The ritual tipi, and, more especially, the never-extinguished fire burning at its center, forms, at the point where the six directions meet, a “seventh” direction, which in reality is a “non-direction” inasmuch as it synthesizes the diversity of the other directions. Analogously, the heart of a spiritually concentrated man is a synthesis of the whole Universe and, a fortiori, of the genius of his people… Now, if the heart of man is all this, it is because in this lower world it symbolizes the very Prototype of all “circles”.
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First published in Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 17, No. 1 & 2 (Winter-Spring, 1985). Republished here with thanks.