The circle as a mythological symbol
Mandala of Vishnu, Painting; Pata/Paubha, Mineral pigments on cotton cloth, 28 3/8 x 23 3/8 in. (72.07 x 59.37 cm) Made in: Nepal From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Museum Associates Purchase (M.77.19.5)

“The circle is an ever present thing. It’s the centre from which you’ve come, back to which you go. In The Indian’s Book by Natalie Curtis, her conversation with a chief of the Pawnee tribe, among the things he said was: “When we pitch camp, we pitch camp in a circle. When we look at the horizon, the horizon is in a circle. When the eagle builds a nest, the nest is in a circle.” Then, the soul is a circle. The circle represents a totality, within the circle is one thing. It is encircled, enframed. That would be the spacial aspect. But the temple aspect of the circle is: you leave, go somewhere, and come back. The alpha and the omega. God is the alpha and omega: the source and the end. Somehow, the circle suggests immediately a completed totality, whether in time or in space. There is the year cycle, the moon cycle, the day cycle, the time cycle. The circle became so universally symbolic because it is experienced all the time. Experienced in the day, in the year. And you experience it in leaving home, going on your adventure, hunting or whatever it may be, and back to home. Then there’s also a deeper one: the mystery of the womb and the tomb. When people are buried, it’s for rebirth, that’s the origin of the burial idea. You put back into the womb of mother earth for rebirth.

The mandala is actually a Hindu term for a sacred circle. You have the deity in the centre, the power source, the illumination source. (On the border) are the manifestations of its radiance.”

Interview with J. Campbell 1988 (“Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth | Shows |”).