Man in the Circle

BURNING HAND RECORD #443011

29/5/1975 Arthur Agence

Commentary

The symbol associated with this chapter is an iconic one. It is often used to denote the gnostic way of thinking within Circlar groups. It is a literal representation of the scene depicted by Bowyer in this chapter. A man is bound in a circular frame, hung from chains from the wall of a brick room.

The symbolism is obvious (and some would say childish). The room itself is the reality outside the prison of the Earth. The Stranger explains the significance of the man, as representing both an individual, and the whole human race. The trapped man is unenlightened, unable to see, hear or speak the truth.

There is a lot of speculation about the significance of the colours Bowyer chose in verses 4 and 5. Some believe the wax is sealing wax, a stopper that is designed to be removed. Others go further, purporting that the colour of sealing wax, traditionally from the mineral cinnabar, aids spiritual transformation.

The blue thread is a common motif in ancient Jewish traditions. Here Bowyer might be playing on an unusual Geomantric paradox associated with the colour blue. The word for blue is numerically equal to “And sanctify them” and “To be ensnared”. A comment, perhaps, on the dangers of organised religion being an integral part of the Great Lie. (This is Bowyer’s Trap of Religion.)

Notice that in the end it is up to the Man to free himself. The power to do so is always inside him. It cannot come from other people, or other organisations, as everyone’s assumed beliefs colour their perception of the physical.

Man in the Circle

Verse 1

As the mist cleared, I found myself in a dark chamber. Its walls curved around a wide pit in the floor, and I stood on an iron walkway that ran around the circumference of the room. There were no doorways in the grimy brickwork walls, and I panicked for a moment, thinking on how I would be able to get out of this terrible place. Then, a noise drew my attention over the side of the black railing and into the void beyond.

Verse 2

It was a vertical drop, about 30 feet deep. The floor at the bottom was lined with trenches filled with fire. By the light of these infernal flames, a wooden frame was revealed, fixed in the centre of the space. It was circular in shape, and hung from the walls by thick chains, pulled taught by the weight of the heavy timber. And in the centre of this hanging circle was a man.

Verse 3

Naked he was, and bound. His feet were lashed to the circle’s lowest point, and his hands were stretched above his head and similarly fastened. His head was shorn of hair, and the mutilations of his face were clearly visible.

Verse 4

His ears were filled with red candle wax, so he could hear not.

Verse 5

His mouth was sewed closed with blue thread, so he could speak not.

Verse 6

His eyes were closed, and tightly glued together, so he could see not.

Verse 7

I asked the Stranger, “Who is this man, that is so bound and trapped?”

She answered, “He is both a single human, and the whole of humankind.”

I thought about her answer, but I was confused.

She explained: “A human being is trapped inside the confines of his own physical body. His sensation is limited by his own organs, and by the limitation of his teachings. It is as if he is blind, deaf and dumb. Those who are thusly limited perceive as much of the truth as the rest of humankind, and sometimes more, for the path to freedom often lies deeply within us.”

Verse 8

She continued, “He is representative of your species, as all humans are trapped in a similar fashion. The physical world is an illusion designed to ensnare the souls of the divine spark. This is the Gaol that is the World.”

Verse 9

With those words came a change in the scene below us. The bindings on the wrists and ankles of the trapped man became unravelled and fell away to the floor of the chamber. At the same time, the red wax in his ears melted and ran out. The glue on his eyes dried and failed. The cotton binding his lips broke.

Verse 10

The free man floated there in the centre of the circle for a moment. He looked up at me with his newly opened eyes, and smiled. Then, he was gone. I turned back to the Stranger, and asked, “What was it that freed him?

Nothing,” she answered, “His emancipation was of his own choosing.”

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