“The most primitive and fundamental of all symbols is the dot.” — Manly P. Hall; Lectures on Ancient Philosophy
The ancient symbol known as the dot in the circle, circled dot, circle with a point, or a circumpunct, is one of the oldest symbols known to humans.
According to Gnostics, it is the most primal aspect of God. To Greek philosophers and the Pythagoreans, the circumpunct represents God, or the Monad – the point of the beginning of creation, and eternity. It is the sun of astrologers and astronomers; the alchemical gold of the alchemist, and the Keter of the Kabbalah.
The circle around the dot is the universe or world in which we live. A blank canvas to draw from the circle that which we wish to create. A place to also retreat back from the world when things in life get too chaotic. Erase our problems in ‘order’ to have a clean slate. In a sense, redeeem our souls.
As you can see, the circumpunct is a symbol that can help evolve our souls to become truly illuminated. An enlightened soul who is “I AM.”
In order to know the meaning of this symbol, you first must understand how the world in which we live operates.
The modern man-made world is ruled by chaos which confuses people and often leads their souls astray. Man-u-fact-ured chaos. This is why the motto of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry is ORDO AB CHAO. A Latin term meaning “Order from (out of) Chaos.”
To find order, we must first look within our own selves. You do not find true order within by searching without in books or buying the latest online course from some self-proclaimed enlightened guru who claims they have all the answers.
The whole goal of going within is to find your true soul. To find your true self. To “KNOW THYSELF.”
To KNOW THYSELF, we must go WITHIN THYSELF.
To accomplish this, we must silence the outside world and any chaotic thinking by going within and finding the center of space that is within each one of us. In a sense, meditate. We must often leave the web of the man-made reality of confusion in order to move into the circumpunct where we find clarity and retain our true selves. The knowing of who you are, who you were, and where you are heading.
The symbol to your own individual Gnosis, knowledge, the past, and our mission as an evolving soul in life is contained in the dot within the circle. Our mission is to go there. To be one with the one. To be you.
33rd Freemason, and one of Masonry’s foremost scholars, Manly P. Hall had written about the circumpunct in the Lectures on Ancient Philosophy view;
The keys to all knowledge are contained in the dot, the line, and the circle. The dot is universal consciousness, the line is universal intelligence, and the circle is universal force – the threefold, unknowable Cause of all knowable existence (the three hypostases of Atma). In man the spirit is represented by the dot and conscious activity or intelligence by the line. Conscious activity is the key to intelligence, because consciousness belongs to the sphere of the dot and activity to the sphere of the circle.
The center and the circumference are thus blended in the connecting line – conscious activity or intelligence. The circle is the symbol of body and body is the limit of the radius of the activity of mind power pouring out of the substance of consciousness.
The symbol of the circumpunct is the ancient symbol that helps us realize this truth. If you concentrate on the circumpunct, you can visualize your soul as the dot within the world of which we live.
Think and meditate on the symbol of the circumpunct. This is how knowing the meaning of symbols can help you learn, grow and evolve.
Today you will find the symbol of the circumpunct all over the world. It is featured in the best-selling book by Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol. It’s also the symbol for the consumer shopping giant, Target.
Below are many more quotes by Manly P. Hall that I believe are perfect, and I think you might agree. They are taken from his book, Lectures on Ancient Philosophy.
“The dot, being most proximate to perfection, is the simplest, and therefore the least imperfect of all symbols.
The dot, moving away from self, projects the line; the line becomes the radius of an imaginary circle, and this circle is the circumference of the powers of the central dot.
Hypothetically, every sun has a periphery where its rays end, every human life a periphery where its influence ceases, every human mind a periphery beyond which it cannot function, and every human heart a periphery beyond which it cannot feel. Somewhere there is a limit to the scope of awareness. The circle is the symbol of this limit. It is the symbol of the vanishing point of central energy. The dot symbolizes the cause; the line, the means; and the circle, the end.
Motion away from self brings a decrease in consciousness and power; motion toward self brings a corresponding increase in consciousness and power. The farther the light ray travels from its source the weaker the ray.
The dot, the line, and the circle are the supreme and primary symbols. The dot is spirit and its symbol in the Chaldaic Hebrew – the Yod – is actually a seed or spermatozoon, a little comma with a twisting tail representing the germ of the not-self. In its first manifestation the dot elongates to form the line. The line is a string of dots made up of germ lives – the monadic lives of Leibnitz. From the seed growing in the earth comes the sprig – the line. The line, therefore, is the symbol of the dot in growth or motion. The sun is a great dot, a monad of life, and each of its rays a line – its own active principle in manifestation. The key thought is: The line is the motion of the dot.
The dot, or Sacred Island, is the beginning of existence, whether that of a universe or a man. The dot is the germ raised upon the surface of infinite duration. The potentialities signified by the blank paper are manifested as active potencies through the dot. Thus the limitless Absolute is manifested in a limited way.
After the dot is placed on the paper it can be rubbed out and the white paper restored to its virgin state. Thus the white paper represents eternity, and the dot, time; and when the dot is erased time is dissolved back into eternity, for time is dependent upon eternity. Therefore in ancient philosophy there are two symbols: the NOTHING and the ONE – the white paper and the dot. Creation traces its origin from the dot – the Primitive Sea, the Egg laid by the White Swan in the field of SPACE.
The dot is the first illusion of the Self, the first limitation of SPACE, even as Spirit is the first limitation of Self. The dot is life localized as a center of power; the blank paper is life unlimited. According to philosophy, the dot must sometime be erased, because nothing but the blank paper is eternal.”
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. He is a father, husband, author, martial arts black belt, and an expert in Gnosticism, the occult, and esotericism.
Thank you for the fascinating read – have read about this in the past, but when it came last night in a dream, yours was by far the best explanation of this symbol.
I am so amazed that the Target icon symbol slipped by my radar as a circumpunct. I really enjoyed the read. Namaste.
Just an advice: if you can’t understand Portuguese, PLEASE do NOT use Google Translate. It’s better to read it in english than to try to understand what “um pouco vírgula com uma cauda torcer representa o germe da não-auto” means. In english, that would be translated as “a bit comma with a tail to twist represents the seed of not-self”.