The spatial spreading
The cross symbol may be found in various forms in many traditions. It is not to be reduced to its Christian and historic aspect only, as it dates back to the most remote times and is part of the four basic geometric symbols.
The basic geometric symbols
The first of the four geometric symbols represents Unity, which contains all of them potentially:
- The point generates the line or the segment;
- The point (centre) and the segment (radius) generate the circle;
- Two perpendicular lines form a cross.
In contrast to the point, the line or the circle, the cross is the only basic geometric symbol which spreads naturally in the two dimensions of the plan or the three dimensions of the space. In this respect, it plays a key role regarding spatial orientation.
Now, the three-dimensional cross can be defined in comparison with the observer or the observed world. In the first case it refers to the being and in the second to the Cosmos or the universal Existence.
The meaning of the cross
The meaning of the cross comes close to the specificity of the vertical and horizontal branches:
- The vertical branch describes all the states carried by the being within himself or manifested through the Existence;
- The horizontal branches depict the whole range of possibilities associated with a determined state of the being or Existence.
It follows a pre-eminence of the vertical branch over the horizontal plan which is taking, in the case of the two dimensions cross, the form of two distinct representations:
- Drawn in the vertical plan, the cross (called Latin) is formed of unequal branches. It includes the totality of the states, the centres of which are located alongside the vertical. Their total embrace announces the being who will rejoin the Centre of all the states, the World Centre. He will become "the Universal man" just like the Christ who realized the union of the divine and human natures.
- Defined in the horizontal plan, the cross (called Greek) has equal branches, for it represents any state, the centre of which spreads equally in all the directions. Rejoin the centre associated with this state means re-integrate all the possibilities contained in it. The discovery of fullness, human notably, allows the being to become a whole man, a "true man".
The World Centre is often symbolized by a flower: a lotus in the East, a rose in the West, a cactus in Central America etc. Placed at the crossing of two branches oriented according to the four compass points, the rose gave birth to the "compass rose" in Western countries.