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Circles of Our Lives - Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade





Sometimes the most mundane of things in life suddenly captures my imagination.  The other day, when I was outside with Seamus, the very handsome Shadow Dog, I started thinking about circles (yes, my brain does shoot off on a tangent sometimes!).  You see circles everywhere: most door knobs, most coins, the sun and moon, the pupil of most animal's eyes and the wheel, just to name a few.  Most people don't give them a second thought unless you're a mathematician, an architect or an artist.  As a gardener and an avid observer of nature, I daily feel the circle of life all around me on a more cosmological scale: day/night, phases of the moon, seasons, life/death.  And then I remembered a Wendell Berry poem, called "Circles of Our Lives", which I will share at the end of this post. This led me to do some reading about circles (inquiring minds want to know!) and copious note taking.


Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Large Hoop Earrings with Blue Kyanite and Moonstone Handmade by Pamela of Pebbles at My Feet



The word "circle" derives from the Greek word, 'kirkos". The base word "ker-" means to turn or bend. A quote from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, describes the circle perfectly: "The beginning and end are one".  For many medieval scholars, the early sciences, especially geometry, astronomy and astrology, were connected to the divine.  They believed that circles were divine perfection.





Baseball Dog Bandana, Collar Slipcover or Scrunchie-style, Handmade by Donna of SewAmazin



The circle is an ancient symbol of infinity with no beginning, no end and no direction; it represents completeness which encompasses all space and time.  Our ancient ancestors saw the cycles of the seasons as circular:  birth, growth, decay, death, birth . . .  Circles are commonly represented in pre-historic cave art paintings and carved into stones the world over. It has been the favorite shape to show equality in assemblies of people:  the campfire circle, King Arthur's round table and the council circle.





Sun and Moon Dichroic Fused Glass Brooch / Pin Handmade by Jo of Umeboshi Jewelry Designs



The Chinese believed that the circle represents the shape of heaven where the earth was a square.  In Chinese art, a square within a circle represents the unity of heaven and earth.  The Yin Yang symbol is circular, an emblem of unified balance.  The "enso", a Japanese word meaning "circle ", is a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism.  It represents absolute enlightenment, the universe and the void.




Saw Blade Art Note Cards, Set of 8, with Envelopes Handmade by Jacki of Christie Cottage



Cup and ring marks are very common and can be found all over the United Kingdom, Europe and the world, some dating back to the Early Neolithic period and even earlier.  To the Celts, circles represented the cosmos and were also used as protective boundaries not to be crossed by enemies or evil.  The "Ouroboros" was used frequently in Celtic art.  It is a circular symbol created by a creature, often a dragon or snake, feeding off of its own tail or two creatures feeding off each other tails.  The shape created by the creatures represents unity, completion, regeneration and eternity, among other things.




Whimsical Round Orange Ceramic Stoneware Flower Pendant Handmade by Linda of Linda Landig Designs



The Native American medicine wheel is a circle divided into four equal parts representing the spirits of the north, south, east and west and/or the basic elements of earth, water, air (wind) and fire.  Labyrinth mandalas were used by some tribes to represent the transition from one world to the next.  Fashioned by tying sinew in a web around a circular frame of willow, dreamcatchers were hung at bedsides to protect children from nightmares.  




Copper and Green Quartz Wire Wrapped Pendant Handamde by Cathy of CraftingMemories



Early Christians believed the circle to be part of the divine, the circular shape of the sun and moon were directly related to God's act of creation.  Three entwined circles represent the Holy Trinity, with its three eternal and unified members, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In Christian art, a halo often surrounds the heads of Jesus, Mary and the saints.




Rustic White Ceramic Earrings with Natural Dark Green Chrysocolla Gemstones Handmade by Gloria of Chrysalis Tribal Jewelry 



I could go on and on about circles, but don't want to get into the head spinning, mathematical end of it.  Suffice to say that the symbol is the oldest, most rudimentary in the course of human evolution.  But is also the most dynamic, being the cornerstone in the development of science and technology, a basic tool of engineers, designers, artists and architects..  OH!  And I haven't even mentioned "pi" - which reminds me of my favorite dessert, a key lime variety.



Ruffled Pink and White Polkadot Ponytail Holder / Scrunchie Handmade by Nancy of Nancy's Knots, Lace and More



Copper Diatom / Sea Urchin Earring Components, 1 pair, Handmade by Kristi of Kristi Bowman Design



Pink and Green Whirlygig Lampwork Earrings with Czech Glass Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



Here is the Wendell Berry poem, "Circles of Our Lives", that was a partial inspiration for this post, a powerful poem of life, of change and of return:


Within the circles of our lives

we dance the circles of the years,

the circles of the seasons

within the circles of the years,

the cycles of the moon,

within the circles of the seasons,

the circles of our reasons

within the cycles of the moon.


Again, again we come and go,

changed, changing. Hands

join, unjoin in love and fear,

grief and joy.  The circles turn,

each giving into each, into all.


Only music keeps us here,

each by the others held.

In the hold of hands and eyes

we turn in pairs, that joining

joining each to all again.


And then we turn aside, alone,

out of the sunlight gone

onto the darker circles of return.


I hope you have enjoyed each and every one of these unique handmade creations featuring circles!  If you would like to make my day and the day of the talented artists featured, please leave a comment.  And any promotion you can do will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!



My contact information:


Indiemade shop:  ShadowDogDesigns

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Beautiful choices....thank

Beautiful choices....thank you so much for including my ponytail holder :) All items pinned.

Thanks, Nancy

Fabulous circles! Thank you

Fabulous circles! Thank you for including my pendant. Shared.

Oh, I love how your brain went to pie. I can relate!

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for including my earrings in your circles collection. I enjoyed reading about the circle's symbolism in history. And, pleased to know another soul whose tangential thoughts occur whilst walking the family dog. Smiles!

Love today's

Wonderful post. Thanks

Shared all


Tweeted again

Just made another pass through

Thanks again!


Fun post!

Thank you for including our Baseball Dog Bandana in this week's post about circles. I'm a big Mets fan and watch almost every game... I can't tell you how often the announcers try to explain the concept of hitting a round ball (circle) with a round bat and striking it squarely! LOL!

I've pinned and tweeted each item.

No Beginning No End

I like that! Such a common shape that it is everywhere around us and still captivating. Thank you so much for including my earrings with your gorgeous choices.

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