The circle is eternal for it has no beginning or end. The Sanskrit word for circle is mandala, which also is a form of Hindu and Buddhist sacred art. Ancient stone circles are found in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland with Stonehenge probably being the most famous. Stone circles known as medicine wheels or sacred hoops are also found in North America. Humankind seems to have a fascination for circles.
Look upon the natural world with eyes like a child’s and it’s easy to understand this fascination with the circle. I cannot explain this any better than Black Elk in the following presentation:
Black Elk reveals good cause for humankind’s fascination with the circle, particularly when trying to live in harmony with the natural world. Today, many people seeking a simpler way of living find themselves attracted to ancient wisdom. It is quite ironic.
Empire builders litter our history. They have been held in awe like gods, or they have likened themselves to gods, or both. From Egyptian pharaohs through Alexander the Great to the Roman Caesars, the goal was to build a bigger and greater empire. It was never just a matter of conquest, but also building grander monuments to their ingenuity and power. Many beliefs were repressed, eradicated, or even appropriated to consolidate power. Eventually the resources of Europe became depleted as it also became overcrowded and a cesspool of disease.
Columbus may not have been the first European to discover America, but he was the one who discovered America when Europe was desperate for resources and room for expansion. The fact that the “New World” was already occupied was irrelevant to the empire builders. The natives were looked down upon as ignorant savages. The natives became even less consequential as their populations were decimated by the disease that the dirty Europeans brought. The empire building continued on to our modern times.
We are now depleting the resources of this planet with a population that has reached seven billion. Science and technology do not appear sufficient for expansion to other planets. People are faced with new diseases and social dysfunction. Some seek solace in substance abuse. Some seek help through medicine and psychology, and end up in substance abuse. Some seek solace in religion, but the religion that Rome appropriated lost much of its spiritual power then. This leaves the ancient wisdom, of which much has been lost for us of European descent.
The irony is that we (of European descent) can learn about our ancient customs from the people of the First Nations. If we can come to an understanding about the sacred circle through them, perhaps we can learn other things from them as well. Perhaps we can learn about ourselves in other ways through these people. Consider what it might have been like to live in Palestine under Roman rule in the time of Christ, and watch this next clip:
Black Elk said, “Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle.” The oppressed became the oppressor. Now it is time for the oppressed to rise or be resurrected. It is time to gather in a circle. It is time for the Ghost Dance. Will you recognize your own ghost when you encounter it face to face?