The Roots of the Circle

My mind is still ruminating on the circle. Last night I dreamt of water surrounding me on all sides, getting ever closer to my body. I fled before I could be stranded, not wanting to become an island, cut off, with a relentless tide washing over me.

Later, in my dreams, I found myself in a classroom as a student with my husband. The teacher was giving us assignments, and my husband and I were to write an essay about the root chakra. He told me he wanted to write about a place he calls “Blueberry Mountain,” and I found myself wondering how this related to the first chakra, where we hold our sense of stability and our fears of instability. Yet I relented, agreeing to partner with him on our shared task. While we were writing, there were interruptions. A girl I’ll call Margot, because that’s the name I gave her in my memoir, who was also in the class with us, teased and taunted, trying to disrupt the flow of our work. Trying to cut us off from our collaboration.

When I return to the circle, I think about the space in the center that is shared by all who form the perimeter. I think of the energy mingled into one collective body that is the source of all life. And, I think of an invisible network of roots feeding and nursing life.

A tree, upended, will eventually starve and wither away.

Why did my dream mind lead me to the classroom with my husband and Margot, I wondered when I woke, until I began to think about the upending of my own roots.

I met my husband when I was seventeen. In the years preceding our relationship, I had experienced multiple compromises to my family and social networks. My structure of tribal unity, held within my root chakra, was severely compromised by the time I met my future husband. It had left me feeling compromised, fearful and distrustful. Then, one day, I sat in the library of St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and found myself falling in love with a boy from Manchester who was writing an essay about a place he called “Blueberry Mountain.” Maybe you can go there with me someday, he told me.

The individual who finds him or herself cut off from the circle, whether willingly or unwillingly, can always return to a place of unity.

Just over 26 years ago, while siting in the library with a boy I barely knew, I began to reclaim and regrow my network of roots. I began to realize that I was not, in fact, an island of one struggling to survive amid stormy seas. I began to trust in love again.

In the center of the circle, which is also the self, there is Love.

For the past month I have been feeling naked and vulnerable. The birth of my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, has called into question my very stability. When I find myself succumbing to old patterns of thought, fear slips in and threatens to topple my roots. I temporality forget that I am not an island, even though I feel, in many ways, raw and alone. This, though, is a temporary feeling, a cruel game of the ego’s mind. When I settle my thoughts into peace, I feel the presence of all life. I feel the Light at the core, and I remember that I am never alone. That at any moment I can rejoin the circle of invisible hands and feel whole again.

Beneath the veil of fear, the body is always searching for the breath of love. When the veil is removed, nothing else exists. Without fear, the roots reach and mingle into unity and the body bends toward light.

A wheel of life found in the woods
A Medicine Wheel in the forest near Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum with legumes in the center bending and growing toward filtered light.

A Circle of Hands

I have been thinking about harmony and unity. About how, over the course of hundreds, if not thousands of years, we have moved away from the circle to form the line.

I have been thinking about the quest of the individual striving for purpose by trying to get at the head of the line, not realizing the line is an illusion.

I have been thinking about how we are birthed into human form to explore this illusion, but not to hold onto it. For there is nothing to hold onto. No hands to join your palms.

Last Friday, in my continued quest to learn the mysteries of the land near where I live, I visited the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum with a friend of mine. The museum, founded by Bud and Nancy Thompson, several years after Nancy taught my third grade class at Canterbury Elementary School, is deliberately arranged in the form of a circle. When you walk the rooms of artifacts recovered across the United States, your eyes pick up patterns. Themes are shared throughout the native cultures that join the people in sacred truth. The circle is one of them.

There is, by its inherent nature, no beginning or end to the circle. The line, when drawn in this form curves back to itself, and in doing so becomes part of a greater whole that never ends. Here separation is impossible. If there is a break in the circle, it ceases to be whole.

Native American Basket Art
A Continuous Circle of Hands

In my quest to find sacred sites in New England, I have been searching for circles of stone, but on Friday I found circles in other forms. Bodies, male and female, joined into circles of hands on baskets, pottery and clothing. The symbol of unity stretches across our globe.

In our more modern quest for dominance over each other, we have forgotten what it feels like to hold each others’ hands. We have forgotten that we are birthed into individuality only to discover we cannot truly make it alone. When you gaze at a circle of hands like the one show in the image above, it becomes almost an absurd hope to strive for separation.

Imagine the energy of holding an endless circle of hands. Fear has no hope here. Loneliness does not exist. The pain of the individual dissolves into the embrace of the whole. Imagine the love.

In a long ago time, this was simply Life. The Circle of Live. There is a reason thousands of years ago humankind formed circles with stones to worship Life. There is a reason why bodies of hands continuously joined, and voices sang in a circle of harmony around fires.

If you doubt the power of the circle, close your eyes with me and imagine a hug of one thousand hands.

The land still remembers its hold. Can we?

Ancient Stone Circle in Scotland
A Circle of Hands in Stone, Scotland. Photo Credit: Sue Vincent