempted Eve to close the circle with a promise of complete freedom – a trap!
The Closing of the Circle
But the serpent said: There is no freedom for the world, in so far as the circle of the world is not closed. Because freedom is to be in oneself, without interference from outside, especially from above, on the part of the Father. The world will always follow the will of the Father, and not its own, in so far as there is an opening in the circle of the world, in so far as the sabbath exists.Meditations on the Tarot, p. 239
So now we find ourselves in this closed circle, which really could be seen as the circle of hell since it has cut us off from the Father:
And the serpent took his tail in his mouth and thus formed a closed circle (…) But woman guarded the memory of the world opened towards the Father and the holy sabbath. And she offered herself for the rending of the closed circle in herself in order to give birth to the children issuing from the world beyond it, from the world where there is sabbath.Meditations on the Tarot, p. 239
The Lord of the Dance
In the person of Jesus Christ, the circle remained open all of the time when he walked upon the Earth. This is how miracles flowed so effortlessly through him. It was his love for the Father and the Father’s love for him that kept the circle open and the energetic movement of keeping it open is that of the motion of the ‘wings’ of the Holy Spirit.
This is a holy movement of the trinity that is not often talked about as a dance. However, in the Acts of John, we have a description of Jesus leading the disciples in a dance. This happens right before the arrest in the garden of Gethsemane.
Prior to his arrest by lawless Jews (whose ‘laws’ were given by the lawless serpent), the Lord assembled us all and said, ‘Before I’m delivered to those people let us praise the Father in song and so go forth to what lies ahead.’Acts of John 94-96
He had us join hands and form a circle. Placing himself in the middle, he said, ‘Respond to me with “Amen,”‘ and led off the song (…)
Whoever does not dance is ignorant of what is taking place (…)
In response to my dance, see yourself in me as I speak.
Sometimes we have to go into the closed circle to learn what it is like to be free. We don’t know what it’s like to be free until we are deprived of our freedom. The circle (and the Wheel of Life) is ultimately for our learning and thus for our benefit but when we become free, we are able to move in that spiral pattern of the Holy Spirit.
In my own life, this makes so much sense when I take into account everything that has happened this year.
At the start of the year, I was feeling increasingly more anxious, claustrophobic and caught in a hamster wheel. I didn’t know how to break free. I had to get close to Jesus and watch him dance first.
Learning the Spiral Dance
At first, this meant shrinking my world to a dance studio where it was just me and the Lord. Everything else had to go. Intitially, there was a closing down and a shrinking of the circle.
Now that I’m dancing in sync with Him, the circle is open but remains unbroken. My world is opening up again and I can see that when I am in this spiral pattern with Him, everything is sacred because everything becomes sanctified with the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Someone, I think it was Rob Bell, said that God is a verb. That all makes sense now. The trinity is the divine dance and Jesus is inviting us all to learn from Him so that we can take part in the spiral dance.