So what is this symbol that’s been adorning my web site all this time? Where does it come from and what does it mean? Well…
The Vesica Piscis
The symbol you see to the right, throughout my web site and on my business cards, is an artistic interpretation of the Vesica Piscis. The Vesica Piscis, pronounced VES-i-kuh PIE-sees, is an element in Sacred Geometry. This symbol was used in the planning and construction of religious buildings, monuments, sacred spaces and religious art. The Vesica Piscis itself is created by drawing two equal circles so that the center of each lies on the circumference of the other. Prior to mechanical drawing and computer aided design, all geometric patterns had to be created with a compass and a straight edge. With the Vesica Piscis, the points formed by the overlap of these two circles establish the exact mathematical coordinates needed to create any geometric shape. The Vesica Piscis is considered the original symbol of creativity, the beginning, a sacred symbol of the creative act. This sacred symbol was used by artists and architects from all over the world for thousands of years to create accurate geometric shapes to aid in building temples or in crafting jewellery.
The Vesica Piscis, which is actually pre-Christian in origin, goes beyond geometry though. To the ancients, it symbolized the fusion of opposites which created a portal from the world of preexistent form into the manifested creation. The symbolic intersection of these two circles can represent the common ground, shared vision or mutual understanding between two equal individuals. The power of the symbol is in the intersection or overlap of the two circles and, as in all things – the balance of spirit and matter, the harmony of male and female, or the integration of the conscious and subconscious – the real power is in this uniting of these opposites. It has been noted that the shape of the human eye is itself a Vesica Piscis. The spiritual significance of “seeing eye to eye” to the “mirror of the soul” was highly regarded by numerous Renaissance artists who used this form extensively.
I first encountered the Vesica Piscis in England a long time ago. The symbol appears on the Chalice Well cover at Glastonbury in Somerset. It is believed by some that Joseph of Arimathea (who has been noted as either a relative or disciple of Jesus), on returning to England after the death of Jesus, brought with him the Holy Grail or Chalice and placed it beneath Glastonbury Tor, and since that time the waters that flow through the hills and in to the well are said to be blessed with healing powers. Another legend is that Joseph of Arimathea is said to have put his staff in the ground on nearby Wearyall Hill where it grew into a thorn tree. This thorn tree blossoms twice a year, spring and early January, the date of Christmas on the old Julian calendar. This whole area is filled with myths, magic and even power! But let’s set aside the myths and legends for a moment. The Chalice Well produces a constant flow of 25,000 gallons of water per day at a constant temperature of 52° F (11° C). The water supply has never been known to fail or falter, even in the severest drought. Is there power at work here?
This particular design of the Vesica Piscis was designed by Bristol architect, archaeologist and psychic researcher Frederick Bligh Bond in 1919. A sword crosses the two circles, thought to be a reference to Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur, who is believed to be buried at nearby Glastonbury Abbey. The foliage represents the Thorn Tree. Bond wrote that his design was, “typical of many early diagrams, all having the same object – the rendering of spiritual truth by means of the purest, most intellectual system of imagery conceived by the mind, namely, truth which is ‘aeonial’ or eternal, of which geometry is the best interpreter, since it can figure for us with remarkable suggestiveness those formative principles upon which the Father has built his Creation, principles which shall endure when heaven and earth have died.”
The aforementioned Glastonbury Tor is a hill in Glastonbury, Somerset, England that can be seen for miles around that is an even more impressive site with St Michael’s Tower at the top. The Tor was known by the Ancient Celts as Ynys yr Afalon, “The Isle of Avalon”, believed by many to be the Avalon of Arthurian legend.
The Chalice Well and nearby Glastonbury Tor are a worthwhile visit should you ever be in the area. Click on the photos to see them larger.
Return to Glastonbury and the difference between magic and magic tricks.
I’ve always believed in magic, not magic tricks where you try to make magic happen, but the kind of magic that just happens by itself. When you try to make magic in your life it’s very much like a magic trick, it’s great but it’s temporary, fleeting even. Yet, when you just allow magic to happen in your life, its more powerful and it lasts longer. Glastonbury is a place full of magic, I could tell you stories of the magic I have seen happen here, but I’ll just share this one story that happened on an impromptu visit to Glastonbury in 2010.
I had a business trip to Madrid in October of that year and decided to extend my trip by a week and visit my best friend for over 40 years in Belgium and also visit with my Mum and my twin brother in England. Now for this story to be complete I have to tell you about a trip I made earlier that year in April. I went on another business trip to Belo Horizonte, Brazil and decided to take an extra three days to see Rio de Janeiro. To make the story short, I’ll just tell you that while out for a walk in Rio one night I was accosted by a couple of guys who threatened me with a knife (a very big knife) and they wanted all my money. Luckily, my travel companion stood her ground and yelled “No”, which scared them off, but not before one of them ripped the cross from my neck, that I’ve worn for over 25 years. This wasn’t any cross, it was one of very special meaning. We both survived this incident and came home with an exciting story to tell, but I lost something that wouldn’t be easy to replace. For a long time I had kept my eyes open for something that would have some special meaning to me, not just another cross. So, here I am in England visiting with my brother, on one particular day we had no plans, as I said this was an impromptu visit. My brother says, “How do you fancy a drive to Glastonbury?”. Well, its one of my favourite places in England, so it was an easy answer… “When do we leave?”. I’ve been to Glastonbury at least 4 times, so when I go now I don’t have to see everything, but a visit to The Chalice Well is a must. After our visit, we went in to the gift shop where I first bought my Vesica Piscis pin, and a ring, and a necklace for my daughter and… well, you get the point, as I’m looking at their jewellery I see this wing on a chain, not only is it beautifully detailed, it’s silver, I’ve always preferred silver. Now the thing is, years ago I had already adopted a symbol of a single wing to represent my photography and my blog “Words on a Wing”. The magic as I see it, was that I had no plans to go to Glastonbury, least of all be in this shop again, yet here was this wing in the very shop my Vesica Piscis came from years earlier, the perfect replacement for the cross I had lost 6 months ago. Yes I bought the wing and now I have two symbols from the same place that fit me to a t!