The symbol of the line is the sword. In biblical Hebrew the actual word for sword, often a phallic expression, is cherev. The sword and the lance are male symbols of thrusting forward, combat and conquest. The goal of the sword is to affirm which line (sword) is higher in the hierarchy. The sword is goal-oriented. It does not have conversation; instead, it takes control. The sword cuts through and analyzes. The sword is the discriminating intellect which divides, categorizes and conquers. Clearly the sword/line is both a powerful force of the spirit as well as a scourge.
The circle is not about thrusting forward. It is about receiving. In the sexual image the circle always receives the line’s forward movement. Whatever position one might take, it is always the circle which must receive the line. The circle listens, opening herself up to receive the line. She is able to absorb the line’s thrust – develop it, unpack it, and give birth to something entirely new.
In Hebrew myth Chochmah is the line symbol. Chochmah (literally translated as “wisdom”) is the exploding intuition, idea, or movement, which is received by the circle Binah. Binah (literally translated “understanding”) is the archetypal womb which receives nurtures and transforms.
There is a real need for line energy in the world. Ultimately however, the kabbalists asserted the superiority of circle consciousness. For the world is not empty. It courses with the energy of love and spirit. To be able to access and express that energy is one of the highest human achievements. If one understands the world to be full rather than empty, then being a receiver is an absolutely vital human function. It is the very stuff of our existence.
Hebrew mysticism with its feminine circle nature is called Kabbalah. Kabbalah literally means to receive! To be a kabalist is to be a receiver. It is for this reason that even without understanding its content, much of the Human Potential, Consciousness, and New Age movements are intuitively drawn to Kabbalah. If the hi-tech revolution is a line movement, then New Age, Environmentalism, Consciousness, and Human Potential are circle movements.
Yet, for these to become “fully” effective ‘movements’ they must move and move forward. A line quality. This is precisely the point! To create a world of eros, for erotic healing to occur, the circle and line must interpenetrate. Whenever the circle and line are separated, the Shechina is in exile. The potential for damage and dysfunction is great.
Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy