Circling Objects in Kabbalah and Mysticism
These pages are excerpts from the book, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, by Robert Zucker. Read more sample chapters and download a free PDF sample compliments of the author.
Circling around an object in a religious procession is a popular Jewish custom. Jews circle the groom under a wedding canopy, they circle cemetery plots on certain occasions, and there are places where a procession is made around the coffin at a funeral.
Circling is a custom found among all people of ancient times. It arose from the belief in the course of one’s spiritual development that the world is full of spirits and there are many magical means to overcome them.
One of the best is through the use of a circle or “magic ring.”
The closed circle is even feared by the devil. The magicians of the Middle Ages would enclose themselves within a circle to keep away the evil spirits. If the spirit were to enter the circle, it would be entire helpless and would have to obey all orders.
From this practice comes the belief in the “wishing-ring,” which when worn, on the hand brings fulfilment of every wish.
The Hindu, Persians, Greeks, and the Romans shared the same ideas of the circle. One of the most important ceremonies of the Arabs consists of circling their sanctuary. In the Aggadah of the TALMUD there is a story about Honi ha-Magel, a 1st century Jewish scholar who lived in Jerusalem. He was nicknamed “the circle-drawer” from his habit of making a circle around himself and telling God he would not move from the spot unless his prayer was granted.
Circling an object with the recitation of specific consonant and vowel combinations produces an ecstatic experience and can mimic the act of Creation, according the Jewish mystics. To create a golem, one would move in a circle around molded dust. The golem is destroyed by reciting the original combinations backwards and circling in opposite direction.
Read more sample chapters and download a free PDF sample compliments of the author from the book, Kabbalah's Secret Circles.