Badbury Rings: Iconic Soup!
Looking at this very inclusive crop circle, as if the lunar crescent is
at the top and the spiral formations at the bottom of the design, it
becomes apparent that the Badbury Rings formation is a succinct, complex
and profound statement. Not only does it obviously allude to three great
world traditions (Norse, Jewish, and Mayan) and their perceptions of the
Cosmos, but it also adds the Masonic traditional symbol of the Compass
and the Square and a indirect reference to the Eastern Yin Yang symbol
to the mixture. Thus it gives us a new message for the future that is
well rooted in past world traditions. The circlemakers’ technique of
combining ancient known symbolism to give us new information and trigger
new perceptions makes it seem as if there is an overall plan to which
humanity, through time and as material conscious beings, belong.
we look at the design from the lunar crescent down, we see two angular
aspects: beginning at the circle inside the lunar crescent, the ‘top’
angle is about 45 degrees whose arms form a ‘compass’; the ‘lower’ angle
is about 90 degrees whose arms form a ‘square’ which join and deflect
the path of the compass arms so both sets of arms meet together at an
outer top point of the square labyrinth spirals.
Blake’s ‘The Ancient of Days Measuring Time’, the Creator measures and
orders the Universe. The Compass was a popular symbol for the Creator as
divine Architect of the cosmos in the Middle Ages.
The meaning of the Compass and the Square in the Masonic tradition
credits the compass with spirituality because of its role in drawing a
circle; the square is associated with the material world. Both together
remind us of the squaring of the circle. Square OVER compass indicates
material dominance; compass OVER square indicates the predominance of
spiritual principles; the square INTERLACED with the compass indicates
the equal importance of the material and the spiritual.
Compass and the Square are symbols of the squaring of the circle, the
union of the spirit and matter. In the Badbury Rings formation both
instruments are working together as the reverse position of the square
indicates. The Action of spirit and matter coincide, and both reach out
from the Unconscious (or Unknown), represented by the lunar crescent,
towards the labyrinthine symbol of life on Earth. As they do so they
pass through the various principles of the Tree of Life in this
intriguing crop circle.
Eleven circles, large and small, reference the Kabalistic Tree of Life.
The circles are positioned differently from the traditional vision of
this system of archetypes, and there is one more circle than the ten
found in the older versions of the Sephirot. The Norse element to this
crop formation will give us an account for why the difference in number
traditional version of the Kabalistic Tree of Life and a more recent
version that has an ‘extra’ sefirah (close to the position of the two
tablets in the old version) with the name ‘Knowledge’.
newer rendition of the Kabalistic Tree of Life a principle ‘Knowledge’
is present where in the older traditional version there is no
‘knowledge’ indicated. The concept of knowledge as one of the sefirah is
used at times. In this formation, and with the hint of ‘the horse of
Odin’, the ‘knowledge’ aspect of the message and its unusual
circumstances may be solved.
the crop formation image is viewed to have the ‘parachute’, as RC has
named it, opening above, we have a reference to the Great Norse Tree of
Life called Yggdrasil–the traditional Norse image of the
Cosmos–including all the levels or worlds that exist within it and how
some levels relate to the others. The idea of ‘the horse of Odin’ is
crucial to the meaning of the whole symbol before our eyes and ties all
the traditional meanings found in this formation together.
the shamans of Siberia and perhaps Northern Europe of long ago, the
vehicle by which the shaman entered the ‘otherworld’ was called a
horse. In Siberia the horse was a drum as we see time and again in
Kandinsky’s early paintings that allude to his identification with the
shaman. The trance into which a shaman enters is like a ‘death’,
therefore, Odin, in order to acquire certain knowledge, allowed himself
to be hanged for nine days from Yggdrasil. Usually the knowledge sought
by the shaman is one of spiritual truth, knowledge of the secrets of the
Universe. The price one must pay is the ‘death’ of the conscious life
and a journey into the unconscious, the unknown. That is the shamanic
way to learning, changing, preparing for the new cycle of life to come.
Nine represents a complete cycle, attainment, fulfillment, beginning and
end. “Odin/Woden hung for nine days and nights on the Yggdrasil to win
the secrets of wisdom for mankind.” (Cooper 119) His yielding to the
Unknown (‘dying’) is the action that places the factor of ‘Knowledge’
into the Kabalistic Tree of Life. Perhaps that is why it is not always
present in the Kabalistic Tree image. Could the message of this crop
formation be telling us that to do the same, perhaps in a less dramatic
way than actually dying, might be a worthwhile path to take? Would it be
stretching it too much to say that at least the acknowledgement that
there is more to things than what they seem and that there is an ‘under
and/or over current’ of energy that is essential in each of our lives
and in LIFE?
Yggdrasil is the image of Norse cosmology. Midgard, or Middle Earth is
Earth with the ourobouros of cyclic natural life surrounding it. Odin
hung himself for nine days on the Great Tree of Life in order to
experience a shamanic journey.
Another image that could be related to the ‘umbrella’ or ‘parachute’ is
the mushroom that also ties into the idea of the hanging Odin and his
horse, just as it could be associated with the two square spirals
representing the two hemispheres of the human brain, united by the
‘corpus callosum’ of the triangular area between the spirals. Another
association with the spirals is the Yin Yang symbol of the East that
implies opposite energies working together to create Life and to support
Mushrooms are traditional vehicles for altering consciousness in many
cultures including Siberian, Alaskan, Mexican and Central American.
Mushroom stones (as above, left) were probably used in the ancient cults
related to the mushroom. Some mushrooms LOOK like human brains!
Because of the known effect of certain mushrooms on the human
consciousness, the mushroom aspect of this formation may be reinforcing
the idea that safety (of a ‘parachute’) and protection (of an
‘umbrella’) may come from within our own minds and how we use them to
relate to the world and the changes occurring around us. The predominant
direction for this way of dealing with the world is reflected in the
opposing spiral designs, both complementing one another in the overall
picture. They are reminiscent of the Yin Yang that also depicts the
action and interaction of opposite energies working in balance. This is
the alternate consciousness that is needed.
the elements and systems referred to in this design are shown
interrelated and interlaced to make one exquisite NEW pattern. The
‘Consciousness’ circle close to the ‘human brain’ in the formation has a
direct line of communication with the apexes of the square and the
compass that operate between the lunar ‘Unconscious’ and the
mushroom/parachute/brain ‘Living Consciousness’; there is a back an
forth possibility here. In fact, considering the cosmological and
ideological references in this grand formation at Badbury Rings, one
might say that we are being given a plan for the arrival and activation
of COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS ON THE EARTH!!
Michelle Jennings (
Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. Kathleen Martin, ed.
Taschen. Cologne. 2010.
Bruce-Mitford, Miranda. The Illustrated Book of Signs & Symbols.
Reader’s Digest. Montreal. 1966.
Cooper, J.C. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. Thames
& Hudson. London. 1978.
De Vries, Ad. Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery.North-Holland
Publishing Co. Amsterdam. 1974.
Encyclopédie des symboles. Michel Cazenave, red. Le Livre de Poche.
Jill. The Mystic Spiral: Journey of the Soul. Thames & Hudson. London.