Axis Mundi

The quiet still point in the middle

  In mandala symbolism generally, the sign or figure at the center of the quadrated circle is crucial, in every sense of the word.  Like the hub of a turning wheel, it is at the point where opposites come together: East and West, North and South, right and left, up and down; also, motion and rest, time and eternity; as in the words of T.S. Eliot in “Burnt Norton”:

At the still point of the turning world.  Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement.  And do not call it fixity,

Where past and future are gathered.  Neither movement from nor towards,

Neither ascent nor decline.  Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.

And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

The Buddha’s Tree of Awakening, known as the Immovable Point, is symbolic of that psychological state in which such desires and fears are quelled absolutely, and he mind, so cleared, comes to a knowledge of its own transcendence of all temporal terms and forms.  TMD 196

In many of the rites of primitive peoples a post is set up to mark the centre of the world, and around it revolves the ritual event.  In this sense the post is a centre, like a point of all psychic happenings.  TGL 285

The centre of the world accordingly is where Adam was created, where he lies buried and where Christ is to be crucified.  Christ’s sepulcher also certainly belongs to this region.  The ancients understood this concretely; in later times it was taken to indicate that Christ and his work of redemption were at the centre of the world.  This view, however, also has a profound psychological meaning, namely that the centre of the human soul is the place where “the power of God, flowing together from the four quarters, stands still,”  i.e. where the opposites are united, where the hidden treasure lies buried and from whence salvation emanates.  TGL 332