Circles and crosses

The cross was a religious symbol well before the arrival of Christianity. Two pieces of wood held at right angles to one another have long been used to make fire. As such, the cross was used almost universally in pre-Christian times as symbolic of sacred fire or the sun. Religious objects marked with crosses have been found in almost every part of the ancient world around two thousand years before the birth of Christ in India, Syria, Persia and Egypt.

This process aims to explore both pre and post Christian notions of the cross, and the associations most of us have – consciously or unconsciously – about both crosses and circles, and where these associations may come from.

Feedback from sessions on circles and crosses held at Quaker Yearly Meeting Gathering at Bath University, 2014, and Greenbelt (Festival of faith, justice and the arts).

‘I’m not a Christian – I don’t even believe in God. But I found in your session that, for the first time in my life, I could actually begin to engage with the idea of the cross. Thank you for a profound experience.’

 ‘I found the session of ‘Crosses and Noughts’ one of the most profound experiences of this Year’s Meeting Summer Gathering.’

‘Thanks for the excellent session. I found it really educational and learned a lot. Most significantly I made a real connection with the divine during the session. It both reclaimed the symbol and moved it forward…Excellent work.’

‘I saw there was a session on crosses and immediately thought to myself ‘I wouldn’t want to go to that.’ I then found myself thinking: Why not? What am I scared of? What is it about the cross that I find so difficult to deal with? It made me realise that I really did need to come – and I’m so glad I did.’

 ‘Many thanks for your Session last Monday. It was an exercise which was different to anything else I’ve experienced in my time as a Christian. I wish you well with the development of your approach through art and meditation.’