Symbols, Part 3: The Circumpunct
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~ Buddha
For those of you who’ve read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, you probably already know what a circumpunct is. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s simply a circle with a dot in the center. In alchemy, it is a symbol of the sun and sometimes gold. A great many other symbols are derived from just this one as well.
But so what? So it’s a symbol of the sun and gold. What does that have to do with me or you, right? Well, the symbol itself might not have anything at all to do with you, personally. After all, it’s just a symbol. However, it’s the meaning behind the symbol and the way in which it is used against you by those with more influence than you or I that is of importance to us. To know what it means (or at least what they think it means) and how they use it to affect your subconscious is to reclaim some of that power back for yourself and break free from their illusion. It’s fundamentally no different than if you gained more personal freedom and independence from learning about your health, your car, or your finances.
So what is the deal with the circumpunct, gold, and the sun?
“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as universal giver of life would be my god.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
In the early days of man, life was harsh and survival seemed unlikely. Humans had not yet risen to the top of the food chain and we were still at the mercy of wild animals, terrible diseases, forces of nature, and the like. As the new day dawned, the sun brought warmth and light to the world, saving mankind from the evils of the cold, harsh, predator-filled darkness. For them, the sun was a source of illumination (and until the invention of fire, it was the only source). It pierced through the shadowy veil of night, under which man could not see very well, and revealed the true nature of what was actually around him. For this reason, the sun was looked upon by early man as a god, and one of the most powerful at that. It was seen as man’s savior and protector and the source of all truth and enlightenment.
The earliest religions known all have the sun as the central figurehead in mythology with many anthropomorphic characters representing it. Nearly every ancient culture offers deference to the sun and draws wisdom from its observed properties and movements across the heavens.
To them, the sun was a great ball of fire, a perfect sphere, made up of energy that allowed life to flourish on the earth and so it was also the great creator of all the known world. In fact, scientifically speaking, that’s not all that far from the truth, since without the gravitational pull of the sun, the planets would not even have formed; and without its radiation, there would be no plant or animal life on Earth.
Most people understand alchemy to be the primitive precursor to modern chemistry. Few are aware that it’s also the precursor to modern psychology. In alchemy, everything had a corporeal understanding and a spiritual understanding. At the same time that alchemists physically tried to make gold out of lead, there were those in the higher ups that understood the metaphorical significance of transmutation, which was to turn an ignorant man (common lead) into a wise one (rare and valuable gold). Refined metallic gold was one of the rarest comodities of the ancient world. Its pure, yellow, reflective surface was reminiscent of the power and glory of the sun itself, and many of the most prized religious artifacts were made from it. Because the sun shown light onto everything, thereby revealing its true nature, the sun was metaphorically viewed as the source of all truth and heavenly wisdom. It is for this reason that the symbol of the sun – the circumpunct – was chosen to represent gold, since both the sun and gold were symbolic of the fully-realized man.
In the Book of Exodus, the Ark of the Covenant, along with all the other props of the tabernacle, was made from the gold that was looted from the Egyptians when the Hebrews fled Egypt. The Ark was to house the laws of God and manna (a mystical life-rejuvenating substance) from heaven, which was symbolic of man’s dependence on the sun and the laws that governed the physical universe. The Ark itself has its origins in earlier Egyptian Arks that were made in homage to the sun gods: Horus, Amun, Ra, etc. This is just one of many beliefs and practices that were carried over from the ancient Egyptian religion to early Judaism.
In the pursuit of personal development, you are in fact fulfilling the ancient practice of transmuting lead into gold and becoming closer to God. Given that everything in the universe is simply a concentration of energy, it is not wholly unreasonable to think that perhaps the sun has its own form of consciousness that is at a much higher level than we can comprehend. Ancient cultures often referred to the earth as our mother and the sun as having the masculine attributes of dominance, strength, power, etc. Perhaps one day, billions of years from now, our own consciousness will rise to such a level and we shall become the gods of our ancient ancestors.
“To correct a natural indifference, I was placed half-way between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all was well under the sun, and the sun taught me that history wasn’t everything.” ~ Albert Camus
Symbolically, the circumpunct is not so common these days. At least not in its overt form (though it’s very prolific in its more subtle form). The best examples I can think of are the Target logo, Chickenow, and Chase Bank. It also appears on Dr. Manhattan’s forehead in The Watchmen. If you notice, he creates the circumpunct first and then modifies it to become the symbol for Hydrogen. In fact, The Watchmen does a very good job of placing a great many of these symbols throughout the story to make you think about how they are used.
But more commonly used than the circumpunct is the sun, especially the rising sun. If you stop and look at the signs and banners and flags used by religions, governments, and corporations, you will see the sun all over the place, especially in oil companies and hotel chains. It can be seen in the logos for Sunoco, British Petrolium, Shell, Gulf, 76, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Residence Inn, Howard Johnson Inn, La Quinta Inn, Clarion Inn, and so on. Also MSNBC, The Daily Sun, and fast food companies like Burger King and Del Taco. Count how many national flags have suns in them too, being sure to count countries like Japan that may have hidden theirs better in recent times (I counted over 25).
If symbols only have the meanings we give to them, then what meaning do you think these people are applying to them? I could see how, if it were in only a handful of logos, that this might be merely coincidence or even paranoia. But these things are used all over the place, deliberately. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!