As you can see, it's a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle. The cross extends a little beyond the circle equally at each extremity. (Not like the Bolgar cross where the cross is entirely within a circle -- like the cross-hairs in a telescopic site)
The shape of this balanced cross symbolizes the principle of equilibrium.
When a cross is depicted with a circle, it signifies inclusion, unification and wholeness. The circle invites the observer to step inside the sacredness the cross represents, while at the same time it embraces the holiness -- like a capsule of higher consciousness.
The cross and the circle also silently witness to the true nature of Reality. The empty space within the circle represents the formless aware Presence, while the cross represents the manifest forms arising from and embraced by the Formless One.
Depicted in Light, our logo points to the Gnosis of Light or the revelation that infinite, eternal, noumenal Light is the true nature or essence of every person in the world -- whether it's recognized or not.
This ancient symbol is variously known as a Compass cross, a Wisdom cross, a Gnostic cross, a Cosmic cross, a Consecration cross, a Celtic cross, and a Sun cross.
As the Compass Cross
Here this symbol suggests the wise teacher or guide who gives direction in a chaotic world and helps the spiritual sojourner to find their way safely 'Home'.
The awakened life that Jesus urged people to embrace and follow quickly became known as 'The Way' by those who understood him and determined to live by the same Light as he did.
The Way was just another name for The Path of Life -- the spiritual journey in consciousness followed by the truly wise since the dawn of time.
As the Wisdom Cross
This symbol points to humanity's ancient Nondual Wisdom Tradition. Each arm of the wisdom cross symbolizes a sub-traditon of the great Tradition (not necessarily four). These arms are encircled to symbolize the essential unity of all the great philosophies and religious traditions. The center of the cross and circle represents the core message of our great Wisdom Tradition.
Interestingly, here we see a wisdom cross laid on a 45o angle. This particular design represents World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts, edited by Andrew Wilson (ISBN 0-89226-129-3 ).
This project of the International Religious Foundation is dedicated to the promotion of world peace through inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. This highly recommended volume reflects the emerging confluence of religious traditions on the basis of inter-religious, interdisciplinary, and intercultural exchanges.
The wisdom cross and circle also suggests a compass, guiding us on our spiritual journey. It symbolizes the inate wisdom in us all that, that if heard, recognized and followed, will lead us gently home.
As the Gnostic Cross
In this context, it's said that mystery can unfold in a four-fold pattern in which the arms of the cross offer four ways to ascend or move into Christ Consciousness.
The Gnostic cross is an invitation to directly know: 1. The Cause of our Suffering; 2. The Kingdom Within, 3. The Truth that sets us Free, and 4. The Gnosis of Light.
This symbol has also been effectively used by some as a focal point for meditation. When one lasers in on the very centre of the symbol -- energies become more concentrated, and centred.
Then we notice What is noticing from the centre of our own beingness and this inseeing can lead to a crucial shift of consciousness.
As the Cosmic Cross
In the Cosmic cross, the circle suggests the world (or, kosmos). The cross here symbolizes the complimentarity and ultimate union of male and female, mind and matter etc. and all the other opposites you can think of.
Here's a cosmic cross at the Saccidananda Ashram (Monastery of the Holy Trinity) in South India. It's made of stone and mounted on an inverted lotus, a Hindu symbol of purity and divine love.
Expressing the aims of the Ashram, this symbol (the Ashram's logo also) brings together in a sensitive way both the Hindu and Christian approaches to humanity's great Wisdom Tradition
In the center of the cosmic cross and circle is the Sanskrit inscription "Om" in this case representing Christ as the Divine Word, as Logos, or Shabda Brahman -- the soundless sound that echoes in all of creation.
The wheel here represents samsara, the cycle of birth and death, which they teach we must all break though to achieve mokshar (liberation).
As the Consecration Cross
From its earliest beginnings, the Church has seen in this symbol sacred meaning. Here, the cross represents Christ and the circle a halo.
The halo, of course, indicates sanctification, deification or enlightenment. A person depicted in an icon with a halo is meant to be understood as a Christ-one or saint.
Here are a few more words suggested by the halo-like circle to contemplate:
- The All
The sun or solar cross is ancient, dating all the way back to at least 1440 BCE. The division that the arms of the cross make in the circle represents the seasons in a year. These divisions are also said to represent the four directions.
Our ancient kin observed a circular aspect to the cycles of time, specifically in the movements of the seasons. In waltzing rhythms of time, and with the revolutions of the earth 'round the sun, we can feel the same kind of evolution in annual time and seasons - just as our forefathers and mothers did.
As the Celtic Cross
The Celtic cross has origins in Celtic traditions and is sometimes known as the Gaelic cross.
Perhaps to the Celts, the encircled cross symbolized the timeless mystery of the 'death' that lead to a higher life.
Today, the circle is as rich as ever in sacred meaning for those with 'eyes to see' and wisdom to discern.
Without beginning or end, the circle can represent infinity and, as such, absolute perfection.
As zero, the circle can represent 'Spirit' -- That which is not a thing, the no-thing or emptiness that is space for everything. Note the circle of 'emptiness' at the very centre of this Celtic cross >
This carries more or less the same meaning as the "Gesture of Knowledge" (Gnosis or Jnana) displayed in some Buddhist art or statuary.
In such cases, the Buddha figure joins the tips of the index finger and the thumb, forming a circle, the other fingers are extended straight. This mudra is held against the chest, palm towards the chest.
This gesture symbolizes the two dimensions of Reality -- the Void or No-thing (the emptiness within the circled thumb and forefinger) and the 'ten thousand things or manifest universe (the three extended fingers)
The ultimate nature of Reality is sometimes depicted as a serpent forming a circle by swallowing its tail -- indicating that the Absolute as subject is always playfully engaging with itself as though it were a separate object, when, in fact, it is all one and the same.
Symbolism is about seeing deeper meanings in something on multiple levels. This symbol can be full of meaning and power for you, but only when you make it your own.